I did it! I came, I ran, and made it across the finish line, upright. My time was better at the 10k race a few weeks prior, but that was less than half the distance, AND I didn’t have an injury to contend with.
The course at the Hyatt Lost Pines, in Bastrop, is very pretty, and hilly. What I liked best was the variety of elevations (Ha-! Ha!), vegetation, and scenery. We went from being enveloped in a canopy of trees, out in the open country, passing horse ranches, through seemingly endlessly turns around the tightly cut golf course, then finally to the finish line along the Colorado River.
All the prep in the world could not have prevented it. It was the Wednesday before the race, at the track. We had just finished a couple of laps. I grabbed a drink of water, while the rest of the team started the grapevine drill. I usually do my grapevines going to the left. That morning, I went to the right since I was already facing that way. Bad idea. As the coaches reiterate over and over, don’t try anything new the week before the race. While my body was ready to head right, my brain said, head left. I went down. The knobby part at the top of the femur is where I hit. By race day, I had a bruise the size of a small orange. While it was sore most of the week, I didn’t think it would have any impact on my performance on race day. I was wrong.
By mile 6, I started to feel the pain. I dismissed it. By mile 12, the pain was almost unbearable. That’s when I called on my deceased step-son’s help, James. After all, I was running this race in his honor. “James, I need you…I need to finish…can you take some of this pain away and help me finish?” He came through for me. And the most gratifying feeling was to actually hear my name on the loud speaker as I crossed the line.
The folks who cheered us on those last two miles were a God-send. Their support, my sheer determination, the undeniable dedication of our coaches, those who donated to the cause, all contributed to my success. It did help that I almost never missed the Monday and Wednesday practices, or the Saturday runs. Truly, though, my real hero through all of this was my husband. He stood by me every step of the way, trained me early on, encouraged me to get out there and train with the team during the week, and on the Saturday long runs. His willingness to open his heart, be vulnerable, and share his story of beloved son James, to let me run in his honor. Love you babe!