Monday, June 20, 2011

my 2nd half marathon

yesterday marked the day i completed my second half marathon.
(yes, i realize my legs look like man legs.  do i really need to shave before an event?!)

i willingly chose to run 13.1 miles.
i am crazy... yes, i am.
(for reals?  we're gonna do this?!?!?)

and i kept telling myself that through the run.
"why am i doing this again?!"
(B and i before the race began... notice the happy but nervous smiles?  what were we in for?)

whatever the case, i finished and i'm pretty happy with my run.
my left knee was really giving me problems (which isn't normal) and so that was frustrating.
i think i could have pushed harder and faster had i not had knee issues.
but it is what it is.
i'm still thrilled to have finished under 2:00... even if it's just barely, at 1:59:45!  ha ha!

(saw my big brother before the run. that was pretty cool!)

moments along the way, you almost have to pinch yourself.
it is a true battle of the wills.
at mile 3, believe it or not, i felt like giving up.
i was beat, my knee ached, i was hot.
and i still had 10 miles to go!
10 miles!!
you have got to be kidding me!?!
but i pressed forward.
i was just praying, "Lord, please help one foot get in front of the other!"
thankfully i was running with a dear friend and she helped push me forward just by running herself.
(relieved and in shock that we just finished the race!)

at the halfway point i felt a little better.
we split from the full marathoners and i got some sense of renewed energy.
we were on our way back now!
our times/pace were pretty good.
not as fast as i would have hoped (according to my training mileage) but i was still happy with them.
i remember telling her around mile 7 that if we kept up with our pace, we should make it in under 2.
that elevated me to keep pushing forward.
just after mile 8 i decided i had to start using my music.
i purposely didn't use my ipod until i felt the need to use it.
and at mile 8, i needed it.
it was a long boring, wide open section.
not much to look at but all the runners WAY out in front of you.
mentally hard, at least it was for me.
so i grabbed my phone to turn on the music.
lo and behold... there was a text waiting for me.
it read, "U can do it woman"
it was from my best friend, D.

(D and i after the race, celebrating being done! check out her sweet prego belly!!)

she sent it to me while running herself, in the 10k.
and i knew, right then and there, that i could do it.
and i would do it!
it inspired me to press forward.
(feeling emotional after the race, seeing D.  yup, real tears in those eyes!)

ironically though, the music did nothing for me.
the text did way more than the music could.
and seeing my friend also push through her pain (incidentally in her knees too) gave me inspiration.
we walked through 3 water stations and filled up on water and gatorade.
during two walking breaks, i also took my GU gel.
it seemed to help, even if it was just a placebo effect. ;)
we also doused ourselves with water from the wet sponges handed out by volunteers.
seriously... the BEST relief during the race.
at mile 9 i had to tell myself that i was just doing a run around town at home.
we have a 4 mile perimeter in our town that is the most common running "block".
i think i even said it out loud to B.
did it help?
i'm not sure but i think i had to verbally communicate that we had only 4 miles to go.
mile 11.
mile 11.
it was brutal.
again, you're in the wide open... running over a long bridge.
actually, two bridges.
you see hundreds of runners in front of you.
instead of willing me forward, it just defeated me.
knowing all those people were THAT much closer to being done...
and i was still so far away.
i think i wanted to give up.
actually, i know i wanted to give up.
but B had this renewed energy.
maybe she felt motivated seeing all the people ahead?
whatever the case, she seemed to be speeding up.
so i kept up with her and we continued on.
it felt like the longest 2 miles of my life.
realistically, they weren't.
we were doing a pretty good pace, probably around a 9 minute mile but i felt like a snail.
everything in me had to keep willing my feet forward.
just about a quarter of a mile to go, we saw D, cheering us on!
wooping it up, on our behalf!
it was great to see her.

(post race... celebrating with two great friends!!)

i knew we were SO close to the end.
still, i had to mentally tell myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
at this point, the only song i really remember was what was playing right then and there.
chris tomlin's, "i will rise."
it was a great ending song since i'd heard it lots in my training and it always made me quicken my stride.
our time was SO close to 2:00:00 that i knew i had to pick it up just a little bit.
we turned the corner and started running onto the track at the stadium.
the people... oh, the spectators.
cheering on a sea of participants to the finish line.
i had one last gust in me...
so i ran full out.
i'm sure it wasn't very fast but to me it felt fast.
"go steph go!"
what was that?!
"go steph go!"
i could hear M!
he was shouting my name!

(my awesome little family and i, post race)

i knew he was near, although i couldn't spot him.
i heard him cheering me on to the finish!!
pushing forward, not looking back, i propelled to the finish line.
tired, beat, spent and done!
it felt awesome!
B came in only 15 seconds after me.

(taken moments after we came in!)

i waited for her and we celebrated our accomplishment together.
an amazing moment.
and an emotional moment.
ahem... emotional enough that we were captured and put in the local paper?!
ha ha ha ha!
almost half page spread, man!
i just have to laugh at that.
afterward, we met up with my family, my racing sister in law, who did her PB (personal best) and my friend D.

(so great to see friends and family after the finish line!! great time M!  you did amazing!)

it was emotional seeing all these people.
and special, because they all played a part in helping me complete this race.
i'm so thankful for all their amazing support!
you all know who you are!!

(2 of my beautiful girls and i, post race.  part of the reason i do this is to inspire them to reach high and set big goals!)

will i do another half marathon?
anytime soon?
probably not.
i'm looking forward to just leisurely running and enjoying the time outdoors this summer.
cheers to everyone who completed any run yesterday!
it's always a fun event to take part in!
who knows... maybe i can get the big M to participate next year.
i'll keep you posted on that one!

(probably the 100th time i've iced my knee since yesterday.  yowzahs!)

now, to rest up, recuperate and recover.
which means, ICE, ICE and more ICE!!
let's hope this knee heals up nicely so i can start pounding the pavement once again.
i love running!

1 comment:

Raechel said...

LOVED reading this, girl! Thanks so much for the link. so cool to read about other people's experiences. Really makes me feel more excited to jump back in there - maybe with a smaller scale half without such huge crowds or something.

Also, you have a lovely family. :)