This past weekend and last weekend I celebrated my 2000 miles. Last Sunday, I completed a 7 mile run to hit my 2000 miles exactly. I cannot properly put into words what that felt like. When I turned the corner to run up my driveway, where my first run of the 2000 began, I saw my Garmin hit that 7 mile mark and I knew. 2000 was completed. I was in shock. 2000 was now done. In 11 months, I had run through hot, humid, rainy, cold, windy, hilly, early, dark, bright conditions. My legs were tired, my mind was giving out, but I thought of none of that at that moment I hit 2000 miles. All of that goes away and I was left with the most emotionally happy moment of my life. Aside from getting married, this was the most amazing moment of my life. I had done it. I had reach 2000 miles relatively injury free. I was so very blessed this year and it all came to that moment. I just stood there frozen on my driveway immediately relieving every moment of the past 2000 miles. I sobbed. I broke down sobbing. I did it. I had pushed through 2000 miles. And this was the proudest I have ever been of myself. Ive never been so motivated to finish something like I was for this. I had just run 2000 miles. It’s still crazy to think about. Sometimes I have to say it out loud to make it real.
To continue to celebrate the 2000 miles and the donations raised, the SOWF, Rangers and my husband all planned a celebration run along Bayshore in Tampa. I had never run along Bayshore, but driven along it and it was beautiful. I was to run along Bayshore, run on to Macdill, meet the Rangers and their bike group who would ride me in and we would end at the SOF Memorial on base for a moment to remember.
So, Saturday morning, my wonderful friend, Lisa, and I met at Bayshore and Howard and began our 5.1 mile run to Macdill. It was a warmer mid morning run, but the breeze kept us cool. Along the run, friends, neighbors and military families stood along the route to cheer us on and members of the SOWF came out to take pictures and cheer us on. It was like our own little private race and spectators. It was overwhelming to me how early and far people came to just cheer me on for a couple seconds as we ran by. I cannot believe the love and support I am still getting on this journey. You never know the love and support of people until days like today!
We continued along Bayshore and kept running and chatting. Lisa kept my spirits up, kept me entertained, and then the moment came when I looked up and spotted the entrance into Macdill. My heart started to race immediately. This was the moment I had been dreaming about for the past 3 months my husband was planning it. This was the end. This was it! My emotions overcame me and I had to stop, catch my breath and for some reason felt like I needed to take a bit of Gu..LOL. I was shaking and for some reason I thought the Gu would help that last .5 miles…LOL. We entered base and there were 2 rows of bikes with the Rangers and their spouses waiting to ride us in. I ran up the middle of the bikes to meet Mike. Mike would lead the pack and Lisa and I would follow him in. We turned the last corner of the route, running faster than I have ever run, but we just couldn’t stop. This was it. I spotted the SOF Memorial site and saw several several people already there waiting for us. Not only were there SOF members and friends, but 2 generals came out to cheer me on. There is nothing more emotional than running up the walk to the center of the memorial and seeing 2 generals cheering you on. I should be cheering them on. I should be stopping for THEM. Not the other way around. They do the hard work. They are the ones to be cheered for. But here they were, cheering for ME! They were honored and cheering me on? They had no idea that the 2000 miles was all for them. It wasn’t about me.
The SOWF and SOF community spoke very kind words abut my efforts, gave me a plaque and medal and spoke of the SOF efforts. I will never forget that moment. Looking at all those people, the people I had just run 2000 miles for. This was why I did it and would do it all over again.
As I look back over my 2000, I must thank and reflect a bit. First, it was never ever about the miles. This was so much more than you and me. The miles brought awareness. But it was about the wounded and fallen SOF men/women and their children. They do the impossible every single day, so running 2000 miles is nothing compared to what they do. The running was the easy part. The 2000 miles changed me. I am a completely different person than I was on January 1. After only a few miles in, I changed. I realized I was put on this journey purposefully. I was meant to run 2000 miles, not for myself, but for the SOF, their families and our country. I did it for the love I have of my country. I did it for those families who have lost an SOF member. I did it for those who have fallen before us and after us. This was never about me. And I am so very honored to have been on this journey for the SOF and the families. I would do it all over again if it meant helping even one more family. Not only do the donations raised help their kids go to college, but it gives immediate assistance to the families of the wounded. All it takes is $3000 per wounded soldier. Please please let’s help another family. Let’s get to at least $10,000 and that would ensure we help 3 families this year.
But I cant write a 2000 mile review without thanking at least one person. I do thank you all for your continued support, but I have to take a movement to thank my husband, Mike. There is no way I could have done even 1 mile without his support. He never once complained about the miles, the expense of running, the early days, the early nights, my tiredness/crankiness/exhaustion, he never said no to getting up at all hours of the night to make sure I got to a race on time. His support never wavered and he never once made it about himself. He arranged for the celebration run, he had a medal made, spoiled me along the journey, passed out cards, told people about my efforts, etc. and always with a smile. He is an amazingly loving and supportive spouse and I am so blessed he was a part of this journey. Without him, this wouldn’t have been possible. He was my best supporter and cheerleader, especially on those mornings I didn’t want to get up. So, Mike, THANK YOU. I love you and will be forever grateful.
So, the 2000 is done. All those warm, hot, humid, early mornings, have come to this moment. I would often day dream about what I’d say at the end as I ran those miles. The end seemed so far off and yet it’s all done now. I’m a bit sad it’s over as this was an incredible journey. I found strength, confidence, motivation in myself I never ever knew I had and I am thankful for the SOWF for that.