Mile Twelve Dedication: Orlando Girls

Mile twelve is for the lovely group of ladies who are making the trek to OOORRRRLAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOO with me. Everyone is coming from various locations around North America, from Pennsylvania to Calgary, from Ohio to British Columbia, and my own STL to Jacksonville, (and one in Virginia who will have to miss this trip, and that sucks a lot) we’re all taking on these races with the same mentality.

Have fun.

The last few weeks months have been filled with plans and laughs and funny memes. Planning our outfits (tutus) and picking Princesses (I’m Merida) and deciding whether we want to get queso and burritos twice or three times.

I’m very fortunate to know these ladies, to have them to vent to when winter JUST WON’T STOP and have them know exactly just how much I’m looking forward to getting to Florida for a few days.

My fellow princesses are going to make this trip, these races, one (two) for the books. I absolutely cannot wait.

Brave-Merida-Wallpaper

Mile Eleven Dedication: Family

Let me just tell you that my family is awesome. Of course, They’re not perfect, but awesome? They’re definitely awesome.

For instance, my aunt Julie decided a few years ago that she was going to run an Iron Man. So she started training. She completed her first half Iron Man in October. Last month she PRed her 10k in 51:45. She’s got a half marathon in four days that I’m sure she’s absolutely going to rock. She’s an incredible motivation to me.

As is my aunt Melissa. While raising six (!!!) kids and going to nursing school, she took time out of her schedule to come run Tough Mudder with me.

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She and I have talked about putting together a family Ragnar as well as hitting up another race or two around the country.

My aunt Rachel has run multiple marathons and is someone I am dying to run a half marathon with.

I have uncles who have completed P90X, aunts and uncles who spend their time hiking and playing other sports, and a whole generation of cousins who are such phenomenal athletes that it’s awe-inspiring to watch (for example, the opposing team’s wide receiver who stopped dead in his tracks and stepped out of bounds once he noticed my cousin was charging towards him).

The last time I saw the majority of my mom’s side of the family we played volleyball and ultimate frizbee and went hiking and didn’t stop moving because why would we?

I love having a family who will encourage me in whatever I attempt, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Honestly, even if it is ridiculous, there would probably be at least one of them who would volunteer to come do it with me.

Because, like I said, they are awesome. Mile eleven is for them.

Mile Nine Dedication: Friends

This one is for my friends as a group.

The ones who don’t quite get WHY I’m running, but will congratulate me nonetheless.

The ones who’ve gotten used to me showing up to places late and still covered in a layer of sweat.

The ones who agree to one day drive me back to my place if I run to theirs.

They’re the ones who understand if I’m cranky after a bad run or exhausted after plenty of miles. They don’t hold it against me when I skip out of an evening early because of 10 miles on the schedule the next day.

They’ll walk slowly with me when I’m sore and drink a beer with me to celebrate.

My friends aren’t runners, but they’re a damn good support system for the fact that I am.

Mile Eight Dedication: Sarah and Stacey

Every once in a while I get to thinking about the time before I ever ran a half marathon. I swore for ages that I’d run one, and back in 2005 I even trained for a full. But, as novice runners are wont to do, I over-trained and hurt my knee.

There was a long time of “oh yeah, I’ll run one someday” and even more attempts at beginning to train without signing up for a race.

Then the Twitter Machine struck again. Back in 2011 I started talking about running with some lovely ladies, Sarah, Stacey, and Stephanie (who gets her own entry).

We made a deal to run the GO! St Louis half marathon in April of 2012 while still running another in the fall of 2011 to prepare for it. And we did.

There were updates in calendars and conversations via email and an “Ultimate Runner Log 2k11” that was both colorful and snark-filled.

These ladies, and my promise to them, got me through my first half marathon. And my second.

And every race after that.

And these coming races.

I’m lucky enough to be able to have another race planned on Saturday with Sarah (in fact, she’ll be here TONIGHT!!), which will be a true joy as she lives in Boston, and we don’t see one another that often.

I’m lucky enough to have CONSTANT support and commiseration even now from Stacey, even if it is through Twitter or Instagram rather than our training log.

Running buddies are the best buddies, and mile eight is for them.

run friend

Mile Seven Dedication: Tough Mudder/Ragnar

Long distance running is an individual sport. It is a personal challenge. It is something in which you don’t have anyone else needing something from you.

Unless you run a Ragnar. Or a Tough Mudder.*

In both of these situations, there is an extra drive. There are the gnawing words in the back of your brain to not quit because you have people depending on you.

I know people who enjoy keeping running as just an individual sport, but over the last couple years I have completely fallen in love with these team events. What you find in these events is a camaraderie that is completely unexpected.

Somehow being stuck in a van for two solid days with unshowered, gross runners and having nothing to do but get to know each other will make some pretty quick friendships.

Similarly, going through an event where certain obstacles (for most people) REQUIRE a team encourages trust and a confidence in others that we would get through everything TOGETHER.

Both of these events have been incredibly memorable for me, but what made them so was the people. My teammates. All 21 (soon to be 32) of them.

So mile seven is for them. For baton handoffs at three in the morning and shared sunrises over Lake Michigan. For double-digit miles on less than two hours of sleep and for the best pancake breakfast in the land. For a solid boost over a Berlin Wall and the one clean part on someone else’s shirt where you can wipe your eyes. For orange headbands and cold Dos Equis.

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*Or some other events, I’m sure, but these are the that stand out to me.

Mile Six (point two) Dedication: The “You’re Crazy” People

crazy

Admittedly, Pinterest-type posters like these are relatively cheesy, however, there’s something about it that rings true. Maybe it’s rather masochistic, but hearing “You’re crazy” is one of those things that makes me feel even more like a badass.

It might have something to do with the fact that those who tell runners they’re crazy are people who couldn’t imagine doing something like that themselves. Which means I, as a runner, am accomplishing something out of their realm of possibility.

That’s kind of cool. Especially given that at one point I WAS one of those “you’re crazy” people. Look how far I’ve come!

So yes, please keep telling me I’m crazy. I’ll keep thanking you and running anyway.