Mile Markers

I started reading the book Mile Markers a long time ago. In fact, too long ago to want to mention. My life is busy, and I have a hard time finding time to sit down with a book and read.

When I read books, I often find myself wanting to write down quotes from the author to save and share. With this book, I think I do that with every sentence! Amy recommended this book to me probably a year ago, and now I know why.

I want to share the part of the chapter I’m on that sticks out most today….the one that sums up my motivation for the day (by the way we ran the “mo run” this morning… ).

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Kristin mentions getting to share her grandma’s 90th birthday with the family. Her grandma still lives at home alone, with several stairs, no bars in the bathroom and no walker or cane. My grandma celebrated her 92nd birthday yesterday. She still lives at home by herself as well… As a birthday present to herself she remodeled the bathroom in her bedroom and it looks like it has a few things that will keep her a little more safe. However, that’s it! She’s still driving and doing her own shopping. She still has lunch with her line dancing friends occasionally. They surprised her with this cake a week or two ago (not sure where the picture went).

She has always been an inspiration and motivates me to stay healthy. She raised four kids and kept healthy by walking down the road each morning until just a few years ago.

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There is so much motivation in this book! I have to make myself read it….

One step at a time

Throughout my life I have always looked up to my dad and tried to be just like him. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which of my parents I resemble more, inside and out. My dad has always been more of a runner, setting examples for me when he told me about the Ironman Triathlons he completed before I was around. I always thought that was so cool, and I knew I wanted to do one someday (or, thought I did. Ashley…. calm down). We did a triathlon together several years ago. I was in the 12 and under age group, which seemed a little unfair since I was going to turn 13 about a week later, but that was how it worked out. We finished a few minutes apart, celebrated the task we completed and headed home. A few days later, I received a medal in the mail for winning my age group. I looked up and said, “what did you get, dad?” He still brings that up once in a while.

I ran cross country in high school, and sulked at the idea of running 2 miles. Running Tower Road in practice… 2 miles from the school down to the stop sign at Bahr Road, get a drink of water, and run 2 miles back to the school without getting caught walking as Coach Mytych drove by. I loved it but I hated it.

After college I guess I grew up or something… I moved to Nashville and got some crazy idea that I could run a half marathon. I signed up for the Music City Half and ran the race with my dad in mind; I used him as inspiration throughout all of the training as well.

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As of today I have completed five half marathons.

April 2009 – Music City Half Marathon, Nashville, TN
April 2011 – Music City Half Marathon, Nashville, TN
September 2011 – Fox Valley Half Marathon, Geneva, IL
September 2012 – Fox Valley Half Marathon, Geneva, IL
May 2013 – Indy 500 Mini Marathon, Indianapolis, IN

The Fox Valley Half Marathon in September of 2011 was very special to me. This was the first annual Fox Valley Half/Full Marathon, and my parents and my cousin Keri signed up for this. A few weeks into training, my mom sprained her ankle and could hardly put weight on it. My dad had a hard time training due to his pesky knee that always bothers him. On race day, my mom told me that after the race we should call her cell phone rather than look for her in the crowd because she would probably be waiting in the car. It was about 60 degrees and misting, so for someone who was not running, it would probably get cold quickly. My dad told me that he would do his best to run 8 miles, but that would probably be the extent of his run for the day.

The race course was great. It was flat, open, and most of it followed along the Fox River. Basically the first 6 miles are on one side of the river, the runners cross a bridge before running miles 7-12, and then there is a bridge that crosses over the river again, leads runners through a park before crossing over it again to head toward the finish. When I crossed this bridge to head toward the park, Keri was on her way out of the park. As I was leaving the park, my dad was entering the park! I couldn’t believe it. He looked good, too! I finished, waited for my dad, and we stood around a minute to warm up before texting mom. I may have called her and didn’t get an answer…I’m not sure. Either way, she texted me and told me she was at mile 12! We all did it…what a day.

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My dad, Taylor and I all ran my second Country Music Half together. Taylor had never done (and will never again do) a half marathon.

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Amy and I did the Indy 500 Mini Marathon together in May of 2013.

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I loved the course, other than having to dodge so many walkers for the first mile. She kicked my butt and beat her 2:00 time but I also had a PR of 2:13 that day. Woo! I also loved running around the Indianapolis Speedway track. I don’t have a photo, though. I told Amy at the brimming of the race that I was going to take one but she said “no you’re not! You’re here to run, not take pictures!” So I didn’t take the picture. 🙂

I won’t be able to say “I’ve done a half marathon, I’m only half crazy” for too long now. I have gone the extra step and decided I will do a full marathon. In the spring I signed up to do the Chicago Marathon, and convinced my dad that he should do it with me. I ended up getting really sick in the summer and was out for over two months. It was over…not enough time to train, and I’d end up injuring myself badly if I tried to do it anyway. I gave up the stress and worry of trying to cram in some training, and convinced myself that the marathon would wait another year for me. My dad still ran it, despite having a terrible case of bronchitis and admitting that his 5 mile run, just one week before the marathon, was miserable. His finish time was 6:07! After that I decided that I am officially ready for The Chicago Marathon 2014!

Dad’s next goal is to do another Ironman. He has set a date for three years from now. Ashley is working on recruiting my dad to be her half Ironman partner in a few years. I am taking one step at a time and will complete the marathon first, but they may not let me sit on the sidelines and just be the photographer.