Thursday, June 11, 2020

10 Days, 10 Pics

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.
Elvis lives!

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. 

Mission Accomplished...OORAH!

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 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 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. 

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  1. I agree, that photo from the 2014 IMT Des Moines marathon is the best!
    It's hilarious and touching at the same time. I hope you have a print-out of it and framed it.

    1. Would you believe I have not printed the pic (yet)? I need to get that done ;-)

  2. Love all the photos, especially the one of you and your hubby. Such great memories in all the photos!

  3. I loved following along with your 10 days and I'm so glad you took a moment to recap the stories behind them. The Marine pic gives me goosebumps but my favorite is the 2014 IMT Des Moines marathon.

    1. Thank you ;-). I was surprised how tough it was to pick just 10....

  4. Great running pictures! You have waaayyy more interesting running photos than I have. Wasn't MCM last year a beast? Torrential downpour, then bright, hot sunshine. We made it, though! I love Grandma's marathon too. So scenic! I would love to do it again sometime. Or maybe the half.

    1. I would like to go back to Grandma's again. That's the only marathon I've run more than once. The course is SO beautiful!

  5. It would be hard to pick 10 of my favorite photos. You have some great ones. I especially like the one from Marine Corps and the one of you and your husband running

    1. It really is hard to pick 10...kind of like picking a favorite child LOL

  6. It's been great to see the photos you've shared! And funny, I'd thought about doing a similar post once I finish the challenge :)

    1. I hope you do a post "behind the pics!" I tried to leave a few clues with hashtags, but those are a bit ambiguous and misleading.

  7. Those are all really fun pics. Isn't it amazing the memories we have from running and racing?

    1. There are so many memories...good ones that make us smile, and tough ones that made us wiser and grateful for the lessons learned.

  8. This would be have such great memories and many more to come I hope.

  9. It's so much fun to look back on old race photos, isn't it?