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The Most Important Mile of My Life: Lisa Willford

Lisa and her husband after the 2012 Columbus Marathon, where she shaved 14(!) minutes off her marathon PR.
Lisa and her husband after the 2012 Columbus Marathon, where she shaved 14(!) minutes off her marathon PR.

This mile is from mother runner Lisa Willford of Monclova, Ohio.

My most important mile has got to be the last mile of the 2012 Columbus Marathon. My husband had got me thinking that I could qualify for Boston. I had run my first marathon in 2011 in 4:14, and he had great hopes that I really could shave off the extra time and get it down to3:55. An ambitious goal, but perhaps obtainable.

I trained hard that summer, and went to PT for some minor issues. On race day, we were both running the full marathon, but my husband promised to finish and then come back on the course to finish with me. I was supposed to see him by mile 24, but due to his post-race pain, he didn't reach me until mile 25. He was limping along when he found me.

Although I was appreciative of his efforts, I was exhausted, in pain, and in no mood for smiling or anything else, and I just put my hand in his face and said, "I don't want to talk." I was unhappy with my performance and knew I wasn't going to make 3:55. However, my husband saw the positive that I failed to see, and encouraged me: "If you push it, you can get a sub-4 hour!"

That lit a fire under me, and with him cheering me on (and slightly hobbling along), he pulled me through and I ran my little legs off! We finished in 3:59:34! I immediately turned to him and sank into his chest and started bawling. Tears of joy from me that I had just done something awesome.

11 responses to “The Most Important Mile of My Life: Lisa Willford

  1. Due to injury, I will be running 13.1 in Columbus this year 🙂 It gets a bit long at the end (what marathon doesn’t??), but that downhill finish rocks! Good luck on your race!!

  2. Awesome! I totally get the “I don’t want to talk” in the last mile feeling. My speedy hubby has run me in a couple times and now he’s learned just to be there, not to talk. Something my BRF just knows. 😉

  3. Wonderful story! I was suppose to run the Columbus Marathon last year but an injury kept me in the 13.1 rank. I will be running the full this year! Cool to see another story about the Columbus Marathon!

  4. Thanks for sharing! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our goals and we just need someone to point out the positives. I needed that perspective, thanks

  5. Thanks! I should add that my husband ran *two* more marathons with me this spring – still trying to get that BQ!… then sadly I spent the whole summer recovering from a stress fracture. boo!! – but I’m hoping I’ll be successful next spring 🙂

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