Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart. Other than being in an amazing city (which may be completely biased), it was my first half marathon in 2012. Fast forward 5 years to 2017. When I saw that opportunity of Tacoma Narrows Half being my 100th race, I found out a way to make it happen. I planned out my races for the year just so I could make it my 100th half marathon.
The race itself will always be special. It’s held so many memories. My first race was something that taught me; I can do whatever I put my mind to. Granted, it wasn’t easy by any means. That day was warm, despite the early start. I hadn’t run more than 8 miles in my life at that point. Everything past that point was brand new to me. To the soreness and fatigue in my legs from distance, to the chafing which made things uncomfortable. What I remember the most about that race is the people that I met along the way. They were all so nice in asking how I was doing that day. Of course, in my excitement, I always led with, “this is my first half marathon.” To that, I always got a more excited response from whomever asked the question. I may have been excited, but these people were excited… for… me? It was then I learned about how tight knit the running community can be.
Now, let’s jump to the 100th race. I went into that race with the experience of running 99 before it. I had learned a lot during that time. I obviously found a passion in running. I learned how to pace myself, how to breathe, how to dig deep when I was feeling tired. I took it all in. The most important thing in that race though? Other than it being my 100th half marathon? The people. The people who had become my friends. Hell, my family at that point. I had a group of people running with me. I never once pushed the pace. I ran it nice and slow. Not only to reflect on the journey that had gotten me to that point, but to spend time with the people who were there for me. It was a blast. Did I get a little emotional? You better believe it. Coming down that final 0.1 towards the finish, it all hit me at once. Like… Dude… you just completed your 100th half marathon. It was crazy to think about.
It’s like I’ve said before:
“Each race is a different chapter. It is its own unique experience and story that can’t be scripted (as much as you would like to do so at times). The story can only be written as the day goes on in that moment. The best part of these stories? The people.The people are what make the stories the best they can be. Not to mention the experiences you share. All the unique experiences that can’t be put in another chapter. It’s about the moment. And in these moments, you realize that sometimes it may not be your moment at all. Don’t get me wrong, all of these chapters are about YOU, but there are times when there is a bigger picture. One that you get to be a part of. A bigger moment, if you will, that is part of your story.”
With that said, the moment for the Tacoma Narrows Half 2018? Rose’s 100th half marathon.
Where to start with Rose… Well, it’s only fitting to start from the beginning, I suppose. (Rose can probably tell this story better than I can)
I first met Rose officially (more on that later) in Portland at the Rock N Roll Portland Half Marathon in 2014. You see, back then I was much faster than I am today (or should I say I used to care more about time back then until I became a bit more humble). I started out the day running like I had the handful of races before (I believe this was my 16th half), steady and consistent. Little did I know, I was pacing someone that day haha. I saw this lady who was wearing the same shirt as myself throughout the race, but did realize she was keeping pace with me the entire race. I was alerted of this after we finished and she came over to congratulate me. She had just nailed a PR and was thanking me for keeping her motivated. I was confused, because at that point I had no idea that people just pick out certain people and use their pace (imagine that). Beside the point, we started chatting and just having a good time while we waited for her friend, Nykky. From that point, we hit it off with the running friendship and it continued to build. We would see each other at runs, and then we would talk during runs, and now we just talk all the time when it comes to running haha.
The funny thing is that we had run by one another for years prior to that first encounter haha. I believe we had actually run 3 years prior, but found out a couple years after we had become friends.
Anyway… enough of the reminiscing. Let’s just back to the present.
We started out the day just like we have plenty of times in the past. Met each other at the start line, chatted, and then got ready to run. We had an entire party ready to go for this occasion. All of her peeps from Outcome (who I finally got to meet after hearing about all of them for over a year) were there to either support or run in the race with Rose. Then you had us running folks ready to go. Most importantly, her wonderful granddaughter, Angel was there to run with her. The clock started and we were off. 13.1 miles of pure fun and joy. We chatted, joked, laughed and had a good time. This race, much like mine a year ago, wasn’t about time. It wasn’t about placing (although Angel did!), it was about the experience and soaking it all in. It was her victory lap, if you will. The day was for the fun, good times, experience and absorbing the raw emotion of the day. And trust me when I say that we had a blast during it.
That was a short recap of the actual race, but it was as it sounds; fun and full of laughter.
Now, I just want to leave a little note for Rose.
Rose, you are truly an inspiration. Word cannot describe how much our running friendship means to me. There are race mornings when I don’t want to show up. Where I’d rather stay in bed and not do this running thing that we put ourselves through. On those mornings though, knowing that you will be at the start line helps. It motivates me to get there, 1) so I don’t let you down, and 2) I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I no showed LOL. But seriously, you’re one of the main reasons I show up to the races that we run together. I just know I’m going to have a good time running and chatting. It’s 2+ hours that I get to spend talking with one of my best running friends. I wouldn’t trade that time in for anything. There are days where we have it and others when we don’t, but since we’re there together, we get it done. I could go on and on and rave about how awesome and amazing you are, but I’ll try to keep it short (I think I already missed that) and sweet. In all the runs that I’ve done with you, I’m always humbled by the sheer love and positive energy that radiates from you. You are always motivating others to embark on a new journey (sometimes with us; looking at you, Bethanee), and inspiring others along the way. You are the best. I’ll just leave it there.
I can get really mushy on these types of things, so I’ll try to close this out before it gets too much longer.
If there was something that I needed reminding of today, I certainly got it.
Running has given me many things during the time I’ve been doing it, but the greatest gift has been the people it has brought into my life.