Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | July 12, 2010

What I thought about yesterday

Upon awakening at 1:45, I felt truly blessed.  This is, actually, one of my first thoughts on most mornings, but on Race Day I felt blessed because I had fallen asleep at 8:30 the night before and slept almost uninterrupted until 1:45 AM, fifteen minutes before the alarm was set to go off.  What a blessing, for this old insomniac, to sleep well the night before the race!

Jim took me to the bus at 3:45.  Except for a little group of homeless people who were passing around a large bottle of vodka and razzing the folks getting on the bus, all went well.  I was sitting in front of two women who were swapping race stories… and I was totally in awe of them, for a while.  One had already run 214 marathons, and the other had run 10 marathons since October.  Each one was raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Wow!  Exemplary people!  I was full of admiration for them, until they started dissing the Missoula Marathon.  They were saying things like “Voted the Best Overall?  In MisSSOULA?  What’s up with that?  And no shade on the route until the end?  Give me a break.”  I turned around and told that them that, yes, we might be a small town, but the folks who were putting this on are very, very proud of this marathon, and rightfully so, and they should give Missoula its due.   I thought about them on the race route, when the scenery was so beautiful it made my heart sing, and wondered how they felt after seeing the route.

The first half of the race was absolutely fantastic.  The walkers started at 5:00 AM, and so we had a full hour of that crystal-clear, glowing sky to walk in, under the few remaining stars, as they twinkled out one by one.  Towards sunrise, the birds started up, giving us a full-throated symphony as background music.  Candace – our coach, Peggy, Stan and I, all from the walking class, walked together for the first bit, and it was grand fun to be able to swap stories and congratulate ourselves on being out there on such a beautiful day.  I thought that the runners would probably start passing us around 6 miles, but it actually wasn’t until after we were at the 8 mile mark that they passed us, but long before the first runner appeared, the hand-cycles zoomed by us.  Wow, they were going fast.  Way too fast to see my Team Reeve race shirt… but I was happy anyway, knowing that I was out on the same course they were, and I was working towards a goal that might benefit them someday.  

A few minutes after the first several runners passed us, the numbers of runners going by increased dramatically, and Peggy reminded me to look up…not, actually, to improve my form, but rather to enjoy the “scenery” as oh, my goodness, that first large group of runners included some lovely young men.  

Candace, Peggy and Stan are much faster walkers than I am, and so by about mile 11 I was walking on my own.  This isn’t a bad thing, as it gave me time to focus on my form, go mentally through the Chi Walking focuses, and think about why I was out there.  At the midway point is the only hill on the route, the hill on Blue Mountain, and so I really had to up my self talk to keep going… but just about then the beauty of the actual scenery (not the human scenery) gets truly stupendous, and so I had plenty to occupy my mind.

I had a nice interlude on Clements, seeing a friend and former teaching partner, Amy Stemple and her family, out cheering on the racers… that energy carried me a good ways down 7th.  And then, I had to turn to Superman, who, faithful friend that he is, was flying low and slow, just at my left hip.  I put my arm on his back and let him carry me a ways, as by this time I was truly tired.

Around Mile 21 is… oh, blessings abound!… my brother’s house, and there was my lovely husband, my brother and sister, my mother, my nephews and my niece-in-law, waiting for me with their beautiful faces so full of love and pride.  Though I didn’t stop to chat, giving them a high five and a kiss gave me the energy I needed to make it another four miles.  Such a family I have!

I choose to not say much about the last two miles.  It was brutal.  The only thing that has made me feel better about it was reading the Missoulian this morning and finding out that the winners of both the men’s and women’s categories said that the last two miles were hard, so I guess I’m not alone.   My sister met me at Bonner Park and handed me a packet I had arranged before-hand, and so as I crossed the Higgins Street Bridge, being cheered on by my friend and Nia teacher extraordinaire, Jody Mosher, I was able to walk under streamers of the Team Reeve colors.  Hurray!  I made it!



  1. Kimberly, Your post brought tears to my eyes. Job well done, my friend!!


  2. Fantastic! I can’t believe you have the energy to write all that only a day after the race.

    I’m proud to have heard it first hand.

  3. My Darling Athletic Sister

    Oh the women. When I think about the women in my life my throat closes up. It does it at the strangest times and I never know when it will happen. My Mother, my Sisters, my Wife, my Daughters, my Grand Daughters. I am a man truly blessed.

    I am your lovin
    Brother Bill

  4. Way to go Kimberly! And you had fun doing it. It always feels good acheiving our personal goals.


  5. Congratulations to you Kimberly, and all the other walkers and runners as well! I am so proud of your accomplishment, and hope you were able to raise a good chunk of money for the Reeve foundation.

    Thank you for allowing me a peek into the world of race-walking and preparation for marathoning. It has been a joy to read your blog and hear from all the book authors and other experts you relied on.

    I’m intrigued about the whole thing from your experience, and now have to ask: Are you going to do it again?? Just a bug in your ear, but Walt Disney World puts on amazing marathons and January in Florida is sure nice…!


  6. Congratulations Kimberly –
    I loved reading about your day and the experience you gained…it truly is a phenominal accomplishment. Thank you for honoring Bob and the CR Foundation – you rocked it!
    With great pride,
    Lisa Heinle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: