Taking Up The Rear

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I’m not very competitive by nature and when it comes to a competitive sport I’m usually quite happy to be the cheerleader on the side lines.  But back in the Fall before this long, cold winter my daughter in law challenged me to run a half marathon.  She and my son have run numerous marathons together and they recognize the power in the motivation behind it!

.. photo-005Good running shoes are a must.  We actually had a fitting by Fleet Feet and was I ever happy that we did that.  I love my Saucony running shoes!

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After the initial, “I could never run a half marathon” (to which she replied, “you could speed walk it”) I decided to take her challenge and signed my husband and I up for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon in Lynchburg, TN which is not too far from where we live.  Yes, I roped my husband into the challenge too!

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 Training run on the actual marathon course. 

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Then the training began.  We had just enough time to follow the 16 week “From Couch To Half Marathon” training schedule that I found online.   We got a great start before the weather got bitter cold, then we joined the gym and moved our workouts indoors during the cold weather.  My husband and I are both in relatively good physical condition, but I quickly realized there was no way that we were going to be able to keep up with the 16 week training program.  Our son and daughter in law were great to check in via the phone (they live in Colorado) and give us encouragement and also to remind us that we didn’t have to actually run the entire 13.1 miles!

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More training on the marathon course.

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My husband and I have always been speed-walkers and in our 33 years of marriage we have logged a lot of walking miles.  With our babies in strollers, then wagons, then bicycles alongside us, etc… we always made it a nightly ritual regardless of the weather.  So, we felt that if we needed to speed-walk the half marathon, we could!

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Well, on Easter weekend the day came and found us pinning on our race numbers with shaking fingers as we watched the hundreds upon hundreds of professional runners around us.  I was feeling kind of sick.  By this time we knew there would be no running the entire 13.1 miles so we were just hoping to be able to cross the finish line in under 4 hours so that we could get our finishing medals.  (The marathon rules say that to be a finisher in a half marathon you must complete it in four hours.)

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The front runners had started running… the other thousand plus people slowly moving up the line.

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I had done a lot of reading about running/walking a half marathon and over and over I read this sentence:  If you are going to run/walk the marathon be willing to take up the rear.  I kind of liked that.  I’m happy taking up the rear.  The last thing I ever want is to hold anyone back.

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 Crossing the start line!  Nervous smiles!

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So we walked with jitters to the start line where all 1500 people were lined up and we happily got in the back of the line!  Like, IN.THE.BACK!  I think there might’ve been 20 people behind us by the time the gun went off at 8:00.  The number badge has a timing chip attached to it, so you are not timed until you cross the start line, which really takes the pressure off of taking up the rear!

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 2015 Oak Barrel 2 miles (1365 of 1678)-001This picture was captured by the race crew – about 2 miles in and still running strong!

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The course was great.  If you’ve ever been to Middle Tennessee near Lynchburg, which is home to Jack Daniel’s Distillery, you know how gorgeous that area is.  We ran up and down rolling green hills, through beautiful farm land, and alongside gorgeous old homes on a perfectly, wonderful sunny day.

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2015 Oak Barrel WH  (1121 of 1295)-001This hill is the steepest and has been named Whiskey Hill!  I was able to speed walk it with no problem and somehow even had a smile for the cameraman! 

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This course had a few very steep hills.  It really lugged down some of the other runners/walkers that were moving at about our pace.  So when we got to the hills, we were able to move ahead of a lot of people, only because we have a lot of hills on our farm and we walk them continually.  These Tennessee hills don’t scare us!  (Smile!)

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There were so many things that were great about the day.  There were many drink stations with cheer leaders, music, water and snacks.  I didn’t get many pictures as it was hard to get my phone out of my waist pack to take pictures when you’re jogging through a drink station!  I did manage to snap the above picture as I loved these girls!  So cute!

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Honestly, we really did smile the whole way!

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The race volunteers were amazing.  Everyone was cheerful and encouraging.  They had bikers riding the course checking with runners to see if they needed anything.  It was a continual source of encouragement the whole 13.1 miles!

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Running in to the finish!

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The camaraderie between those of us runners/walkers that ended up being grouped together the last 5 or so miles was great.  We were all running/walking about the same pace and we’d pass each other multiple times.  There was absolutely no competitive spirit between us – I’m pretty sure they had the same goal we had and that was to just finish and finish well!

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We were determined to just enjoy the day, the scenery, the experience, and each other, so we didn’t wear watches or any kind of devices to calculate our time!  I checked the time on my iPhone twice just to make sure we were keeping our goal pace.  So you can imagine my shock when we crossed the finish line at a run and the run time said 3:04:32!!!  We were just hoping to finish under four hours… never dreaming we could actually finish in three!

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The victory wave!

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They hung our finish medals on our necks and we walked a bit to work out our quivering muscles and then headed over to the Jack Daniels tent to get a bowl of Brunswick Stew and a Hoe Cake.  Oh my word, it was so good!

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I felt like I had accomplished something I never, ever dreamed I could do.  It is a powerful feeling when you’ve challenged yourself to a large task and not only completed it, but completed it with a smile!

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The last drink station at mile post 12 had a Wizard Of Oz theme and there was a sign with a quote on it that was exactly what I needed to finish that race in a full out run.  It said….

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 You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn

it for yourself

– Glinda, Wizard of Oz –

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What is your biggest challenge accomplished?  I know you have one to share and I’d love to hear it.

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori

Leave a comment 26 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    Congratulations!!!! What a great encouragement you are to me!

    My husband and I finished right behind you all!
    I was just happy to finish. I didn’t train as well as I should have for this race but hoping to run another one in October in Winchester!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Karen!

      Congratulations to you and your husband too! I agree – I was just thrilled to finish it! :-) I saw the one in October in Winchester and thought about it. Decided to stick to one a year for now! However, April and October would be the perfect time in between!

      Thanks for reading and writing!

      – Dori –

  2. Bonnie ellis says:

    I am sure all of us farmgirl’s are VERY proud of you too. Congratulations! Well done. My dil runs too and we are her biggest fans. Keep up the good work.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Bonnie,

      Honestly, I think more than anything my thoughts on the marathon were this: we can do anything we set our hearts to. Thanks for writing!

      – Dori –

  3. Adrienne says:

    Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment. My latest is teaching a semi-monthly chair yoga class to the folks in my senior apartment building. On Saturday the 25th, I will be the keynote speaker at the Relay for Life (my 8th) and leading the Survivors Lap before staffing the survivors tent. The Relay begins at 2 on Saturday and ends at 2 on Sunday. Teams take turns on the track for the 24-hour event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. And this year, I will be a two-time cancer survivor (liposarcoma and breast cancer). It will be such fun and I’m so very happy to help.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Adrienne,

      First off, congrats on being a TWO-TIME cancer survivor. Wow. I am a breast cancer survivor also! Ten years it has been for me now. I have participated in the Relay for Life and I loved it. I think the Survivors Lap was incredible. I don’t know about you, but I bawled the whole time around with everyone cheering and clapping. I wish I could come attend YOUR Relay for Life.

      And that is awesome teaching chair yoga to the folks in the senior building. When we attend our grand-daughters’ dance/gymnastics recital every year, one of my favorite classes that perform are the senior citizens from their chairs. They are awesome and it is always inspiring.

      Keep it up!!! And keep me posted. – Dori –

  4. Missy Smedley says:

    I love your post. I am the teacher that advises the students at the water stop 12. I was looking a little green that day. :) They always enjoy working the water stop but adding the theme this year made them enjoy it even more. They’re constantly told they can accomplish anything and it is great for them to witness people accomplishing goals as well as cheer them on for the last leg! I can’t wait to share this with the students!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Missy! Thank you for reading and commenting! All the water stops were fantastic, but that one was the motivation we needed to really “pick it up and finish”! :-) Your students were fantastic and yes… I do remember seeing someone that was rather “green”!!! Good job! We are looking forward to next year! – Dori –

      P.S. Did you guys win the water stop competition? Seems like I saw that on Facebook. Congrats if so!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Dori, that’s incredible! Such an achievement! Good for you!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Jennifer,

      Thanks for writing. It was a good lesson for me – we can do anything we set our hearts to!

      – Dori –

  6. Katie Pence says:

    I’ve been working for eleven months to get us through permitting our structures and to be able to build the house we wanted to build since we bought this place ten years ago. It feels like a marathon. A constant effort every day toward a goal.
    I just pulled the septic permit and the other septic is finished off. Now in the next few days we will pick up the house permit. Yeah !
    It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Since my husband is a disabled Vietnam Vet. I’ve had to do all of it myself. The funny thing is that since my husband and I build a large farm on this property everyone loved it and it’s really helped get all the other details worked out.
    Now just have to finish the permitting on an existing cabin that we remodeled… This will be a few more months.
    Great story, love that you could do it with your husband. Go girl !

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Katie,

      I think there are things in life that are SO MUCH more than a marathon. And definitely what you are going through is WAY more! I can sort of relate as we built our house ourselves from the ground up, doing every single bit just the two of us. It took 2 years, working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. The best feeling ever, but by far the hardest thing I’d ever done. So I can sort of imagine what you’re going through… except for the part of doing it all by yourself. Wow. Keep me posted on your house building.

      – Dori –

  7. Meredith Williams says:

    Tomorrow is my very first 5K, Dori! Thank you so much for your blog and encouragement- I am 48 years old and this is the first athletic activity I have trained for other than riding ( dressage horses)- fingers crossed I don’t get trampled! LOL!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Meredith,

      Good luck tomorrow!!! Let me know how it goes, but I bet you love it and you’ll be so excited to do another one! I’ll be thinking of you.

      – Dori –

  8. Dorothy says:

    Dori – Congratulations! I have had medical problems and am just trying to get up to 10,000 steps a day again. Thanks for you blog and encouragement. I can do this!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Dorothy,

      Congratulations to YOU for working back up to 10,000 steps a day. You most definitely can do it. One step at a time. Isn’t that what life is all about? Sometimes it’s just little baby steps, but they all add up.

      Hugs,

      – Dori –

  9. DARA Shelton says:

    My husband and myself were near the 6 mile Mark standing beside the road cheering ya’ll on. I had a sign made for a family friend, Janice. Our Chickens were cheering yo on as our chicken house is near the Lois Ridge Rd. We cheer the runners and walkers on every year. Congrqts on your finish time.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Dara! I know exactly the place!!! :-) We talked about your chickens cheering us on. What a neat place to live and how fun that you can do that every year. I loved how many homes we went by where the owners were out cheering us on! Thank you! – Dori –

  10. marylou says:

    Felicidades, look very easy, but they are stronger. This is my dream run the half m.

  11. susana says:

    I have never done an official marathon, but have run-walk many K5`s, but have walked many a mikes and many times further. As a teenage I have walked from Niagara Falls, Ontario to St Catherine’s , Ontario..,.quite a walk and then swam at a Prudhomes swimming resort.I miss those days…had MORE energy in my younger years.
    Haven’t run in a while as my running mate is no longer able to walk let alone run.hate doing anything alone.
    As long as you can do the walking-running, do it! But don’t wear brand new sneakers the day of the/race.
    Your sneakers look neat. What brand are they? They look comfortable. Congratulations on your time! Its about my time for a 13.5 walk….. I did that the last time I walked to Walmart. Now I just have to drive, they moved the store….its further away and I’m not walking another hour just to go to Walmart! But IRS a good incentive…. to walk. Keep up the good work….and I know what you mean about rolling hills. They give you a work out.,..used to go…cross country skiing, now that’s a great leg workout! If people walked more, we wouldn’t have so many obese people in America.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Susana,

      I’m convinced that walking is good not only for the body but the mind too! My husband and I used to call it our “marriage counseling” as we’d talk out every issue and problem while we walked! :-) Good for you on all your walking.

      My shoes are Saucony. I bought them when we first started training – so I walked and ran in them most every day for about 3 months prior to the marathon. And not a blister or sore spot anywhere on my feet.

      – Dori –

  12. Nicole Christensen says:

    Dori!
    I am so proud of you, farmsister! Oh my goodness…running is not my forte! I am impressed. Very inspiring blog, and I love your happy smiles! I could walk a marathon (may…beee…) but I am not sure I could do what you just did. Congratulations!

    Tennessee looks so beautiful (and warm! Shorts at Easter? I can only dream…)

    Well done, dear farmsister!
    Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole (Suburban Farmgirl)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Nicole,

      Thank you! Running is certainly not my forte either! I have to admit that I kind of enjoyed it though – I also think the challenge was good for me. We’re going to try to make it yearly goal. If nothing else, it was fun to get out and enjoy the day with all the other folks.

      Hope you’re finally getting some spring weather? :-)

      – Dori –

  13. Deb Bosworth says:

    Woot! Woot! Great job, Dori! I’m so proud of you and your husband. We ( my hubs and I ) are not runners but we love walking. Our weather is finally cooperating for more outside time… I need to grab my handsome Yankee and get going! Thanks for the inspiration! Deb ( Beach Farmgirl )

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Deb,

      Welllll, I kind of think anybody could do it, but thanks! :-) We really aren’t runners either, but it sure was fun trying. We’re going to make it a yearly goal.

      I’m glad you’re finally getting some warm weather! Planting time for you soon!!!!!

      – Dori –

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