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I am Strong & Beautiful

My first thought when I woke up this morning was, "I did it. I really did it. I didn't think I could but I did! I ran a quarter marathon."

Yesterday, at age 54 and having never been athletic or played a sport, I completed my first Quarter Marathon! 6.5 miles! And I did it in 1 1/2 hours, walking just 14 minutes of that.

The back story...I told my daughter Andrea, 27, that I wanted to run a 5k. Now, I've done the occasional 5k...mostly walking, but I wanted to see if I could RUN a 5k. I asked Andrea to help me. She agreed and said she would look for a race for us to sign up for. Well, Andrea has always been a goal-centered person, and when she puts her mind to something she does it. Andrea signed us up for the Cap City Quarter Marathon...not their 5K. OH, BOY! When I expressed my apprehension, she replied, "Mom, if we're going to do this, we need to push ourselves." And push we did! We began in January. I could barely run 2 minutes. It was an accomplishment for me to run 3 minutes. The first few times we got together to run, I did a lot more walking than I did running. A couple times, I was in tears, filled with doubt, and wondering what I had gotten myself into. Well, Andrea was patient and persistent. She coached, she encouraged, she pushed, and she didn't let me give up. After a few weeks of us training together, I ran 6 minutes straight, then 10, then 17, then 20. This may not seem like a big deal to many, but to me they were huge accomplishments. After all these little milestones, Andrea would praise me, then we planned our next training run.

It wasn't until just a few days before the April 27th race that I got a little bit excited and believed I could get through it. What I didn't know was that I would run my best ever. A couple times, I told Andrea to go ahead and run ahead of me knowing she could get a better time without me. She said, "No, we're staying together, and I just want you to keep pushing yourself." Honestly, I'm not so sure I would have finished, and I certainly would not have run across the finish line, if she hadn't stayed with me. I felt really good as we passed the 4 mile sign. We reach 5 miles, and I wasn't sure I could keep going. My legs hurt and were so tired, but I didn't want to quit. I was thinking in my head, how would I feel if I just walked the rest of the way. I had to slow down to a walk and was feeling discouraged, when I said to Andrea, "I want to run across the finish line, not walk". She replied, "There's no reason we can't, but you have to push through it". And that I did. I could hear spectators calling my name from the side, "Keep going, Mary", "You're almost there, Mary", "It's only going to suck a little longer, Mary", and "You're right there, Mary". I ran (slowly) across the finish line raising my arms telling myself I did it. I dropped my arms and stopped beside Andrea who quickly put her arm around me as my legs began to give out. She told me to keep walking, and we did with her arm under mine and me leaning on her. Even after we finished the race, Andrea continued to coach and encourage to keep going. We got our medals, had our picture taken, and grabbed some snack and drinks, as I felt my eyes filling with tears. I remember looking at Andrea and saying, "I did it". 

My daughter, Emily, 22, rode her bike from the OSU campus to the race route in downtown Columbus to cheer us on. I can't tell you how much that meant to me to have both my girls there, helping me through this. I admire them both so much for all they have accomplished in their short lives and am so grateful for the way they help me and encourage me to be the best me I can be and to try things I'd never do otherwise (like ziplining in the rainforest, riding a 4-wheeler through the mud in Thailand, and finishing a Quarter Marathon.

So after sleeping most of yesterday afternoon and getting a good night's sleep (I couldn't even finish watching the Blue Jackets game last night), I woke up with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and ready to take on more! More in my Stampin' Up! business, more in life, and more running. Can't say I'm ready to train for a half marathon as Andrea suggested we do, but who knows. Andrea and I agreed to continue running together twice a week, so we'll go from there. For now, I just want to enjoy looking at my Finisher's medal knowing I accomplished something I never thought I could before. Life is good!

Here is a card I made Andrea today to thank her for all she did to make it possible for me to accomplish the feat. I couldn't have done it without her. I also made a card for Emily because I want her to know her cheering us on at the race helped me get to the finish line. It was fun to celebrate with both my girls after I crossed the finish line...running. Both cards feature the Sentimental Rose Distinktive stamp set from my April Paper Pumpkin Kit and Gray Granite, Flirty Flamingo, and Mint Macaron ink pads. Note that I "stamped off" on Emily's card which gave those flowers a softer look than those on Andrea's card.

Strong & Beautiful stamp set & Sentimental Rose Paper Pumpkin Distinktive stamp set

Strong & Beautiful stamp set & Sentimental Rose Paper Pumpkin Distinktive stamp set

Strong & Beautiful stamp set & Sentimental Rose Paper Pumpkin Distinktive stamp set

Strong & Beautiful stamp set & Sentimental Rose Paper Pumpkin Distinktive stamp set

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Mary S Brunk

You all three have always been an inspiration to me! You are amazing Mary Knabe and you have 2 beautiful, kind, caring wonderful daughters! I'm so glad that all three of you are a part of my life! Love you bunches!!

Mary Knabe

Oh, Susi, we are all blessed to call you our friend. Thanks for your kind words and your friendship and support always! Love you, my friend.

Sharon Shreve

Mary, I love these cards. I have the Paper Pumpkin stamp set and love these sentiments. I wasn't thinking of getting this set because I don't usually make Mother Day cards but you have shown how to use it for other inspiring thought. Congrats again on completing the run. Be careful, if can be addictive. :) Sharon

Mary Knabe

Sharon, I have used this stamp set over and over many times since I got it. I love it. I’m glad my cards inspired you. I have decided that I want to do another quarter marathon. The running is good for my body, mind, and soul, and I love doing it with Andrea.

Cammie Kramer

I love everything about this post! Cheers to you and your daughters for being strong, beautiful, and resilient women. -Cammie, Sugar & Spice Scrapbooks

Nancy Schmitt

Yay Mary! I cried when I read this. You have inspired me to do a 5K!!!

Mary Knabe

Cammie, thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you.

Mary Knabe

Nancy Schmitt, you can do it! Go for it! It's so rewarding!

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