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Half-Marathon Finish Line

3:33AM.  I opened my eyes and the hotel alarmclock read 3:33AM.  I sighed with relief, not because I could roll over and go back to sleep.  I sighed because “three” has always been “my number”.  So when I saw a series of threes, that could only mean good things.  Sure, you can call me superstitious.  I consider “threes” my sign that I’m moving my life in the right direction.  Seeing threes on the morning of Grandma’s half-marathon confirmed that I was ready to tackle 13.1 miles.

The reason I was doubting myself was that I had been sick.  Sick enough to go on antibiotics (against my better judgment) five days before the race.  The antibiotics messed with my digestion, and I was having stomache cramping every time I ate.  Not a good thing when running for two hours.

I got up at 3:33 so I could eat far enough in advance of the race (starting at 6:30AM) so if my body decided to reject the food, I wouldn’t be on the race course yet.  I woke Maddie up at 4:15 and we silently went through our routine of getting ready to run.

The starting line was shoulder-to-shoulder people.  Quite an amazing feeling.  At 6:30 we starting moving forward, stopped, moved forward, stopped, and finally we started moving forward without stopping. 

The first miles flew by as we jockeyed for position and settled into a comfortable pace.  I put my arm around Maddie and said “I’m so blessed to be running this race with you.”  At mile four we took our first gel-pack with water and continued on.  Maddie was running a few steps ahead of me and I told her it was O.K. for her to run on her own if she wanted.  With that permission she strode off ahead.  I watched her Pork Power shirt back until I could see her no more.  I checked in with my body.  Everything was feeling good.  I vacillated between the external stimulation (the massive lake to my left, the sound of bagpipes, the encouraging shouts, the sweating runners) and the internal conversation (you’ve got this, my legs feel good, they call that a hill?).  Around mile seven, two jets flew over signaling the start of the full marathon.  Tears filled my eyes from the power of the moment.  During mile eight a slight cramp moved through my stomache.  “Oh no you don’t!”, I willed my stomache to calm down.  It seemed to work, and the cramp faded. 

The final miles were blessedly uneventful.  Within sight of the finish line I saw my family in the crowd.  I high-fived Brandon and moved on to the finish.  I broke two hours, which was my goal. 

I never thought farming and running would intersect.  It’s a powerful feeling to have my life align like that.  I guess you would call that Pork Power.