In which we ran for their lives: a race recap almost as long as the actual race

When I made non-refundable arrangements for Larry and I to run the half marathon in DC, I worried. I worried that one of us would get sick, that the kids would get sick, that I'd get injured. I held my breath and doubled up on vitamin C until the very last day before we were supposed to leave.

"What are the odds of it happening twice?" I'd joke whenever I talked to my friends about my plans and my less than stellar track record.

The odds were apparently pretty good. Because as soon as I began packing Thursday evening, Dani spiked a fever. A fever that needed to be gone by Friday morning in order to leave her with my sister as planned. Being the laid back and easy going gal that I am, I promptly commenced freaking the freak out. I'll skip the part about how I couldn't sleep AT ALL Thursday night, how I tried to get myself to calm down and breathe deep and pray and count backwards from a thousand, but how my brain and stomach conspired against me with a hells no and a when life hands you lemons, we make an ulcer.

I checked her temperature every hour, all night. The poor girl probably had nightmares about bugs crawling in her ears or being probed by aliens. Don't worry, little one, it's just your mother being neurotic again. Go back to sleep, darling.

The amazing thing was, her fever was gone by midnight and she woke up feeling great. Which is more than you can say for me. (See above re: neurotic lady sabotages pre-race sleep with pointless anxiety).

So, as it turns out, I made it to the starting line on Saturday. (Adjust the headphones and cue the angels.)

It was crazy crowded, but we miraculously managed to meet up pre-race with a few of our wonderful friends and Run for their Lives team members -- Dale, Sue, and James. My brother Aaron ran the half marathon too, but I didn't find him until after the race. (And after he'd beaten me by two minutes. Stink!)

The course was amazing, the crowds were great, and the music was rockin'. But did I appreciate any of it? Nope. No. Non. Nein. Why, you might ask? Because I was too busy looking at my watch, feeling fatigued, wondering why it felt SO. MUCH. HARDER. than the last time I ran a half marathon.

Runner's high? Yeah, notsomuch. Muscle cramping? Oh yes, indeed, with a side of stitches. I skipped my Shuffle back to Eminem's "Not Afraid" on at least four occasions--apparently because I wanted to completely and forever ruin my favorite inspirational running song. I also overdid Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)". Footsteps even lighter? This is clearly not a song about running. Because what doesn't kill you doesn't make you step lighter or stand taller. It makes you pass out, double over, hobble, limp, or curse yourself in languages you didn't know you knew for voluntarily agreeing to this torture.

What I didn't realize was how much the warmer temperature would impact me. You see, I've been training in 30 degree weather, which makes me pretty badass in an Eskimo sort of way, but is no help whatsoever when it comes to running nearly two hours while the sun beats the heck out of you. It was (to use the very precise temperature) too damn hot.

Anyway, I've concluded that the only reason I felt great during my first half marathon last year in Cleveland was because (a) it was a perfect cloudy 58 degrees and (b) I wasn't trying hard enough.

Speaking of trying hard enough, I can safely say I gave it everything I had, as evidenced by bonking in the last tenth of a mile and having to slow to a crawl/jog to make it to the finish. And as evidenced by a new PR of 1:47:10. Now, about that cheeseburger and chocolate shake? Because what doesn't kill you makes you hungry.

But let's jump back to around mile 10, where my husband was on his way to completing his first half marathon right on goal pace when a runner passed out in front of him. So off came his runner hat and on went his emergency physician hat. Nothing like a bit of emergent care practice in the middle of a race to make things exciting. He stayed through the hand-off to the EMTs, and resumed his race about 15 minutes later. So what did you do this weekend? Oh nothing much, just ran a half marathon, saved a guy's life, and advocated for victims of human trafficking. Stinkin' overachiever.

But seriously, and I know I sound like Corny McCheeserton right now, but that guy is my hero. I'm so, so proud of him for all that he did--finding time to train in the midst of his rigorous work schedule, encouraging me to get the Run for their Lives initiative off the ground, running the race, and responding with a quick mind and caring heart to the needs right in front of him.

Speaking of the Run for their Lives initiative, I am thrilled to announce that as of race day, we've collectively raised $1000 in direct support of Love146 and the fight against child exploitation! And we're not done yet. I'm not sure what shape our awareness and fund raising efforts will take next, but we're going to keep running with it, hopefully for the long haul.

And now, a few race photos (a.k.a. the anti-glamor shot) of our DC Run for their Lives team. Thanks to Danielle and Laura for the pictures and course support, and to Aaron, James, Sue, Dale and Larry for tackling this event with me. You're the best!

My brother (who I vow to beat next time) and me post-race

Top Left Photo, L to R: James, Sue & Dale; Bottom Right Photo: L to R: Larry, Me, James

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