My biggest fan is my daughter, Jacqueline. She is always out on the race course, cheering me on. My husband loves to challenge himself to see how many times he can see me during a race and my daughter is always right there next to him, unless she is participating, too.
My family knows that I would love to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I had been training with my amazing running friends from In Motion Fit in San Diego. Since I turned 55 in May, I moved up a division, so my qualifying time is now 4:10, but I had a personal goal of coming in under 4 hours. And of course, you never know how race day will go.
This past December, Jackie helped me achieve my goal! I ran the Tucson Marathon. The night before the race, she knew that I would be up all night, so she left a collection of inspirational quotes on my phone, and each time I got up I would look at a quote. The next day—race day—she and my husband were out there, cheering us on, as usual.
However, I was spent at the end of the race and I finally reached the last turn. In my mind, I was convinced I wasn’t going to come in under 4 hours, because I couldn’t see the total time on my Garmin and my brain didn’t take in to account that our wave started a little later than gun time. I turned the corner and there was Jackie with a huge smile on her face. She saw me and yelled, “You’re going to make it Mommy. RUN! You can do it!” She started running alongside me, outside the course, playing this old song from Manfred Mann called “Runner” on my husband’s phone. She continued to shout words of encouragement for that last push over the finish line.
My final time was 3:58:54 and I finally qualified for Boston in 2017. I just love my girl so much. Throughout all the months (and years) of training, she NEVER had any doubt that I could make it. She is my light.
One month later, on her 14th birthday, I had the honor of crossing the finish line with her, hand-in-hand, at the Carlsbad Half Marathon, for her very first half-marathon race.