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Sunday, June 9, 2013

After the Road - The Journey to the Second Finish Line

So then there is the story about getting to the second finish line on Sunday, June 2...it was a labor of love...for two things...the sport of soccer and my family.  I signed up do to the half marathon back in February...long before a soccer match was scheduled at RFK...the US Men's National Team versus Germany.  Following the game of soccer changed my life over two years ago.  After going to a University of Maryland soccer game...a light switch flipped in my being...I remembered that work is not just at the office...the concept of doing work can be applied to anything...like getting to gym and being healthy.  I found it poetic that on a day where I was about to do the most physical work I had ever done...there was a soccer match that I needed to get too.  It was just meant to be.

I had to get to the game...but just like getting those 14.6 miles...the journey to get there was not going to be easy. 

Unexpected Tears

After crossing the finish line and before boarding the bus back to my car...I sent my Mom, Sister, and Bestie N a text saying that I finished with a picture of my medal.  I will never forget all the of great texts, tweets, and FB posts that everyone was sending while I was on the course.  And then there was my trainer/coach/friend Stacy K who was a rock on the course...always positive...always motivating...believing that I could finish.  I felt so special!!  To see all of  the messages afterwards was overwhelming.  The one thing that I had not expected was how my finishing the race was going to make people feel.  Especially my Mom...


With support like this...you can do anything!!!

It was the first time ever my Mom got to be a "Sports Mom"...I made her cry...which then made me cry.  Talk about never ending support...and then later that night she wrote this....

Not going to lie...seeing this picture of my daughter with her medal for not only her first half marathon but an endurance challenge (trails..inclines) brought me to tears...she had a plan and worked that plan...that is the definition of success!

My Boyfriend Gym

You didn't think I could do all those miles and not see him right?  I mean...I was covered in mud and needed to get into my USMNT gear before heading to RFK.  A quick pit stop to get game ready.  I can't imagine what I looked like as they swiped my membership card at the front desk.  I'm pretty sure I had mud smeared on my face.  It felt great.  As I limped along...with my gym bag at my side...I realized...this was what all of the hard work was for.  It was to get to the after and to wear a brand new pair of Nikes that I got especially for the game.  

Tweeting My Way to RFK

I did it!! A half marathon...that was on trails!! Now the race to RFK...for the love of the beautiful game!!

So I drove from Virginia to work so that I could park and then hop on the metro...on the Red Line.  The game was going into half time...so I figured I would get there just before it ended.  I was okay with this.  I was going to get there.  I wanted to hug my Mom.  I wanted to get a picture of us (my Mom, Sister, and I) in our matching jerseys.  It just had to be.

On the escalator...descending into the Metro...  
Did I mention that my right knee was still a problem?  I could not bend it...so I was dragging it along...determined to get to my destination...no matter what.  I should note that I was extremely grateful that my new shoes did not hurt...not that it would have kept me from wearing them.  They are that awesome.

I'm so driven that I don't even notice that there is a "special train" awaiting my arrival....it was only going to Woodley Park...but I didn't have time to hesitate so I just got on.  I found a seat...and started visualizing how amazing it was going to be to be at RFK with the stands full.  I was excited.  It was going to happen!!

As the doors close, the announcement about track work comes across the wire.  Stations are closed.  There is a shuttle from Woodley Park to Metro Center.  Yep.  I was in trouble.

Are these kicks gonna get to RFK?? All for the love of the beautiful game... #USMNT #thisdayisoneforthebooks

On the Metro...
Steadily we roll along...and arrive at the Woodley Park station...I hobble my way out of the Metro...I hobble my way up the metro steps...I ride the escalator up...I knew I had much more walking ahead of me...so I couldn't waste my legs...I had to prioritize every ounce of energy I had.

There were lines of Metro Buses ready to shuttle everyone to Metro Center.  It was amazing...well organized...but an additional 20 minutes...was an additional 20 minutes...and my time was fading fast.  I hobble to the bus...there is not much room...but the bus driver invites me on...I can stand right up front.  Pretty cool actually...I was at the helm!!

I am just a girl trying to get to a soccer match after doing a half marathon...just your average Sunday Funday!! I am crazy...

At the head of the bus...
I was texting my sister...pleading that they wait for me.  I will get there.  I will get to our seats.  Even if the game is over.  Please. (Insert huge guilt here over my sister buying me a ticket...that I was not going to even use.)  

I'm the second person off the bus and I hobble my way across the street to Metro Center.  I'm making progress.  I'm going to get there.  Even if the game is over...I will get there.  This sounds familiar right?  Just like the half marathon...I may be slow...but I will finish!!  But reality sets in...

This is me not bursting into tears on the metro...I will set foot in RFK today!!!

I am heading to the Stadium Armory station...I am texting with my sister.  I am missing an incredible game.  I am missing an incredible atmosphere.  I'm trying not to think about it too much.  But there are no tears...at some point on that leg of the journey...it became all about wanting to hug my Mommy.  I needed to get to RFK...our home away from home...and hug my Mommy.  

I finally arrive at Stadium Armory...and Red, White, and Blue is already filling the station waiting for trains...it was beautiful.  Everyone was cheering.  We had won!!  I am hobbling my way in the opposite direction of everyone else.  If only I had a picture...but I will see it in my mind always.  Through the sea of people...as I made my way out of the metro and down the street towards RFK...was my second finish line of the day.  And at the end...was my family.

I was a ninja salmon walking toward RFK...when 40k were walking away.

So there I was...weaving and bobbing my way through a swarm of people.  My legs are working overtime.  I don't feel any pain.  I am just focusing on the fact that RFK is getting closer and closer.  My sister and I had been texting and we agreed that at this point...meeting outside the Team Store made the most sense.  I crossed the last street and headed toward the store.  I could see my Mom and Sister...but they couldn't see me.  I was going to get there...the second finish line.  I had done it twice...in one day.

And so my family waited for me...and this was worth way more than any medal. I am so lucky...

My Family....

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