Part 3: My grandfather’s letter, the metaphor of the marathon, the KTLA coverage, the family support.  The will to try again…How something this bad…can be this fun.  What my coach gives me.  Every day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s Wednesday, and I am trying to make sense of the weekend.  The high hopes, the dashed dreams. 

And, really…in perspective, I simply have to let go.

When I got to my parent’s house on Sunday, I was incredibly pale, and my littlest sister (mile 20) made me a grilled cheese sandwhich with chips.  Lots of chips.  2 regular Cokes.  I had a horrible headache.  I took a shower, put on my compression socks.  Sat in the chair.  Trying to make sense of my day.  My middle Wineyard sister showed up with her family.  They had been in Santa Monica.  All. Day.  It was a long day for everyone.  Troopers!!!

When I got the finisher’s medal, it was very anticlimatic.  I got the medal, I had to look for a mylar blanket, I had to go to the Medic as promised.  They cleared me quickly, but I forgot I was supposed to check in at all the medic stations on the course.  I wandered around.  I walked down to the beach, to the finisher’s area.  I sat under the letter V.  I was sitting next to a guy with headphones on, just chilling.  There were a few of us there.

I saw the baggage check trucks.   And then, my family found me.  And they hugged me and told me how proud of me they were.  I was pretty upset.  But, it was the way they again held me up.  I was so grateful.

As the day went on, and the family continued to stream in and inquire as to how I was, I realized that I was so lucky to have them.

  • My grandfather’s letter:  Later in the evening, my father came to me with tears in his eyes.  He told me that he was so proud that I got to the finish line.  He reminded me that I work with students who have no one waiting for them at the finish line.  That I should use this experience of the marathon bonk, as a metaphor for what they could accomplish.  That I got up.  That I continued when it was ugly.  That I put my pride aside for the better good, and got to the end.  Then, he went and got a letter he had saved from when he was in college.  It was from my Grandpa.  The letter told my Dad the same thing he told me.  Get up.  Get along with people.  Finish strong.  That he was so proud of my Dad for graduating from college.
  • KTLA Coverage of the LA Marathon: My parents DVR’d the Marathon coverage.  It was so amazing to see the very race I was in.  To see the elite women and men.  To see the hill.  They kept saying that Heartbreak Hill in Boston was 80 ft, while mile 4 (?) was 90 feet.  They kept the cameras on that mile all morning.  It was truly a joyous morning to watch all three hours of it.  My hat is off to the LA Marathon.  What a beautiful course.
  • My coach: The day before the marathon, he sent me the most lovely email I’ve ever received…because I’ve never been athletic in my life.  Ever.  And, what he gave me in that letter I will save forever.  My mother is the only person I’ve let read it.  So, I was in good shape.  He believed in me, and I believed in me.  When I finally got to my car after the race, I got this text from him. I had to deal with his concern in my head from mile 6-8.  I had finally tried to stop worrying that he was worried.  He’s my coach, after all.  It’s sort of his job.  But, the reason I love this man, is that even with all the blood, sweat and tears, and trying to sort everything out, he is wicked smart.  He knew something was wrong when he got my first 10K splits.   I trust him implicitly.  The text simply said,
    • Talk to me, goose.

And I’ve talked, and he’s listened, and I listened, and he’s lifted me up.

In these final moments of wrestling with the marathon, I am at peace with what happened, and it wasn’t my day.  I learned a lot.  There’s a lot of love in running.  The fact that I’m considering doing it again at all is amazing.  I got a cake from my nephew.  I got beautiful emails, texts, calls, bloggy love.  But, this one…my favorite…from my neice’s husband, Glenn.  (I sent him a picture of me, with Frank McCourt, and here is his reply)

That picture is AWESOME!!!! You…sister…look SMOKIN’ HOT!   Whatever it is you’ve been doing–keep doing it– You look beyond fantastic! FYI– you’re supposed to say, “Right?” to that… 🙂

Anyway, on to the point of this email–

Just so you know, Liane and I are SO incredibly PROUD of you for what you accomplished today.  I know you didn’t meet the goal you set for yourself…and that is probably very disappointing for you…but you TOUGHED IT OUT, you finished what you started, and nowadays that is VERY rare.

Seriously…you were hurt…your goal was out of reach…you had medics giving you EVERY REASON  to quit and YOU FINIHSED.

That is something to be very VERY proud of, Linda…

So please, Please, PLEASE — take pride in what you accomplished today.  Enjoy it and try to bask in it a little…you DESERVE IT and you EARNED IT.

You are awesome…and we LOVE YOU !!!!!!

XOXO L & G

And this, from my father:
Hi all,
 
Linda ran in the LA Marathon last Sunday.  I’m attaching some pictures taken at the dinner the night before the race and one of Linda, DD, and I after the race.
 
Linda made arrangements with the guy in charge of the dinner for DD to meet the rich and famous.  DD didn’t know about the meeting.  Because DD has been a long time USC fan, Pete Carroll was a plus.
 
We were quite proud of Linda because she got very ill at mile 19, but refused to let the paramedics take her to the hospital.  Instead, she recovered and finished the race.
 
Don & DD

 

And then.  The final message from my AA sponsor.  That maybe it really wasn’t all about me…: 

Today, you gave your parents the daughter you were meant to be.

 

Who wouldn’t want to do this again?

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12 thoughts on “Sometimes You Just Let Go: LA Marathon Race Report, Part 3

  1. Such the pupil! I am glad you have come to see that. Much Love for you Ms. V! Just remember, it took the first round, the belt is YOURS!

  2. You got a good family there. My favorite part of the Akron Marathon is the bend right before the course enters Canal Park for the finish. That is where my family has watched me run for the past three years. I can’t wait to do it again. Even if I don’t get my four-hour goal. We sports fans know there’s always next year. Cheers!

  3. Linda be incredibly proud of yourself for the fight you fought within yourself this past Sunday! A marathon is never easy on a good day and when you’re having a bad day death sometimes seems like the beat option. You fought hard & dug deep, which isn’t an easy thing to do under the circumstances you were dealing with that day. Let you body and mind heal a bit and I know you will get that PR you’ve been working so hard for 🙂

  4. Again… I will be thrilled to have HALF this much heart in San Diego. It doesn’t scare me, my sweet friend, it inspires me. YOU inspire me. You always have.

  5. Girl, I’ve been sick at a race half that length and literally thought I was going to do. To keep going a finish the full is nothing short of an amazing feat. I agree with your sponsor on one hand, because you put your mind to something and you saw it all the way to fruition. You trained, you put in the time, and you put in your heart and soul-but in the short time I’ve known you I think you are a pretty amazing daughter, mother, sister, and friend. You always encourage others, make people smile, and most importantly, do the right thing. I think you have been the daughter any parents would dream of having for a very long time-Sunday was just icing on the marathon cake. You go girl.

  6. Girl, I’ve been sick at a race half that length and literally thought I was going to die. In my head, it was over. To keep on truckin’to finish the full is nothing short of an amazing feat. I agree with your sponsor on one hand, because you put your mind to something and you saw it all the way to fruition-without anything getting into your way or stopping you. You trained, you put in the time, and you put in your heart and soul into the race-but in the short time I’ve known you I think you are a pretty amazing daughter, mother, sister, and friend. You always encourage others, make people smile, and most importantly, do the right thing. I think you have been the daughter any parents would dream of having for a very long time-Sunday was just icing on the marathon cake. You go girl.

    It remins me of the quote “walk when you have to, crawl when you must-just never, ever, give up.”. You didn’t and you should be more proud of yourself than if you got that PR-because you finished something less than 1% of people IN THE WORLD have done or can do.

    Keep on, keepin’ on!

    Ali

  7. We always learn more from the marathons that don’t go our way than from all the ones that do! This goes both for the marathon as well as the marathoner. You showed more heart out there any any of us that run 3 hour marathons. I am totally humbled by your experience. Very inspirational, Mrs. V.! Thank you!

  8. My Linda,

    I am a hiker. Out of shape one, but a biker and a hiker. Even the best hikers get altitude sickness. For no apparent reason. your big adventure in marathoning amazes me.

    I remember walking 26 miles once for charity and I was beat!

    Your friends have said it best. What a model person you are for all you know and for your students. Congratulations, “Finisher”.

    I love the pic of you and your parents. Give them a hug for me.

    Beth

  9. ok, I am not reading your blog posts anymore because you keep making me CRY! (obviously I’m kidding.) Wow, Linda…what an incredible roller-coaster you rode that day but you rode it all the way to the end and for that, you are a superstar. Your strength, heart, determination and humor are pure inspiration to us all. Congratulations on your marathon, Linda!!

  10. I just skipped over here from Glenn’s post today… I haven’t even read your race recap. From this post I gather it was tough and by default as a runner, my heart went out to you… and then I read the last line of this post. And then I broke into tears. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by one single sentence in all my life. I don’t know your story but I can tell you this, yesterday my brother was sentenced to a fairly lengthy prison term thanks to his addiction problems and I would give anything in the world for him to get his life together and have someone say that very thing to him. Congrats to you for finishing what sounds like a very challenging marathon (I’ll go read the details after this) but more importantly I applaud you for finding you and becoming the best you, the you that you were meant to be.

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