|This happened this morning!|
I have felt my endurance getting better and have had a couple of solid long runs, but I haven't had any great long runs. And then today happened! From the first step of this run I felt fast and strong. When the first few mile splits came up I was shocked and didn't think there was any way I would maintain, (especially when I hit the harder uphill miles) but the miles just kept ticking away. When I finished and saw my average pace for the whole 20 miles had been 7:23 I was THRILLED to say the least. This is just what my confidence needed. :) 10 weeks until Houston!
Now onto some really cool "good stuff".
- Did you read about Jimmy Jenson?
Jenson, age 48, became the first person with Down Syndrome to ever complete the NYC Marathon. How cool is that? Jenson ran the NYC Marathon with his friend, Jennifer Davis, who he met 12 years ago through the Best Buddies program, that connects people with intellectual disabilities with people who do not. Davis and Jenson starting running after Jenson had the idea to run a 5k together. I love that they became runners together!
Along with losing almost 70lbs, Jenson has seen other positive changes. Davis says that when she first met Jenson, "He would sit in the corner, kind of cross-legged. He's become so much more outgoing." The power of running is amazing!
She also said, "I was able to help Jimmy become more active, get in the community, lose weight, and tie his shoes, but he taught me about enjoying life, dancing and singing like no one is watching, and that a hug and a hot cocoa can solve almost anything."
While running the streets of NYC, Jenson encouraged other runners - telling them if he could keep going, then so could they. After crossing the finish line, he kissed Davis on the cheek, and told her, "Thank you." You can see a great video interview with Jenson and Davis here.
- Also from the NYC Marathon, just about everyone has heard the story of Joy Johnson.
At 86, Joy was the oldest woman to run in the NYC Marathon (and has been since 2011). Tragically, she fell and hit her head around mile 20 of the race, and passed away in her sleep the next afternoon. Officials have said that Johnson died from complications of hitting her head and the blood-thinning medication she took for a minor heart flutter.
It was reported that in the weeks leading up to the NYC Marathon, Johnson followed her daily routine of coffee, Bible lesson, 8-mile run and on some days, she also did 150 pushups. Incredible.
While it is heart-breaking that she died, her life was amazingly inspiring, and her family said that they take comfort that she died doing what she loved.
I think my favorite thing that I have read is that when a reporter asked to take a picture with Johnson near the finish line, Johnson was worried about the time that the stop for a photo would cost her on the clock. To me that shows her heart, spirit, and drive. I love it!
I want to be just like her when I grow up. :)
- And finally - one more awesome story from the NYC Marathon.
Meb had a rough day. He was way off pace and far back from the leaders. He even found himself having to stop and walk for a minute around mile 19. Most elite marathoners at that point would have dropped out of the race - saved their body from the wear and tear, and save themselves from a disappointing final time. But not Meb.
This video of his emotional interview after the race shows EXACTLY why I love Meb and why is such an inspiring person and athlete. (I ran on his team in the NYC Marathon in 2011 and got to spend an afternoon with him and he is just as humble and kind in person as you think he is).
Meb ended up finishing the marathon with Staten Island runner, Mike Cassidy. They worked together and finished hand in hand. You can read Cassidy's story of the experience here. If you don't read the whole article, read just this part -
"As we entered Central Park at Columbus Circle, I turned to Meb and told him as much. “It’s an honor to run with you,” I said.
His response is something I’ll never forget.
“No,” he said. “Today is not about us. It’s about representing New York. It’s about representing Boston. It’s about representing the USA and doing something positive for our sport. We will finish this race holding hands.”
I’m a believer that running brings out the best in people. Running inspires. Running unites. Running uplifts. By pushing us to our limits and across them, running takes us to places we never thought possible—or even real. A good run can turn a dark day bright and make a bright day shine brighter. Performed on the scale of a marathon, running can transform communities and change lives.
Last year, around this time, as I saw Staten Island, my hometown, ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, I defended the NYC Marathon as a force for good in our community.
But until this moment, as I strode the marathon’s final quarter mile with Meb, I don’t know if I ever fully appreciated just how real running’s reach is. Our goals, as personal and individualistic as they may have been, were less important than our purpose. Our motives were separable from our mission.
In striving to be our best, we could bring out the best in others. We could honor the victims of Sandy and Boston, embracing pain to lessen theirs. We could inspire others to do the same."
I will say it again - the power of running is amazing. :)