11 years ago today…

On November 19, 2000 I ran my very first marathon in Philadelphia, PA.  Exactly 11 years ago today.

I asked my father to run the first and the last miles of the race with me…

For all the miles in between, my dear friend Kathleen and I ran together.  What I remember most about that day was all the love that surrounded me and how overwhelmed I felt by the whole experience.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Our families were there to support us (all wearing shirts they had made that said “Go Jessica!” and “Go Kathleen!” and they had also made us singlets to wear on top of our running clothes).

I remember my first marathon as though it were yesterday.  We trained so well for that race and felt so confident going into it.  But around Mile 14, Kathleen’s IT Band became excruciatingly painful for her and we were slowed down to a walk.  We walked the last 12+ miles of that race and finished in 5:21:20, more than an hour slower than we had expected.  It got really cold.  But we did not give up, and we were not defeated.  It was one of the most special days of my life.

Crossing that finish line was only the beginning for me.  I am so thankful that now, 11 years later, I am still running.  I am still chasing my dreams.  I am still not a quitter.

Do you remember your first marathon?  When was it and what was it like?  Did you finish in the time you expected you would, or did thing go differently than you expected?  I love to hear marathon stories and nothing is quite like that first one.  Please share!

3 thoughts on “11 years ago today…

  1. So glad to see these pics and hear about your first marathon! My first was Houston in 1997. There are no photos that capture that day, but I remember the weather (20 degrees and freezing rain), my attire (shorts–not smart–and a long-sleeved black shirt with a garbage bag over them for the first four miles or so) and my friends, who brought me dry shoes at mile 16/18 or so. I couldn't stay to celebrate the finish because I started to slip toward hypothermia as soon as I stopped running. I ran the whole way. It took me 5 hours and exactly 26 seconds.

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