In July of 2008, shortly after my 52nd birthday, I received a postcard from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It was to register for a half or full marathon under Team In Training. I looked at the postcard and kind of laughed about the thought of actually training for it. I put it on the side of my desk and kind of forgot about it for a while. The next time I came across it, I re-read the postcard and saw that there was an informational meeting being held the next week. I thought that I’d go, check it out but not make any commitment to actually signing up. The night of the informational meeting, I got really lost trying to find the venue and almost turned around and went home. But eventually I found it. I heard about TNT (Team in Training) as well as stories from people who either had leukemia or lymphoma and were survivors. After that, we were asked why we were there and I honestly had to say that I was just coming to get information. Listening to the people who spoke made a real difference to me and I found myself thinking "why not?". I took out my checkbook and wrote a check for the registration – somewhat still not convinced that I could do this.
I spoke with my husband about doing this – as the time commitment was significant. We would have a mandatory training every Saturday morning (rain or shine unless it involved lightening!) and the time would get earlier and earlier. We were also expected to either do week day trainings with folks from TNT or get our workouts in on our own. We also had a fundraising commitment for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – and we had deadlines for getting those pledges in. Talk about a commitment. My husband was very supportive and said I should go for it if I felt up to the challenge. We went to the Kick-Off about a week later and I found out where I would be training. I met the captains, mentors and folks associated with my Team and got my schedule for training. With nervousness and excitement, I made the commitment to walk the 13.1 miles in January!
From August – January, we trained! Each week we went a little farther and picked up our speed a little more.I found a rhythm as well as a woman who had the same stride/speed as me. There were weeks when my alarm went off that I wondered what in the hell I was doing? I could be in bed, snuggling with my husband but here I was at 6 am pulling on my workout gear and heading out the door!
I learned alot about running/walking gear including socks, sneakers, clothing and belts that held your water bottles. I learned about hydrating myself, eating correctly as I trained and how much stamina I really had. I also found that there were many caring people out in the world who helped me exceed my fund-raising goal!
I also learned about coming together for a common cause. The people I spent time with on Saturday mornings became my TNT Family. They made sure we were on track, offered support, sent emails with updates and reminders and were there for us.
On January 12, 2008 I completed my first half marathon at Disney World in Orlando, FL. It was such an exciting, thrilling, exhilirating day and one that I’ll never forget. My walking partner and I stayed with each other, despite the thousands of people surrounding us. We encouraged each other when we got to the point of exhaustion – and we crossed the finish line together. We were both so overcome by our achievement that we held each other and cried like babies. It was truly a great day!
I don’t know if I will do another 13.1 or 26.2 marathon. I sometimes do 5k’s just to keep my hand it in. However, I am proud of my accomplishment that at 52 years of age, I completed a half marathon!