Every year Neil runs the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Mother's Day with his mother and brother (they follow it with a Pirate's game, which is one of the many reasons I love my mother-in-law). While we were still engaged, I was invited to join them for the race. Neil and I ran the 5K and the rest of the group opted to walk.
The distinct benefit of this race - it's located in Pittsburgh's Schenley Park - a place I know how to find.
The distinct downfalls of this race - .... the people (so man crowds of people), the cold, the loud music, and a course with many killer hills.
I started out with a more-than-usually-extra-horrible headache, I should have used that as an indicator to call it a day - instead, I pushed and pushed (the sooner I finish, the sooner I'm finished). When I hit my breaking point, Neil said to me "It's okay, we're almost done." Then we rounded the bend to see sign telling us we were at 2 1/2 miles. Then I really lost it - because to have more than a half mile left did not feel like 'almost there' and only someone who is not in pain might say that. Then I said something to that effect to Neil, only with way more expletives and mean sentence fragments thrown in.
The finish was a bottle neck of chaos and he took my hand and led me through like a line backer, past the stages and speakers, to a place of relative quiet. He let me pretend I didn't just call him names and he let me cry into his shoulder and then he got me a banana. I pulled myself together in time to greet my brother and mother-in-law with a smile. My husband didn't show any signs that he was engaged to a shape shifting monster - for that I was deeply grateful.
Its strange to think back on that race almost two years ago. I have come such a long way since then in my ability to tolerate running (and I believe that's helped my health). I no longer sob into people when I cross the finish, so there's definitely progress there.
If you were hoping for a review, I'll say, the race itself is actually quite nice. I ran it the next year and enjoyed the scenery, the people cheering from porches, the beautiful park, and flirting with Neil a little at the 2 1/2 mile mark (what a difference a year makes)
the lesson learned: In running some days are just bad. You don't feel great, you don't run well, you just want to be finished. I hope when that happens you have someone around that will say they're proud of you for still trying.
(we took this before the race, he had no idea what was coming)
race: Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5K
location: Pittsburgh, PA
charity: Breast Cancer Awareness
addendum: After reading this post Neil asked that I add something... he verified that I did not exaggerate about the race (it was a bad day) but he wanted it to be clear that the days in which I yell at him while running are few. Verbatim, "You're hardly ever a shape shifting monster." In this post, I was more concerned with showing how patient and fair he can be. I hope I've made things a little more clear, on both accounts.