2011 was/is my Year of Running. I know there are still 18 days left in the year (12HR in 18 days!!!) but it's been a fantastic running year for me. So good, in fact, that I am going to start posting the things I'm thankful for during the rest of December. Yes, it's going to take that long. One post won't cover it. Well, I could do it in one post but I doubt anyone would stick with me through the end! :)
My first post is about the most important people in my life – my family.
Up until the end of 2010, I think they thought running was just something I did to lose weight and stay in shape. They didn't realize how much I came to love it and how much I needed it. I think that changed when I told them I was hiring a coach so I could see how much I could improve in 2011. I told them I wanted to concentrate on running in 2011 and make it a priority.
My family does not have a lot of money. Everything we have, we've worked for. So when we spend our money on something, you know it's important to us. They knew when I hired Jason that I meant business. I think that's when it moved from something they “tolerated” to something they supported. Not that they weren't supportive before but after I told them, they would rearrange their schedules around my long runs/races or ask me what/when I needed to eat before/after them. They got the whole picture.
Even better, they came to some of my races this year and travelled to do it!
Last February, my sister and my niece, Madison, went with me to Apache Junction to watch me run the Lost Dutchman Marathon. It was so fun having them on the course and at the finish. We had a great weekend and it still makes me smile to think about it. We had dinner at a "Mining Camp" and we were talking about ghosts while we were there. On the way home, there was a lull and we heard faint, haunting humming. My sister and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows and then realized it was Madison in the back seat being her 10 year old ghostly self! Sorry, but it still cracks me up to see her smiling back there when she realized she got us. Love that kid.
This past October, my sister, all the kids, my dad & stepmom went with me to Zion to watch me run the Hurricane Jem. And even though I was battling an injury, they never put pressure on me to run and fully supported whatever decision I made: to run or not run it. I ran it, of course, and it was so fun to have Madison run with me the last bit and have the rest of them waiting for me at the finish. I was tired, dirty, and aching when I finished and I just crossed the line and ran straight to my dad and gave me a big, comforting hug. That weekend was a blast: hiking, exploring, just being together...like the road trips we used to take when we were kids.
Probably the best example is my mom. She never said but I always felt like I disappointed her in so many ways. I was a total screw up: obese, major debt, didn't finish college, high blood pressure, never married, no grandkids. I know she loved me and that she's happy I paid off my debt, lost the weight, etc. but I never really gave her that MOM moment, you know? Well, there was the time I won an award for one of my photographs but I think she was more happy with how happy that made my grandmother feel.
Anyway, she came to see my second race in the Lovell Canyon Love Me Two times challenge in Vegas. I was nervous that she was driving out to see the 2nd of back-to-back half marathons. What if I blew up on the 2nd day and couldn't finish? But I ended up winning that race (Women's race-Woo!!!) and she was so excited she immediately started she immediately started texting family & friends. That was the MOM moment I'd always wanted to give her. I'll always remember her jumping up and down and cheering at the finish line and how it gave me that little extra boost up that last little hill and the fun we had celebrating on the Strip that night. And my mom, bless her heart, told me that if I qualified for Boston, she would would come see that race too. I told her she would have a few years for that one! (notice I haven't ruled out that possibility?) Now, I find out from all kinds of people that she brags about my running. :) And she hasn't utter a peep about being single all year. ;) That right there is gravy!
But seriously...this year would not have been so fun or so amazing without my family's support and for that, I am very, very grateful.