Living the Dream

by Raine Fussner

October 2, 2023: I ran with a friend doing her first ever marathon at age 50. She had run one half-marathon on her 40th birthday and a handful of 5k’s in the last 20 years. She asked me to coach her. Although I had retired from marathons, I came out of retirement for a friend. Call me “Tom Brady.” 😂 The long hot summer days with extreme heat and humidity made training challenging, but we had fun. 

Race day came–Wineglass Marathon in Corning New York–and the weather couldn’t have been better for a marathon: 50 degrees and overcast. The leaves were turning in upstate New York’s wine country, and that added to the beauty of the area. Judi and I started out slightly faster than our anticipated pace, but evened out about halfway through. The last few miles (20-26) were tough for her, but she kept her head down and stayed focused. I could tell she was spent, so I stopped chattering and thought of a special loved one for each mile after 20. 

We crossed the finish line in 3:43, hand-in-hand, and qualified for Boston!  

It was a great experience for me to see her face and ring the bell and know that amazing feeling of accomplishment after all the dedication and training!

We celebrated with our husbands who were cheering us on at the finish. Of course we topped the weekend off with visits to several wineries and breweries along Keuka Lake. Looks like I will have to further postpone my marathon retirement, now that I’m going to Boston in 2024!

Two weeks later, Hubby and I headed to Ironman 70.3 NC in Wilmington North Carolina. 

It was a gorgeous weekend, probably better for the beach than an Ironman, but all went well, and I finished in 5:18, good enough to qualify for the 2023 70.3 Half Ironman World Championship in Finland!

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