So Friday I woke up (late, my alarm forgot to set itself the night before and wake me up!!) and I felt pretty rested. Ran around like a wild woman, because we were ALL running late. If I wake up late that means the whole family is late. Got to work and then the butterflies started to kick in. At lunch time I posted my play list post and then I started to get real nervous or excited, I'm not really sure which one it was. I basically couldn't concentrate on work and I couldn't wait until 5:00 because that meant I could totally focus on what I needed to do before the race.
Once 5:00 hit, I was in half marathon mode. I picked up R and took him to his grandma's house so I could drive to Abilene (20 minutes away) to get my race packet and do some last minute shopping. The packet pick up went pretty darn smoothly, they had pizza too which Jed thoroughly enjoyed, I passed.
Then we went to have my pre-race meal and I choose to have a hamburger at a brewery here in town and a beer.
I knew a beer would calm me down and it did until I got home. The last minute shopping included these items:
I will say that I am happy with my purchases. The next thing I will buy are Bluetooth headphones, the cables annoy the holiness right out of me. If you are wondering about these waste band thing, they are pretty awesome. It DID NOT MOVE UNLESS I MOVED IT. It was pretty awesome. But you won't make a fashion statement with it on, I'm sure I looked like I had a huge pump on my side, but A LOT of people had packs and so I'm assuming most people knew what it was!
So then once we got home, all I needed to do was lay out my clothes for the next day.
And at the point, all I needed to do was sleep. It was after 10:00 pm and I thought falling asleep would be pretty darn easy. WRONG. I barely got any sleep the night before. I know I saw 1:00 AM and after that I knew I was in for a long run.
So when my alarm hit 4:55 a.m. I finally decided to get up and get ready. I wasn't really tired, but my adrenaline was kicking in and I knew by race time the fatigue would set in. But what can you do??
So I made my breakfast - scrambled eggs and chicken sausage. Took a quick selfie. LOL and checked the weather. Windy, but warm. The warmth I was happy about, but the wind I knew would make things a little more difficult which at this point I didn't need. And I said good bye to my favorite dog in the world, Sahara. She got up to see me off. Oh who am I kidding, she wanted an early breakfast. My guess she was hoping that her dad would feed her another breakfast once he got up. LOL
I headed to Abilene with no problems, I knew I would have enough time to get a parking spot and get settled. As I was driving there I started to think about everything and tears started to well up. On March 30th of last year was my FIRST 5K and a little over a year later I was on my way to my first half marathon. What a year! I honestly never thought I would actually run a half marathon. It was something I always thought about, but I really didn't think I had it in me to complete it. So as these thoughts came to me, I began to tear up. Could I really be driving to my first half marathon?? WOW, I am!
Then I get there and a whole another sort of emotions hit me. CRAP, I have to run 13.1 miles. I take a few minutes to look around and see my fellow runners and it is amazing. They ranged from super fit people to people who are heavier than me (the latter makes me realize how awesome being a runner is!). So the nerves are really kicking in and I find myself wanting to cry and I'm not really sure why. Is it because I'm by myself, or that I have to run 13.1 miles, or is because I finally accepted the fact that I AM A RUNNER. I deserve to be with these people!!
I read this text message before the race. I literally almost lost it. For the people I love to call me a runner, it meant the world to me. I feel so bless to be surrounded by these AWESOME people.
We line up and we talk amongst ourselves. You can feel everyone's excitement and nervousness. I LOVE that feeling. It is that feeling that has kept me playing sports and running. There is just something special in the air. Then the gun goes off and there is no turning back. I start to run telling myself to take it slow and steady. DO NOT RUSH YOURSELF. You have 13 miles to run, take it EASY. And I did.
I am getting close to the one mile marker and I see a friend on the side of the road with her baby and I about lose it. The tears are about to come gushing out, but I knew if I let them, then there would be NO stopping them. She is super sweet and runs with me to the end of mile one while pushing her 7 month old in his stroller, I couldn't have asked for a better friend. She then sprinted a head of me and held up a sign for me:
She clearly knows how my runs go. And she was partially right, the first mile was hard. My right calf was bugging me and so was the bottoms of my feet. But shortly after mile one the pain went away. I wouldn't say it was all down hill from there, but the pain had gone away. Thank you Kayla for surprising the hell out of me and making me cry. But mostly thank you for being a GREAT friend!!
The rest of the run was difficult for me. Not that the course itself was hard, pretty flat for the most part. And the wind was difficult at times, but what really made it difficult was the fact that I couldn't really let myself zone out. I couldn't get lost in the music or the pavement. I was constantly looking around and watching other people. For one thing, I had NO idea where I was going. I tried looking at the course map before the race and it was just too confusing. And then there were water stations set up almost every mile and that threw me off too. I knew I didn't need any water for the first half and I did good to not drink anything. I think it was mile 7 that I finally had my first drink of water. But then after that I wanted to drink water at every station and I knew that was unnecessary.
I know around mile 8 I was wondering if I could finish this thing. I had 5 more miles to go and I was getting tired. But you know what kept me going?? It was the volunteers at the water stations they usually had cute kids there to hand out water, oranges, or bananas. They were so full of energy and excitement, they really made the difference for me. Then there were complete strangers cheering you on. Those people tugged at my heart. They didn't know me and they were up at the crack of dawn to cheer on the runners. They could have sat down or left after their loved ones ran by, but no they stayed and cheered on the others. It was very sweet and motivating. So I kept running.
My mom also called my phone from time to time to tell me to keep running. My dad had to work that day and so I knew they wouldn't be there to cheer me on, but my mom made sure to let me know that she was still cheering me on from afar. She is AWESOME. So that helped too. All the text messages helped as well. THANK YOU EVERYONE!
Mile 10 hit and I was struggling. I kept telling myself that I had a SHORT 3 miles left, but I was struggling. I didn't want to stop at ALL during the last 3 miles, but I had to. My hips started to hurt and I was tired. So I would walk for about 10-20 seconds and then I would run again and then walk when I NEEDED it.
The last mile was the hardest. I wanted to stop and call it quits. I was mentally and physically done. But something deep inside me told me to keep going. I knew Jed, R, and Kayla would be at the finish line and there wasn't anything stopping me from seeing them over than myself. So I pushed forward.
Right before I got to the finish line I heard a voice say "Your almost there, Keep running." I knew that voice, I had heard that voice a MILLION times before. I heard that voice when I was playing basketball, volleyball, soccer, track. I heard that voice when I was sick, tired, happy, and sad. It was my mom's voice!! She surprised me and was THERE. I couldn't believe it. I started to cry ONCE again. LOL And then my son came out and said, "Mommy!!!" and that little guy ran with me over the finish line. It was one of the best feelings in the WORLD.
I finished!! I ran (slowly jogged is a better word) 13.1 miles. And I have to say it was the hardest thing I have ever done other than giving birth to my son. But I am so glad I did it!! I am a runner and I can achieve what ever goal I put my mind to. I know this now. I have friends and family members who will support me during these tough times and will be there to push me through them.
So what now?? What is the next thing on my agenda?? Not sure yet. Someone asked me if I would run another half marathon and my answer at that moment was NO. I was done. But time has passed since then and I am ready to think about my next race and I'm about 90% sure that I will run another half marathon this year if not 2. Someone also asked me if I wanted to run a FULL marathon and the answer to that one was NO and it is still No. 26.2 miles is a LONG ass way. For those that ran 26.2 miles on Saturday, YOU ARE MY HERO. I don't know how they did it. Because when I got to the finish line I knew I was done, but the Full Marathoners had to TURN AROUND and run that route AGAIN! Kill me now! It was crazy to see those people turn around and head back. But they do inspire me. So maybe one day I will run a FULL marathon, but until then I'm perfectly content on working on running my next half a marathon faster and stronger.
This morning I woke up and one of the first things I thought about was running. It is in me, I am not going to fight it. So a couple times a week I am going to hit the road and run. And when the time is right I will train for another Half Marathon, but until then, I am going to run for enjoyment because I. AM. A. RUNNER.