Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May In Review

This morning's humid but great 4 miler brought my May training to a close.  Finishing my first marathon in May truly made me realize that I CAN and I WILL.  I was only able to realize this with the help of my amazing and supportive family and friends, particularly Dave.  What he did for me on May 15, 2011 was the most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me in my life.  He got me to that finish line where so many family and friends were waiting.  I will be forever grateful for his support and I know my friends and family have the same gratitude for Dave.  Of course I learned a few other things in May as well.   In an awesome 8 mile run with Deb, Kim, and Mellisa one week after the marathon I was reminded to run for the love of it.  During a 5K with Kaelynn, I realized that I can learn a lot through the eyes of a child, specificaly running for fun.  This weekend I was reminded to look in the mirror and be proud of my accomplishments.  I also realized that it isn't the end of the world that I didn't run 100 miles in May.  Yes, running 100 miles every month in 2011 was a fun goal to have but what I gained this month in knowledge, experience, and growth can never be replaced with a number. 

May Stats
78.81-- running miles
0-- elliptical miles
.86--  bike miles
79.67--  total miles
0 minutes-- rope skipping
156.8-- weight as of May 31, 2011

Current 2011 Stats
549.11-- running miles
17.8-- elliptical miles
.86-- bike miles
567.77-- total miles
1 hour and 55 minutes-- rope skipping

Overall, May was an incredibly successful month.  With the help and support of my family and friends, I completed my first marathon and I found my love for running again!  Thanks again to all of you that helped me find me again!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Looking Back At Cleveland Marathon's Past....

I participated in my third Cleveland Marathon event on May 15, 2011 in as many years.  Recently I have received a lot of compliments on my running stride, running form, and overall weight loss transformation.  I need to be proud of my accomplishments and realize that I have been very successful and I have great things to show for it.  I need to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.  It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where I am today.

2009 Cleveland 1/2 Marathon

2009 Finish

Welcome back to the world of running

2010 Cleveland Marathon

Embarking on my first 26.2 mile journey

Just shy of the finish line but still smiling

2011 Cleveland Marathon

Ready for redemption

Finishing what I started

Looking back on the past three years I have come to realize that we create our own success.  We lean on our friends for a helping hand but most of all...

In order to grow, we must get comfortable doing uncomfortable things...

To all of my friends that have challenged me to look in the mirror recently....THANK YOU!!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eagle Run 5K Race Report

This morning was the Eagle Run 5K.  Kaelynn and I headed to the local baseball stadium for the race.  Deb called and asked me to fill out registration forms for her and Ellie since they had decided to run today as well.  With forms filled out, Deb and Elli arrived at the stadium.  We took a few pictures and headed to the start line.

The girls showing off their Bondi Bands

All Smiles

Mothers and Daughters
The race started and I planned to run with the girls.  They were doing great the first mile.  Running when they felt like it and walking when they didn't.  As we approached the 1 mile mark, Ellie started running again while Kaelynn kept walking.  I knew Deb was up in front of us so I decided Ellie would be okay to go on her own and I stayed back with Kaelynn.  After we got to the turn around I could tell Kaelynn was frustrated.  I ask her why she was upset and she said she had a cramp and couldn't run and she was disappointed because all the other kids were passing her and she knew she could do better.  Yep, once again like mother, like daughter.  I'm pretty sure I said "I'm better than this" repeatedly at the marathon.  She was near tears and very frustrated.  At this point I walked with her and explained to her that it was okay because we all have bad days.  I reminded her that I have bad days too.  Afterall, it took me almost 6 hours to finish the marathon and I know I am perfectly capable of running a marathon in 4:30.  Of course her response to this made me laugh a bit because she said "yeah mom but a marathon is 26.2 miles".  I told her I realized this but what matters is that we finish what we started.  As we were walking I further confirmed that Dave has the patience of a saint.  He walked, ran, and encouraged me for almost six hours and here I was doing the same thing with my daughter.  The only difference was we weren't even out there for an hour.  We continued on and I kept reminding Kaelynn that this was supposed to be fun and if she wasn't having fun then we shouldn't be doing it.  She mentioned again that she was having fun but she just couldn't get rid of the cramp.  As we returned to the baseball stadium grounds Kaelynn started running some more.  I mentioned to her that we were almost done and she kept going.  As we approached the finish line she spotted her friend Olivia and took off sprinting.  Yep, like mother like daughter....remember my sprint at the end of the marathon when I spotted the clock?!?  As we ran to the finish line Jenn was holding up a sign, snapping pictures, and cheering for us.

Entering the field

Rounding the corner

Down the homestretch

Nothing but air

Almost there

Finishing what we started
We grab some pizza and gatorade and walked to the car to head home.  Once we got in the car I took the opportunity to talk to Kaelynn.

Me:  Did you have fun today Kaelynn? 
Kaelynn:  I was just frustrated because I had a cramp.
Me:  You did your best and I am proud of you.  What matters most is that you had fun because if it isn't fun anymore than you shouldn't do it. 
Kaelynn:  I did have fun mom, can we do it again next year?
Me:  Absolutely, I would do it again in a heartbeat!

It's amazing what you can learn about yourself through the eyes of a child.  I had flashbacks to the marathon today and realized I CAN do it.  There is a lot to be said for an unplanned teaching lesson and I will say it again...like mother, like daughter.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love you to the moon and back Kaelynn!  Thank you for helping me to realize I CAN and I WILL!!
I love you to the moon and back
Keep running, you're simply the best, and Kaelynn you inspire me to keep running fun!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday....Deb

This week's spotlight is on Deb.

I had the pleasure of meeting Deb back in April at the Hermes 10 Miler.  Afterall, she is one of the Cleveland 10 Miler Girls as Dave calls them!   Deb is great and I have had the pleasure to run with her a few times, this past Sunday included!  Without further delay I give you the question and answer portion of Thumbs Up Thursday!!

Jodi:  How long have you been running?
Deb: September 2009

Jodi:  Why did you start running?
Deb:  I walked the OROC 5K in September 2009 and was inspired by all of the runner's. I always wanted to try running, a couple days after the 5K I was at the Y and I started talking to Kimberly Wilton Jenkins about running. The next thing I know we met the next day to run in the Valley. I have been hooked ever since.

Jodi:  How many years have you been racing?
Deb:  My first 5K was the Halloween run in Lakewood in October 2009.

Jodi:  What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Deb:  I prefer the longer distances.

Jodi:  What is your favorite race memory?
Deb:  "Running" 9 miles on an ungroomed bridle trail for the Run with your Heart Trail Run - February 13, 2010. It was nothing that I had expected, I had only been running for 4 months and I had never run 9 miles before, let alone in knee deep snow! Was quite an experience..did it again this past year, I guess we are just crazy!

Jodi:  What is your least favorite race memory?
Deb:  I really don't have a "bad" race experience. All of the races are different and U have enjoyed each one for a different reason.

Jodi:  What is your proudest running moment to date?
Deb:  The Columbus 1/2 Marathon in October 2010. I signed up through the American Cancer Society Determination. I formed a team, Miles for Mom. My Mom passed away July 8, 2010 from Melanoma Cancer. I ran for her and for all of the other people fighting the horrible disease so they can have another birthday. My Mom passed away 20 days before her 68th birthday.

Jodi:  What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Deb:  My Garmin!

Jodi:  What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Deb:  GU for the long runs - other than that, lots of water!

Jodi:  What is your favorite post race snack?
Deb:  Light Muscle Milk (Chocolate, of course!)

Jodi:  Who do you admire most and why?
Deb:  I admire my Dad for taking such great care of my Mom when she was sick. He remained so strong for her and was by her side every second.

Jodi:  Do you have a favorite quote?
Deb:  "No matter how slow I run, I'm still faster than my couch."  ~Anonymous

Jodi:  Finish this statement, when I run I feel _________.
Deb:  comfort and peace. Running has been my therapy. I am forever grateful for my friends and the hours of counseling out on the trails.

Jodi:  What is your current goal?
Deb:  I have signed up with ACS Determination to run the Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2011. While the training might be tough, I am looking forward to the challenge. My good friend Mellisa Kingery will be running with me. I know with her strength and our determination we will finish strong.

Jodi:  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Deb:  I am so thankful I have met so many wonderful friends through running. It's amazing how one sport can bring us together and do what we enjoy!

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Deb!  Best of luck at the Chicago Marathon!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Deb YOU inspire ME!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

For The Love Of The Run

This morning I headed out for my first run since the marathon.  I was really looking forward to this run for a few reasons.  I was running with Mellisa, Kim, and Deb, I needed the run, and I was simply out there for the love of the run.  No time goals, no distance goals just running with friends!  In the end I ran 8.40 miles and felt great even though it was pouring rain for a lot of the run.  Today's run was thoroughly enjoyable and it reminded me why I started running again in the first place.  I run because I am passionate about it.  I run for my health.  I run to set an example for my children.  I run to spend time with my friends.  I run to meet new people.  I run for the memories.  And most importantly I was reminded today that I run for FUN!!

To share my passion with my children

To beam with pride when my daughter asks me to run a 5k with her
To finish what you started

To realize that you are in it together no questions asked
To spend time with  my friends

To help a friend achieve their goals
To shoot for the stars and have a story to tell
To meet new people

To keep running fun

For the love of the run!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday...RunjodiRun Edition

Each Thursday since June 2010 I have spotlighted the success of others.  I had the tables turned on me recently and was asked to answer my own questions for Girls Go Running (here).  Some of my past Thumbs Up Thursday spotlights have also asked me to answer my own questions.  With that being said, I give you Thumbs Up Thursday...runjodirun edition.

How long have you been running?

I ran with my parents when I was little. I followed that up by running all through high school. I continued running during my freshman and sophomore year of college and then I stopped because I had knee surgery and my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I didn’t start running regularly again until February of 2009 (14 years later) and have been running ever since.

Why did you start running?
I started running again because of a very unexpected death where I work. Seven year old Stephanie Lufkin passed a way suddenly in May 2008 of complications from ITP (a rare blood platelet disorder). In February of 2009 Team Stephanie was formed and the first event was to be the 2009 Cleveland Marathon. At first I was just going to run the 10K but then I realized that my pain for 13.1 miles was only temporary and Stephanie’s family had to live with the pain of losing her for the rest of their lives! I was so incredibly proud when I crossed that finish line in memory of Stephanie and had raised over $600.00 for ITP research.

How many years have you been racing?
I started racing again in April 2009 so I have been racing for about 2 years.

What is your favorite distance to race and why?
I love the 1/2 marathon because you don’t have to run all out like you do in a 5K and I feel I can really get into a good groove around mile 7!
"Uncle Joe" and I after my most recent 1/2 marathon- Nashville

What is your favorite race memory?
The Last Chance for Boston 1/2 Marathon. I went to Columbus to pace my friend Dave to his first sub 2 hour 1/2 marathon. Before the race Dave turned the tables on me and said we were going to try for sub 1:50 which would be a PR for me as well as him. The course was very unique as it was 13 one mile loops plus the .1 added on at the beginning. It was the perfect course to attempt a sub 1:50 on. We were on pace for awhile and then at mile 6 we looked at each other and laughed and decided to just get Dave across the finish line under 2 hours. I was quite relieved and even said: “Thank God”. At this point I knew it was my job to go back to being the pacer. When we hit our last mile I knew we would achieve Dave’s goal. It was such an awesome feeling to not only pace Dave to a sub 2 hour 1/2 but also witness his success. Dave was so appreciative and grateful which made the experience even more amazing! So, yes my favorite race memory is of running with a friend to help him achieve sub 2 hour 1/2 marathon status!!
Last Chance For Boston

What is your least favorite race memory?
Without a doubt it would be the 2010 Cleveland Marathon. It was my first DNF (did not finish) ever. My race ended in an ambulance at mile 25.52. My last memory prior to waking up in the ambulance was of mile 22. I was convinced I had gone down then. After getting the bill from my ambulance ride, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was correct in saying I knew I could see the finish line…yes, I could definitely see the finish line as it was .68 miles in front of me. 3 IV bags of fluids and a week offof work later, I slowly came to terms with it.

What is your proudest running moment to date?
 When I answered this question recently my answer was the 2009 Columbus 1/2 Marathon. I trained incredibly hard and my ultimate goal was to run sub 2:00:00. I was still doubting my ability to successfully achieve said goal up until the race started but in the end I crossed the finish line with a PR of 1:54:14 and although I set a new, 3 minute, PR in October 2010, Columbus will always be my proudest running moment.  However, after what I went through on Sunday I now have to say that finishing the 2011 Cleveland Marathon with Dave is my proudest running moment to date.
Dave and I after the 2011 Cleveland Marathon

What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
It used to be my Ipod because I couldn’t stand to listen to my breathing but I have taught myself to run without it at times so now I would have to say it is my handheld water bottle for any run over 8 miles.

What is your favorite fuel during a race?
My DNF at Cleveland was a result of poor fueling choices before and during the race. I have since found Power Bar Gels and Power Bar Gel Blasts and they work perfectly for me!! I am forever grateful to fellow blogger, Morgan of Caution RedHead Running, for introducing me to the Power Bar Products!!

What is your favorite post race snack?
I generally can’t eat right after a race but I really enjoy pizza and bananas!

Who do you admire most and why?
My mom. Simply stated she is my hero! She never missed a track or cross country meet during my high school career which says a lot because she worked full time and she would skip her lunch break more often than not to get to the meets before the starter’s gun went off. She was and still is my biggest cheerleader! I am truly honored to be her daughter.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I have several but my current favorite is “In order to grow, we must get comfortable doing uncomfortable things”. I can relate this to all aspects of my life and it really helps with my training because let’s face it, sometimes running is simply uncomfortable!

Finish this statement, when I run I feel___________.
invincible and proud

What is your current goal?
To have a PR performance at the 2011 Columbus Marathon.  I'm trying to convince Dave to run with me again....only time will tell!!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tears, Sweat, and Anxiety Attacks AKA Cleveland Marathon Part 2...The Race Report

Let’s pick up where we left off shall we? I had just awoken to the 4:30AM alarm and had no idea what was in store for me.

Before I go on I must warn you that this just may be the longest race report ever!!

I got out of bed and slowly started getting ready for the race. I was having a hard time deciding what shirt to wear because the weather was quite iffy. After what seemed like forever I decided on a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve layered over it. After the clothing decision was made I brewed a cup of coffee and grabbed my usual breakfast. As I was on the second half of my peanut butter bread, I realized I was having a hard time swallowing and I was overcome by a very unsettling feeling. It freaked me out so much that I walked out of the hotel room and paced up and down the hallway and then out of nowhere my heart started racing and I had my first of many anxiety attacks. Dave came out to check on me and he found me in tears trying to slow my breathing. He gave me a hug and talked me through it. I composed myself and went back into the room to finish getting everything I needed for the race. We were due to meet fellow bloggers in the lobby at 6:00AM which I was really looking forward to. I guess I was really excited because I almost walked out of the room without my Garmin. The excitement of meeting the rest of the bloggers and seeing everyone we had met from the night before kept my nerves at bay for just a little while. We had a mini photo shoot which helped calm the nerves as well.
Our back bibs from races2remember

Blogger pre-race meet up

After we were done with pictures I headed to use the restroom. Once I got back to the group I was hit by anxiety attack number two. I was completely freaking out and had thoughts of last year’s race running through my head. There I was standing with a group of people, some whom I had just met minutes earlier, sobbing. The group was amazing and talking me through it. We exchanged our final hugs and good lucks and headed towards the start line. Jenn stopped to pay for her parking and told us she would meet us at the 4:15 pace group. As we approached the stadium Dave needed to use the restroom so he split off and said he would meet me at the 4:15 pace group. I fought my way through the crowd and easily found my friend Bill, one of the 4:15 pacers, and his sister Julie and girlfriend Melissa. A few short moments later my phone rang and it was Nikki. She was trying to find our way to us. In the meantime I got a text from Jenn. She too was trying to locate us. Moments later Jenn walked up beside me and a few minutes later Nikki walked up behind me.  Jenn and I had our picture taken with Bill.

4:15 pacer
After the picture I shared hugs with Julie and Bill and finally realized that Angie was standing right behind me as well. I was so concerned about Dave making his way to us that I must have been totally zoned out. I was really stressing out and sent Dave a message telling him he was freaking me out because I couldn’t find him and after what seemed like forever I spotted Dave over on the side trying to make his way to me. When I realized he wasn’t going to be able to get in, I told Bill he was going to have to hug me since Dave couldn’t get to me. Bill joked that he didn’t realize his job description included hugging but he did oblige and gave me a hug. Right after the hug Dave motioned to me to head out and he would catch up with me. At this point I had mini anxiety attack number three complete with tears. Jenn gave me a hug and then the race started. I was running with Jenn while looking over my shoulder for any sign of Dave. Once I spotted him and he got to me I calmed down a bit. By this time, Bill was out ahead of us and we tried our best to catch up to him. By 1.5 miles into the race I was extremely hot and had to take off my long sleeve which was quite the process since I was wearing layers. It seemed a little odd to me that I was stripping off layers so early in a race. I honestly think this was my first subtle indicator of what was to come. Once we finished mile 2, I was a bit freaked out when I looked down at my watch and saw that our pace was 8:54. I even told Dave we needed to slow down. We got back to a reasonable pace before mile 3 chimed on my watch. I believe between miles 3-4 I had the pleasure of running into Elizabeth of Girls Go Running as well as Mary who was at last year’s marathon cheering me on! It was nice to see them out there. Shortly after seeing them I told Dave I needed to pee and of course we had just passed the port-o-potties. As we continued on the need to pee turned into a much more urgent need which of course I had to share with Dave. Sorry Dave, there’s no sugar coating gastrointestinal issues when it comes to running! Right after this Dave spotted Burger King and told me I needed to go in and use the restroom. I actually asked him if he thought they would let me in. I guess in hindsight it was a dumb question because there was a line for the bathroom when I walked in. As I waited as patiently as I could, a guy came out of the men’s restroom and I asked him if anyone was in there. He told me no and to go for it so I went ahead and used the men’s room. I would come to find out later that Dave had decided to use the bathroom as well and was quite concerned when he didn’t see me in the line. As it turns out I was in the men’s room when he was and he just didn’t know it. I felt much better after using the restroom and we continued on. We were now closing in on mile 5 and Dave asked how I was doing. I told him I just wasn’t feeling right and I was worried about what happened last year happening again, cue small anxiety attack number four. Between miles 6 and 7 we ran into Kelsey from dailymile and Megan and Carrie from Girls Go Running. Right before mile 7 I had a few other concerns that I shared with Dave and I promptly walked to the side of the course and proceeded to freak out. Anxiety attack number five was the worst of all. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was crying like a baby and I wanted to walk off the course right then and there. Dave talked me through it and let me cry on his shoulder. Oddly enough I found comfort in his sweaty tech shirt. If Dave hadn’t been there I can guarantee you I would have bailed at mile 7. I was overwhelmed, terrified, frustrated, pissed off, and disappointed in myself. I know I am a better runner than this. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t even run to the ½ marathon point of the race on Sunday without walking. I am pretty sure I apologized to Dave about 800 times. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Once again Dave managed to calm me down and we walked for a bit and I asked him to call my husband to let him know that I was okay but we were nowhere near on pace. It was at this point that the 4:30 pace group passed us, followed by the 4:45 pace group, and finally the 5:00 pace group. Once the 5:00 pace group passed us I said “oh hell no” and started running. I wanted to finish under 5:00 so badly but I couldn’t keep pace with them no matter how hard I tried. The biggest frustration at this point was that I wasn’t in a physical battle with myself instead I was in the biggest mental battle of my life. Somehow we made it to mile 8 at which point I told Dave he could go if he wanted to. He gave me one look and said “um yeah, fu** you”. I was a bit in shock but I quickly realized that he was trying to get me to laugh and get my mind off the battle at hand. He told me we were in it together and we were going to finish it together. At this point I told Dave this was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and once again he gave me a supportive hug and we pressed on through miles 9 and 10 with a combination of running and walking.

At the end of mile ten I realized I was starting to get really cold. I was so glad that I still had my long sleeve shirt tied around my waist. So for the second time during the race I was shedding layers. The only difference was this time I was doing it in order to add more layers back on. I had to put my short sleeve on top so that my race bib would keep registering at all of the mats along the course. Fortunately putting back on a layer helped. As we were running towards mile 11 I told Dave that this didn’t count and we would in fact need a do-over, a mulligan of the marathon as you will. Yes, I hadn’t even crossed the finish line and I was already talking about the next time. I think it was also at this point that Dave told me since he was running a marathon with me, I had to learn how to swim to which my response was “oh hell no”. As we went up and over a bridge another runner asked what bridge it was and I angrily replied “hell.” Dave kind of laughed and mentioned that he thought it may be Ontario to which the runner replied “Ontario, that’s where I’m from, now that’s hell”. It made me laugh which was much needed. Another runner mentioned that we were almost done to which I angrily replied “yeah, you are”. He then looked at my bib and realized it was a marathon bib and kind of backed away from me. I was just in a bad place at that point I guess. As we came off the bridge and down a hill towards mile 12 Morgan and Jen B. were there cheering for us like crazy. I was so happy to see them. We stopped when we got to them and Dave told Morgan that I really needed a hug.

Much needed hug at mile 12
The hug truly lifted my spirits. I spent a few minutes telling the girls about the mental battle I was having with myself.

Talking about my struggles
They gave me a pep talk and they sent us on our way. As we started running again we heard Morgan on the bullhorn “Dave, keep Jodi going, smack her butt”. It was too funny and of course Dave followed through which made me laugh a bit more. After running for a bit I needed to walk again. As we were walking I saw Spike and Beth AKA B.O.B on the sidewalk. I called out to them and we stopped to talk with them as well. B.O.B had finished the half marathon and Spike was walking her back to find Morgan and Jen B. I mentioned that I was having a really hard time with the course and its history. B.O.B gave me a hug and Spike told me it happens to all of us but all that mattered was getting to the finish line and it didn’t matter how I got there. He even told me of his frustrations at Boston when his race wasn’t going the way he wanted it to. I became very overwhelmed again and proceeded to have anxiety attack number six. I immediately sunk into Dave’s tech shirt and started crying and Spike put his hand on my arm and offered silent encouragement. Once I composed myself I rubbed my hand on Spike’s Boston jacket to get a little Boston energy and Dave and I moved on once again. By this point we were closing in on finishing the first ½ of the race. I remember mentioning to Dave that I knew I could run a ½ marathon and I really wanted to run the entire second half. Of course that didn’t last as long as I thought it would as I slowed us to a walk again before mile 14. I am pretty sure Dave called my husband with an update at this point. Between miles 14-15 there was music but it was very slow music which would have been fine at a wedding reception but certainly not at this point in a marathon. As if the music wasn’t bad enough the rain decided to pick up. Dave and I pretty much looked at each other and said “you have got to be kidding me.” At this point, I looked over at Dave and noticed it looked like he may be tearing up so I asked him what was up and he told me his glasses were fogging up and he was having a hard time seeing in the rain. I told him he was lying but I let it rest. Right after this we were almost taken out by some crazy driver that decided to come onto the course going the wrong way. Pretty sure we were within 20 feet of our death. We managed to survive and came across the woman at the water stop that said great job number 1718. I have been waiting for you. I have been waiting for you too number 344, great job. It was too funny when Dave told her she could go ahead and go home now since we had arrived. Miles 15-18 weren’t overly eventful we just kept pressing on doing what we had to do to move forward. I was still really disappointed in myself and frustrated because it wasn’t going according to plan. As we were approaching mile 19 I told Dave that I was going to be freaking out pretty soon because I was terrified of the 20’s due to last year’s experience. I had anxiety attack number 7 at this point and once again Dave had my back and offered up that sweaty tech shirt with no questions asked. After I had collected myself, Dave suggested that we run for a bit and I agreed. We ran off and on until mile 22. At this point Dave looked at me and asked me what that flag in front of us said. My response was 22. He then asked me what my name was. My response was Jodi. He asked me what his name was. My response was Dave. He then said okay good you know where you are and who we are so we are going to finish this! Each mile after 22 was a huge victory for me. I was able to run more at this point. I would tell Dave I wanted to run to the light up there, the stop sign up there, the marathon sign up there. It really helped to keep me focus. As we passed the 23 mile marker I said. I see mile 23 and I remember it. The same thing would happen for miles 24 and 25. I was so excited to realize that I was going to make it to the finish line. We walked at mile 25 for a short while because that is the mile that had the biggest impact on me last year. Dave called my husband one final time to let him know that we would be finishing soon. Shortly thereafter we were approaching the 25.52 mile mark and Dave looked at me and said let’s run this in to the finish. As we were coming down the hill towards the finish line we came upon a girl that was really struggling. We kept encouraging her and then she burst into tears. We weren’t really sure what to do so we just kept running. We came to the mile 26 sign and out of the corner of my eye I saw Deb and Nikki and I ran towards them. They jumped on the course to run us into the finish.

Approaching the finish line
I looked up at the clock and kind of started to sprint (which I had told Dave I wouldn’t do) because I wanted the clock in the finish line pictures to have a 5 on it not a 6. Yes, I realize that my chip time was much faster but my brain wasn’t working that way. As we were approaching the finish line Dave asked me how I was going to hold his hand if I was holding something. I handed Nikki my water bottle and grabbed Dave’s hand.

Moments before crossing the finish line of the 2011 Clevleand Marathon
As we got to the finish mat Dave told me to raise my hands and with that we had just finished the Cleveland Marathon TOGETHER! I immediately put my hands to my knees and started sobbing. I glanced over to see my daughter with a very worried look on her face and I told her I was fine. I then shared a very emotional hug with Dave. He had got me to the finish line and I was so incredibly thankful for him. I proceeded to hug Nikki and my kids and finally my best friend, Deb. I was once again brought to tears when she embraced me and said “you did it, I’m so proud of you”. At this point I realized I had just run my victory lap. I conquered the demons from last year and in the end I beat Cleveland.

Embracing my son
In hindsight, running the same course I passed out on last year proved to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I had no idea how hard it would be to conquer last year’s demons. So many memories came flooding back on the course. I know I can only speculate but I am pretty sure I would have been fine on any other course.

In the end I achieved my ultimate goal of finishing the 2011 Cleveland Marathon upright and smiling with A LOT of help from an amazing friend. I know you don’t think you did anything Dave but as I have said to you several times now, what you did for me on Sunday was the most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me in my life. THANK YOU just isn’t enough to explain the magnitude to which I am forever grateful to you for making the sacrifice you made Sunday to help me achieve my goal.

Dave and I had planned to go to Coleone’s after the race for some pizza to which Deb promptly told us we were to be at my house at 3:00. We told her we would likely be late since none of us had showered yet and we needed to check out of the hotel. When we got back to the hotel we met up with Joanna one last time to recap our races.

We finished

My rock for all 26.2. Thank you Dave
Soon we were all showered and ready to head back to my house. When we got to the house we were surrounded by friends and Coleone’s pizza! They also had a cake for us. We talked about the race and I flat out said that I would never run another event at the Cleveland Marathon again. I told them I would run other marathons just not in Cleveland.
The marathon cake

Dave and I at the end of the day
Once everything was said and done I found it very interesting to talk to others. Several people told me that when they heard I was going to run the Cleveland Marathon again after last year’s experience they were really worried about me but none of them wanted to say anything to me before the race. I guess I didn’t realize the magnitude of what I was getting myself into. The thing is I’m stubborn and I guess I wanted my revenge on the marathon and running Cleveland again would make my revenge even sweeter.

Yes, I conquered my Cleveland demons. Yes, I finished my first marathon. No, I am not done. I am just getting started. Watch out Columbus Marathon I’m coming after you!

Keep running, you’re simply the best, and you inspire me!!