lo hicimos

~

OK, friends. Here’s the deal. I have a LOT to tell you about this whole half marathon ordeal. Like a lot. Like enough that I could probably stop writing about anything else and just talk about this until the end of the year. But don’t worry; I won’t. We’ll leave the running talk to Luau. Well, soon.

You see, this running thing – it really is a metaphor for our journey. And running without any training or preparation whatsoever, having no idea what to expect and making it up as you go along? Well, yeah, that’s kind of a metaphor for the journey too. And running at a pace so radically different from the crowd that you can’t help but realize that your journey looks really, really different from theirs? Yup, that too. And defiantly eschewing the embarrassment of standing out (in this case because you’re so far behind everyone else that you’re actually running in the opposite direction)? Uh huh. And realizing that even though we’re all running our own race, we’re in it together – even when we are so far ahead or so far behind the crowd that we THINK we are alone? Yup.

And cheering for each other, crying with each other, stopping to check in with friends who are struggling? Uh huh. And carrying each other’s children – like the Caped Crusader who pulled me aside at the starting line to show me MY baby’s name on her cape (and who therefore had me crying before the race even started)? Yeah, like that.

And waiting at the finish line for an hour after everyone else comes in and celebrating the victory of finishing without regard to how long it might have taken to get there? Yup. And realizing that meeting the mile markers on time isn’t what matters? Yeah, that.

Or thinking while watching the ‘real’ runners power through their races that they’re missing the ocean and the butterflies and the funny banter with the volunteers? That maybe, just maybe, as slow and plodding and difficult as your journey is, the very fact that it’s NOT a race might just make it richer? Yup.

And being part of a community – the Autism Community, the Running Community, the Human Community? Well, that too.

Or being pulled in by friends who have long finished their races and have come back for you – come back for you! – friends who you never would have known were it not for autism, for this community? And swallowing your pride, being OK with needing their love and support to get you over the line? Yeah, definitely that.

I could tell stories for days. About the water stations and the cops. About how after a while I was so far behind that there was literally no one in sight ahead of me so I asked each and every one of them if I was winning.

About the guy walking ahead of me who I actually caught at the first turnaround when he started to drag. The guy who I tapped on the shoulder and to whom I said, “Excuse me, I know you don’t know this, but well, we’re actually in this together.” And how he looked at me really strangely and I figured I had nothing to lose so I carried on, “You see, your job is to stay ahead of me. And my job is to try to catch you. So you’re going to need to get moving.” And how he smiled and shrugged and took off. And how it made me think of all of us. And how sometimes we feel really, really alone on this journey, but how there’s ALWAYS someone behind us (except when we are actually dead last on the race course, but ya know, in life) and how it’s our job to keep putting one foot in front of the other, not just for us, but for them. Because even though we don’t always see it, we are forging a path. About how he eventually got so far ahead of me that I couldn’t see him anymore and I really questioned my judgement in pushing him along.

About the EMS guys. The ones who escorted me in for the last mile or so, not because they thought I might pass out (but only because I didn’t tell them that really, I might pass out) but because I was last so they had to follow me in before they could call it a day (along with the cops, the sweeper truck and my friends, we were quite a sight.) About how the one guy, when the finish line was finally in sight thought he was a comedian and said, “Don’t worry, only about two and a half more miles to go,” and how I turned around and said, “With all due respect, I really, really, REALLY appreciate everything you guys have done today, but @#$& you,” and how it turned out that he was the boss so no one ever talks to him like that and well, it was pretty damned funny and one of them swerved so hard laughing that I thought he might dump his bike and how the laughter was healing and energizing and so desperately needed.

About my friend Judith. About how she passed me (going in the other direction) somewhere around mile eight for me and mile ten for her and how she ran across the road and hugged me and how when she realized I was struggling (ok, crying, whatever) she asked me if I wanted her to stay with me. “I will,” she said. About how I know that she really would have. About how I sent her packing, but Jesus, who does that?

About all of my friends. Holy hell, my friends. I’m not going to try to list them because I’m tired and I’ll forget someone and then I’ll feel awful all day, so I’m just going to say this to my friends –  I love you. I hope to God I give you a quarter of what you give me.

And my husband. My hero. Who ran well over twenty miles yesterday in a thirteen mile race. Who finished but refused to cross the finish line until all of us had. Who ran the last half mile of the course again and again and again – with anyone he knew or with anyone wearing a Team Up for Autism Speaks jersey. Who ran them all in. Until he got a text from his wife that said, “I’m struggling.”

Who responded immediately with, “I’m coming to you. Where are you?” And who came. Who ran like the wind after running God knows how many miles already. Who, when he found me shuffling just past mile eleven and the cop who didn’t think I was funny said, “I’m here. We got this. YOU got this,” and who brought me in step by pained step. Who infuriatingly still looked like he could run the whole thing again. And who could have.

About my husband who is my hero.

So yeah, I could write for days. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll post my own version of a race recap. Ready? Here goes ..

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As ready as I’ll ever be

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With my friends Jersey and Sassy who are actual runners – pretending to be one of them. Sing with me, “One of these things is not like the others ..”

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Trying to stay under 16 minutes a mile. Trying.

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Sucking at math comes in handy sometimes. (I thought I was under 16 minute miles. Um, no.)

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Incidentally, I have no idea why the mile markers all said, “Normal” under them. I can assure you, there was nothing ‘Normal” about any of those miles.

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(No, they hadn’t actually turned off the timers. This one must just not have been working. I was apparently feeling a little defeatist at this point in the race.)

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Psst .. you know it’s bad when there’s no wise ass commentary. Not a good sign. 

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At this mile marker, I may or may not have tried, unsuccessfully, to find sympathy from a state cop. I was desperate. I tried for a laugh. He was unimpressed. Can’t win em all I guess, even when you’re losing. 

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At least he had a sense of humor. That’s right, Statey. I’m lookin’ at you.

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That might be the dorkiest picture in the history of the world, but damn, I was lovin me some blue haired guy at that point.

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Seriously, I know you can’t tell from the picture, but I scared the crap out of him when I screamed, “DO NOT MOVE THAT SIGN PLEASE!” I did say please. 

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She was soon joined by about six others. And three police cars. And the sweeper van.

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The fact that 2,180 of you took the time to ‘like’ this picture is mind-blowing to me. However, every single one of you was out there with me. So thank you. 

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And there you have it, my friends. The story of Jess’s half marathon.

Just one note: If anyone asks me today when I’m doing this again, I *will* find the strength in this aching body to kick em. Hard.

Thank you all for your love and support. I never would have stayed off that damned sweeper without it.

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56 thoughts on “lo hicimos

  1. You are amazing! My moment was Cullen deciding he would run that last half mile and did so at a runner’s pace,not a typical kid would ( slip of the tongue there ) he had his Team Coco shirt on and everyone was cheering for him and using the noise makers and the percussion outfit cheered etc etc etc. Next year I am really doing it because I am starting training now. I was so proud of my little sister who has never ran 13.1
    miles and our other Team Coco participant who doesn’t know Cullen. I could go on forever. The experience moved me. I think it is sincerely amazing that you finished. I hope you are proud of yourself :)

  2. You were amazing! As I commented yesterday on FB, when you were about 2 or 3, you used to say, “But Mama, I’m trying harder than I can” and yesterday, you certainly did that!

    Love you,
    Mom

  3. This is the best post ever! I am so so so proud of you. How in the hell did you keep your sense of humor thoughout that? You are awesome. Your girls should be proud of you! and they are anyway you know!? So is your husband, because you are awesome. I said that right?

  4. You. Rock.
    In case you needed to hear that.
    I love what you did yesterday in the name of our children. But mostly I love you for what you did for you.
    Congratulations on having your first half marathon under your belt. One foot in front of the other.

  5. I haven’t had coffee yet so I hope this comment is in complete sentences, but a reply can’t wait. First, as God is my witness I promise to NEVER again force you to stop for pictures when you are in oh-my-lord-I-just-did-it post race mode!! And as for finishing last, I can’t tell you how many times in my running life I have finished last. Not fun to hear the authorities behind you talking to each other on their radios….”Hey — do you have the last one in your sights?” That kind of thing. But for all of the reasons you mentioned in your post, first and foremost your family, last matters just as much (or more) than first! Lastly, I know the last place you and Luau want to be is on anyone’s pedestal, but everything about this weekend reinforced what I already knew after so many tweets, FB exchanges, and emails. You’re the real deal, and I am more grateful than I can say to have shared time with you “in real life.”

  6. 13.1 miles – Huge. You did it. As my late (fabulouswonderfulamazing) Daddy would often say about our beloved Red Sox “It wasn’t pretty, but it is still a W.”
    You are a winner.

  7. You have done a half marathon! Do you get that?A HALF MARATHON!!!! With no training. You,Jess,are awesome. Your husband is pretty awesome too. And your friends.

  8. Hooray for you for finishing. I always tell my kids that “I love to be last” and I do a little dance each time they beat me in a race or game. Actually, I cheat to lose races or games. At the end of our day, it’s all for OUR kids. Thank you. You’re awesome(and kudos for keeping your sense of humor before, during and after the race).

  9. My list of favorite diary posts is getting really long, but this one is right up there, filed under “inspiring” and “real.”

    Karin

  10. There are so, so, SO many things I want to tell you about how incredibly proud of you I am. How inspired by you. How much I love your family. How much I love the friendships we’ve created together. How much I LOVE that Judith would have stayed with you (!!!). And, especially, how I love that you used a Dora reference. LOL.

    I love you, my incredible friend.

  11. WOW, you ROCK, I loved this whole post (although I haven’t got a clue about Twitter, I know I would have been cracking up). I’ve walked the half marathon, a lifetime ago, and it is hard. I am dying to find out what the “normal” sign was all about, let me know if you discover it.
    And thanks for walking and encouraging and just being you, because you make me feel like part of this community. Loved the picture of you and your two friends (the runners).

  12. You are my hero. And you are a hero to thousands of others. Thank you for your determination, sense of humor, and willingness to share it all. Congratulations on your sucessful half marathon–you are a true winner, never forget that. I have been alurker for years (i am privileged to work with students who have ASD and i get most of my inspiration from your blog) and I have not commented till today, nor have I cried so much while reading a post. Hope you and yours are basking in the glory of this accomplishment.

  13. Again, I am so proud of you and love you my friend. You are an amazing woman. You finished when others would have quit. You always persevere when others would give up. Your strength of character and huge heart are an amazing thing to behold and to be part of. I am so happy and proud to be your friend. You did it. YOU FINISHED!!!

    Love you,

    Jersey

  14. I am so proud of you…
    your husband passed me on the way to get you . He of course was encouraging but he had such a look of purpose and he said “I’m gonna go get my wife” ! I prayed for you at that moment because if you felt even half as crappy as I did it sucked.you have a knight in shining armor, but i think you know that.

  15. Congrats Jess! So proud of you! It’s really amazing, idk if I could’ve done it/ Well, wait…for my girl..I could. :)
    I love your analogy about the race being so similar to what we go through with our kids every day. So true.

  16. Pingback: Boston 13.1 – 2012 « Run Luau Run

  17. What a metaphor. WOW.

    I love that you posted that there was nothing “normal” about those miles. I prefer to call them “typical”.

    I love that it’s a metaphor for many things – this village, the journey – and what it probably feels like for our kids each and every day.

    For the short little lady who popped a hamstring the last time she tried to work out, bravo. Nothing else could have made you do this. Our kids were the proverbial carrot.

    xo

  18. Quick, list something Jess would NEVER do: “um, purposefully sign up for a half marathon?”. Yeah not sure how I missed this but SO proud of you and wish I would have been out there. Next year maybe you organize a diving competition and see if those runners can pull off a 2 1/2 back off the 3m? XO

  19. I found your blog through Luau’s, I’m pretty sure, long long ago. I wish I had someone like him cheering me on in my first races – AMAZING.

    I hope you are as proud of what you accomplished as we are all of you. You are amazing and inspirational in so many ways, and now we get to add “half-marathoner” to that growing list. CONGRATULATIONS!

  20. Aw Jess – you have the courage of a lion. I’m not gonna call you a warrior mom cuz that term is just irritating, but man, you had some serious amazon mama going there. Way to FINISH!! Your analogy of the marathon to living life with autism is perfect. Reminds me to make sure they ALWAYS leave out the cones for my kiddos… (okay, tears now, thx). xo. You rock.

  21. I LOVED the analogies you were able to connect to the race. I might just read this post over several times. You did it. You are amazing! One day, if I am lucky, I will be able to find the support and friends in the autism community and special needs community like you have. Until then, I am running dead last and alone but this post will inspire me to keep going! Thanks, Jess.

  22. LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this but esp your humor, your inspiration and of course your awesome blue haired husband running everyone in and coming back to get you too. What a fantastic recap.

  23. Kudos to you for doing the run! Did you a get really cool sticker to put on the back of your car that says 13.1? :) all the best!!

  24. Ok! I seriously laughed, cried, then laughed again. You and your husband remind me so much of me and my hubby it is scary. That is probably why I started bawling when you mentioned your text to Luau and him coming for you. Yep, big giant tears!

    So proud of you and what you accomplished!

  25. You are amazing and so inspirational! Way to stick to it and not give up. It is what we expect of our kids and I hope I can be as awesome of a role model as you are.

  26. You did an amazing job! Halfs are not easy. I loved your post so much! I’ve finished a couple races “DFL” this year and know the alone feeling very well. It meant a lot to me when Matt ran me in the last couple hundred yards. Loved your twitter timeline of the race! Too funny.

  27. Pingback: Boston 13.1 – The Metaphor « Run Luau Run

  28. so so so so funny Jess. Your inner dialogue kills me and I think that we are sistas from another planet. I have gone back for my friend and autism mentor during a race for military families affected by Autism and did not think a thing about it. We are in it together and without each other we are all just very lonely. Thank you for putting it out there. big giant crying hug for you. Bernadette

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