I thought runners were crazy, certifiable even. I used to look at people running alongside the road and actually feel sorry for them-like I wonder who is forcing them to run? That was, until, I got hooked.It was kind of a gradual thing, in fact I would say it took running consistently for several months before I would not use the work hate and running together in a sentence.
So the big race was last Sunday. And wow, was it something. Everyone kept asking me when it was over if it was fun. Fun? Is running 13 miles ever fun?! Well, to some people I suppose it is. But I realized, on race day, that I am in fact not one of those people. You see, I think I figured out something. There are race day people, and non race day people. Actually, I only know that are race day people and I’m not one of them so I’ve officially made two categories.
Race day people. They are PUMPED up. Like super pumped. Like, they are talking excitedly, walking to and from bathrooms and groups with a giddy look about them. They are pacing back and forth, stretching, all with a very nervous excitement about them. The girl I was going to run with is one of them, which when that is your running buddy, is actually a great thing!
And then there are non race day people-me. I may have spotted a few others, who were also nervous, and probably thinking the same thing I was “We’re still running 13 miles right?!” I mean, you race day people are so excited is there something that I missed? Is there some kind of super prize at the finish line I didn’t know about ?! Cause I was standing there, in the chilly weather, thinking what on earth did I sign up for? I mean, I guess all this excitable energy is fun, but we do still have to run, for a loooooooong time.
By the time we (me and the girl Stephanie that I ran with) left the hotel room, walked a few blocks to catch a public bus, waited forever in the long line, got to the race, and stood in line for the bathroom, we walked over to the start line and it was time.
And so we were off! Slowly at first, because there were so many people-slightly anti-climatic if I’m being honest. But can I just say, it was so nice to have a buddy, which was some serious divine intervention that I had a friend because I normally don’t like to run with anyone. Well, more like I don’t know how to run with others. I need my music to motivate me and therefore running side by side with headphones in seems rude. That and I cannot speak while I’m running since I’m barely hanging in there without using up extra energy just to chat. And I’m not a fast runner so I’d hate to slow someone else down. But, somehow, I got over all of that on race day. The plan was we would start together and if she wanted/needed to ditch me then I told her to go for it.
Mile one. We passed the Alamo. How cool is that?
Miles two and three. My knee started to hurt. So annoying. But my experience was I could indeed power through, and so I did.
Mile four. Mile five. Doing good. Enjoying the crowds cheering us on, the bands set up about every mile or so. Only two hills at this point, of which we both decided to walk.
Mile six & seven. Pretty good. Thankful I wore shorts and a T-shirt cause I was the perfect temperature. (side note:people are passing me that I’m embarrassed to admit are passing me. I mean, geeze, what the heck. A woman in her 50s. An overweight guy. Left and right. People passing me. I mean, I know you don’t have to be in stellar shape to run a 1/2 marathon (case in point) but, it was a little humbling to think I’m doing okay and then I’m being passed on the left and right!!)
Mile eight. I hate my life. Shoot. me. in. the. head. What am I doing? What have I done? Can I quit now?! I can’t quit, I didn’t train this much to quit. But this sucks. My thoughts surprised me, since I had trained up to ten miles, so I thought for sure I’d be fine until then…nope. I looked over at Stephanie, and told her to go. Just go. I have to stop. I stopped, began to walk, and watched as she got further and further away. And then, my head decided that was a terrible idea even though my body didn’t agree, and I started running after her. Like running fast. And when I caught up to her, she smiled. She knew. I told her that if I let her go at this point I would pry walk the rest of the way. For real.
Mile nine. I was sort of getting out of my funk when Stephanie tapped me on the arm, and pointed to someone in the crowd. Eliana. Sitting on top of Brandon’s shoulders. I did a little jigaboo dance, skipped over to them, my heart swooning at the sight of their faces, and her yelling, “Mama! Mama!!!!”. (I didn’t get to see their signs, which read “hurry home mama we’re hungry” which would have been a great laugh!!) Of course I teared up a bit, overwhelmed to be encouraged, as it was exactly what I needed at the exact moment I needed it. Had they been a mile sooner I would have pry run into their arms and stayed there. But at this time, it was the perfect little jolt to keep me motivated and moving! I gave them all a huge kiss, and went back on my way.
Mile ten. I can do this. I can do this. I.can.do.this. A wise friend (also a wacky running friend) told me going into it, that it’s mostly mental, and I really finally understood what she meant. So I just kept repeating that to myself. Over and over again. And, and, since race day was December 6, exactly one day and one year since I gave birth to my son, I reminded myself that if I could have a baby, I could run a half marathon. For goodness sakes. That was hours and hours of excruciating pain, whereas this was mildly uncomfortable for a little over two hours. I could do this.
Miles eleven and twelve. Am I really still running?
Mile 13. Oh, that ever elusive finish line. Is it around this bend? nope. How about now? Nope. What on earth. I’m to the last of my playlist, and regretting not having better music. That, and my phone rings so my music stops-killing me slowly. Wait, I see it! I see it. Oh dear Jesus, I see it. It’s so far away…
I did it.In 2 hours and 23 minutes. (don’t do the math, it’s not that great but I did finish, and ran almost the entire thing!) I finished what I set out to do. I set a goal, a difficult goal, and I reached it. I haven’t done that very many times in my life and it felt great. Amazing actually.
And hello, we raised $1,350 for Heartline. A pretty stellar organization in Haiti,doing great things, and that just makes my heart happy. A huge thank you for those of you who were able to give!
What did I learn? What are my big take aways?
~I can do big things I didn’t think I could.
~I needed some discipline in my life more than I realized and this was a great avenue to help me work through that.
~Strange to say, but I really felt the hand of the Lord as I ran. Just running out in the neighborhood, I could feel His presence. It was our time together. Times when I was struggling He would show me the most stellar sunset, gorgeous moon, cute birds, something little to lift my spirits. Most of the time I listened to worship music (Lauren Daigel rocks) and too often I looked like a crazy person with my hands up in the air praising Jesus as I ran!
~I actually now enjoy running, because of all the training I had to do, now when I run 4-5 miles I usually enjoy myself.
~It’s a huge stress relief. I wouldn’t say I’m stressed per say, but then I get out and run and I’m like ‘whew’. I think just taking a break from life, especially from two adorable yet very needy children, has been so good for me.