(As a future former fat chick, I reserve my right to call myself like it is…let’s not sugar coat it!)
I sit here wide awake, even though I’m completely and utterly exhausted because I didn’t sleep well from the nerves, because I’m hopped up on endorphins as my husband and pit bull snore with a new a title to add to the resume, half marathoner. I did it. 13.1 miles. According to chip time, I came in dead last in the half marathon event–1255 out of 1255. I am perfectly, 100% okay with that for two reasons: I completed a half marathon, I met my goal. And I can only improve from here.
I feel surprisingly good for just finishing that which was supposed to kill me, but that’s what training was for–this was just the victory lap. I’m a little stiff and came out with one casualty of a pinky toe blister, but all in all, I can’t wait to do it again (which by the way, is January 15, 2017–I’ve been registered for awhile. It’s a sickness really). So here’s the blow-by-blow and some pictorial evidence:
Fueling up with bagel/peanut butter, coffee, and banana. KT Tape for support on my bum knee–I’ve definitely come to prefer it to the patella strap which slides no matter how tightly you cinch that sucker. And lacing up–the most important part. Good socks (I’m a snob, I’ve tried several brands, I’ll only wear Balegas) and I use RunGoo like it’s going out of style–that stuff is magic on preventing blisters.
Arriving at the Train Depot/Starting Line:
This had to be the biggest head game of them all. I’m really glad that I had my husband there until right before we lined up at the starting line–there’s no greater way to psych yourself out than comparing yourself to those around you. It’s probably a REALLY good thing that I run alone…I can see the advantages of running with others, but the advantages that I reap from me, my tunes, and my conversations with God far outweigh whatever gripe-fest I’d sure to be engaging in with others along a run.
So, mile 1. Fastest mile time ever! Yeah…keep up that pace and die. Got into a good rhythm. Miles 1-4, cake walk. Just nerves had my stomach still reeling a little. I should’ve fueled at mile 5, put it off until almost mile 7 because I couldn’t differentiate between nerves or if I was gonna puke. I should’ve chanced it because it caught up to me later when I hit the wall prematurely.
Almost Mile 8:
This was a beautiful course that went through Downtown Bellingham, Washington, along the marina, through neighborhoods, parks, a nature preserve, across docks, and ended right through the heart of town. While it was beautiful, I think my favorite part was running through the neighborhoods–people were camped out in their front yards and kids had the cutest signs and were cheering and high-fiving you. I really could’ve used a neighborhood ascending the hill from hell on mile 11-12.5.
Just past mile 8:
This is where the half marathon and marathon merged for the remainder of the race (so even though I came in last, there were still people behind me–nevermind they were going twice the distance). This was one of the points that husband and dog were able to catch up with me along the way, so I got some pit bull snuggles to keep me going. Miles 8 and 9 were fairly uneventful.
Mile 10. I hit the wall. I lost steam big time. I took an energy gel, but my fuel plan had already been messed up–need to learn from that mistake for next time. I paid dearly, normally I don’t want to die until about 11.5 miles-ish. Kept going, slow but sure, tried to just soak in what was around me and remind myself that I made it this far, there was no chance I was going to stop unless I died…and even then, someone was going to carry my corpse over the finish.
Mile 11-12.5. Hill from hell. This one was a interestingly disguised in the course map and not accurately depicted until the last minute emails that came out this week leading up to the race. It came in three waves…waves two and three were tolerable due to the terrain of where we live and where I normally run. The first leg. Well, that was just mean. And man made–it was a dock at a SEVERE angle for almost a quarter mile!
Once you topped the hill from hell, you started hearing the cheering from downtown, it made it desperate to finish. My feet felt like cement blocks at this point and I wanted to say bad words every time the interval timer on my arm vibrated to run again, but I knew the end was near. This is where the tears started flowing. I don’t have a lot of good pictures coming down the chute or across the finish line, we’ll have to wait for the official race photos…interval timer be damned at this point. I just started running. I wanted to be done. I was going to be running when I crossed that finish line. I don’t think I can put into words how cool it is to hear your name as your running down the street people cheering for you. It’s amazing. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful.
The finish line:
After you finish, you go through this maze of barricades and I grabbed a bunch of water which I downed and doused myself in–the weather was absolutely stunning, but that last burst of continued running to the finish skyrocketed my heart rate into the 190s for a brief moment (beauty of interval running, drops fast too!). Husband met up with me quickly to which I covered his jacket in a face full of tears and sweat.
This has been an amazing day–an amazing journey to reach this point. It’s not over. I still have a lot of life left to improve. I’ve still got a lot of weight left to lose and healthy living altogether still left to conquer. I’m just getting started. This may have been a goal crushed today–but it’s the beginning of so much more in the future. #igotgoals isn’t over friends, there’s more to come!
We came right back to the hotel because after one spends four hours running, you don’t smell too good…like..at all. Hit the recovery chocolate milk straight away, full pint today–I earned it! (Perfect blend of fast protein and carbs). Stretched, showered, stretched, ate an incredible burger, stretched, rested, and soon to stretch/foam roll (sense a theme–I don’t want to be sore!). There’s a fairly good chance I’m not taking off my medal anytime soon, and that’s okay. I earned it!
I’m overwhelmed and feeling very loved by the outpouring of love and support that I’ve received–it’s incredible. I didn’t realize that my husband was updating the Facebook world with my texts as I was passing mile points that I was telling him where I was, and I didn’t realize that I had somehow synced my timing chip to post on Facebook too–so most of the world knew in real time where I was–which in itself was a bit disconcerting when I realized it and then got over it quickly. Here’s the deal on that: I’ve spent a lot of time embarrassed over my speed/time. But you know what? I came to a realization today…I don’t give a rip. Yeah, there’s a good population of people that walk faster than I run, but, guess what? I’m not sitting on the couch. I’m regularly exercising, following a training program (that starts over in two weeks for my next race…), eating well, and doing the work. My only competition is me. I came in last place today. SO WHAT! I’m 1 for 1 in completed half marathons in my playbook. I’m good with that. Back to my point…
It hasn’t been just today. Or the last few days, weeks, months…it’s been a long time that many people have had my back. That have read my crazy Facebook posts, that read my rambly blogs, that see there’s good, bad, and ugly on this wellness journey. I have love and support in so many different ways and from so many different outlets and people that blessed almost seems like a trite word to use. I don’t have the right and beautiful eloquent words that cover it, so just know, as I sit here tonight with a heart exploding in gratitude for so much and so many in my life–I thank God for you too.