Getting to Myrtle Beach was an adventure. With a big snow storm coming to our area, we decided to leave Wednesday after work, a day earlier than planned. The snow started a little sooner than expected, came down fast and was sticking. We made it a couple of hours before having to stop at a hotel for the night because the highway was covered with accumulating snow and we didn’t think it was safe. The next morning the roads were clear thanks to rain and warmer temperatures. We finally made it here on Thursday afternoon, and I could finally breathe a huge sigh of relief!
Needless to say I had quite a few stressful hours in the car on the way here. While trying to distract myself from the weather I decided I was going to dedicate each of my miles this weekend to someone or something special in my life. So I made a list of the people who inspire me, have supported me, who make me laugh, anyone and anything I want to think about during the race to help me get through it. While coming up with my list I actually got emotional a few times. Even though running is an individual sport, I could not have progressed as a runner without the love and support I have received from these people. I am so excited to dedicate my miles to them tomorrow!
1. Fellow Myrtle Beach Marathon Runners. I love the first mile of a race because it signifies the start of a journey we are all about to go on together. No matter what our individual paces are, we will all run the same course and finish as marathoners. I wanted to dedicate my first mile to all the runners around me because of that.
2. Mile Posts (Dorothy Beal). Dorothy’s blog has been a huge source of inspiration for me. She is a mother of 3 who has brought her marathon time down from 4:20 to 3:11 and encourages runners to “find your strong” and “dream big, run long.” Her positive words and phrases are the ones that go through my head when I’m running, especially “I run this body,” which has been my mantra during this training cycle.
3. My New-to-Running Friends. I wanted to dedicate mile 3 to all my friends who are new to running. When I was just starting to run, I couldn’t imagine running a whole 5K (3.1 miles). It’s a very significant distance, and to many people, accomplishing this is when they truly start believing that they are ‘runners.’ I know so many people who are just beginning their running journey, and this mile is for them!
4. All the Mother Runners. Running is always challenging, but running after having kids (or just one, in my experience so far) is hard on a whole different level. Getting back into it after having a baby is tough. We have to deal with things like a body that is not the same as it was before, less bladder control, leaking and engorged boobs… it’s not pretty. It’s also harder to get out of the house with less sleep, a schedule that revolves around your kids, and the feeling of guilt that sometimes comes with spending time doing something for yourself. I have loved being part of the community of mother runners who share in my experiences and support me throughout my journey, and this mile is for them!
5. Pregnancy. This mile is dedicated to the amazing journey that was my pregnancy. Pregnancy made me appreciate my body more than ever before and being able to run and stay active during pregnancy made me stronger. It helped me develop a healthy and positive relationship with my body. I will always be thankful for having the experience of carrying and giving birth to my beautiful baby boy.
6. Finley. Finley is my friend’s little boy that has CMD- Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. Because of this disease, Finley will most likely never walk, let alone run, and he faces many other health issues as well. There is currently no cure or treatment for this disease. His mom Ashley is currently raising money for Footsteps for Finley, to help fund research towards finding a cure. She told me that she thinks of him when she is running and it pushes her, because she knows he is not able to run like other kids his age. It is a good reminder not to take our bodies abilities for granted. I will be dedicating this mile to him!
7. Marisa. Marisa was our Bradley Method birth class teacher and also our doula. She has quickly become a close friend of ours too. Through our classes and Kevin’s birth, she has taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I will always be thankful to her for that because it’s what has helped me push myself harder in my running too.
8. SBSS. SBSS is the nickname of the group of friends I grew up with back in Pennsylvania. Christy, Sandy and D.J. have always been there for me, even though we went to different colleges and then I moved away to Virginia 6 years ago. I want to think of them during this mile because they are ALWAYS supportive, and thinking of our memories make me laugh and smile.
9. Ashley. Ashley is one of my best friends that I met during my freshman year of college, and now we both live in Northern VA. I will never forget when she met me at mile 20 of my first marathon in Philadelphia and ran to the finish with me. She did it again a year later when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. She traveled with me to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Half Marathon, and because she had a knee injury she walked the WHOLE 13.1 miles while I ran. She is an amazing, selfless friend and I love her!!!
10. Cynthia. Cynthia has been a friend through elementary, middle and high school. Then we went to the same college and moved to the same town afterwards to teach. We both started running around the same time, and we’ve done many races together. I am super proud of her because this year she has taken to her training to another level and pushed herself to PR in the both the full and half marathon. I am hoping to draw some strength from her during this mile and do the same!
11. Gina. I met Gina at my gym a few years ago. She taught Cycle and Body Pump when I was very new to both of those classes. She was always positive and encouraging, and has since become a friend who does many of the same races as I do. I now go to a new gym since I moved, but she continues to motivate and inspire me with her energy and positivity on social media and the rare occasions I get to see her. Her words go through my head a lot when I run, especially one of her favorites: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
12. My Work Family. I am so lucky to work with such amazing people. I have coworkers ask me daily about my running, most of them don’t even care about running but they care about me and want to support me. There are 3 especially who have become my personal running buddies and cheerleaders: Darla, Amanda, and Danielle. These three women are amazing and I am so thankful for them!
13. James and Chanda. Our friends who we met in our Bradley Method birth class. They are running their first half marathons tomorrow here in Myrtle Beach. I am dedicating mile 13 to them because of that, and because they have worked hard during their training. I’m so excited for them!
14. In-laws. This mile is for my in-laws. They have always been supportive of both mine and Kevin’s running, and have traveled all over to go to our races. They’ve come with us to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Nashville, the Outer Banks, and here in Myrtle Beach where they live. My mother-in-law is a spectating pro. She can somehow get around to multiple points on the course, even in an unfamiliar city. She’s always stocked with water and other supplies, and takes the baby so that Kevin can jump in and run with me.
15. Sacha. Sacha is my aunt from Oregon who has come to visit us several times. Even though she lives far away, she’s been like a second mom to me since my mom passed away. I wanted to dedicate a mile to her because she is who I want to be like when I grow up 🙂 You would never know she’s in her 60s by how healthy and active she is, and how young she looks as a result. She’s also extremely strong, and is a breast cancer survivor. I am excited to run this mile for her!
16. & 17. Two Special People. These miles will be run for two special people that I know that are currently battling cancer. I don’t want to share too much about their stories because they are not mine to tell, but I am running for them to send them some positive energy and strength. I thought they each deserved their own mile.
18. Grandparents. All 4 of my grandparents have passed away. My Poppy and Grammy were the only ones who knew me during the time I was a runner and they didn’t entirely understand it, but they were always asking questions and telling me they were proud of me. All 4 of them passed away from some sort of health issue, which is all the more motivation for me to be as healthy as I can be. I love thinking of them and the memories we have had together. This mile is for them.
19. The people who said I couldn’t do it. I am running this marathon to prove to myself that I can do it, and do it better, after having a baby. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t also a little bit to prove other people wrong. I heard from many people while I was pregnant that I could basically kiss my marathon running days goodbye. “You won’t have the time for that,” “You won’t be as fast as you were,” “Your body will never be the same”… I could go on and on. Well guess what? I DO have time, I have gotten FASTER, and my body is even BETTER. This mile is for all of those Negative Nancies who didn’t believe in me!
20. Lauren. Watching my sister grow up into the beautiful, strong, and independent woman she is now has been amazing. She is hilarious, creative, caring, and has recently gotten into running too. She did the Couch to 5K plan and now runs regularly. She has lost 30 pounds as a result and now I’m trying to talk her into doing a race with me 🙂 I love my baby sister!
21. Dad. My dad is one of the strongest people I know. After my mom died, he was left to raise two girls, a 17 year old and a 14 year old, on his own. Mile 21-22 are usually tough for me, so I wanted to think of my dad during this one to draw strength from him. He has always supported my running, and although coming to races isn’t really his thing, I’ll never forget how he showed up at my first marathon and sprinted alongside me as I went toward the finish line. He also supports me in more subtle, sweet ways- like getting me one of my favorite Philly soft pretzels and leaving it on the counter for me to eat after my long run. Love him ❤
22. Meg Menzies. Most people have heard about Meg, a mother of 3 who was running in Richmond and killed by a drunk driver. She was training for the Boston Marathon. Her story really affected me. I cannot imagine going out to do something you love like running, something that makes you feel so happy and stress-free, and then one person’s selfish decision to drink and drive causes you to lose everything. As a fellow mother runner, I feel so badly for her family and how she will not get to see her kids grow up. I have a feeling I am going to get emotional when I run this mile for her.
23. Boston. I don’t really need to explain this one, do I? It’s been almost a year since the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and I have thought about it countless times since then. Every finish line I cross, every time I see bomb-sniffing dogs at the races, every time I see them searching backpacks, every time I see families at the finish line waiting for their loved ones, I think about the horror that happened that day. I can’t even imagine how terrifying that day must have been. I will be running mile 23 for all of those people who were affected by the bombs that day, especially those that lost their lives and were injured.
24. Mom. I wanted to save my mom for one of the later miles when I will need strength. She didn’t know me as a runner, but she was always fiercely supportive of anything that I wanted to do. I know she would have been my biggest cheerleader if she were still here. I know she is with me constantly, but especially when I run. Sometimes I have very distinct moments when I am running where I feel her with me, like she’s transferring her strength and the enthusiastic energy she always had to me. It’s hard to explain. I want to run this mile for her because I know that whatever pain I feel at the end of a marathon doesn’t compare to the pain she went through. Cue the waterworks already, and I’m not even running yet!
25. Kevin II. The love of my life and my original running buddy. We have so many memories running together. He has always been my biggest fan, my best cheerleader and an amazing coach. He has believed in me and my ability a lot longer than I have. When I doubted myself and whether I would ever get back to where I was before pregnancy he didn’t even blink before he said of course I would. He is my rock and I love him so much.
26. Kevin III. By far my greatest accomplishment. Being his mom has taught me so much. I want him to grow up surrounded by positive examples of health, fitness, and the attitude to never give up. He is the light of my life and thinking of him will definitely help me get through mile 26. I will be so excited to see his sweet face at the finish line.
.2. Me. The last .2 miles can be the hardest and best part of the whole race. I am dedicating this part to myself for all of my hard work, and for doing something for myself that makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mom.
I plan to write these dedications down on a small piece of paper and carry it with me. I am excited to draw strength and motivation from all of these special people during my race tomorrow. The next post I write will most likely be a recap!