2010 Flying Pig Marathon
Even though I've been a runner since I joined the track team at age 11, I truly did not become a runner until it became the only positive thing in my life after being in an abusive marriage. Running soon became my escape as I was able to take myself to another world through every step that I took. Even when running itself became a reason for abuse (including being tripped on an icy bridge so that I would not beat my abusive ex in a 5k and being told how I could easily "disappear" and no one would suspect him because everyone knew that I ran at strange times and anyone could take me), I loved and reveled in the absolute joy of running. Each step helped bring me a sense of peace.
Because I ran so much (and had already ran several half-marathons), I decided to take the physical challenge of running a marathon. I knew that it wouldn't be easy for me as I have both asthma and crohn's disease, but it was important to me. Plus every second that I ran was a second that I was not experiencing my own living hell. My dad (who in and of himself is an inspiration for me as he has lost over 100 pounds) had decided to run the Flying Pig Half-Marathon in 2010. It made sense for me, a Cincinnati girl, to run the full marathon as that was the challenge that I had presented to myself.
My dad and I would run, and I would either run more before I met him to run or continue to run after I ran with him. A week before the marathon, I felt strong and prepared to run. However, tragedy, as it often does, strikes, and five dies prior to the marathon, my grandfather underwent emergency quadruple bypass. The night before the race, while my father stood by his side, he experienced a medical death, but the magnificent doctors at Christ Hospital were able to resuscitate him. Needless to say, neither my father nor I were able to sleep much that night.
I, as many abused people experience, am an emotional eater. However, in my case, I am not able to eat when I'm upset. The five days prior to my inaugural marathon were extremely upsetting to me, and I did not properly fuel myself before the race. For those who ran the 2010 Pig, they will also remember the horrendous weather conditions. Nevertheless, my father and I decided to run.
I stayed with my father until about half a mile between the marathon and half-marathon split. I can't exactly remember how far I had to run alone, but I remember seeing my sister with her fabulous signs a few minutes after splitting from my father. I threw her my hat, gave her a quick hug, and kept running.
I knew that this would be a difficult run for me, and so my brother (a collegiate runner back when he was in school) agreed to run the second half with me. Never have I been so glad to see my brother. At that point, I felt like I was dying. He joined me at approximately the 13.5 mark. I honestly don't remember miles 14.5-22. My brother said that I (generally of good disposition...only one who gets upset easily) was downright mean. I was mad at everybody making any type of noise even if they were trying to me completely supportive of us runners. I was an insane runner. I wanted to quit (according to my brother), but he wouldn't let me.
Being an athlete, my brother was able to realize that I had experienced a major drop in my sugar. He sought out anything to help increase my blood sugar, including going into the Frisch's in Mariemont to get me crackers. He got me candy, oranges, Gatorade; making me drink and eat all of them. According to my brother, I snapped out of it at about mile 22. My sister lives off of Bramble, and I remember turning onto it, but my next cognizant thought was of the Starbuck's in Columbia Tusculum.
I credit my brother with helping me finish the marathon. Without him, I probably wouldn't have. But the Flying Pig marathon had more of an impact than that for me. It made me realize that my family would support me no matter what, and, shortly thereafter, I took the heroic steps of leaving my now ex-husband despite numerous threats and bouts of intimidation. I am now happy, healthy, and better than I ever could have believed. While I did not meet my marathon goal time, I finished and now happily run other distances (including half-marathons). Running helped bring me back to myself, and I will never forget to tell others about the restorative magic of running!