13.1 Series Atlanta… And Her First

I said I would write once a week, and today’s post marks exactly one week since my last post, so I’m keeping my promise… And this is an important post.
This was the second year that the nation-wide 13.1 race has come to Atlanta, and I could tell why they were asked back; this was a very well put together and coordinated event. With almost 3000runners and walkers, with every kind of difference from race to ability, this small(er) event gives you the big race feel, but without the feeling that you may well be trampled by the masses if you trip and fall. Seems to me that it would be perfect breakout race for someone going into longer distance… And that’s what this post is really about.
My mom is constantly moving; from sun up to sun down it’s countless (unthanked) things to make the house run smoothly for the rest of the family. I’m pretty self-sufficient, but the rest in the house would quickly erode with out her. That being said, even with being constantly busy, she’s not what most runners or triathletes would call ‘active’. Sure; she’s looks to be in great shape(even by East Cobb standards) but she doesn’t do any kind of training as we would think of it. However, as of half way through September, she was signed up to do two half marathons this month. She bought the new shoes, I made her a plan with plenty of time to gain the endurance needed, but after that first run we all know we MUST do when we get a new pair of sneaks, the plan went in the desk, and the shoes sat in the closet. Time passed, and the items stayed there, until the race was in less than 24 hours.
Apprehension and anxiety seemed to take a strong foothold. I knew what was coming, and late the night before it did; “I’m not going tomorrow; I don’t feel well.” I knew it, and immediately reminded her of my coma two years ago, and the amputees who finished Augusta, but that guilt trip didn’t take. In fact, she even scolded me for it afterwards; so, in the same fashion as when I tell my story (see ‘Quick History’ post) to schools and YDC’s, I gave a motivational-ish speech. Some people need to be coddled to take a step, others need a push, and a fire lit under them… She’s the later.
We drive to the race site, I can tell she’s nervous, and with less than two minutes to the start, I went to the front of the start gate, she went to the back with the other walkers, and off went the gun.
Now this course is MADE only for those that just adore hills… I hate hills, and I knew that mom was going to have trouble coming from no training, but in my usual fashion, I didn’t recon the course. 13.1 miles, countless hills (ok; you could count them, but I didn’t, and I promise there’s a lot. Welcome to Atlanta; eh?), and 1:34:32 later, I finish. Ok performance, and fitting end to my recovery week, but I’m still wired because I know that somewhere between mile 1 and the finish mat, my mom is trucking along. I change, drink my Recoverite, and move to the finish gate to watch.
There were a lot of pink, the color of my mom’s jacket, in the race, so I got excited each time. But!! Less than :90minutes after I finish, in 2:50, I see a pink jacket with oversized sunglasses and a black hat jog across the finish mat with tears streaming around a smile. I couldn’t smile bigger watching her cross than line, and after an hour or so when it set in, she couldn’t be happier. She even thanked me for that ‘motivational’ push, and as soon as we got home, that 13.1 sticker was on her SUV.
Two lessons, maybe more, to take from this: there’s NO reason you can’t do anything you decide you want to do, and all you have to do is take that first step over the starting line. I couldn’t be more proud of her for that, and the other 150000, between the start clock and the finish.

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