Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Big Day

(Read this post second if you haven't already read this one.)

Let's see! Where I last left off was the big run. It's half marathon run day. Let me set the scene. It was cold like below freezing cold. It was wet like pouring rain wet. It was early like before dawn early. Not really, but that's how I felt. It was in the low 40's. I'm a Texas girl. When it's 55 degrees its too cold to play outside. It was really damp, but it wasn't raining. I got the early part dead right.

Chris and I got up at 4:30 to get dressed and eat something. We went downstairs and stared at the food and at each other. At one point, we both started laughing because the scene was ridiculous. The lobby was filled with runners. They were pumped to be there and excited to "get going." We made death look healthy. Who wants to eat DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? Not me. I had a Diet Coke (drink of champions) and a banana. But, You weren't getting this girl to smile.

Melissa met us at our hotel and walked to the starting line about a 1.5 mile walk. It really seems pointless to drive when you're about to run 13.1 miles (Yes! the .1 is very important). We lined up by time that we thought it was take us to complete it. Oops! Guess what! I have to go to the bathroom. The line was long and the port-a-potty's were cold and gross. I just decided to hold it. I mean seriously. We are about to run 13.1 miles. My bladder was the least of my worries.

They fired the starting gun. Then, we just started walking to the start line. It's really quite counter intuitive to the whole starting gun sound. Finally, it was our turn. We hit the timing mat and off we started running. The course starts off up hill. Yes! The first three miles are up hill. This Texas girl trained on flat ground. It never occurred to me that the hills of Austin might be an issue. At mile marker one, I ran by a girl that had fallen and bloodied her knee. This is how desperate I was to quit this half marathon. I ENVIED HER! She had an excuse for not finishing. I so hoped that I would fall into a pot hole and have to be carried away on a stretcher.

At mile two, I stopped running at the water table. My legs ached. New muscles (yet to be developed) were screaming. It was very clear that I was not prepared to run hills. I took five minutes to sip a glass of water, go to the bathroom and have a "coming to Jesus" with myself. I hadn't trained for four months for this to quit now. I am not a quitter. Who cares if the hills are hard and my legs hurt. It's two hours of my life. I survived a serious car accident when I was 16. I birthed two children, one of them naturally. I just ran 10 miles after a year of very serious setbacks. I can do this.

So I did! I just started running. I fell in with a running group from Austin. They were kind enough to accept me into their pack. They taught me (talk about on the job training) how to run the hills of Austin. I learned that you wipe your snotty nose on your sleeve or your gloves (yucky!). I learned that if someone offers you a piece of sugary candy along the way that you accept it and suck on it. I also learned that the people that line the roads that hold signs and cheer for you can be very motivating.

I think we look pretty darn good
for just running 13.1 miles!
At about mile 11, we turned the corner and saw the State of Texas Capital Dome. It was the most beautiful thing that I have seen. Not the building, but the gentle slope downward toward it. I was almost finished.

I ran around the capital building and eyed the finish line. I had done it! My legs hurt so badly. My hips ached from running the hills. I had to go to the restroom like crazy. When I started the race a couple of hours before, I thought that I was running for my kids to show them I could accomplish my goal. I thought that I was running to prove that I could. In the end, I realized that I was running to escape the last two years of trauma to my body. In two hours and 36 minutes (includes my five minute stop to have a "comin' to Jesus" with myself), I had proven to myself that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I did this for me. The years of being pregnant and breastfeeding might have changed how I looked phyiscally but mentally, I was still tough as nails.

Almost a year later, I still get emotional as I write this. With time to reflect on my accomplishment, my half marathon was a big turning point in my life. I now run because I really enjoy it. I try to run about 20 miles a week. My next goal is a full marathon but not until my baby is in kindergarten. It takes so much time to train. Less than 1% of the world's population can say they've done one. I'm just adding it to the bucket list. I'm also mulling over a triathlon (the swimming part scares me).

When asked what piece of advice that I have for beginning runners, this is what I say. Make sure that you're doing it for the right reasons. If you're trying to lose weight or want a hobby to do with your friend or spouse, it's probably not enough motivation. Here's the practical advice. Run a few 5K and 10K's before the big race. If I had done that, I would have learned a whole about running in a group, maintaining a pace and most importantly, what to do with a drippy nose.

As we runners say, "just one more mailbox..."

This is now the reason that I run!

1 comment:

  1. Good memories. As cool as the race was, I think the day we did our ten miles was the most emotional for me. I know I would've never done it if you hadn't set at all up. I am still so impressed with your determination and I'm so glad I was able to share this experience with you!