Although I am a relative " newbie" to running, I know who Steve Prefontaine is. I used to share my office with 2 track and cross country coaches and there were "Pre" posters in our space. Steve once said ""You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." That very accurately sums up my Boilermaker. I ran it for me. Me alone. There were 15000 people along side of me, and thousands more spectating, but Sunday, July 14, 2013, I did something amazing for myself. I succeed.
I can't even begin to explain everything wonderful that happened last Sunday, but from where I stood, the view was amazing! I had no idea it would be all that it was. I was very worried about the heat, hydration, and my blistered feet, but standing in the crowd, listening to the national anthem getting ready to start, I forgot all my worries.
If you have never been at the start line of the Boilermaker, you are missing out. Porta poties as far as the eye can see, runners getting ready, a prayer being said, announcements being made. It felt like something special was about to happen. It was in the air. The wheelchair division got off first, and we cheered like crazy for Jason. They we got in a huddle and gave ourselves a little send off. Everyone of us like excited kids before Christmas.
It didn't take as long as I thought after the gun went off to start. We walked up to the start line, and were trotting off up Culver. The pack was incredible. Shoulder to shoulder. I was scared of this, but it wasn't crazy or pushy. It felt safe. I didn't get run over! I am not a fan of Culver Ave. It's a mile of gradual up hill. One I used to have to walk up. No walking today! Right away it was clear this was like being in a parade. There was so much to look at. I know I wasn't "supposed" to have my headphones, but I use them to hear my splits and to give myself motivation. I kept them mostly down around my neck because I was caught up in watching the people! So many signs of encouragement, then entertainment on the International Mile, people calling out my name. At one point Katie and I were running together, taking it all in.
I easily finished off Culver and was heading up the parkway. I ran on the side we usually do, and there weren't as many spectators, but there was shade. Glorious shade! The Parkway of course gave way to Valley View Road. I grabbed water and ice and hit the hill. I ran most of it except for a planned walk near the resevoir. I regrouped when I met up with some girls from work. 15000 runners and I catch up to friends! I
chatted with them, then made my way to the golf course. This is my mental breaking point. This is where I somehow get into my head that I can finish the race. I ran up the hill. Ran, not walked! I looked back from the top and could see all the runners behind me. Even though I was just trying to finish, it was nice to see people behind me. At the top of Valley View, I was feeling like I was on top of the world. I took off down the hill and knew I was on my favorite mile. The down hill onto the parkway gives me a rebirth of sorts. I feel accomplished and sure of myself. There were many awesome ice stations along with water that helped keep me cool and hydrated. I kept icing up my body and sipping the water. Burrstone was blistering hot. I walked part of Burrstone to cool down, but at the top of the hill, took back off again. I coasted down Champlain, and headed for dreaded Whitesboro street. It was with anticipation that I headed into this stretch. My family was near the old Psych Center, and I wasn't sure what shape I would be in when I got to them. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and then there they were. They were holding signs and cheering for me, and somehow, I was still running. I was smiling and running. I heard my cousin yell " You make this look easy."
Coming down the final stretch I heard " Mommy, Mom! Mommy Dornburgh." I looked over and there was my daughter. She had run the 5K and was running down the sidewalk next to me. She ran it in with me as far as she could go. I thought I would never get to the finish line, but there it was. This was my first time finishing the course, and there it was. In all it's greatness and welcoming all that would run under it, today it was welcoming me. 2 hours and 6 min after I started my foot reached the line. 9.3 miles. At 42 years old, I finished my first 15K. And I blew that baby a kiss! WooHoo!
I got my finisher's pin, and it was like someone handed me an Olympic medal. I know it's some cheap thing made in China, but what it meant to me was dedication, perseverance and the fact that I kept a promise I made to myself. I trained hard, and I finished. I put the pin on later ( after I got done getting sick, I true sign I am really a runner), and I wore it all day. I slept with it on that night, close to my heart.
Back on April 1st when WKTV called me to tell me I was part of Go the Distance, I panicked. I could barely run 1 mile. How was I ever going to run 9.3. Joe told me if we gave him 36 runs, we would complete the Boilermaker. Everything he told me was true. This program is the best thing I have done for myself, and all the people involved, like my finisher's pin, will always be close to my heart.
I have to go to bed. We're going to meet up tomorrow and run some more! Falling Leaves here we come.......