My friend Sharon is a beginning runner. She’s dabbled with it over the years, like a lot of us, and then this year she set herself a goal of running a 5K. A regular walker, Sharon’s plan was to work herself up to running for twenty minutes at a time and taking two-minute walk breaks.

I got reports by text message periodically: “Just ran for 15 minutes without stopping!” Or, “19 minutes. Felt good.” When her 5K day arrived, Sharon had met her goal; she could run for twenty minutes at a time without stopping! I wanted to be with her on the day she ran her race, so I joined her at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA where it started and crashed her party.

We had a perfect day. Sharon’s four-year-old niece and her mother (Sharon’s sister) joined us and we all wound our way through the park for 3.1 miles and finished together—victorious—in about 45 minutes! Sharon had her 5K under her belt and she was feeling strong.

Sometime during the space of time she was training for the 5K, I came across a press release for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and posted it on my Second Wind Facebook page. I’d just done my first women-only race (the Happy Girl Run in Bend Oregon) and totally enjoyed the sisterhood energy. I was contemplating signing up for the Tinker Bell for January, 2012. Sharon saw the article on the Tinker Bell race on my page and called me up. If there’s one thing my pal Sharon will do almost anything for, it’s a trip to Disneyland.

“It’s a half marathon you know,” I said when she told me her intentions.

“I know.”

“That’s 13.1 miles, you know.”

“Yep,” Sharon said. And just like that she’s training for a half marathon.

I’m so excited for and proud of Sharon. For those of us who run long distances on a regular basis, it can be hard to remember how much courage it took that first time to say out loud that you were training for a long distance race. What nerve! What audacity it was to sign up for that first race. And then the second one. And the third.

This weekend, Sharon drove up to Bellingham to do the 44th Annual Chuckanut Footrace, one of the oldest [consecutive] footraces in Washington State. This is a 7-mile route along the Interurban Trail with upwards of 800 runners. Seven miles gets Sharon halfway to the half marathon. I was planning on doing it with her, but was asked to MC the event at the last moment, so she was on her own (with some moral support from Bill). Sharon completed her race in 1:54!

Follow my friend here as she gets ready for the Tinker Bell Half!

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