Thomas has made himself a list of some audacious goals for his 30th year. One thing on his list was to run a half-marathon. If you had asked me this time last year if my hubby would run a half-marathon, he and I both would have chimed in with a resounding no. He, however, set his sights on running the St. Jude’s Half-Marathon and the training began. He even chose to go above and beyond and run as a hero for the hospital!
Last year I ran the St. Jude’s Marathon. 26.2 miles later, I was greeted by a proud husband and some very loving friends. A year later, our friends no longer live in the race city, so we had to stay in a hotel, and with a pending Christmas trip sans kiddos on the horizon, we decided to take the boys with us on the journey, which made for a bit of a crazy day for me while Thomas ran. On the way to the race city, we took all highways and back roads, so it was a very scenic journey. Some of our friends live outside of where the race would be (too far for us to crash there for the night) and we enjoyed catching up with them and their little girl.
We had a good idea on when Thomas would begin the race, along with what pace he would keep. With that in mind, I set a morning schedule for me and the boys. We packed everything up, ate breakfast, and drove to the closest parking place we could find before roads were closed off for runners. I got the boys out of the car and put Wesley on my back in a carrier while Daniel and I hauled it to Beale Street in order to catch Thomas and cheer him on in his race. Thomas was using his iphone as an ipod while running, so I texted him “We’re at the turn on Beale ready to cheer!” He texted back “I just passed that.” Yeah, we missed him. Daniel was *really* upset, and so was I for that matter. After running last year, I know how much it means to see a familiar face or have someone yell your name. Daniel kept thinking that if we stood there long enough, his Daddy would run past us anyway because people did start coming from the opposite way, but those people were marathoners and were looping though. Thomas would not be doing that in his half-marathon, and working with the logistics of walking to another place to cheer on the course and getting back to the finish stadium with two kiddos in tow, I had to admit that we missed him en route. We had to just look for him at the finish.
The boys and I waited in the stadium for Thomas to finish his race. They got quite a bit bored and started pulling on each others cheek and weird stuff like that. I can’t blame them, for waiting was a little boring, and I was constantly afraid of going off somewhere with the kids and missing Thomas cross the line, so we just sat and waited. My nerves got a little overwhelmed trying to corral the boys and keep them happy among so many people. I was able to shoot Thomas some encouraging texts while he was running though, which helped me to also check in with him on where he was at in the race. Daniel saw someone with food from a concession stand and asked me to go and get him something, for he was hungry and I was out of the snacks I had packed. I told him no because I did not want to miss Thomas finish.
Finally, I knew Thomas was on his last mile, so I got the kids up close to where we could see him straight on as he crossed.
They were making me nervous while on that railing because they were trying to keep climbing higher and higher, so I made them both get down and just stand next to me and wait. I was keeping my eyes on the entrance to the stadium, for that would give me a tiny bit of notice before Thomas crossed the finish. I was geared up, camera in hand, ready to cheer.
Suddenly, I realized Daniel was not standing next to me anymore. I called out his name and looked around at the seats behind me to try and locate him. I said his name again and still could not see him. I looked at the lady that was right behind me and she just shrugged her shoulders, most likely thinking I was a crummy mom that just lost her kid. Finally, I called him name a third time and he came over to me. I squatted down and told him that he could NOT walk away from me, that I had already asked him not to do that, and that I was disappointed with him for not listening to me. Scolding over, I got up and faced the finish line again to look for Thomas.
And then I saw him….past the finish line, already done. That’s right, I missed it. I was so upset but Thomas didn’t really care. He just smiled and waved at us from the ground, promising me that there were three ladies that crossed all together right in front of him that would have prevented me from any picture anyway. *Sigh*
We then went to the family reunion area to give him hugs. The kiddos were really upset when we had to walk away from Thomas. Wesley was crying, Daniel was crying, and I was about to cry too from stress and missing the finish. It was at that point I decided actually running the marathon last year was easier than taking two kids to watch someone else to finish the half-marathon.
However, when we finally got to him, I was was SO very glad we could celebrate his amazing feat. Thomas ran 13.1 miles as a hero, raising over $500 dollars for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital!
We’re all so proud of you, Thomas! We celebrate your accomplishment, and we know for sure that the kids at St. Jude’s are grateful for your hard work and dedication to the hospital and its case to heal children. You did it, hero!