Monday, October 12, 2009


26.2 Miles. I have a newfound respect for the distance. Yesterday morning at 7am in the cold beach air I found myself looking out at a sea of runners. Everyone was facing one direction and I noticed a few old guys with their hats over their hearts. Our National Anthem played itself out in my head, and before it could finish I joined the thousands of people around me applauding. The NF Endurance Team had gathered bright and early. We all huddled together, a splash of bright yellow pumped and ready to run. We hugged our volunteers extra tight and wove our way to the start, flashes went off everywhere as the mass began to move forward and onward. Most of the team took off individually, everyone running their own pace and fighting their own fight. My friend Beth and I had made a pact to get each other to the half-marathon point, where she would finish strong and I would continue into the unknown waters of a full marathon...

The Might NF Endurance Team! Love all my family representing! I had family there from Las Vegas, San Francisco, and San Diego!

A marathon is a mental battle, after 3 or 4 hours of steady movement, you start to feel every little thing on your body and you get.... BORED. Around mile 15 my knee started to click with every step. By mile 16 I was unable to put any bounce in my run at all. I tried to focus my mind on the goal, but finally settled into a painful shuffle that most people would not define as running. Those people can kiss my butt. I told myself I would speedwalk for 5 minutes, then I would run, only to find it was not possible to run. I can push through any pain, but I knew if I ran my knee would just collapse.

My doubts started to eat away at my intent. As the miles slowly dragged by I started to calculate my finishing time in my head. I passed Holly and then Jen, they were coming the opposite way, at least an hour ahead of me! I was so proud of them! I had wanted to finish in 6 hours, and was now looking at a 7 hour finish! I searched longingly for each mile marker, and obsessively checked my stop watch, as though it would somehow make a difference. As mile 20 creeped up I saw Beth on the horizon! She came back for me! She had finished slow for her time too, her broken foot had held her back, but she came to keep me company for a mile and called Paul to tell him to come as well. After Beth headed home I kept pushing, looking over each hill for Paul... and then around mile 23 I saw his bright yellow CTF shirt and almost actually ran, imagine that. I wanted to cry but there is no crying allowed in running. I hugged him as tight as I could and we started walking together. I talked his ear off, filling him in on all of the inconsequential things I had seen over the last 6 hours. He held on tightly to my hand and I just thought, this is why I married him. He is my best friend. I wouldn't want to be here with anyone but Paul.

Finally, like a mirage, I saw Val and Shaleyah standing near the turn for the final stretch. I stopped to get hugs and used the energy to take off running, I saw my family cheering like crazy near the finish line. Paul said you could hear them a mile away! I reached them, grabbed my kids, and said RUN! Mica tottered on her little legs trying to keep up, my Nana jogged next to me and JT held on tight to my hand. I could feel Paul right on my heels, supporting me as always. All together we crossed that finish line! Suddenly it was over, they handed me a medal and everyone was taking pictures. I felt tears rim my eyes but blinked them away, no crying allowed!

Finishing the full marathon was an amazing accomplishment, and I raised over $3500 for CTF! It is not too late to donate, you can click the collage of my family I have lost to NF2 on the left to visit my Active Donation Page.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support me!

I finished! The clock time is for the 1st wave, my official time 6:50:30!!!

But wait! This post wouldn't be complete without thanking Bob Skold!! We had a blast this weekend and I totally talked his eyes off with my hands... he loved it HA! He said I always have a story... tis true!


Tanyetta said...

You are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

paul said...

you did great baby im so proud of you

Rebecca said...

Olivia, thank you for sharing such a touching story! I am so proud of you! Congratulations and good job! This is wonderful to read today and makes me very happy! Thank you for being such a brave soldier and working so hard to honor those of us living with and lost to NF2! You keep me motivated!

P.S. - crying is not bad. I lost the ability to cry for about 3 years and it was horrible not to be able to release that emotion - happy or sad. Fortunately, after my 2007 surgery, I was blessed to regain the function and now enjoy a good cry. It feels so great to be able to cry again! It is a natural gift and so don't be too proud to express emotion. The brave do not fear revealing their inner most self. So cry your heart out when you need to dear - you deserve it!

Rest and recoop well my friend so you can get back out on the trail again soon! Love ya! ;o)

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