“It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

this ‘The Man in the Arena’ quote from a speech Theodore Roosevelt gave has been quoted and used by many a motivational speaker…  and I have heard it and totally applied it to teaching lessons with the boys about winning/losing and with the pursuits that the farmer has gone after – work or sports related – and found these words very valuable for them…

as a mom, quite often our lives become basically a maid/cheerleader role…  dedicating our existences to feeding, watering, driving and supporting the children and husband in our lives…

and then it dawned on me…  I bet they are capable of supporting me in something… they might even get a kick out of it…

and a friend of mine that was running with me during a hockey practice in February told me that she knew I was able to run a half-marathon…  I told her she shouldn’t drink before she runs… it affects her judgement and most likely is really dehydrating…  she slapped me and told me she’ll drink and run if she wants to drink and run…  I thought, I should take her advice and start training for a half-marathon… (thank you Bobbi Sitter… I believe I remembered that evening accurately?)

beginning Feb 15 I started my training…  since then, I have ran 67 times…  278.8 miles (448 km)… basically could have ran to Calgary, but it would have taken 67 separate runs so that seems slightly impractical…

my favourite running trail is right beside my house…  it is a trail that I have met a moose on…  so there is an element of surprise and excitement added…

I would say 72% of my runs have involved my dogs… Ryder is a 10 year old golden lab (which I believe is ‘dead’ in human years) and Lacy is a 23 month Great Pyrenees/Bernese Mountain Dog cross … when they’re not running with me they like to hunt muskrats, defend the house from coyotes and porcupines, and pay visits to the vet to get quills taken out of them…

Ryder has loved running with me her whole life, but now is on two medications for her arthritis so she has to be a ‘smart’ runner…  I tell her how many miles, whether it is hill training or not… and she paces herself accordingly…  the hill training she sits at the mid-point of the hill and does not move…

Lacy on the other hand runs up and down the hill with me…  9 times and still doesn’t clue in what is going on…

when you truly do not believe you will be able to do something, largely due to the fact that you are not fantastic at it, it is shocking when you complete it…

some other runners I have talked to say words like ‘runners high’ or ‘feel alive’ or ‘I never feel like walking’…  and I thought to be a runner you maybe need to feel this way…

turns out you don’t…

I have never been a natural athlete…  no one will argue this… but what I have is a lot of determination…  and this suits itself to running I have found…

I start every single run feeling like death for the first mile…

then I spent the remainder of the miles trying to ignore whatever body part starts to hurt or the urge to go to the bathroom…

music is what gets me through… I have listened to many different albums throughout the 278 miles and love having the time to listen to entire albums…

I saved Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits for the final training run today…

I promised Ryder we’d do a little celebration selfie photo shoot to commemorate this special moment for us… if I know one thing about dogs it is that they love a good selfie photo shoot…

you can sense our excitement

I always think as I take a selfie how much pleasure the farmer will get when he receives it..  it is basically for him…  you’re welcome honey…

and then I thought I’d take a selfie with the landscape in the background… because I truly love running in the wide open of Saskatchewan prairies…

and my last shot captured me breaking down…  cuz it happened…

I’ve never ran a half-marathon before… which means I’ve never trained for one before…  and there were sooooooo many moments I truly wanted to quit…  everything in me wanted to quit…

so for some reason, today on our trail with my girls, it might be a more emotional and memorable experience than a run with strangers…

not that this was the last run I’ll ever do, but it is the last on my training schedule and that means I finished something I wasn’t sure I could…

the only thing missing was my oldest son, who did the odd run with me, when I needed it the most, and pushed me and encouraged me and knew what I was going through…

so, 100 days ago, I started running… just like Forrest Gump… and now here I am… terrified for Sunday and also excited to get it over with…