Journey Part 1

Photo by Christine

While I have been so incredibly missing in the blogsphere, I have been really incredibly busy changing my life and embarking on a journey like no other.

I know most of you realize and understand that I moved to the Outer Banks to start over, to start fresh, to close one chapter and begin a new, and every other metaphor for just that in between. The thing is I didn't know what that meant or how to do it, even after 40 years of trying to every 4 years or so. Part of me said "Re, you are just running again", because that is what I do I run from things, people, or from place to place. I don't know why it is that way but once I stay in one spot too long I get antsy and itchy. (that is not what this post is about, please strike that stuff from the record)

So here I am sitting in the Outer Banks... starting, what am I starting, how am I starting WHY AM I STARTING.

It's all so very funny now looking back, because I started running. Literally.

Seven weeks ago this Sunday I joined a group of amazing (even if a little bit crazy) people for a Sunday "Fun Run". When I showed up that morning in the dark at 6:30 am, in the rain, IN THE COLD RAIN, something in me said "You have finally lost your mind completely, you HATE the rain and you can't run but a minute straight.. LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE in front of you, they are athletes.. quick run... errrhmmm DRIVE AWAY before they see you." The other part of me that has determination of steel and doesn't know how to give up, (at the time it was a very small part of me) pried each finger off the steering wheel one by one, and heaved my butt out of the seat (the seat with the warmer in it I might add) and out into the cold rain.

As I stood there, I was trembling, from the cold, from the rain, from FEAR, but I calmed myself quickly remembering that Matt "The General" Costa had said "Don't worry we will tailor this to suit your ability" because I had told him that I was ready for some running and a lot of walking. Matt gave the group simple instruction of run to the woods (I had no idea if the woods were 1/2 a mile or 10 miles away), the group just took off, so I did too... for about 100 yards. I started walking, and soon had Courtney beside me giving me encouragement telling me to just breathe, and run when I could. I did just that I would run, I would walk, I would run, I would walk, I did this for a mile and a half, at the turn around spot I told the girls that I had to stop and stretch a minute and we started back. I ran a bit and then walked... up ahead I saw Red, fear struck me as I heard "LESS TALKING MORE RUNNING" oh my... this couldn't be good.

I told myself just make it to him (it was the Rev. Jay Bowman standing at the corner) and I would take a break and walk. I did, I made it to the corner only to hear "SPRINT to the next corner!!!" WHAT WAIT!!! SPRINT WHAT DO YOU MEAN SPRINT??? What exactly is a sprint... then I heard GO GO GO .. sigh ok.. I will sprint to there THEN walk. SHEW made it there time to wal... Wait what is Jay Bowman doing beside me... why is he saying run... I need to walk.. oh heavens ok I will go a bit farther. Little did I know we were running all the way back, but the feeling that I had in me when I made it back that mile and a half and only walking one time was AMAZING!!!! I was so excited so ready to get in my car and call my Daddy (and maybe one other person) and tell him that I just almost ran a mile and a half with walking once but had definitely run a mile straight. Heck remember I got there and had only run a minute straight prior so this was a HUGE accomplishment in my head.
Photo after running the first day

Huddled back in the road near the park we stood and everyone clapped and cheered and as slowly ran my last few steps there. Matt stood there and spoke for a few minutes and introduced me to the group (it was light at this point) I remember him saying "This is Ann Marie, I have invited her to join in our Friday and Sunday runs a bit early, as she is signed up for two boot camps and is training to walk and run the half marathon, she doesn't know it yet but she is running it." WHAT?????? Oh my word.. I think I almost passed out right then and there. My brain was screaming at me... "the half is only 7 weeks away.. you can only run a minute straight... oh wait apparently a mile straight.. but that is THIRTEEN MILES and it is less than 2 months away! He has lost his mind." (I would never ever look at Mr Matt Costa and tell him that he had lost his mind to his face, I have too much respect for him and his training to do so, but at that moment that is EXACTLY what my brain was saying) Ok Re... slowly walk to your car... get in and think all this over.

I remember taking a step back from the crowd to turn to leave when I heard Matt say.. "Hey you, you ready for the next 3 miles??" Oh Heck... why not... I am this wet, and shocked, and scared, it won't do anything but kill me. Off we went again, it wasn't long until my legs just were not having it and they said walk again so I did... around the corner... OH NO there is Red standing there. Matt. My brain talked to me again... it said "Run you moron don't let him regret inviting you to join these runs, this is an amazing gift you have been given don't waste it." I did, I ran (or what I would probably call a ridiculous looking slow jog now ... not that it is much better now but it is better!) I ran to the turn around... I turned around and I ran to the end. When I made that phone call ... ok it was calls.. when I got back to my car it wasn't a mile I had run straight, it was I ran 2.5 with walking just once.

This was the first day of my journey, 7 weeks later on this Sunday I am running the Flying Pirate Half Marathon which is 13.1 miles. Did you see what I said? Running.

During the last seven weeks I have been given training and support from the most amazing group of people I have ever encountered in my life. The trainers, Matt Costa, Jay Bowman, Christine McMaster Da Mosta, and Adam Swansen are each truly wonderful, there are no words to thank them enough for the effort they have put into ME not to mention the other 70 plus people that have trained together for this event. The fact they believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself pulled me through more than one morning.

Yesterday was our last training prior to the event on Sunday, I had to miss due to a blister I am babying until Sunday. I was asked to be there at the end, figuring I would hear the last speech of tips prior to the event I would not have missed it. In the rain yesterday I stood in the exact place I started 7 weeks ago, waiting on my team mates to return from their run, I wasn't scared standing there yesterday, I was sad I wasn't running with them, and excited to see them come around the corner. As we gathered together once again in a huddle, Matt stated that we were ready for the event on Sunday and that he wasn't going to keep us long, but he had some people he wanted to acknowledge. Black wristbands were given to those that had completed their first bootcamp, and Matt held in his hand 4 Outer Banks Bootcamps dog tags, in my mind they are tags of honor, that should only be worn with pride, they have our numbers imprinted on them

Matt started explaining the meaning of giving the tags and handed one to Bryce our amazing 13 year old who has been such an inspiration to us all, Joy who is just an amazing amazing lady who is incredibly supportive of all who have the pleasure to encounter her, Amy who has pushed through an injury and runs each time in pain but never fails to finish, and one to me, for coming so far so fast. Not once did I think I deserved such an honor, but I have learned not to question those in charge when they say things like... "She doesn't know it but she is going to run it."

I keep laughing at myself... from 1 minute to 13 miles in 7 short weeks!!!


There are 70 plus people I owe thanks but special love and thanks needs to go to all the trainers (Matt, Jay, Adam, Christine, Chris), Amanda, Lyndsey, Brandi, Amy, Daddy, Ed, Missy, Steve, Mike, Mark, Julie ... ok I am going to end up listing 70 people here anyway! You all know who you are and I love each and every one of you for believing in me!


Lisa said…
Ann Marie you are an inspiration! Way to work so hard and come so far! Love your spirit and love who you are!
foolery said…
Okay, this better work this time -- WAY TO GO, RE! I walk/run every day now that we have leash dogs, about twice a day. But if anyone tried to make me run farther than three telephone poles (that's how I mark it) they would be killed. The fact that you haven't killed anyone (probably?) is in itself a huge accomplishment. Deep bows and high fives to you, and GO GET 'EM THIS WEEKEND!
Fantastic - go get 'em this weekend. Can't wait to hear about it.
Tadpole said…
Anonymous said…
lets do this re!.......this time I am not going to let you pass me.....maybe.....;)
Anonymous said…
Wow, I have tears streaming down my cheeks. What an amazing story. And Journey.
~Joan aka JB

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