I wake up before the alarm chimes and look at the clock. 4:41. I try to get back to sleep but I can’t. I’m just a ball of nerves. For the second time in my life, I am preparing to run a half marathon.

I lose my eyes but the sleep won’t come. I surrender. I get up, dress for the day ahead and try to stomach some breakfast. When your stomach  is full if butterflies, there’s not room for much else.

I can’t see out my window. Texts from Amanda and Kelly are coming in at rapid speeds asking me where I was and how far along in the preparation process I was.

I get into Amanda’s car and look at the clock.  5:37. We listen to Christmas carols as we drive into center city.  Finding a place to park on this busy morning seems just as plausible as me finishing the race first. After 30 minutes of looking, we decide to park illegally.

“Pray and go, just pray and go,” I advise Amanda.

Skip to the starting line.

In solemn remembrance of those who lost their lives in Paris, the city of Philadelphia thinks it’s a great idea to have someone sing the French national anthem as loud as they possibly can.

Kelly and I cannot stop laughing at the awful singing that is being belted down the Parkway at 7 in the morning. We garter a few dirty looks from people who think we are being disrespectful, but really, we are just laughing to hide our fear o the next 13.1 miles.

We made a friend. Her name was Patricia. She was 73 years old and fired up for the race. She gave me so much encouragement and hope in myself in the short time I knew her. If she is 73 and is still going strong in the marathon world, then I can do anything.

Needless to say, she whooped me in the race, time wise.

I would like to say that I am embarrassed because a 73 year old woman kicked my ass in the marathon, but it’s more of an inspiration, really. I hope one day to run into Patti again and congratulate her and thank her for keeping me company at the starting line.

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