I had a lot of anxiety about running the New York ½ Marathon last Sunday. For starters, I’m not a distance runner. I’m more of an ambling jogger who routinely trots along for four miles a few days a week. Given this, one might expect there was an extensive training regimen leading up to last week's 13.2 miles but alas, there was not. Between snow, sleet, ice, five kids, a new job, dark mornings and darker evenings, it was hard enough to get in my typical weekly runs let alone amp up the mileage in any substantial way. I did manage to get in a seven-miler and ten-miler a few weeks before race day; neither was very much fun and neither filled me with confidence that I would actually cross the finish line. As my Mom so aptly put it the night before, “Well, Ker, you know the way home if you can’t make it!”
So, as Sunday morning dawned – actually, an hour or so before dawn, while that remarkable full moon was still in its splendor – I really wasn’t convinced that I’d be celebrating the completion of the half marathon; I thought it far more likely that the city sanitation trucks would sweep me up with the other stragglers. Turns out I should have had a bit more faith in myself… and, as with most of life’s challenges, turns out that I most certainly didn’t do it alone. There were facebook cheers and family fans and my running buddies who never doubted that I could do it and told me as much. Then, perhaps most significantly, there wasmy husband Des.
As I mentioned in my last post, entry to the New York ½ Marathon is lottery based, unless you’re an elite runner, which we’ve clearly established I am not! Against the odds, Des and I both got a number. Since he ran the New York Marathon (26.2 miles!) in November, I figured this would literally be a stroll through the park (Central Park) for him. I figured we’d drive in together, line up together and then he would take off and I would linger behind, glad to have Lady GaGa and ABBA on my iPod to keep me company. Instead, he stayed by my side when my hip and knee went somewhere between miles six and seven and I stayed by his when he visited the PortoPotty somewhere around the 11th mile.
This is notable for a few reasons. Like many couples, we have to do a fair amount of dividing and conquering. With five kids, a dog, our jobs and the responsibilities they all entail, it’s the only way to get things done. For better or worse, I’ve become somewhat accustomed to flying solo or simply administering tasks and making demands. Our situation has been all the more intense the past two years as we juggled newborn triplets with two toddlers and then suffered through Des' brother’s losing battlle with lung cancer last summer. Divide and conquer was key to our survival. “You take Liam and Ciara to the park; I’ll feed and bathe the triplets.” “You go to the hospital with Conor; I’ll take the kids to the pool.” “You take out the trash and walk the dog; I’ll clean up the kitchen and make the lunches.” And so it goes. You. Me. You. Me. But what about us?
Rediscovering the “us” was an unexpected by-product of our own amazing race. We did it together. We stayed together. Those 13 miles had their ups and downs just like the past few years and the many more ahead of us. But we did it together. And it was nice. Really nice. Running isn't typically known as a team sport but, after crossing the finish line together, Team Lyons is stronger than ever.