So, my darling 6 year old is chucklingas I hobble down each step sideways and as I say, Ouch and Ouwee and Oh that hurts a day after my marathon race!

“Quit laughing at me,” I  tease back at him.

Yes, I am sore after completing my 6th marathon on Sunday, my 5th Portland  marathon. http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2009/10/portland_marathon_jason_finch.html

I thought I wouldn’t be sore as I was pacing myself and walked a bit and went in the jacuzzi afterwards at Shelleys. . . Oh, well, I guess that’s what you get for doing this thing last minute. . .DSC_1245_10501

People ask, how far was the marathon :). . . 26.2 miles I say (I thought everyone knew).

Wow, that is far, they say.

Yes it is.

And each time is just as hard as the next. And just as fulfilling.

Truly, a test of endurance.

I told myself I would try to pray the entire time, to make it a time of prayer and at the end I was still praying, for strength to just finish the thing.

The day started with me showing up an hour early to pick up my friend Shelley — her lights were still dark. I called her cell then her home phone. She came out, “Cornelia, it’s only 5:25, you’re an hour ealy.” So, I went back home to relax till 6:15 and when  I picked her up this time she said, “you nut”- we drove to Kristi’s to carpool with her and her sister and cousin (her sister and cousin were running their first marathon. Kristi has inspired so many to do this 26.2 mile feat!) 

[Photo taken before our 2009 Portland Marathon with Kristi in the middle, her sister on the left, then me, then Shelley, and on the right Kristi’s cousin. Photo from Kristi Easterlin taken by her husband Bill] MARATHON-GIRLS-ALL-2124

There were so many people at the starting line (9,000 +) and I tried to find a group to pace with and I did, for a while and there were so many people cheering (70,000 +).

I knew the whole time that my husband was bringing our three youngest kids — the only ones left at home right now — to cheer me on with a half mile to go and the twins, age 11, joined me (see above photo) and I was just out of it at that point. I just wanted to finish and at that point I had decided I didn’t need to break last year’s time. I just wanted to finish.

And the twins kept saying, “Come on mom, you can do it,” and I thought about me cheering them on last week at their cross country race, when they were tired and out of it, and how I said to them, “come on, you can do it,” but they were tired. And Sunday I was too.

So, I did it, but just did not break my time. Was a minute off.

It is okay though. To complete it is a good thing, and with my knees intact. That is important too.

It was important for me to have my family there to cheer me on. At first I had told my husband to not worry about it this year. To just take the boys to church as we usually do on Sundays. But then he teased, “Oh and look like the non-supportive husband.” He wanted to be there for me.DSC_1248_10504

And, I am glad he was there.

One woman on the course I was running with for a while said her family was not going to make it to cheer her on, that they had a baseball game to go to for her son. And I thought, you know, for one day, perhaps, the son could cheer on the mom. Here soccer moms are cheering on their kids every week at every game and they hardly miss, and those very same kids could take one day of the year to come cheer on their mom.

To see that mom has goals too and mom can do something physical and mom can complete a very long task like a marathon and mom has endurance.

I saw a lot of hand made signs on the course of the marathon, signs being held up by kids cheering their moms on. The signs said, ”Go Mommy!”  and “You can do it Mommy!”  and that was so fun to see. Kids cheering mom on.

There were others cheering everyone on along the 26 mile Portland marathon course. A worship band singing praises to God. A marimba band along a bridge and other spots. A few oldie tunes, like a Fleetwood Mac song, “You’re just second hand news,” which I do not ever want to be. A Lynyrd Skynyrd Sweet Home Alabama type of song blasting from other speakers. There was a jazz band and other music. There were kids handing out Gummy Bears and people offering up water and Gatorade type drink along the path. There were long lines at the outhouses, which took up too much of my time and was the reason I lost my pace group—bummer—so you learn along the way what not to do (wait in long lines to go to the bathroom during the marathon if you can at all help it!).

But, I am not making up excuses. I should be happy to have finished the marathon and it was the most beautiful of days, not too warm, a little sunshine. A lot of enthusiasm. Out there.

At the end, there were more refreshments – chocolate milk and bagels and string cheese and fruit and cookies and chips. And a medal for my neck and a t-shirt and a tree to plant and a rose…

I met a man who was like 78 and he has run about 350 marathons in his lifetime and about 20 this year.

Wow, and I was happy with just my one this year.

That is the thing about marathons – and really life — It is all about individual goals and dreams and it is just you and the clock sometimes and the road ahead and what you are going to do about it and no one can do it for you… it is about you completing your goal. And even if you did not quite make your exact time that was your goal, you were willing to risk it, to tell people about it, to try, and in end, the goal of finishing and having my family there to cheer me on and God alongside is truly enough.

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