Health & Fitness.

52 Miles of Gratitude

52 Miles in 12 hours. BOOM.
52 Miles in 12 hours. BOOM.
It is so hard to know where to begin after a race like yesterday. It was 12 hours long, for chrissakes, how do I condense 12 hours of experience and emotions into on blog post without blabbering like a fool about the value of Uncrustables and my hatred of gravel?

So, first? I’m going to just write about gratitude and save the race report for later. The kind of gratitude that makes me wonder what deity I bribed in a past life to be gifted with such amazing people around me.

I’m grateful for all of my friends in the local community who were part of the race – either as a volunteer or as a participant. Seeing faces you know and giving fist-bumps and “Woo Hoo”s! to people is the only thing that kept me going at some points. I had some really good friends on relay teams and just seeing them out there all day, was a blessing. Even as the passed me. 100 times. I still thought about tackling them all for hugs every time and saying, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU? BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!!”

(It was an emotional day.)

I’m grateful for the good friends who ran or walked with me. Some were participants, but most were not. Several just showed up – at the PERFECT TIME – and did a few miles with me when I needed it most. It is uncanny how staggered they all were, too. You would think they had planned it. It could not have been more perfect.

I’m grateful for the friends who came to spectate, cheer, and bring me TREATS. Like cupcakes and muffins and KRISPY KREME DONUTS. It was like the food gods were sending me angels and I could not have been more happy.

I’m grateful for this amazing Ultra Runner, Tammy, who ran with me for several hours early and told me more stories about her insane ultra career and just became my new overnight hero. SHE DID FOUR 100 MILERS in the summer of 2011. SHE DID BADWATER LAST YEAR. SHE IS AWESOME. And does NOT look like an Ultra runner which – as someone who wears wings on her shoes – I greatly appreciate. She has fun, glitter paints her water pouch, wears flowers in her visor, logs her favorites races by the homemade baked goods at the aid stations…she is basically my spirit animal. I learned more from her in 4 hours than I could have reading 10 books. I stumbled upon her as a running partner and I’m very glad for the experience.

But most important of all? I’m so terribly thankful for my family. My brother and his family and my Mom who traveling in town just for this race. When I texted my brother at mile 20 and let him know I was not doing well, he said they’d be there soon and he responded with a group shot with my sister-in-law and my nephew. It was perfect. They ended up out there earlier than planned which saved me. They were there for 5 hours, never once wavering in their cheers or support. My brother did a few miles with me, my sister-in-law did a few with me, it was brilliant. And my sister-in-law even drove around the park in her car cheering non-verbally for me as she lulled my nephew to sleep. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? In reality, I owe her the most thanks for coming up with the idea to support me anyway. I can tell you without a doubt I would NOT have made it without my family. My family that she brought there. I cried when I first saw them yesterday. My Mom, my brother, my sister-in-law, my nephew…I was so tired and had so far to go and there they were with their smiling faces and I could not feel more blessed.

OH! And my brother and his wife left me notes of inspiration on my cooler that I read at mile 15 and carried them around with me the rest of the day. The smell like sweaty feet but they were the most wonderful things in the world. I’m crying again right now, just thinking about them. I’ve always known I’ve had the best brother in the world, seriously I do, but he also married this wonderful woman and they orchestrated a weekend for me that helped me reach one of my biggest goals for a long time. I have more than my share of support.

Photo by Gregg Gelmis taken as I rolled over the mat at mile 50. You can’t tell but I’m sobbing my eyes out.

And my husband. He showed up a little later with Nikki and Wes, earlier than originally planned for them too because he also got the 9-1-1 “I NEED YOU” text. He ran some with me and didn’t complain once about the periodic walk breaks (I still ran much more than walked each mile, but I did have designated walk breaks) or the pace, which sometimes hurts his back. He kept the kids entertained and threatened them with GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT if they whined to me about ANYTHING. He told me on my 50th lap how proud he was of me and I don’t know if he can understand how important that was. In the big picture, he’s the one I want to impress the most. So, him telling me he was proud of me just had me crying all over again. (I CRIED A LOT YESTERDAY.) He said all of the right things and ran several laps with me and I am the luckiest woman in the world. The fact that he lets me train for this stuff to begin with is wonderful, but the support yesterday went beyond measure.

So, I have a lot to talk about in terms of the race and the lessons learned and the challenges to my body and my mind, but first I wanted to tell everyone who was part of yesterday. Whether they cheered from under a tent or said a breathless, “Good job, Kim” as the passed me on the trails…they will always be part of the day for me. Their kindness and support and love…they will always be in my heart. And I love them dearly for it. Whether I saw them for one second, or whether they were there all day, they will always be part of the memories of yesterday, always be part of the Pile of Blessings when I look back on the day, they’ll always hold a place in my heart next to my love of Diet Coke, Strawberry Abita Beer, and Krispy Kreme Donuts.

Basically, the most valuable real estate in my heart, if you get me.

Love to you all.

Next up? The Real Race Report where we get to talk about boob chaffing and blisters! AREN’T YOU EXCITED?

8 thoughts on “52 Miles of Gratitude”

  1. Great job! For me as a non-runner, this is a great summary of the day and tells me the most about how it went for you. You have awesome support and that seems like it would be the most important part of running (or anything) to me.

  2. I cried too just reading your blog. Such a triumph of spirit and heart! There’s nothing like love and connection to keep any of us afloat.
    And then there’s that thing of 50 miles and 12 hours and … and. AWESOME!

  3. Yes! I am excited! Congratulations!!! I am not a runner, and recently decided I don’t have to be. It’s just not me. But I think runners are super cool, and I read all your race reports even when I don’t understand them! I’m really happy you made your goals, and sending you high fives! (or hugs, if you’re okay with receiving them from a total stranger who hugs everyone) 🙂

  4. Kim….you are a remarkable woman. I admire your strength, both physical and mental, you’re honesty about your challenges and fears, your beautiful spirit that keeps you strong and allows you to be an inspiration to more people than you think!

  5. I thought about you several times during the day yesterday. Did you feel it? LOL. You are such an inspiration to me, not that I have any plans of ever being a runner, but your dedication to running is so inspiring, I just need to find my one thing to transfer that kind of passion to. I’m so happy for you that your family came out in full force to support you. You rock! 🙂

  6. Was thinking of you yesterway while my husband, my friend and elder son1 son played golf and my friend’s wife , their younger son and I bowled and played games at Main Event. In Houston, of course, but we all lived in Huntsville a long time ago and send good thoughts. Good work.

  7. Hi Kim,

    I’ve been reading your blog for years. I know how you feel about lurkers and you seem to share my awkward hesitation towards commenting, so hopefully you understand that how strongly I feel in order to say something. This is a first for me.
    You are such an inspiration. This is one of my favourite posts of yours of all time. I think I’ve come to tears only three times ever reading blogs (ANY blog), and today was one of them.
    You are amazing. I feel proud of myself if I can make it 5 miles a the treadmill and can not even imagine doing what you do. You are super woman and you are so brave, even when you think you’re not. You admit feeling self conscious at times and poke fun at yourself and your flaws. To me, that is a strength in itself. Never forget how much joy and awe you bring to your readers’ lives.

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