It was almost exactly a year ago that Shane came home one night and told me that he thought he wanted to run in a 5k race that would be taking place near our house in late October. I raised my eyebrows when he told me this – I hadn’t seen Shane run for at least a couple of years. He was in good shape from biking a lot that summer, but whenever I asked him to join me on jogs, he always told me that running ‘wasn’t really his thing’. But he continued to talk about the 5k, and when he headed out the door for a training run, I thought he might be serious. Then he came home and told me he couldn’t finish the 3-mile jog, and I began to have my doubts about whether or not he’d really follow through with this out-of-the-blue-interest. Shame on me – my skepticism was put to rest when he finished the 5k Pumpkin Push race in late October with impressive speed. Then he ran the 5k Turkey Trot in November. And the Mercer Island 10k in March. And the Kirkland Half Marathon in June. Holy cow – this guy could run! And then the marathon talk started. I tried to be supportive, but I inwardly cringed at the pain I knew he would have to endure to train for and complete a 26.2-mile run. I admit that I secretly hoped he would decide not to go through with it – I loved that he was dreaming big and aiming high, but I was also envisioning shin splints, sore muscles, and lost toenails. Then in August he registered for the Portland Marathon, and he was officially committed. So he ran. And ran. And I watched him hobble around the house after his 16-mile Saturday training runs, feeling sorry for his hurting body, but eventually letting my pride in him outweigh my concern. Yes, this would be hard, but he was strong and driven and dead-set on finishing this thing.
This weekend was the weekend that all those months of training would pay off. We arrived in Portland yesterday afternoon and enjoyed hanging around downtown with friends and family that had come in for the race. The day ended with a carbo-loading session at a small Italian place in Northwest Portland.
We were up bright dark and early this morning to get Shane to the starting line before his 7 a.m. race time. My mom and I dropped him off, I gave him a quick kiss for good luck, and then my man disappeared into a sea of runners. He was on his way. (I was on my way, too, to Stumptown Coffee for a latte and a scone.) I had some anxiety about whether or not we’d be able to catch sight of him along the course, but we headed down toward the waterfront in hopes of finding him somewhere around mile 2. And voila, a few minutes after claiming our spot on the sidewalk, there he was, running fast, smiling, hardly breaking a sweat. He was off to an amazing start. Then we saw him again as he looped back for mile 6, and he was slightly sweaty, maybe breathing a little harder, but he was still bookin’ it, and he still had that same happy look on his face. I was relieved to see him doing so well. But I also knew that he was facing a major hill right around mile 17, and that a lot of people had told him that mile 17 is also the same point in a marathon when your body really starts to give out, so we jumped in the car and headed across the river so that we could be there to cheer him on right at mile 17.5, as he was coming off the St. John’s Bridge. We found a good vantage point to watch him approach, and I was ecstatic to see him still bookin’ it and still smiling when he came off that bridge less than three hours after his race had begun. We cheered like crazy, I snapped photos like I was the paparazzi, and Brian jumped right in to run with him for a few minutes to offer some support. I tried to run with him for a little while too, but even at mile 17.5, he was still too fast for me to keep up.
From there, we hopped back in the car and headed back across the river to catch Shane at the finish line. We found a spot on a ledge where we could stand and watch the runners come in, we unrolled our ‘Run Shane Run’ signs, and held our breath. Would he meet his time goal?
Of course he would. Shane crossed the finish line with a stellar time of 3:58:44. One minute less than the 4 hour time he was hoping for, and many minutes less than the 4 hour-15 minute time he was actually expecting. He was beat, to say the least, but he was also so proud of himself and so thrilled with how the entire experience played out. I am also quite proud, and sorry that I ever doubted that his body or mind could handle the challenge. This man is a rock star!