Monday, December 10, 2007

Dream Come True

Somehow certain words from the movie Enchanted's 'Ever After' song fit right in.

'You even might wind up
Being glad to be you.'

You know I couldn't say that a year ago. Today it's way different. If you would have told me 11 months ago that I would complete a half-marathon I probably would have laughed in your face. O.K. let me restate, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed in anyone’s face on purpose. In fact, I probably would have nodded politely and said, ‘that’s nice.’ Then turned around and rolled my eyes. You see last January I couldn’t even exercise on a treadmill because my feet would constantly drag and stumble. But, never say never. With a lot of support from amazing family and friends and worth their weight in gold training specialists, a true-life miracle and a lot of prayers, I had a dream come true. Fawndear completed her first ever half-Marathon at the Inaugural Rose Bowl Half Marathon in Pasadena CA.

Why there? Well I got a cool looking medal with a Rose on it. And like me it was the Rose Bowls first half marathon as well. Plus it was an excellent excuse to take my little Princess’s to Disneyland just down the road. But more on the mouse’s house in another blog.

'Storybook endings
Fairy tales coming true
Deep down inside
We want to believe they still do.'

Saturday, December 8th, started out clear but a bit nippy. I was a bundle of nerves when my sweet sister-in-law, who kindly hosted me and my very girly girls, woke me up at 5:15 a.m. Wondering if I should kiss my girls good-bye because I might just kill over as I ran, and then they would never see me again, was sadly a real thought. But common sense ruled out and I let them sleep as I got ready for my hour drive to the Rose Bowl from where we were staying.

I had an advantage of being from a cooler state and I knew that I could run in high 50 degree weather without a jacket and would be just fine. I’m sure it warmed up to the 60’s before the race was over. I found it a bit comical to see people bundled up in full winter gear with earmuffs, and huge fleece jackets at the start of the race, only to see items of clothing scattered on bushes and curbs along the side of the road with hopes their owners would soon be back to retrieve them.

The run was beautiful, with bridges, trails, elite neighborhoods, a golf course and workmen erecting bleachers along the Tournament of Roses Parade Route, and the hillsides of CA. I wish I would have brought my camera with me. That was yet another debate I had with myself but rational thinking ruled out in that one as well.
My goals were to finish the race and hopefully in under 3 hours. Before my muscle setback in November I had a much higher goal but hey, I’m starting to get the hang of flexibility.

The fun thing about races is the people you meet along the way. Some you know just by sight like the girl with Jasmine hair and her boyfriend who kept holding hands, or the skinny blond who keeps smiling encouragingly as we yo-yoed positions back and forth. The funny man pep talking out loud to himself and singing drinking songs. ‘Whatever it takes,’ I said to another runner as we smiled at each other as he passed us. There are also the runners that stand out just ahead of you that give you a target to try to beat. I kept picking the really mature past their 50’s people who kept a slow but steady pace. Somehow most of them only stayed within my view for a few miles and then they were gone. But I kept on chugging with hopes I would catch them around the next corner.

Then my favorites are the ones that exchanged word of encouragement with me. Like #1500 – she had to have been in her 70-80’s, a sweet little stooped wisp of thing with a smile on her face. She wasn’t really running or jogging but had a funny power-walk gait that made her stand out. As I passed her around mile 10 I couldn’t help but tell her that she was a true inspiration. She told me thank you and she wished someone would inspire her knees because they were killing her. Then on the hill during mile number 11 our paths crossed again.

‘Yeah, we are almost there. I can’t wait for the downhill,’ I said.

‘I can’t wait for the free beer,’ she replied.

Of course it brought a smile to my face. I hope I’m doing as well as her when I’m her age, without the thoughts of alcohol.

Then there were the two men about my age, could have been brothers, of middle-eastern ethnicity who yo-yoed positions with me for the last few miles. They commented on how great they thought I was doing. We talked about where we were from which led to conversations about the weather. Somehow being from Washington always makes you an expert on rain and flooding. I ended up telling them about the reasons for my trip down with my girls. They encouraged me the whole rest of the way and we all crossed the finish line together. I even got one of them to take my picture to prove I was there.

'Start a new fashion
Wear your heart on your sleeve'

Forget the sleeve, it was all over my face like blinking neon lights. I bawled like a baby as I crossed the finish line, and not because of the shin splint I was suffering from either. I saw the staff photographers clicking away. Bet those pictures are beauts. But the tears were from so many different emotions and probably a good dose of hormones added in to boot. Gratitude for a new beginning and for a wonderful husband who encouraged me to go for it even though it was a really expensive goal. For also completing something on my own without being accountable to anyone but me, but still with thoughts of all those people who helped me get to that point. For the feelings accomplishment of finishing in a decent 2 hours and 48 something minutes. Of amazement that I was still alive and had just completed another wonder and hope for the future to be as bright as the last few wonderful days.

'There is joy to be claimed in this world..
The world can be yours
If you let your heart
Believe in ever after.'

Of course I waited a good 10 minutes before I called my Prince Erik to tell him I finished. I was still blubbering then, probably to the point that he thought I might have injured myself. I wanted to share the news with so many different people and not at all to blow my own horn. It was such a great experience but it would be greater still to share it with other people, in hopes that someday they can complete similar goals and experience the same joy. I’d love to make this a tradition event but that would mean learning how to set some financial goals as well. Who knows a lot can happen in a year.

'Each happy ending's
A brand new beginning
Forever could even start today'

So, I'm offically announcing that I want to set a goal to return in a year. Maybe in 10 years I'll have my mom help me make an amazing Rose Bowl Half-Marathon T-shirt quilt. Who's want's to join me?


Anonymous said...

Fawndear, you are truly amazing and an ispiration to everyone who knows what you have been through. We are grateful for the miracle in your and your families lives. A lot of hard work, but it just proves how wonderful hard work can be for all of us. Dreams can come true. Thank you for your example. I Love you and am so proud and grateful to have you for my big sister. skr

Susanne said...

That is awesome! We are so proud of you!!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to the amazing Fawndear!!!
So I think a half-marathon a year is a good goal, I just don't know that I can make it down to California to do it every year...Have you thought about looking into Utah or Idaho races? There's a fun beast of a race -Zeitgeist- in Boise in October. I'd love to do a half marathon with you.

trenadoll said...

This is such a great post! Thanks for sharing the experience with the rest of us. Keep on runnin!

rkimedes said...

It's weird, I remember it really wasn't that long ago when I was sitting at home with my husband trying to figure out what the team could do to help out, and now... It's like you've gone through a complete metamorphosis. I know Erik's been telling us that you were doing better for a while now, but this is really amazing. Congratulations!