It was a dark and stormy night . . .
Well, half of that is true. It was dark, but not stormy, when we woke up at 5:15 a.m. on October 27 to drive to Atlantic Station to begin the Atlanta Marathon. Kelly had been running for a few years and working her way up to a marathon. Jason had run one before in New Mexico in 2006, and encouraged her to run one before the end of 2013. When Kelly signed up for the Atlanta Marathon in April, Jason signed up, too. (Sucker!)
In the weeks leading up to the marathon, we trained individually, together, and with the Dunwoody Running Group (thanks for the encouragement, everyone!). Places like Riverside Drive, Eves Road, Azalea, the Perimeter area, the Silver Comet Trail, Midtown, Grant Park, Edgewood and Cochran Shoals became more familiar on foot than by car. We ran in Louisiana while attending a friend’s wedding.
We ran the Peachtree Road Race on July 4. And we ran 20 miles in one night, from Kelly’s apartment to Jason’s house and back.
The temperature was 45 degrees when the race began at 7 a.m., but after about a mile and a half, we didn’t notice. As the sun rose and we trotted steadily through downtown Atlanta, Kelly pointed out landmarks like the Georgia Aquarium, the Olympic Rings and Turner Field to keep her mind off the fact that the distance ahead was still in the double digits. She didn’t know that Jason was nodding but carrying a ring box in his back pocket and preparing a proposal speech in his head. Winding through the Edgewood, Virginia-Highlands, Morningside, Druid Hills and Lindbergh neighborhoods, Kelly kept signaling points of interest while Jason kept nodding and practicing his speech (and high-fiving every traffic cop they passed).
At mile 18, Kelly ran ahead and finished the race in 4:27. Jason clocked in at 4:43. Our friends Melanie and Ty met us at the finish line to cheer us on and enjoy a post-race lunch at Atlantic Grill. (And, Kelly later found out, to take pictures of the proposal.) Over reuben sandwiches and beers, Jason suggested walking to the 17th Street arch and pond to take photos.
Kelly: “What? No. We just ran 26.2 miles. I’m not walking any further today.”
Jason: “Oh come on, it’s not that far.”
Kelly: “No. My car is in the opposite direction of the pond. I’m walking to my car, then to my bathtub so I can take a bubble bath, and that’s it.”
Ty and Melanie: “It’s a really short distance, Kelly! You can do it. We’ll get some really nice photos of you two with your medals.”
Kelly: ::long sigh:: “Fine.”
Kelly gave Jason a ton of grief during the 0.2-mile walk to the arch. Jason seriously considered popping the question right there on the sidewalk, in front of a wall of Porta-Potties. We made it to the arch, where Jason bent down on one knee, told Kelly that she is his best friend, and he could not imagine running this marathon, or running through life, without her.
Jason: “Will you marry me?”
Jason put the ring on Kelly’s finger before she could say anything else!
We are so happy and can’t wait to share our vows and celebration with you on August 9!