Sunday, May 4, 2014

Guest Post: Jackie's Race Report from the Urban Escape Half Marathon

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Get the tissue out, this one will pull at your heartstrings, in a good way. Below is an inspirational guest post from my runner/mom friend Jackie. She's made many appearances in past blog posts and race reports. Jackie is a huge fan/supporter of my journey - and I of hers - thank you Jackie. I'll turn it over to her now.

I woke up early to participate in the Inaugural Urban Escape Half Marathon in Novato. My running clothes and gear were laid out the night before, so I quietly got myself together and made my way to the kitchen. I sat down for my typical pre-run meal; two packets of instant oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee. I probably should have loaded up on water as well but was more concerned about pit-stops than dehydration. Then I successfully made my way out of the house without waking the kids.

I was ill-prepared for this event. I was physically and emotionally drained from some intense family issues that had taken place weeks prior. It was an extremely difficult time and I was exhausted. Not to mention I did not have the opportunity to get any long runs in. I had only run 6 miles the weekend before and 2 miles the week before that. But, rain or shine, I needed this run.

I had this event on my calendar for months. It was a personal goal. And if there is one thing I am good at, it is following through on what I set out to do. In my world of chaos, achieving goals I have set for myself makes me feel like I am in control. It makes me feel strong. I am able to focus on something positive and not get caught up on life’s little stresses. And, believe me; I have my share of stresses. 

Next week marks my baby’s first birthday. So, you can imagine the kind of year I have had…..sleepless nights, breastfeeding, diapers, laundry, etc. Simultaneously, my 3 year old is potty training, learning about boundaries and acclimating to life with a sibling. I knew going in, child number two would bring its own set of challenges. So, I set my wellness plan and goals before he was born. I wanted to make sure that I did not lose control over “me” during this crazy time. For starters, I signed up for the online Weight Watchers program and a 4 Mile running event four months out. One important thing I have learned about myself is that if I pay for something, I am adamant about seeing it through. 

As soon as I recovered from my C-Section and received clearance from my doctor, I hit the streets. First long walks, then short runs. After I returned to full time at work, I was only able to run on Saturday mornings. I dubbed myself a “weekend warrior,” running a 5-mile route each week. And, I also continued to sign up for running events each month. This kept me going. And so I find myself here, this morning, with my third Half Marathon of the year.

Deb, me, Laura, Laurie (L to R)
I was joined by my fabulously fit girlfriends who were as excited as I was to be participating in our big hometown event. The race began and we started out as a group, engaging in conversation and laughs and then, one-by-one, each set our own pace. When I run, I relish the quiet in my brain. I stopped carrying an ipod years ago. I look forward to the random things that come to mind or the issues I am able to resolve. Sometimes I laugh and other times I cry. I love having this time to myself. During this particular run, both stress and relief from the pressures of the preceding days brought me to tears. But once released, I felt strength; strong enough to finish. 

official race picture
But, when I came across the 10 mile marker, my left knee gave out. I needed to stop running and briefly walk it out. This has happened before and is a result of insufficient training or not enough stretching. I am certainly not a model runner. Fortunately, I was able to continue, but had to take frequent walk breaks. As I approached the final stretch down San Marin Drive, I started to get choked up. It was more difficult getting through this event than I had originally anticipated. Then, I spotted my husband and 3 yr. old on the sideline cheering me on. The site brought me to tears...

... but gave me the kick I needed to push through the victory lap. 

My family joined me at the Finish and at that moment, nothing meant more.

After each event I am able to celebrate the success of having reached another goal. I need to feel accomplishment and forward movement. I need to momentarily forget about the ever growing pile of clothes in the corner of my room, the button that I have not yet sewn back on to my husband’s shirt or the reason for my son’s last time out. I’ve got a list of mundane tasks and stresses that will never cease. 

So for me, setting these personal goals is keeping me well. During the last year I also completed one 10K, two 12Ks, one 15K and two other Half Marathon events. WOW! Looking at that list now makes me so proud.

This last year I have only run to finish. My race time today was 2:36.54 with an 11:55 pace. But, it’s time to start setting personal record goals. For starters, I’d like to see myself post a 10 minute mile. I’ll get there soon. I’ve already scheduled my next event!  

me, Deb, Laura, Laurie at the finish!


  1. This is a great story about courage, determination and persistence. One of the most inspiring stories not just for keeping fit but also for facing life's numerous challenges. It was heart warming reading about your family cheering you on.

  2. Love this! What an inspirational read! :)


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