Lady Biker Runs a Half Marathon…And Answers One of Life’s Most Important Questions

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
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So I’ve had this goal for a long time – not a dream, exactly because it would be more of a nightmare, but a goal – and that’s to run a marathon before I’m 50. So, without going into exactly how old I am, let’s just say that it’s time to get moving. And the first move was a half marathon.

I had originally planned to run the Big D Half Marathon, but things didn’t exactly work out for that. And once they didn’t work out, neither did I – meaning I kind of abandoned my training regimen. But I didn’t abandon my dream. So The Big D day dawned stormy and rainy and cold and I was SO grateful I’d opted not to pay money for the event. But as it turned out, the balance of the day was perfect for running so, once the last serious rain shower had passed, I took off with my iPod set to my “Running Tunes” playlist and Nike Trainer letting me know how much further I had till I was home.

13.1 miles on a bike is a handy distance. It’s definitely not a long ride but neither is it a trip to the corner store. On two feet, 13.1 miles is akin to what William Walton experienced at the hands of the English and at about 12 miles, you’re thinking about how you wish you’d taken whatever drug it was that would keep you from feeling everything they’re doing to you. In fact, at mile 12, even Led Zeppelin wasn’t making me happy I was still alive. It was all pain and age and miles and people honking like they couldn’t tell I was about to die and honking didn’t make it better. I mean, when has a “thumbs up” ever been listed as any kind of medicine. Now, if they’d REALLY wanted to be helpful they would have tossed me a beer, but who parts with a beer in Irving on a Sunday afternoon?

So, I’m running really far and I’m really tired and everything hurts really badly and I’m contemplating the series of events that have led me here. The question I landed on, that I contemplated for the last hour of my run was this: why? Why, why, why?

When I was a little kid, I clearly remember asking my Mom – over and over – why? Why, why, why? Why, Mother? Then, once I became a Mom, I was asked the same question: Why, Mom? Why did he do that? Why is this that way? Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green (or, in our case, brown)? All questions I couldn’t answer. I fell back on my mom’s answer to me. “Just because.” Or, if she wasn’t in a good mood, “Because I said so.” That was actually the point in time I decided I wanted to be a Mother – because they were able to just say something and make it so.

Back to life’s question. Why? Why was I doing something that was causing physical pain? Why was I doing something that no one really cared about – except to be glad it was me and not then? Why had I gotten it into my head that there was some kind of significant reason to do this? Why? Why, why, why?

I made it home – stumbled, rather. In fact, either because my GPS is off just a bit or because of the way the streets meander, I actually finished about a quarter mile from the house. That meant I was through running but still had to get to the house. I actually thought about calling Tim and asking him to pick me up but pride intervened…thank God. I mean, how embarrassing would that be? I just ran 13.1 miles and cannot go another step so come get me for the last 100 yards!

Anyway, once I was home and sipping the beer no one had been kind enough to throw me, I had a chance to analyze things. Why? Why do we do what we do? I asked my father why I’d done something like that. (I rarely asked him the “why” question growing up because, as a chemistry professor, his answers often involved logic, reasoning, and science, three things I avoid religiously.)

He replied, not like a scientist, but like a father: because we take pleasure from setting challenges for ourselves, then achieving them. I suppose that’s why, at 82 years of age, he’s still kicking pretty hard. It’s about challenges.

I also suppose that’s part of the reason for me. It’s why I rode an Iron Butt (1,000 miles in 24 hours) on my own a year ago. It was for the challenge. It was also because someone very close to me (who shall remained unnamed, except to say he’s sometimes referred to as “Honey”) told me it was really hard and I had no idea how much work it would be. It was basically a gauntlet being thrown down. Turned out it wasn’t that hard after all and I realized that, while Tim (oops…not that Tim is the one who told me I shouldn’t do an Iron Butt because I had no idea how hard it was) is a great rider – much better than me – I’m in pretty good shape and have more endurance on the bike than he has.

The same was true with the run, except that Tim really encouraged me to do it. When I was having second thoughts because I’d slacked off on my training and the weather was bad early in the day, he reminded me of just how important it had been to me and how much I’d talked about it. He was right. It was important. Why? I don’t really know. Just because, I guess.

So that’s the story of how a Lady Biker got a thrill out of going a modest distance on two feet instead of two wheels.

Oh, by the way, later that evening, we rode the bikes up to spend time with friends. I’d had a short nap, three Advil, and was almost completely myself again. I guess 13.1 miles wasn’t that much after all. But I sure am glad I did it.

Now, as for the marathon. Right now that’s a little bit like asking a woman who’s just had a baby how many more she’s going to have. But I’ve had more than one baby. I know I’ll feel better about it later. And there’s still time before the drop-dead date of 50 years old to make my decision. The pain always goes away and you’re left with the sense of accomplishment. Feels good!

Until next time, wheels down and eyes up.

  1. Dear Gwynne,
    I am proud of you. With your commitment, there was no doubt that you were going to do it.

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