my detroit 26.2 recap… I cried triumphant tears.

Settle in… Are you ready for this?  I crossed the finish line.  I completed my 4th marathon.

Detroit marathon

Let’s get down to business.  I took Friday off from work to mentally prep for the weekend ahead and to rest my legs.  Saturday morning I woke up with a wicked headache.  I mean, the start of a migraine and it freaked me out since I had a drive ahead of me.  Then I also started to get really nauseated.  I’m certain it was all stress related so I tried to nip the headache away along with the tummy troubles and I managed to only be behind by about an hour or so.  The drive to Detroit was also weighing on my mind as drivers there and along the way take no mercy.  The speed limit is 70, I drive 75, maybe 78 and I get passed like I’m going 50.  Scary.

I arrived safely and found the expo easily enough (thank you GPS!).  Parking was a whopping $10 in the garage but finding parking on the street would be silly.  My trepidation grew as I climbed the stairs to the expo and then it greeted me with open arms!  Bib pick up was first and I immediately considered mine a good omen.  It was blue, my favorite color and my age was part of my bib number.  I then purchased the following sweatshirt:

the magic sweatshirt
the magic sweatshirt

This is important as it plays a role in my finishing this race.

The expo was larger and it dawned on me how big this race was.  Also, I realized this was my first non-specialty race – I’ve only done the Nike Women’s marathon, the Disney full and then the Dopey.  I don’t know why, but this felt different.  A bunch of places were selling these throw away gloves because it was going to be 35* at the start.  I caved.

runner girl detroit gloves

My right knee has been hurting me since June (well, off and on for some time before this actually) when I ran the duo 5k/10k on the slanted sidewalk.  There was a sports PT person there and I had him tape up my knee – my pesky patella. It felt better (driving over had aggravated it) and stabilized.

pretty tape always saves the day
pretty tape always saves the day

My hotel room sucked.  I learned the shower head didn’t work, so a bit of sponge bath was needed in the morning.  It wasn’t all the way clean and there was shenanigans the whole night through from other guests.  It was only a mile away from the race start though so I pushed those concerns aside.  Since I gave up gluten I can’t figure out a good pre-race meal and I chose this:

umm... yes, this is a cheese covered omelette...
umm… yes, this is a cheese covered omelette…

Bad idea.  Why didn’t I just put a lead ball in my gut and call it good?!

Race morning.  I woke up on time, got dressed in my splendid new compression tights, thanked my good sense to purchase the gloves and finally got out the door.  I packed up my car and started along.  I was slightly nervous about walking through downtown Detroit in the dark but I quickly found a fellow runner to walk with.  We got to wait inside the conference center until it was time to hit the starting line.  First of all, it started snowing a bit, which just made me laugh.  I looked around me and I didn’t see any other blue bibs – just the orange international 1/2 marathon ones.  Was I in the wrong line?!  I was in one of the last wave of runners so maybe this was part of it?  I still asked three different people and remained confused for a good chunk of the race. My anxiety was a bit high anyway since the cut-off was 6 and 1/2 hours and my lack of training gave me reason to believe I was in danger of not making this.

I tried to memorize these cut off times. I also sent my friend a
I tried to memorize these cut off times. I also sent my friend a “WTF am I doing text”.

Go time.  I started out at my manageable pace.  When we hit the bridge to Canada, the Ambassador Bridge, the sun was peaking through the clouds and I couldn’t believe I was really doing this!  The bridge is long and up hill for the first part.  I walked it.  Then ran down the other side – yay! I love downhills!  We ran through Canada for a few miles and then we crossed back onto U.S. soil through the underwater tunnel.  Everyone talks about how bad this part was but I didn’t mind it – I was warm (I was cold the entire race).  When we came out of the tunnel we ran through customs and then they had a sign welcoming us back to the U.S.  They were announcing some names as they crossed and I was one of them!  “Welcome back Amy German”!  It was neat.  It was a beautiful, albeit chilly fall day and the hilly course was great.  I love the international aspect!

By this time, my knee was seriously bothering me.  I think it started around mile 6 or 8 – I can’t remember now.  My strategy for the race was to run/walk it and this was working well for me.  I even had a couple of negative splits.  The marathoners split from the 1/2 folks as the 1/2-ers were crossing their finish line (slightly cruel to us who were only half way finished) and I considered crossing this finish line because my knee was hurting.  A smarter runner probably would’ve quit but I knew I would ALWAYS wonder if I could’ve made it to the end.  So I kept running.  The miles ticked on and my knee got worse.  I would run for as long as I could and then when it started to give out, I would walk for a bit.  The first steps back into running were beastly but they eased as I kept going and the cycle repeated itself.

An awesome member of the crowd built a pretend brick wall to run through around mile 18.  I loved it.  Another 1/2 marathon (the U.S. only route, the other 1/2 was international) started soon after I got through the 1/2 way point, so they would go screaming past me at certain points.  Umm – rude, haha.  They had 18 water stops as we weren’t supposed to carry liquids across the border.  I did a great job of hydrating the days before the race and during.  I fueled decently – my 1/2 of a ham sandwich in the morning was brilliant idea!

The last 5k I was basically throwing my bad leg/knee ahead of me as I ran and even walking painful.  Right at this moment, someone along side of the course said, “Amy!  You’re DOING IT!”.  I teared up at this point.  It’s really hard to run and cry so I pulled myself together.  When the finish line came into view, I started crying again and of course as I crossed.  My official time was 6:02.  My Nike app said I completed all 26.2 at 5:58, which I like better!

detroit marathon finish

My heart didn’t swell with pride after my first marathon.  It didn’t after my second either – that one kind of crushed my soul.  Dopey did because of the major undertaking.  The Detroit 26.2?  It gave me the same overwhelming sense of accomplishment as Dopey.  I really wasn’t sure I could finish.  Everyday for three weeks I considered dropping out of the race.  I shouldn’t have finished – my last long run was back in the beginning of Sept and it was 11 miles.  The fact that I could barely walk after didn’t matter.  This race made me feel strong and reminded me of my fierce fighting spirit.  Grit and determination (support/cheers from family and friends, compression tights, extra strength tylenol and that newly purchased sweatshirt I wanted to wear with pride) got me through this race.  So many freakin’ emotions were going through my mind, I’m not even sure I can adequately express them.  I made it.

I think the medal weighs almost a pound
I think the medal weighs almost a pound

And I didn’t get swept by the people zamboni – WIN!

I’m a dope!

Wahooo!  I completed the Dopey Challenge!

we are all sore, tired, sweaty, smelly and HAPPY!
we are all sore, tired, sweaty, smelly and HAPPY!

I am extremely proud and exhausted.  I can’t believe I actually did the challenge – I feel like it’s something I talked about forever but ultimately, it would be out of my reach.  Proving to myself differently has been an incredible confidence boost – not just in running; in all areas of my life!

dopey medal
these banners were outside of the expo – I wanted that dopey one!

My alarm went off at 3 am Thursday morning.  I got a wake-up call and they play Disney music.  It’s kinda cute – or at least would be cuter at a more decent hour!  The 5k is a family oriented race so it starts at the reasonable hour of 6:30 am.  You have to be in your corrals really early for all of the races though so we left our rooms at 4:15 am.

dopey 5k running
view during the 5k (thankfully a friend took some of these fun shots!)

I brought a jar of peanut butter and some english muffins.  When I got to the hotel, I was very surprised to find they didn’t have a coffee shop.  They had a market place but it was hot coffee only.  The night before, I bought some chocolate milk and the hot coffee and did my best to create some caffeine magic.

dopey coffee
the first day, it was passable. by the fourth day this was delicious

I want to say, the person who sang the national anthem for the 5k did such an impressive job.  I was really moved – she just belted it out!  You could hear the pride in her voice.  In fact, I get chills remembering it!

The 5k was crowded for sure and a lot of fun.  We all ran together for this one and we took it easy.  Our finish times were around 45 mins.  We stopped for pics along the way and also added in a couple of walk breaks.  The walk breaks were mostly around bottle neck areas!  The run is through Epcot and it was a great time.

3 mile shot!
3 mile shot!

This was the inaugural 10k event – the Minnie Mouse 10k.  It was JAM-PACKED!  In fact, I heard some individuals who signed up for the Dopey just so they could run the 10k but maybe these were rumors.

dopey 10k
sort of in front of the start line!

Anyway, this was another laid back race.  I love the 10k distance and was excited.  Naturally, I dressed in Minnie attire – as did about a million other people and it was a fun atmosphere.  In fact, on our way to the bus in the morn, another hotel guest took our picture – it was cute.  This race started at 5:30 am and we left for the bus at 4 am.  My walk up call came at 2:50 am and there was a part of me that wanted to run super fast so I could come back home and sleep!

dopey group 10k
group shot! lots of minnies!

My 10k time was an hour and 27 mins.  Again, a relaxed pace with some walk breaks thrown in there.  I took some character pictures as well and soaked up all of the energy and sites from the park.  Last year, the marathon finished up in Epcot but I hated everything and didn’t notice.  This time, I looked around and didn’t wear headphones for the 5k or 10k.  I wanted to have FUN!  This may sound odd since it should be a given since I was in Disney and all but I had to focus on it in order to not think “I should be running faster”.  10k’s are my sweet spot, long enough for me to build up speed and finish strong but short enough to blow all of my energy so I wanted to go faster.  I’m so happy I didn’t because EVERYONE cheers for you – love it!

I was so happy my bib made it through both races! two medals down, 4 to go!

For both races, the atmosphere was pretty relaxed and high with energy.  They had fireworks at both starts for each corral.  Disney does this right!  It  makes every corral feel special, no matter if they are 6 min pacers or 16 min.  Everyone is congratulatory and people wear their medals all over the parks and Downtown Disney.  I think this is odd but also fun.  It is such a CELEBRATION!  That’s another thing I love, how running is royalty for the weekend!

After the 10k we hit up Downtown Disney and then dinner.  The funny part was, we were starving around 4 pm!  I completely lost track of time and days considering the ridiculously early wake up calls!  The weather was good for the 5k and 10k and thankfully, it only sprinkled a bit during the 10k and the downpour didn’t start until later in the day.

dopey - all in legos. amazing
dopey – all in legos. amazing

I felt good after both races.  The arch in my right foot was kind of announcing itself which meant my ankle and knee also wanted some attention.  I stretched really well afterward, became besties with Tiger Balm and I took an ice bath after each race.  I also brought my Tiger Tail with me and an extra pair of compression socks.

dopey ice bath
ice baths… even after all of them this weekend, they didn’t get easier!

I know this might seem over the top for these distances but I wanted to give my legs as much of a shot as possible.  I’m glad I did it.  Maybe only the stretching was helpful but mentally, I felt I repaired as much as I could.

Oh!  I ordered pizza through room service on Wed night and didn’t realize 15′ diameter is HUGE!  It was a yummy pre-race meal (for a couple of days!).  However, I tried some chicken and fries the night before the 10k.  This is what we call a “mistake”!  All in all, I enjoyed both the 5k and 10k!

dopey pizza
the pizza box – dumb pic? probably but everything is just so darn cute!

porta potty – *2 amy – 0 park to park recap

I wrote this last night but was too tired to add the pics!

It’s almost 9 pm on a Saturday night and I could go to bed and sleep.  FOR-E-VER.  But I have a race to recap!

park to park 1/2Let’s just set the stage early – not a whole lot went according to plan today.  I will say I woke up on time (big win!) and was actually awake not just stumbling around trying to find a sock or something.  My race outfit were some capris and a new Brooks shirt.  I didn’t like the muffin top that puffed out of my pants with the tighter shirt so the hunt for something different was on.  This was a horrible idea on my part.

I changed my bottoms three times.  Then I settled on a skirt that I didn’t even know fit anymore!  I put my pivot shorts in my bag just in case I decided on them later, grabbed some coffee, some grub and was out the door.  I even packed my bag the night before!

the "Pre" quote on the front and it really inspired me during the rougher times
the “Pre” quote on the front and it really inspired me during the rougher times

My GPS couldn’t find the address so I simply put in the town the race was in and made decent time – just over an hour.  Then I got a bit lost trying to find the fairgrounds but finally followed the train of cars.  Of course driving in the dark (and being tailgated by some rude folk) and then getting turned around meant my anxiety level was high.  Not to mention, I still needed to pick up my packet, I decided I wanted my pivot shorts after all and use the porta potty.

After I parked and changed in the car, I asked a woman where pick up was and she told me I had better hustle.  I think it was about 7:35 am at this point and the race started at 8 am.  So I ran.  This was unnecessary effort though as I got my packet with ease and there was a bag check.

I was still rattled though and hurried to the porta potty line.  I had my phone in my arm band and then I had my handheld (sans water bottle) with my fuel, headphones and car key in it.  I rushed in, put my stuff on the shelf and turned around.

the place of "the incident"
the place of “the incident”

Then I heard it.

My handheld had “jumped” off the shelf (karma? porta potty ghost?!) and LANDED IN THE PORTA POTTY!  WTF?!  I know I screamed but it was all so surreal that I don’t even remember.  So, I reached in, gingerly picked it up and sort of unzipped it enough to get my key.  The handheld was never going to see my hand again so I left it on the side.  I wiped off the key, anti-baced (verb form of using antibacterial – we used this all the time on SAS) it to no end along with my hands, went to the bathroom and then did a death march to the starting line.  My spirit was crushed at this point.

I forgot my garmin in the car, didn’t take the meds I was planning and now didn’t have music either.  I tweeted about it because I was so damn horrified about what had just happened and needed to vent.  I no longer had any fuel, all of the feeling behind, getting lost, running to get my packet, wardrobe changes, “the incident” and just being nervous for the run left me majorly frazzled.  I seriously considered not doing the run for about a minute.  Nevertheless, a few minutes later it was time to start.

I forgot that half marathons are hard!  I started out way to quickly, then fell into the 11 min pace group and then sped up for a while <–mistake.  By mile 5 I had met up with the 11:30 pace group and this is where I stayed.  The pacers for this group were amazing!  One of them found a GU for me and I took my first hit at 5.  I made this GU last the whole time!  They also gave me big hugs at the end when I thanked them and told them how this was my return to distance racing.  I want them to be my besties.

I hit the 10k marker at 1:08 ish, which is right on what I ran in the 10k two weeks ago.  The course is beautiful and I kept reminding myself to look around and enjoy it.  There were 6 or 7 water stops with Nuun/water and volunteers on the course aplenty.  They were great!  The shirt is very cute and with all of the support the price was only $40!  And the early registration price was $35?!  It was a steal.

isn't this creative and adorable?  I love it
isn’t this creative and adorable? I love it

My splinty shins wanted to make sure I knew they were still there and they proceeded to hover for  most of the race.  Around mile 9 my quads started feeling crampy.  I was not pleased.  It wasn’t that they were cramping exactly but felt like they wanted to – at any moment!  The pacer who gave me the GU had been running back and forth in our kind of spread out group and she came up telling me I looked strong.  10 and 11 had some rolling hills that made my quads cry and hearing the hills were almost done and that I looked strong was a big boost.  So I kept going.

I took my first ice bath when I got home.  I didn't have any ice so I used frozen items that I needed to throw out anyway
I took my first ice bath when I got home. I didn’t have any ice so I used frozen items that I needed to throw out anyway – it worked!

A few times, my gait felt really off – as though I forgot how to run.  The balls of my feet were really hurting and I’m thinking I need to get some bulkier shoes.  Minimalist styles don’t seem to work with my feet and I’ve been trying to make it happen for a year now.  We’ll see.

There was this small dirt hill that lead up to the fairgrounds stadium and finish line.  This puppy was STEEP!  I said something and the volunteers laughed a bit.  Two women who I had been leap-frogging came up behind me and I didn’t even care anymore.  Then I saw the clock – it said 2:34:48 and I wanted to be in before 2:35 so I called on some kind of booster and blasted through the finish line (even passing the two women!).  I even heard a spectator say something about look at her go!  Two friends finished before me and they were cheering for me at the end – it was great!

my surprise cheering squad - the woman in the middle ran a 1:41!
my surprise cheering squad – the woman in the middle ran a 1:41!

I have a few other fun things to share tomorrow but I will say, I fought my ass off to finish this puppy!  And my time? 2:33:40 – YAY!  I was very pleased with my efforts and I didn’t listen to my brain that said I needed to walk.  Yep, no walking outside of water stops.

best recovery drink for me
best recovery drink for me

And now I’m off to bed

*at the Disney World marathon, I almost fell IN the porta potty – it was completely in slow motion and I was seriously rattled.  Porta potties hate me…

lessons learned

I’m starting this post a bit later than I intended but it’s “summer” for me and plans pop up and I wanted to take advantage of some good times after a stressful day at work.  It was really important to me to talk about the lessons I learned this past weekend though.

Things that went well:

1. I got a pretty good night’s sleep for a race night.  I get excited, nervous, angsty – all of that, the night before  a race so the fact that I only woke up twice before the 6:15 am wake-up call was amazing!

2.  I grabbed water and Gatorade at each water station even if I didn’t feel thirsty.

3.  I wore my Aspaeris pivot shorts – great scott!  These saved me!  I should have been WAY MORE sore the next day than I was so I will definitely wear these for my longer runs again.  I have two pairs currently but really, I feel I should have 20!

4.  I did a good job tapering!  I’m not sure I have ever done this before so two thumbs up Amy!

5.  I wore my sparkle skirt!  I also wore my whole outfit once before race day so I knew exactly what quirks I might have with my clothing – thankfully no major ones.  (I put my pivot shorts on backwards, haha, and they still were great!)

why yes, there’s the sparkle skirt in action!

Things that didn’t go so well:

1.  Ummm… chaffing – boo!  I’ll spare you the picture again but man oh man this was unpleasant!

2.  Taking a Motrin 800 before I started out.  I still haven’t quite figured out what to do about this since I need the pain relief in order to run but I fear this was one of the issues with getting dehydrated.

3.  My poor attitude about my finish.  I was disappointed, which is fine but I was pretty down on myself.  I gave myself a mental shake and took in all of your LOVELY comments and realized, WOW!  I ran 15 miles!


4.  I ate like crap the whole week before.  Haha, I’m not kidding folks, looking back on it now I still have no idea what I was thinking!

5.  I didn’t eat any protein within 30 mins of finishing.  On Sunday I ate


What I learned:

1.  Running is a gift and while racing I had FUN!  I forgot about this for a minute when I didn’t meet my goal but I have remembered since!

2.  Not every race can be THE perfect race.  I definitely know I want to change a few things for next time, which just makes me that much more prepared.  Also, I finished – wahoo!

3.  This might sound odd but since my training was less than stellar, I really shouldn’t have done this well.  I might have a wee bit of athletic talent with running!  I mean, I am not Kara Goucher but I made it through with sheer heart and determination.  I am wondering what else I could do with better training and this is exciting.  Haha, I know, now all of a sudden I am thinking I can take on the running world!  Once again, my mood swingin’ love of running!

haha, this was really popular the last time I posted it! It’s a Bondi Band!

4.  I am even MORE determined to run this 25k again next year!

I am sure there are other things I am missing but these are the basics and the most important.  The funny thing is, when I was hitting mile 15 it popped in my head I would have to run 11 MORE MILES in October!  Whew!  I know training will come into play but it really gave me a whole new perspective and upped my respect for all of you 26.2 finishers out there!

oh yeah, this is going to be harder than I first anticipated :)

once upon a time, there was this 25k…

The End.

Haha, NO!  Totally not the end – for some reason, this 25k recap has been on the top of my list of things to do but I haven’t done it.  Along with laundry (great scott, I need to do laundry), taking out the garbage, calling home and a billion other things on my “Monster Summer To-Do” list that seems to grow everyday.  But clearly, writing about a race is far more fun than almost everything on this list (except calling home and doing laundry – totes serious here folks!) so here we goooooooooo!

Last week was an insane week with work.  I had to run and work in my coffee shop for a conference.  This particular conference LOVES their coffee/espresso, which don’t get me wrong, I understand but it also means it is super busy.  I knew being on my feet for 8 hours a day two days BEFORE running 15.6 was going to be unpleasant but I tried to think of it as more training.  On Friday morning I did a shake-out run that merely managed to shake my confidence.  For some reason, this turned into a really tough 2.5 mile run.  Yay!

I fought mad traffic and got to the slightly disappointing expo around 6:30 pm.  I found the list of folks and looked for my name.  Ummm… no Amy German.  I looked again… WTF?!  I frantically tried to remember if I still had the receipt and then looked up and realized I was looking at the 10k list of participants.  Gonzaga is so proud to call me an alum!

not the most impressive swag bag I’ve ever received but whatev… the race was CHEAP!

Dinner was with friends at a local restaurant and I, along with two of my dinner mates ordered the mac and cheese.  It was delish!  It was also incredibly rich and perhaps not the best thing (read settled very heavily in my tummy) the night before running

I brought home the leftovers but didn’t eat them. for some reason it looks less appetizing here in the pic than it really was…

I should preface this next part with the following… I didn’t train enough.  I knew this going into the race and was hoping a) that I would finish.  I mean, I knew that I WOULD but I wanted to finish still upright!  And b) that I would get it done in 3 hours.  While I had done some training, it wasn’t nearly enough but in my heart I knew I could do it.  I also knew it would hurt.

We got up bright and early on Saturday and I had peanut butter on a sandwich thin and a banana.  We got to the start right as the 10k-er’s were getting started.  This part of the race was very organized.  The 5k had started earlier and then the 10k and then we were up next.  Standing in line for the porta potty, my friend Meagan wrote on my legs

Sharpies are cherished in my household!
running the race in honor of my mom was the BEST decision

Then it was time to line up – this race is/was HUGE!  I lined up with the 11 min pacers and we were off.  I crossed the start line at 8:25 am and the race started at 8:20 exactly – well done race folks.

Kara, you are such a rockin’ spectator!! Thanks for taking pics and cheering!

I started out pretty slowly but did pull ahead of the pace group a bit.  I took a bit of Chocolate Rage GU right as the race was getting started for the caffeine kick and then took the rest of it at mile 4.  I did NOT turn my Garmin on during the race.  I knew I wouldn’t stop staring at the pace and was trying to run according to feel rather than obsessing about going too fast or too slow.

The race was going well – much better than it should have actually.  I felt pretty good and knew I clippin’ along faster than I thought I was going to be able too.  There were a ton of water stops and I took some water at each one and then started alternating with Gatorade.  At mile  9 I took some of my Espresso Love Gu and was saving the rest of it for the last push.  I knew I was ahead of schedule and no longer was “just finishing” an option.  I knew I could get in under 3 hours by a lot and I also knew I would be proud of myself – yay!

Mile 11… you fickle creature.

Right before mile 11 hit I started to cramp and feel pretty sickly.  Special note, I had/get REALLY bad monthly cramps and took a Motrin 800 before the race started.  This was a poor choice.  Usually, running while I have cramps helps relieve them but apparently running 15 miles DOES NOT.  The cramps were making themselves known and I think I was getting dehydrated (apparently Motrin can do this).  I started getting woozy and proceeded to have to puke my guts out and walk/run for about 15 mins.  Needless to say, my spirit was kind of crushed here.

At this point, I was really calling on my mom for help.  I just started talking to her and hoping she would give me strength to keep running.  Some of the cramping and dizziness went away and I drank more water.  I thought maybe I could still make my goal so I attempted to push it.  I was incredibly lucky that the weather was ideal – breezy and overcast so this helped.  Right before mile 14 I almost quit.  As in, I stopped for .2 seconds and didn’t think I could finish.  But I dug deep and just kept going.

The finish line is uphill – completely unnecessary if you ask me, and a 73 year old woman came up from behind me and wanted to talk about my mom, which made me start to cry.  This made me start to hyperventulate=really hard to sprint to the finish.  But I ran through it and guess what?  My time was 3:02:59.  Yep, I missed it by 2 mins.

I’m smiling here but HURTING on the inside!

I crossed the finish line and another woman came up to me and said I should be proud for honoring my mom like this.  I cried.  I cried for my mom, I cried because this was the furthest I have ever run and I cried because I missed my goal by 2 mins.  Oh and I probably cried because I was cramping so badly (dehydration) that I thought I might vomit.  Again.

does it make me a bad person that I was happy I passed this dude in orange? wearing a sparkle skirt and pink shoelaces?!

My friends found me – btw, Meagan KILLED the 25k!  So proud of her!  And Aaron PR’d!  Yay! and we took a few pics

thanks Meagan for an awesome hug at the finish!
haha, I love how we are arranged by height!

The top three pics are blatantly stolen from Meagan’s blog – check it out!  Oh and there was another injury from this race:

TMI?! probably but WOW! was I in pain later even though I had no idea it was happening

Of course, the pic of my bling, which really, isn’t this one of the reasons we race?!

I do love me a good medal

I have done a lot of processing about this race/run.  I’ll go more into it tomorrow because I learned some really important lessons both during and afterward that merit sharing.  But for now I will say the absolute best part of this race was running it for my mom.  It helped ease the sting of the first Mother’s Day without her, helped me dig deeper physically and mentally than I thought I would be able to and helped me to realize she is here with me.  My mom never got to see me run in person but she was so stinkin’ proud of me.  She would tell me how impressed she was all the time and as I was running the last two and half miles, I kept saying, “hey mom, I am RUNNING 15 miles!  How cool is THIS?!”  I am very grateful to have had this “time” with her!