Regular readers may remember that I claimed at a December party that I was going to run the 10k (6.2 miles) at the Little Rock Marathon in March this year; then I discovered that there is no 10k. My old, pre-Lyme disease self could have easily done the next race down, the 5 k, so instead I opted for the half marathon: 13.1 miles. I am a woman who has fought Lyme for the better part of a decade. I am most definitely middle-aged now, by any actuarial charts. I am on the chubby side, thanks to inactivity during my fight with Lyme. I got a positive diagnosis for the infection when it was thoroughly embedded in my system from muscles to heart to brain six years ago, on March 4, 2005. I started long-term high doses of antibiotics six years ago from today, on March 7, 2005. I’m ready to say goodbye to Lyme.
Yesterday I completed the half marathon, running and walking, in a little over three hours. I know I was close to the back of the pack, but my goal time was to finish in four hours, and I beat my anticipated time per mile by about 4 1/2 minutes and my total time by almost an hour. Mr. Homesteader kindly walked to various points around the course to cheer me on. I first realized I was doing better than my goal when I hit the 5-mile mark at 9:10. I’d hoped to be there by 9:15 or 9:20. I knew I was doing okay when I crossed the 10k mark. I had planned on stopping running then but kept alternating running and walking. When I hit the 8.5 mark where a friend was serving water, I was more than 20 minutes ahead, despite a bathroom stop with a long delay at a portapotty long about mile 7. I really started to hurt as I got close to the governor’s mansion–my twisted ankle, my pinched nerves in my feet–so I pulled out my Ipod, up until then just used for my clock, and I inserted one earbud and listened to Harry Potter and his introduction to Quidditch. That was enough to distract me, and within a mile I’d pulled the earbud back out and was enjoying the cheerers again. Then we hit Chester Street. There at Chester and 7th is Vino’s legendary pizza. The aroma of pizza and faint scent of beer reached my nostrils. I almost stopped. I kept going, though, although by that point I was now down to running two minutes out of every ten.
Then I hit the lipstick stop. It’s famous as the only one on marathon courses. I don’t wear lipstick in my day-to-day life, much less when I’m sweating. I thought one of the volunteers there was going to block my way until I convinced her that I really did not want lipstick. By then I knew I was within a quarter mile of the finish line. And when a fellow runner/walker I’d had the opportunity to chat with on the course several times told me it would be easy to run the rest of the way in (thanks, Zora!), I did. Only I really ran it, and she jogged, so she is not in this picture. That’s me, in the black fleece. I’m crossing the line. I’m not really that wide; I had my gloves and headband stuffed in the pockets of my oversized pullover.
In retrospect, knowing what I know now about how close I was to breaking three hours, I wish I’d run just a little more and somehow avoided the potty stop. Maybe next year?
Thanks to all of my readers who provided so much encouragement and who have patiently waited as I traded adding recipes here for miles to my shoes. I should know soon if I’ve succeeded in really, finally beating Lyme.
P.S. Mr. Homesteader took me to Vino’s after I’d showered and changed at the hotel. Other runners were in there wearing their medals, all from the marathon relay. I wish I’d worn my half-marathon medal in! They all looked a lot younger than me, and I was so happy to know I’d run (and walked) further. :-)