Sunday is a day I’ve been looking forward to since last July. It’s our annual Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Half-Marathon, the premier running event in Houston.
Originally I signed up for the marathon, because I wanted to try to inspire and take inspiration from Dick Jones, the beloved father of my then-neighbor JJ the organizational whiz. So much has changed since that mid-summer day!
Now Mr. Jones sadly has passed away, JJ and her family have moved away, and I’ve switched from the full to the half-marathon. I’ve been having problems with my left leg, which has meant I haven’t enjoyed exactly stellar training. I’ve finished quite a few long runs, but I don’t have a lot of everyday miles in my legs.
Hopefully, this will be my fifth Houston half-marathon finish. No one is sick in my family, so I don’t expect to have another stomach flu debacle like last year knocking me out of the race. My goal, as it is with every race I’ve run, is to finish, hopefully with a smile on my face. It’s hard to set a time goal when I don’t know how much my leg is going to bother me—the more it hurts, the more I’ll have to walk. And that means a slooooow time.
Of course, this particular race isn’t just about me. I’m running for a reason: I’ve been raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of Mr. Jones, my father, my stepfather, my cousin Lisa, my neighbor Tami’s father, and my friend Karen’s brother. All of them died from these dreaded blood cancers. When I’m out pounding the streets of Houston and hurting, my thoughts will be with them every step of the way. I’m hoping that they’ll lift me up and help lessen my load.
Still, I know that I’m going to throw myself a pity party somewhere along the course. Every long run I’ve done has included one of these negative “celebrations.” I allow myself to pick one—and only one—mile during which I can feel sorry for myself. Sunday it will be mile 10. That’s a good time to assess the first nine miles and then try to re-energize for the final push along Allen Parkway to the finish line.
Ah, the finish line! The reason we do these races. I don’t care how much you’re hurting and cursing your lack of training and good eating habits during the event. Once you cross that blessed finish line, everything feels so much better. That pity party at mile 10? Forgotten! All is right in the world.
Well, until you start walking and find that you can’t climb up a curb, because you can’t lift your legs that high. That’s when it’s time to hit that ibuprofen bottle!
Good luck to my fellow marathoners and half-marathoners Sunday. May the weather be great and the wind be light.