10 Days. 10 Pics.
If you were asked to share 10 random running pics, that all had significant meaning, would you be able to do so?
Sure, we all probably have hundreds (thousands?) of running pics to choose from. Could you narrow it down to just 10, though?
Oh, and here's the challenging part, you aren't supposed to say anything about them. Just the 10 pics, over the course of 10 days. No explanations.
Last week, on Instagram and Facebook, I accepted the challenge (from Jessie) and played along. Here's what I shared (but I will give a few details here LOL):
Day 1 - Elvis!
After my rally-back from my knee surgery in 2017, I ran the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas (November 2017). I saw Elvis there, near mile 10, and told him he was looking good. He replied, "Thank you, Lil' Darling." My biggest regret was not getting a picture with him. Fast forward to eight months later, and I was running the RnR in Chicago. It was a rainy day (VERY rainy), I'd left my music at home, and I was all alone...until I spotted Elvis! Seeing him immediately brightened my day and my spirits. And, I learned I could run 13.1 miles in the pouring rain, alone, sans music and still have a great experience.
Day 2 - Sharing the finish line with our youngest daughter
As a birthday gift, our youngest daughter told me she'd run the 2018 Dam to Dam 20K with me. She was very active in dance, tennis, and strength-training, but had never shown any interest in running. I helped her design a training plan, and she did the work. Come race day, she wanted to run the race on her own, so I honored her wishes and told her I'd be waiting at the finish line. About 1/4-mile out, I spotted her, and jumped back onto the race course. I told her how proud I was of her accomplishment, and it was time to celebrate... and that there would be cameras getting her picture. She grabbed my hand and started screaming and cheering as we approached the finish line. What an experience!
|proud mom moment
Day 3 - Miles for Mollie
Most of us know the story of Mollie Tibbetts. On July 18th (2018), Mollie left for a run and never made it back home. Her accused attacker is still awaiting trial (currently scheduled for November). Mollie lived in a town a mere 20 miles from my hometown, and our youngest daughter knew her from work. This tragedy hit very close to home (quite literally). Her story received national attention, and many runners rose to the occasion and ran a lot of miles in her memory.
|always in our hearts
Day4 - redemption
In 2016, I first attempted to run the Midnight Madness 15K, and landed my first and only DNF (Did Not Finish). In 2017, I was out of commission (recovering from the emergency knee surgery). In 2018, I returned and snagged a 3rd place AG in the 10K and felt like I had redeemed myself from that DNF. But, in 2019, I was able to bring home AG awards in both the 5K and 10K on a crazy hot and humid July evening (temps were in the upper 80F's). I'm really glad I didn't let that DNF get the best of me.
|redemption never felt so fine
Day5 - Too much grit to quit
I had long wanted to run the Marine Corps Marathon. I finally had my chance in October 2019. In a cruel twist of fate, Momma N blessed me with nearly 19 miles of rain on race morning, and a faulty Ipod Shuffle (that refused to play nice). None the less, this was an epic experience. The crowds of spectators, the scenic course, a Blue Mile like no other, and the gracious marines all made for quite an adventure. The finish line may have taken much longer to cross than anticipated, but that just made it all that more rewarding when the marine placed the medal around my neck.
Day 6 - I can do hard things
I love the heat of summer, but sometimes even I find it challenging. I also love the half marathon distance, but sometimes those 13.1 miles are a lot harder to run than they should be. The 2018 NewBo Half Marathon was such a race. A neat race course, but my body just wasn't feeling especially strong on race day. There were weird aches and pains that plagued me for most of the race. I never felt like quitting, but it was frustrating having to work so hard to finish a race that shouldn't have been so difficult. Alas, my finish time was decent. Considering how tough this race felt, I learned that I can (and should) trust in my training and have faith it will carry me when my mind checks out of the game.
|a tough finish
Day 7 - A 1-mile PR
I ran the Grand Blue Mile for the first time in April of 2018. Not being a natural-born sprinter, I had no idea how to pace myself. My strategy was to run as hard as possible for "just" the simple mile, and hope that I wouldn't crash and burn before the finish line. I managed a sub-8, and was pleased (and was rewarded with a 3rd place AG). I returned in 2019, excited to run "just" that simple mile again, but also apprehensive as to whether I'd be able to run it as fast as the year prior. I learned to not discount the mile as "just" a mile...my lungs were burning almost immediately after I crossed the start line. My throat hurt and my mouth was so dry. I finished 4th (so no AG accolades), but managed a 30-second PR over my previous year's time. And it took me several hours to breathe normal and stop coughing. My legs had some major DOMS happening, as well, for several days...all from running "just" a mile.
|awaiting the start line...
Day 8 - A grand finish line experience
The 2014 IMT Des Moines Marathon was my second marathon. The race course was a lot more hilly than the other marathon I'd run a year prior. My body felt a lot more fatigued, especially in the final miles. But, as I approached the 26th mile mark, I spotted my husband. And then I saw our son. Then my husband jumped onto the race course and ran a short ways with me. Then, I spotted our youngest daughter, up ahead, capturing all of this on film. A short ways later, a friend magically appeared on the sideline, and high-5'd me. I rounded the corner for the final jaunt to the finish line, and one of my cousins shouted my name (she'd run the half marathon and had waited for me to finish my race). Wow. How do you NOT finish with a smile on your face?
|one of my most favorite pics, ever
Day 9 - a family affair
In 2016, I had the idea to rally a few of my cousins and form a marathon relay team. The race was the Quad Cities Marathon, the site of my first marathon. The weather forecast had shown rain, but when race day arrived, we had a lot of sunshine and pretty warm and humid conditions. We took turns running our individual legs of the race, and then joined our final runner for the last stretch to the finish line. Two of my cousins had not done much racing before, so to be a part of a marathon was a big comfort zone violation. It was pretty neat witnessing this big day for them!
|Team Gunhus Gals (in honor of our Grandmother)
Day 10 - A return to Grandma's Marathon
Having run the race in 2015, I returned in 2017 to relive the beautiful race course along the northern shore of Lake Superior. I ran most of the race with Rachel, a blogger friend I'd never met in person prior to race day. We had a lot of fun chatting and making fun of ourselves for paying money to run 26.2 miles in the heat of summer. Speaking of heat, the morning started off cool and damp, but the temps rose a good 20 degrees during our time running. The final miles were tough, not just with the heat and humidity, but my energy was zapped and my body hurt. I lost Rachel in the final three miles, and my Garmin died...so I had no idea what my finish time was looking like. It wasn't until after the race, as we were heading back to our place of lodging, that I saw my official results...and that I'd managed a slight course PR.
|with the Duluth Bridge in the background
So, yeah. Somehow, I managed to cherry pick 10 pics depicting special and significant running memories. Of course, there are numerous other pics, all with great stories to tell. Stay tuned...maybe I'll highlight some others in a future post.
How about you? Could you pick 10 pics to share? What would you go with...memories of great struggle and survival? Lessons learned? Or photos of victories?
I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Friday with Fairytales and Fitness link-up.