Curve in road ahead

Done and done.  Yesterday was the 34th annual Tufts 10k for women, and we kicked its butt.

“We” is my mom, myself, and 8,200 other women (and some errant men, grrr) who ran the 6.2 mile race around Boston.  It was a madhouse of female athletes and their fan clubs all gathered on the common to warm up, snag some free samples, and get ready for the run.

We started at Beacon Street, then headed down and over the Longfellow Bridge (really hoping the construction is finished by next year – I lost all my downhill momentum here!).  Then we went along Memorial Drive toward MIT.  It was here, less than two miles into the race, when I came down on my ankle wrong and felt a piercing pain that made me stop in my tracks.

A nearby runner stopped to give some advice which helped a little, but I could barely walk, nevermind run.  Every time I tried to put any weight on it, it felt like there was a pin being jabbed into my ankle and my leg.  I feel like I could have sprinted if only I could get past a jog, but I couldn’t get to that point.

Cue my hero of the day, my mom.

My mom, who has been training for this with me all summer, was there by my side as I winced, as I hobbled, as I tried to run and then almost fell down.  She said it was ok if we didn’t do the race, that she didn’t care if it took us three hours to finish, that she just really didn’t want me to do anything to hurt myself.  And she stayed with me as it took us 18 minutes to go the second mile, after a strong 12:15 on the first one.

Because she’s my mom, she didn’t care when I started and stopped running as the pain came and went.  She also wouldn’t let me cheat and skip the middle miles by running across the median strip, but I respect her for that, too.  She told me to stop saying sorry and to do what made me happy.  In that moment, it was running at a snail’s pace next to her.

We crossed the finish line 1:33 after we started, more than an hour after the elite runners came in (my mom and I like to say “anyone can run for half an hour, but it takes a real athlete to run for three times that!)  My dad and sister were standing there to cheer us on and photograph our success.  Most of the runners had already returned, and we joined a good crowd on the grass to stretch and celebrate our victory.

I am confident that I will finish even stronger next year, and will again cross the finish line with my running partner, my best cheerleader, my best friend, my mom.

[ETA: This is basically half of a half marathon, which I hope to accomplish as part of my Five Year Plan.  After this race, I am feeling pretty confident that I can do that, and maybe even more!]

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