The joy of finishing
My goal for the Chicago marathon 2013 was simple - to get to the start line injury free. As I have written before, sage advice from my patients have told me that the marathon is much more than the race that day; in fact it is just the ending point of 18 weeks of training. Through my summer training, I was forced into 3 weeks of a hiatus, then a few weeks later when my training was back on track, I had another 2 weeks of an injury that sidetracked me again. But as Oct. 13 approached, the reality of the start line was more and more apparent. I started to focus on the goal I originally set for myself - just get to the start line. The morning of, I found my pace group led by a 62 year old marathon veteran; she had completed 31 marathons and decided to run this one as a pacer. Her story itself was an inspiration to me. As I introduced myself to the runners around me, from all over the country and all over the world, I realized that that morning I was part of something bigger. I was part of a ritual that 40,000 plus runners were set out to start and attempt to finish, many raising money for causes that were bigger than them. And for those who were running as a challenge to themselves, it was an accomplishment to just get to the start line. During the race a member of our pace group broke her eyeglasses... and had to drop out not because she was injured, but because, literally, unforeseen circumstances took over. And it was then that I realized how lucky I was to be there and be able to run. With this in mind, I just put one foot in front of the other and ignored the cramping muscles and chaffing arms and legs and blistered feet. I was happy to cross the finish line and honored to be a finisher. I was thankful that I met my goal of making it to the start line, and around 6 hours later, it led me to the finish line as well. Will I ever run another marathon? I can't think of that right now with the distraction of my sore back, legs, feet, shoulders.... but being able to set a goal and meet that goal has taught me to never say never.
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