Saturday, July 11, 2009

The thrill of... finishing

"I am a runner. I never get tired when I run. I run in any kind of weather. Running imvigorates me. I was made to run."

This is the wording of the positive mental paragraph which was recommended I repeat over and over in my mind as I pounded each patch of hard pavement throughout this past spring and summer. Repeated recitation of this paragraph was accompanied by a myriad of other tactics such as envisioning myself as a lawn mower, or a steadfast Clydesdale
race horse.

I had read the books. I had purchased the stability shoes. I had paid the $35 registration fee. I had enlisted help from some more experienced runner neighbors of mine to push me through training runs. I was as ready as I’d ever be for the “La Sportiva Summer Solstice Twilight Trail Run.” In Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Walking toward the registration desk, my sisters and I were surrounded by super tan, lean legged people wearing all the right gear form the Nike caps on down. The Vail Rec. website said this 10K was a “series” race, and I think most of them had done the whole series- along with about a billion other races over their lifetimes.

“They love people like us,” I told my sister. “We add variety to the race. This all so old hat to them. Hard working underdogs are always inspiring.”

Honestly I was not affected at all by the other participants. I am not a real competitive person, and I was racing just to prove to myself that I could go the distance. I may not have had myself convinced of EVERY word in the above positive mental paragraph, but I did feel like I deserved to be there that day and I was ready to give it my best shot.

I don’t know if familiarization with the topography of the trail would have made me steer clear of this particular race. I figured that being in a mountainous town, the trail would not be flat. But I DID NOT anticipate the first mile and a half being straight up a darned ski slope!

Nevertheless, I made it up, and continued across the mountainside through the trampled down grass and dark, slick mud.

My favorite section of the race was across a single track trail overlooking the city. I ran alone, with only my body’s own cues to tell me the pace to keep. I had accidentally left my watch in the suburban after letting Nathan play with it during the drive over.

I will always remember the fresh beautiful solace of those moments. The quakie aspens decorated this portion of the Rockies with perfect patches of green that contrasted crisply with the baby blue sky. Rain had fallen all afternoon leaving clean scented air that begged me to deeply breathe. It WAS invigorating! And when the downhill came, I let my legs fly faster than they ever have for such an extended amount of time. I started to think, “Hey, I AM a runner!”

I ran, and I ran, and I ran. I was RU-NIN’. I listened for any sound of people gathering , and when I heard it, I kicked it into high gear. It was time for my big finish! (I guess it goes without saying that the reason I ran alone was NOT because I led the pack.)

After the race, I was curious to know my time- for history’s sake. I had never officially measured or officially timed 6.2 miles. I asked where this info could be found, and was directed to the “La Sportiva” shade tent. I glanced thorough the list and, unfortunately did not see my name. Turns out the list was printed off immediately after the bulk of the runners had come through. Myself and a few others were too late!

Now anybody with any amount of athletic pride would probably have stopped there- maybe just estimated a time or something. But I had to know. So I walked back over to the finish line and matter- of-factly explained the situation. They fiddled around on the computer, called in a few extra staff who knew the program, fiddled some more. All the while I stood there, waiting. Finally they recovered my time…

I had hit it HARD for One hour, twenty nine minutes, and fourty seconds!

And I am not ashamed.

A little bonus came when the M.C. handing out the medals ended up with some extra sponsor prizes to give away. He picked me out of the crowd, #40, and I got some awesome spray-on sunscreen! He had been the one at the finish line who gave me my much needed Gatorade. He shared a moment of overflowing emotion with the hardworking underdog, and she made him proud, she did.

So not quite the thrill of VICTORY, but yes, I AM FINISHED.

Other trip highlights:

Lindsay's wish was for us to visit the Vail Gymnastics Center. Turned out to be a blast for the kids.

People that know my brother comment often that he and Nathan look alike. How about this pic?

Lloyd women at Vail Overlook after gondola ride. The weather was PERFECT for our mountaintop lunch, horseshoe game, and sand dig, and a little yoga, I guess.

A mid morning nature Hike near the Betty Ford Park.

My sweet Grandma Ginsburg with my children and other relatives that came to visit that day.
Seeing them was the main reason for our trip. It was a beautiful visit, and a fun vacation.


Nicholas K. and Sarah Maye said...

you ARE a RUNNER!! Sounds like a fun trip! I am so proud of you!

Samantha said...

You are inspiring!

Jessica Jensen said...

You inspire me! I am proud of you Julia! Great job at setting out a goal and accomplishing it! You are a runner! We Love You! Happy Birthday!

Sharie said...

Good Job!!! I've started training for a half marathon coming up in November. Having never done any running before - I am nervous!! Thanks for sharing your story, it's good motivation for me to keep going :).

Joe'n'Jess said...

can you teach me to be a runner? I am the laziest lazy on the planet and i hate running like i hate green beans, but you make me want to RUN! i loved this story!

MINI said...

Jul, I'm afraid I'm going to have to be a 'guest blogger' on you site. I've got way too much to say about this and I want everyone to read it. So, can I type it up and e-mail it and you can post it? That is what I'll do!

Kelly said...

Way to go Julia! Finishing is the best feeling in the world!!!

Ryan and Hailee said...

I had no idea you were a runner, I loved your story, it was so great, congrats on your accomplishment!!!!!

Katy said...

What a great job! I could never have done it! I am proud of you! Jed and Nathan do look so much alike! That picture was classic!

Andrea Brown said...

way to go!!! You did do it!!! It's great to accomplish a feat!

Jen said...

I'm so happy for you meeting that goal! I love the picture of Nathan with Uncle Jed, too.

Lemon Family said...

Way to go!

Christi Nebeker said...

Wy to go Jules I will be running it with you some day I may get you at swimming but NOT running! I am so proud of you!

Lissa said...

You are a rock steady and true. I'm glad I can still read your blog even though we won't be neighbors any more. I'll miss you and your sweet fam.