Sunday, November 10, 2013

10K with 10K

For years I have wanted to walk a marathon. Every chance I get I think this is the one I will do. Then I never get around to it. I either am busy with other things, have not trained, pregnant, on bed rest, or just plain lazy. This year, though, the chance landed in my lap out of the blue.

In Beirut, with family around and nothing to do, I decided to take the challenge head on. My cousin and her husband had already registered for the marathon and had an extra bib on hand. "Of course I would go," I responded and the next thing I know it was Sunday and time to head out.

JR woke up early all excited about the "adventure". She gobbled down her breakfast, got dressed like a champ and was at the door before anyone else. She had her own bib and race shirt. We tried a hat but it was too big. All the little girl wanted to do was "run"! and run she did. She crossed the finish line on her own two feet running and walking by herself from the start of the 1K milestone.

Our intention the day before the race was to start at the start line and walk the entire 10K fun walk. However, reality had other plans and the nursing baby held our departure time back. Rather than leaving the house at 7:30, it was after 8:00 when we got into the car. We lost all hope of arriving on time with all the road closures and decided to meet the runners half-way. We parked close to the 5K milestone and started from there.

It was a beautiful day for a long walk. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and a gentle breeze drifted among us. We walked together and separate and stopped for photos. We were cheered on, handed water bottles, and given stickers along the route. JR observed cheering shows, heard loud music, and saw hundreds of people. Yousef was tucked safely on my chest and held on tight every time loud horns were sounded. This experience confirmed the theory that rear facing baby carriers are a sound choice.

The excitement was contagious. I had not witnessed the power of such crowds before and could feel my own adrenaline rising. I had been wearing Yousef since 8:30 and it was close to 11:00 when I unstrapped him completely at the finish line. I had not thought I could walk that far and for that long with such a load on my shoulders. But I did. I had unhooked him once during our walk to nurse and although I had an empty stroller in my hands, I decided to keep wearing him. Both he and I enjoyed the proximity, encouraged each other on, and finished the walk at the same time. JR, on the other hand, finished ahead of us as she had been my cousin's husband's companion and they went ahead of everyone else.

At the finish line we were handed goodie bags and JR got a medal to commemorate the day. She drank more juice than I care to admit and ate just as many treats, but with the exertion and the heat she needed everything she could acquire. Hours later both JR and Yousef were still high from the rush of the day and would not nap easily. Luckily once asleep, they both stayed down for a couple of hours.

As for me, I hardly napped and am finding it rather difficult to settle down and sleep. My feet are aching, my muscles are sore and my mind is racing. Who would have thought that I would come all the way from the US via Morocco back to my home country to scratch off an item from my "bucket list." At the end of the day I probably walked more than 5K as I doubled up the distance at one point having gotten separated from the group and we walked from the finish line to the breakfast point and beyond but the achievement was in participating in the event and not walking the distance. I am so grateful at having had the opportunity to be part of "Run for Lebanon" and hope to be able to take part in such events later down the road.

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