Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don't Give Up

Finish line... early before the race.
Hey readers!  I'm actually surprised I'm doing this right now.  I thought I wouldn't have the energy to hold my head up, but it seems I've caught my second wind so I might as well get my thoughts down while they are still fresh in my head.

Today was a big day for me.  A day that I thought would never come for me - considering where I was about a year and a half ago.  I did something I thought I'd never be able to do.  I completed a half marathon.

I'm honestly having trouble putting words to my feelings right now.  I knew this day was coming.  I remember back on January 11th, when my trainer and workout partner convinced me to change my race registration from the 10K to the half.  At that time, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  Then, when I started training in February, I had the idea that I'd be able to finish under 2 hours 50 minutes.  Today, my goal was to finish under 3 hours.  I now realize even the 3 hours goal was pretty ambitious.  I was able to keep that pace (about 13 min 40 sec mile) for about 6 miles, and then I started to poop out.  I knew at that point I wasn't going to make it.  I finished in 3 hours 17 minutes and 52 seconds.  What's even more important - I FINISHED.

I worked hard.  I trained hard. I ran in the snow.  I ran in the cold.  I ran through a sore hip and tender Achilles tendon.  I ran when I didn't want to run.  I ran when I was sick.  I knew that if I wanted to complete this race, I had to take it seriously and train seriously.  Increase my weight training sessions.  I had to drop Zumba - which is one of my favorite things to do. I had to sacrifice to get where I am today.  I completed a half marathon.  I didn't quit.

It was such an emotionally draining day.  I had the support of some many people - family and friends.  New friends I met during my run. Melissa, who said I inspired her to keep going when she felt she couldn't go any longer.  Gwen, from Black Girls Run, who ran with me for several miles.

Heather, my workout partner who convinced me to switch over to the half.  You ran with me for the first 2 miles.  You were waiting for me when I crossed the finish line.  You told me that you got goose bumps just thinking of how I've been preparing for this day. I'm so glad you were there to hug me after I crossed the finish line.

Mallory, my trainer.  You have played a huge part in my journey.  You push me.  You encourage me.  You barter with me.   You also convinced me to change to the half, and you told me that you knew I could do it. You were there for me when I finished today. You didn't have to wait around for two hours after your race to see me, but you did.  You were there for me.  I can't thank you enough, and I'm so glad that I have you in my corner. I'll be ready on Tuesday for more weights.  You best believe.

My family!  You woke up at 3 am to get on the road and travel 60 minutes to get to the race.  You cheered me on at the start and was there to wipe my tears when I finished.  You have been with me every step of the way.  We had a lot of fun today.  I'm so glad you were there to share this day with me.  Mom, I know you never thought this day would come where I would be able to do something like this.  I felt the same way.  Next year, you and sis will be doing it too!  Let's sign up!

All my friends and family. My bestie.  My Cool Girls!  My Fitness Instructors and Co-workers!  Chef, who gave me my 13.1 mile magnet for my car!  The support, the kind words. I thought about all of this when there were times when I didn't think I could go further.  It was hard.  You can train all you want for something like this, but you will never know what to expect until you step your foot over the start line and run across the finish.  Emotion wells inside of you.  You see all of these people. Strangers. People you will never see again in your life cheering for you, telling you not to give up and keep going.  Giving my major kudos for my Buttercup t-shirt.  The police officers, fire fighters, emergency staff, volunteers, Snipers (yes, we saw them).  All of you were there to keep us safe and protect us.  I thank you as well.

It's amazing.  As I'm sitting here and typing this, I sometimes wonder did I really do that?  Then I look down and see my major award.  It's pretty neat.  The guitar spins in the middle.  It's heavy. I've never got a medal before.  I earned that!

I don't know how many of you have experienced something like I did over the last year or so - culminating today.  You feel like you're fine with the "status quo," and all of a sudden something inside of you snaps, and you decide the "status quo" is not okay and you go for a dream.  You pursue it. You don't let your detractors derail you.  You fight.  You cry.  You hurt.  But, you Don't Quit.  You keep pushing even when you're hit and fall down.  Believe me, it pays off in ways you can't believe when you accomplish something that you'd never thought you could do in your wildest dreams.
The home stretch before the finish line.

I never thought I'd be a runner.  

And today, I ran.  

My aces!  You have no idea what you did for me today!
My family!  Thank you for being there!