8 months, 32 weeks, 224 days, 120 hours of running, 797 miles of training all for one race – the race – the Marathon, 26.2 miles, the longest race he had ever run, his first marathon. He planned, he trained, he lifted weights, he ate healthy foods, he read books about running, and he conditioned his body and his mind. He woke up on Saturday, April 28th at 4:00 am this was the day. Excited ready, anxious he kissed me goodbye and shut the door.
We meet him at the 12 mile marker with a smile on his face and his pace was right on target. The kids gave him fives as he glided passed us at the 15 mile marker he had breezed through more than half the race.
We raced in our minivan to meet him at the 23 mile marker. Excited and yes, speeding we parked the van. I put Spencer and Jake in our little red wagon, Ethan, Anna and me ran like the wind to get to the top of that hill. That hill he had drove us down 2 different times with fear in his eyes telling us this will be the hardest part of the entire race. We sat there with my parents waiting just down the hill and his parents and sister about another mile down the road. Then we heard my dad yell “Go, Aaron Go.”
“Here Comes Daddy!!!!” my kids yelled! Mile 23 and he was all but sprinting up that monster of a hill his face in a full smile, his legs close to a sprint, with his hand extended he gave the kids fives, took our water bottle and darted off. Tears in my eyes I loaded the kids back into the wagon and we ran for the van.
He met his sister just down the road and she ran the next hill with him but was barely able to hold his pace at the 24th mile. We drove downtown in search of a parking spot to watch him finish the race. I found it across the street did a U turn and paralleled parked within 45 seconds. It was as though God picked up my van and placed it there. We were off again with the wagon but this time slowed down by a crowd trying to make it to the finish line.
Just passed the finish line I spotted him and yelled “Aaron”. Separated by a chain linked fence he ran to us and said “I did it! I did it in 3 hours, 12 minutes and 37 seconds. I did it honey, I did it guys, I did it!!” Our hands holding on to one another through the fence I was crying and could not hug him. We walked on to meet him and the kids were jumping up and down so proud of their Daddy!!
Finally we reached him the kids jumping into his arms. I cried and hugged him. “You did it! You did it!” It was his first marathon, his most intensive quest yet. He told the kids that next morning that although he was proud and happy about the outcome truly it had been more about the journey; the training, the conditioning with his friend, the preparation of his mind and body to take on such a feat. He encouraged them to always enjoy the journey not just the goal when it has been accomplished.
8 months, 32 weeks, 224 days, 797 miles of training came down to 26. 2 miles in 3 hours 12 minutes and 37 seconds of a goal achieved, recognized appreciated and lived to the fullest!