Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Girl Named Gratified

   On Saturday April 13th I completed my first half-marathon. I "trained" for 13 weeks, and it didn't go as planned. I got sick a lot, went through 2 rounds of antibiotics, and missed a lot of training runs because of it. I went into the race not feeling ready, but I couldn't back out. The race was Rock the Parkway in Kansas City, and Pete was doing it too. We were staying with friends, and making it our anniversary weekend. We got there at 7:00 am, the race started at 7:30. I was very nervous - would I make it? Would I die? Would I pass out? Would I be last? all of these things were going through my head. There were 5,500 runners participating in the half, so I knew my chances of being last were pretty slim. It was 37 degrees when it started, and I was thankful I had packed a long sleeved shirt just in case. I was in the "G" wave, so my wave didn't start until about 7:42. I wasn't able to get up to my pace group because the crowd was too big, so I went at it alone - I crossed the start line, and started running. The first few miles went pretty quickly - I am a people watcher, and I spent most of it watching the people around me and deciding who would run my pace, who I should pass and who I should stay with. When I run, my wheelhouse is miles 4-7 - I feel really good in those miles in every run I do. When I hit 4 miles, I started to feel good and started making up some time. I was right on the pace I wanted to be at - about 13 minute miles. Then I made it to the hills. Hills are not my friends, they completely wear me out. I lost a lot of time from mile 6-8. Then I regrouped, got some water and a gel, and focused on the remaining 5 miles. About mile 10, I hit "the wall". I was so tired and my body was telling me that was it, I can't go any further. My hamstring was cramping, then my foot started cramping. About that time the 3:05 pace group caught up with me, so I told myself "stick with them until the end, it's only 3 more miles" (my loose time goal was under 3 hours, but with it being my first I was happy with just finishing, so 3:05 was acceptable). I kept up with them, even when they were running 11:30 minute miles. At mile 12 I saw Pete on the side (he's much faster and had been finished for 45 minutes) he came over and started to run with me (that's right, my husband loves me so much that after running 13.1 miles himself, he walked back a mile just to run the last mile with ME <3) That last mile was THE LONGEST MILE I'VE EVER RAN. I'm sure it was at least 3 miles, they must have measured wrong. By the end I hated everyone and if one more person told me how close the finish line was, I was going to punch them. I could see the finish line, and people were sprinting past me, but I could not go any faster. I slowly ran with 100 pound legs and crossed the finish line. I finished in 3:05, and was 4411 out of 5500 (not last!) They gave me my finishers medal, water, mylar blanket and congratulated me. Best. Feeling. Ever. I cried, I was in shock, I didn't know what to do because my legs hurt SO bad - should I walk, sit down, lay down, curl up in a ball? I finally found Pete (he split off before the finish line) and he took me to the chocolate milk and wheat rolls (they were out of bananas and I was SO sad). I began to recover, we had our picture taken, and began to walk up the GIANT hill to our car (huge mistake parking uphill from the race!). It started to sink in that I actually did it. Even with horrible training, I still crossed the finish line of a 13.1 mile race. I was proud of myself, proud of Pete, so many emotions were going through my head. 

   This race was so inspiring because there were people of all sizes, ages, body types and it shows you don't have to fit into a certain mold to accomplish something like this. I've struggled with my weight my whole life, and after losing 40 pounds and plateauing I finally realized - I don't need to lose any more weight. Look what I've done at my current weight! Something that the majority of "skinny" people haven't done! I may be bigger than what society considers "thin", but I believe myself to be of a normal weight, and I'm not going to kill myself trying to diet and lose pounds. I've always thought my legs are too big - well, those legs carried me 13.1 miles to the finish line, so now I think they're just right; they're strong. This race taught me to be happy with who I am - my body can do so much more than I think it can. My mind stayed strong through the race, and that's what got me through. Below is a link to a wonderful video that Dove did with women, it really makes you think about how you see yourself vs. how others see you. We are our own worst critics, and we have to stop living our lives criticizing ourselves so much. As women we've got to start looking at all the beautiful things about ourselves, instead of picking apart our flaws. 

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

After the race I said "I'm never doing that again!" but now, I'm already thinking of when I can do it again (next time I want a friend to run with though, so I'll wait until I can recruit someone), and next time I will train harder and take it seriously, and hopefully knock some time off this one. I can see how people get addicted to marathons. Running fascinates me - I read everything I can about these elite runners that run 50 milers or 100 milers, and run at a 5 or 6 minute pace. It is amazing the discipline and incredibly physical ability these people have. The man that won the half marathon we ran, finished in 1:06 (roughly 5 minute miles), I was at the 3 mile mark and he was headed back and passed us, he had already ran 10 miles. Everyone around me started clapping for him, it was a pretty amazing moment. I know I could never be that fast, and I have so much respect for those elite athletes. 

Slow Is A State of Mind

After the half-marathon


   I debated whether to post this today or not, but I wanted a record (more for myself) of how the race went and what I was feeling so I can relive it when I want to. When I heard the news about the Boston Marathon yesterday, it broke my heart. After just finishing a large race it hit close to home. I can't imagine being there when something like that happens, and my heart truly goes out to all the victims and people involved. It is so sad that what has been such a happy and celebratory day for 117 years, is now tainted with this evil act, and it will never be the same. I do believe there is so much more good in this world than evil, and the good will prevail. We have to remember though that the nature of our world is that good cannot exist without bad, and vice versa. The bad brings out the good, as it did yesterday when so many people scrambled to help, runners kept running past the finish line directly to the hospital to give blood, people ran toward the blast to do what they can for people that were injured, hundreds of people posted on a Google doc that they have space in their homes for people to stay, offered food and drinks, etc. Bad things will always happen, there is no changing that. We don't have to let them rule our lives though, and we can make the good prevail. I was going to take this week off from running, but tonight I will #runforboston, because that's what I can do. I know that I will never qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I have so much respect and admiration for the amazing runners that do it each year. Runners are strong, and the running community is tight. We may not all know each other, but we identify with each other, no matter what the pace. I saw a quote on Facebook that said "If you're trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target". Love it.

   Finally, I'd like to thank my husband for always supporting me in my crazy ideas, and actually doing them with me. There is no one in the world I would rather be next to as we experience new things together. I am so thankful to have him, and I can't wait to see what other new crazy things we do together! Sky diving anyone?? ;)

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