Finish

Once upon a time there were 4 runner girls. They decided to run a Half Marathon on the other side of the Cheddar Curtain in Kenosha. 2 had trained and trained well for this adventure. The other 2 …not so much. Ok, not really at all…at least not in any serious ‘follow a training plan and run consistently” kind of way.

The adventure began at 5am as the TMI truck pulled out and headed north. As we drove, we were treated to the most beautiful, colorful sunrise. It was just magnificent. The drive was easy and plans for the day were discussed…as well as other topics…but what is talked about in the TMI truck, stays in the TMI truck.

We arrived, parked and prepped. All of us love this race as it is easy to get to, parking is close and free, the bathrooms plentiful, the scenery stunning, and there is Great beer at the end! After we had made the final choices as to what to wear and what to carry, we headed to the start only to find many of our friends from running group. We all started together but soon my pal, Shorty, (names have been changed to protect the innocent) and I were on our own. We had decided on doing a run/walk as the goal was just to finish. We started fast and strong. This was going to be a good day.

About Mile 2 one of our pals running the full marathon came up on us and we chatted a bit. I stopped to take a photo of the lake…it was too pretty.

It was about mile 3 and my playlist was on shuffle as Roma Downey’s , An Irish Blessing, began to play as we passed a beautiful old cemetery then the race took on new meaning. There was a group of spectators lining the course and one was holding a sign that said, “Run Strong”. It was the sign that got my attention but what struck me was the young woman holding it and cheering. She was bald. I ran over to her and hugged her tight. As I hugged her she said, “ you can do this ….because I can’t…” “YES! You can I replied as I took off running…tears streaming down my face. I caught up to Shorty and she was crying too. We both decided that there was going to be no bitchin’. No moaning. No whining. We would finish the race REGARDLESS!

We ran though the quaint downtown area of Kenosha to the cheers of the spectators and headed out towards the Lake and Carthage College. This is a tough part of the course as the spectators thin out to almost nothing, the pavement is pitted and uneven, and the breeze off the Lake pushes me back just enough to make moving forward a tad more challenging. Oh…did I mention that this is also the hillier part of the course? This is also the most gorgeous part of the course as far as scenery. The long stretches along the Lake remind me of one of the reasons I run. I mean, would I have seen the lighthouse and coastline otherwise? Probably not. As we came up on the turn around, we saw our friends, Speedy and Cheesy. They were running strong and looking to PR. It was good to see them, as well as other runners we knew.

About mile 8 I was starting to feel the burn. The wall was coming…I could see it and feel it. I was doing all that I could to push it off. Shorty had to use the bathroom after mile 9 so I told her I would just walk and she could catch up….well just the thought of the bathroom made me have to go and when I realized all the stalls were full, I went to the Men’s side. Minutes later we were on our way to the last leg…the last 3 miles.

As we headed back into the downtown area of Kenosha, the spectators were back, as was the polka band. We are in Wisconsin, after all and I mean really…where else are you going to find a canning and pie shop on the main street?! I rounded a corner and there it was…the Wall. I hit it hard and it was hard to breathe. I had slowed down and Shorty had started to speed up. I didn’t have to tell her to head on and run her own pace..she was doing that on her own leaving me to find a way past the Wall.

I mustered the energy to finish…I had come this far….quitting or giving up was not an option. I caught up to Shorty and we ran a bit together and then off she went. As I arrived at the turn around, a friend running the full marathon passed. We hugged for a minute and then I sent him on ahead for another 13.1 miles. I turned and headed towards the last mile. Now I was walking and running in equal parts and not very fast but I was still moving forward.

Shorty and I rounded the last corner and she took off. We were almost there…the finish. I ran strong the last .3 and was speeding up as I caught sight of the finish line. I crossed the finish line and got my medal from a wonderful young man who said, “Awesome job, tutu Lady!” and met Shorty for water and CHEESE!

We met up with Cheesy and Speedy only to find out that Cheesy did hit her PR! We had a yummy beer (I have to find out what they were serving because it was AWESOME!) and a brat and headed to the car…to head to the Brat Stop.

We devoured all things grilled and fried washing it all down with sudsy, delicious beer. You have not lived until you have eaten fried cheese curds at the Brat Stop! We bought some beer and cheese before starting the journey home. We laughed and told more stories and talked the whole way home. It was just what I needed today…what I needed all week.

I was surprised to arrive home to a clean house. My girls had spent the morning cleaning! YEA! A walk with the dogs and a hot shower made the morning complete. I still wonder about the woman at mile 3. I would love to thank her for empowering my run today. I would love to repay the favor and encourage her on her journey. She will be in my thoughts and prayers……What a good day….

 

 

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