The human spirit is an amazing thing, and this past weekend was an incredible reminder for both my husband and myself. We have spent the last 6 months training for the 2011 Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC. The training has been arduous, painful and mentally taxing, but well worth the inconveniences. However, none of this would have ever been possible without the help and support of family, friends, and co-workers. It truly does take a village! The 6:00 am long runs, the after work runs, the massage appointments, the injuries, the doctor’s appointments, and the shuffling of children from one location to another, were all just pieces, and parts of an ultimate goal. A goal that simply would not have been achieved without the support of people we love. Thanks to you all, we love you!
Our marathon weekend started off full of surprises. Dear friends had organized a surprise family celebratory dinner on Friday night, complete with carbohydrates and good luck posters. We were definitley off to a good start, and receiving all the positive “juju” was an added benefit. We left bright and early on Saturday morning, ready for the culmination of our hard work to come to fruition. Sunday, when we awoke, and it was beautiful. In fact, it glorious and we were finally ready for our run. However, I soon came to realize, I was NOT ready for the massive emotion that was forthcoming.
The magnificent show of “human spirit” was amazing. Random strangers on the sidelines, became instant friends. They came to cheer us on, pat our backs, slap our hands as we ran by, and tell us we were “awesome.” Their unconditional support helped us to cross the finish line. Posters, that read “We don’t know you, but you can do it!” helped to lift us up, posters that read “Chafe now, drink beer later,” made us laugh and momentarily forget the pain. Funny costumes helped to decrease the tension. We were surrounded by thousands of unknown well wishers, and it was unbelievable. At mile 18, my own staff, unbeknowing to me, had traveled to DC to come and support us in this endeavor. It brought tears joy to both my husband and myself.
The show of human spirit was continued with the young autistic runner, the blind runner, the double leg amputees, Marines in full uniform carrying backpacks and running in boots, the British Marines that traveled long distances to participate, the three military men training by carrying a third person from spot to spot, and all the various organizations that were represented. Ultimately everyone had their own personal reason for running, and their own goal to achieve.
Marines were everywhere, they graciously handed out water and snacks. They were our own personal cheerleaders, who yelled and encouraged at each mile marker…”Ooh rah!” As we crossed the finish line, they were there handing out warming blankets, and personally congratulating each person. They placed your finishers medal around your neck, and shook your hand. The finishers village was full of marines passing our water, gatorade, food and making sure we were all well taken of. They truly were the ultimate support force! Semper Fi!
As I look at my pictures, and think back on my marathon experience, I become a bit teary. First, that my husband and I finished, what a great feeling, and incredible accomplishment (check that off the bucket list). Secondly, to be enveloped by such support and love from family, friends and random strangers is truly humbling. Lastly, to witness such strength in people is overwhelming. The human spirit is an amazing thing, and in the end, we did kick a little “assphalt.”
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