but then i get amazing emails from coach, and supportive and funny comments here, and i get spirit-lifting words of encouragement and pride from my sister and my mom, and emails from friends who are not runners and don't know what a pr is but still want to know everything. all the overwhelming support from family and friends (both bloggy & real-life!) is enough to always reduce me to a puddle of tears of gratitude -- and put it all into perspective.
my coachs' sister took us all in for the weekend, and served as sherpa to our sherpas; riding her bike with my husband and marcia all over town, serving as their tour guide & riding alongside us shouting words of encouragement. and marcia, who hates hills, rode all over them (for the second day in a row, because she had already tackled them on a ride the day before) to cheer us on and take amazing pictures to document the day. my husband, who stood at various corners holding out food for me and rode a portion of the last mile - i swear, the hardest one - with me. it was so great to have them at various points along the way - its the kind of support that is so humbling and makes one so grateful to have such amazing friends.
then there are the friends at home. the friends that offer to take your kids for the weekend. and do crafts with them, get them bathed & ready for school on monday. the friends that get your 11 year old to happily do his homework and even do some extra credit. and even take a shower before mom & dad get home. friends like this make leaving town for a weekend to run a marathon a little bit easier. and anything that makes a marathon a bit easier is a gift. friends like this are good friends to have. i am lucky.
and then there's coach. he called my husband last night to go moutain biking at 10pm in the new fallen and rarely-seen-here snow. as i hobbled sideways down the stairs gritting my teeth through the screaming quad pain and heard coach was going mountain biking the day after running a marathon - i was once again in awe. and said to my husband as i grimaced down the last two steps, i want to be him.
even though there were points during the race where i hated him for roping me into it, i was glad he did. you see - soon after the columbus debacle, and before he officially told me, i got wind of his idea for plan b. i poured over every race and course review there was. and i thought he was insane. and so i went to search for another, flatter, easier race. and i found one in columbus (of all places). it was a lap marathon - 26 laps around a mile circle. i thought surely i could qualify there. but coach had higher aspirations and knew that i'd go mad running in a mile circle 26 times. that, and being able to say i qualified on a shit hard course as opposed to a flat lap course left room for a little more pride.
well, i may not have qualified, but once again and as always, coach was right. and because he had faith in me, and gave me a shit hard ass-kicking schedule, i was able to finish that shit hard ass- kicking race. and it did kick my ass, but i do feel pretty cool at having just run my third marathon. the hardest one. in the best time. i'm willing to bet that running in 26 little circles wouldn't provide the same satisfaction. and i have coach to thank for saving my pride and encouraging me to aim a bit higher. i have coach to thank for running 26.2 with me when all he had planned to do was 13.1. i have coach to thank for starting me on this crazy journey of marathoning.