Comebacks complete

Comebacks complete

I wrote last week about three runners who had overcome setbacks to run in Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon races this past weekend.
All three completed their races. Here are their race reports:

Kristina Castillo-Simons: Finished the half marathon on 3:24:10. She returned to running several years ago after a life-threatening childbirth.

It was a fun race! I had been used to the sereneness of a long run with a mountain view to match. This was an entirely different experience. It was great to run through campus past Alma in her bib and have bands or DJs playing music along the way. The bacon and beer give-away at a private residence around mile 8 was an unexpected surprise! (Made me sad to be a Celiac and not be able to enjoy it!) I received beads from a spectator along the way too. It felt like the fun of those themed 5ks was sprinkled within the race. People in my pace group were all about finishing but also having fun, and that was great positive energy to be around. One thing I did to get in the spirit of this race was to emulate a blogger who snapped a selfie with a “hot guy” at every mile in her half marathon. So on my Facebook page for all my friends who were cheering me on, I posted an album of all the race “cuties” I saw along the way at each mile.
Amidst all of that, though, I managed to get in some great thinking time, crying tears of joy during parts of miles 8, 9 and 10. While waiting at the start line, my last Facebook post before the start was in part, “I am blessed to be alive!” and I held that thought the whole way through the race. The weather was just perfect for a long run, and the sun was in perfect play with the breeze. I did get tired at points during my race, but through those times I just kept thinking how at peace I felt and that I knew I would do it. I felt grateful for every step I was able to take and to have the life that I have. I knew my kids would be at the finish line too, and I wanted to show them, “Look what Mama just did, again!” The day after the race, my eyes filled with tears once more when my 9-year-old son told me he wants to run next year’s half with me. Could not have been prouder at that moment!
I did finish about 15 minutes longer than my last half, but there’s always room for improvement. I’ll be back next year indeed!
Melinda Miller: Finished the half marathon in 2:46:02. She trained for the half marathon after stopping running for a few months due to bursitis in her hip.

I actually really enjoyed the day. I gave up any expectations and just decided to do my best and see how things went. I started out with a pace group. However, they started out much faster than the goal pace. I was able to hang with them for the first half pretty well anyway. It was important to me to be running when my nieces saw me, and they were cheering with friends just shortly before the 10K mark.
For the second half of the race, I ended up run-walking and it was actually a really nice way to spend the day! I made a new friend (Whitney Holmes from Rantoul) who stayed with me even when I could tell she could have run more than I. I enjoyed fresh air, sunshine, cheers from friends (and strangers!) and, at the end of it all, a lovely volunteer handed me a medal! I’ve definitely had worse Saturdays! Best of all, though we don’t have final totals yet, I believe that the WBGL Team Abolition International surpassed their fundraising goal of $50,000!
Of course, knowing that athletically I could perform better than I did, I think I’m already committed to running the half marathon at least one more time (isn’t it always “just one more”?). I sat down on Sunday evening and planned out a week-by-week schedule to help me get ready for next year’s race. I hope to be back to my previous best 5K time by July and build from there. I’m sure that training will involve some 5Ks and 10Ks this summer and fall, though I’ve not committed to any yet. But that schedule starts next week. This week the couch and I are spending a little extra quality time together!

Lisa Victorius: Finished the marathon in 3:56:26. She tore ligaments in her knee and damaged a nerve that resulted in foot drop, after falling over a hurdle during a college track practice. She returned to running using a brace that helps restore a normal gait.

As I waddle around and go down stairs backwards, I am proud of my accomplishment of running a marathon, but I am also disappointed that I missed my goal time. But I remember that five years ago at this time I was on crutches and unsure of if I would ever run a marathon, and I am reminded how lucky I was to be able to finish another marathon. It was a tough race and it hurt (although I am sure I say that about every race), I was tired and my legs began cramping at mile 15. I stayed with a pace group through halfway, which was great and made the first half fly by.
I thought that it was a great course and so beautiful! The spectators were amazing and it was incredibly well organized and the finish in the stadium was pretty cool! It was one of the easiest packet pick-ups and the parking was so easy! Even at the hotel I stayed at, they had breakfast out early for the runners and wished us good luck! I would love to run this one again! My favorite was the food truck with shaved ice — perfect post race refreshment!
And just after I had finished, I was approached by another runner with foot drop, which was pretty cool!
I am headed to Indy this weekend for the half marathon — with friends (one with foot drop) for a fun race. And then I am considering running the Philadelphia Marathon this November with my sister-in-law. But for now, it’s gentle stretching and recovery!

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