Oct 10, 2012

This, my friends, is the face of a woman that has just run 13 miles and would really like the finish line to be just a little bit closer.  Another tenth just seems too far.

This is also the face of a woman that did not quit. 

Who ran 13.1 miles on a very cold day even when she wasn't quite sure herself if she could do it.

Sure, others had confidence. 

Others believed. 

Others texted and called and cheered and facebooked, "You've got this".

But there was always that little bit of doubt.

This is my favorite running quote. 

My little voice, is not so little.  She is very loud, she likes to be heard and she likes to win.  It has taken a lot of training to shut her up. 

And race day ... race day was the ultimate battle ... to see who was truly going to win.

There were some factors working against me.  The biggest was the cold.  The weather turned crazy cold in the past week and I don't have a lot of experience running outside in the cold.  And I certainly didn't have the clothes for it!  I had to go out and buy some supplies. 

Yes, I know, I broke a cardinal rule of racing.  Never, ever, wear something on race day that you have never run in before.  But, dear readers, I had no choice.  I knew if I didn't buy something to cover my legs, I was going to freeze.

So here is the lovely outfit that I came up with. 

Ok, I have had 3 different people ask me why the shorts over the tights ... Um, because I don't want people staring at my ass, that's why.  And no, I don't know why this picture is sideways, I gave up fighting it!

I seriously should get some kind of award for this.  It's so, um, colorful, right?!? 

A friend suggested that I might need granimals for running ... so, fashion has never been my thing, what can I say?

You could certainly spot me in a crowd.

Anyway, back to the story.  It was cold, I was running in an article of clothing I had never run in before, I had totally slacked on my hill training and there was a big one at mile 11.  Seriously, what sick person puts a giant hill at mile 11??  Check out this elevation ... flat, flat, flat, flat, flat, HILL, then just for fun, when your legs are jell-o, we will make you go down hill - YIKES!

Again, back to the story ... cold, new clothes, hill, and nerves.  That was what I had going against me. 

Things in my favor, Wade was running it too (I cannot tell you how much having someone there with you helps, even though we don't run together - that is a whole other post) months and months and months of training, lots of support, and the thought that if I had to walk the only person that would likely ever know would be me - but that I would have to live with that forever. 

We got there super early.  I was worried about parking.  Because that is just what I do, I worry about things I cannot control.  So, we hung out in the car till about an hour before race time.  Breakfast consisted of a greek yogurt in the car on the way down and a mini bagel with peanut butter right before we got out of the car. 

I knew a few other people that were running the race and we ran into one of them on the way to the starting area.  Chatted with her while we walked.  Nerves officially kicking in.  Hit the port-o-potty, found the bag drop and then scored a sweet spot underneath some portable heaters to hang out for a bit.  At this point it was still dark!  We decide at 7:00 (start time is 7:30) to hit the port-o-potty one more time and then make our way to the corrals.  It is finally getting light.  We find our spots and do more waiting.  Ugh, will it ever end?  I see two port-o-potties near the start line and decide, maybe I should go again.  Wade thinks I am nuts and of course there is a line, but I do it anyway.  We kiss for luck before I try to get in line as I am afraid I might not see him again, it has started to get crowded.  Make my way back to the start with 2 minutes to spare.  It's show time.

Was a slow start to get to the actually starting line, but I prefer it that way - was never concerned I was going to be trampled.  And seeing as how I hate crowds and they mostly freak me out, this was a blessing!

The first mile, goes by pretty quick.  With the exception of a small hill about a half mile in.  I was like WTF??  This thing is billed as the flattest, fasted half in the state or something, come on!  Ha.  But I kept going.

Ooh, here is another rant, people are already ditching stuff ... hats, gloves, shirts, etc ... at a half mile in?  Why did you even bother???  But I guess the answer is because we were all standing outside waiting for so long, I don't know, still seem like a waste!

Ooh, last rant for awhile, there was a port-o-potty stop at about 3/4 of a mile in ... and there was a line!  Seriously??  That seems like a total failure to plan.  Ridiculous! 

Have I digressed enough?!?

At about mile 2, I can see Wade ahead in the distance, honestly, not too far in front of me.  This means one of two things, either I am running too fast or he is running too slow.  When runkeeper chick comes on in my ear and tells me I my pace is 9:40 at this point, I know the answer is that I am running too fast.  And not necessarily too too fast, but my biggest fear was coming out too fast and burning out too early.  So, I adjust my pace a bit and Wade slips away. 

Mile 4, I finally ditch the gloves.  Yes, I deem mile 4 appropriate for ditching clothing ;)  Though, I will want those darn things back at 5.5 when the wind kicks up.  I am feeling great at this point.  Breathing is good and legs are good.  I didn't really care for the gravel at around the 5 mile mark, but it didn't last for long.

We are now headed into the New Town area ... I am not sure how to describe this to people that aren't familiar.  It is a planned community, that has sort of a little "town" housed within it.  There are some shops and a park and a church.  All the houses have to look a certain way.  It seems sorta cultish to me, but, to each their own.  This part of the race is basically a big loop through this neighborhood and you come out the same way you go in.  You spend about 3 miles in the neighborhood, so those coming out as you are going in are 3 miles ahead of you.  Yikes!  Those people that I saw are what I would call the 'serious' runners.  They were people that could have thoughts on winning - whether this is true or not, I have no idea, but they all looked pretty intense.  I hit mile 6 here and I was starting to feel it.  Not fatigued yet, really, just sorta, blah.  The way this looped around, you got to see some other runners and I actually saw Wade!  I was ridiculously excited about it.  I saw him first and was afraid he was going to miss me, so I actually sprinted up so that I could catch him on the corner.  I can not tell you how uplifting this was.  I have no idea why, but it kicked my butt into gear.  He was about a mile ahead of me at this point.   

Finally made it out of this neighborhood and hit mile 9 and really, still feeling pretty good overall.  This is where I started to see people fall off.  Lots of people off to the side stretching, stopping to walk, etc.  I just kept going.  My mantra this race ... "Pain is temporary, Quitting is forever".  Anytime I got down, or started to feel tired, I would just repeat that over and over.  Or start singing loudly.  What did I care, I don't know any of these people!

Mile 10 there was a lot of mantra repeating.  The other thing I kept thinking was, seriously, there is only XX miles to go - you can't stop now! 

Mile 11 was the dreaded hill.  I am not going to lie, it did slow me down.  But it didn't stop me.  I found someone up in the distance.  She had on a bright blue shirt with one of those camelback things on her back.  I just looked at her and put one foot in front of the other and kept going.  Left.  Right.  Left.  Right.  Left.  Right.  And I guess I learned why the hill was at mile 11 and not mile 5.  If that hill had been earlier in the race, I can almost bet that I would have slowed to a walk to recover from it.  But when you are that close to the finish - there was no stopping!!!

Somewhere along here, I finally ditched the top shirt.  Don't laugh - I know it was late in the race.  But I was finally to the point where I was HOT and it had to go, so what if there was only 2 miles left.

After the hill, I was pretty much on autopilot.  Less than 2 miles left and you just go.  You know you are going to make it if you can just hang on a little bit longer.  There was a pretty big downhill in here at about mile 12, which in my head I was always thinking would be great, but in actuality, it was kinda scary.  Legs were a bit on the Jello-y side and hitting the pavement too quickly was killer on the knees.  I was lucky I didn't roll down it.

You can see the finish line with about 3 tenths to go.  And that was when I started to tear up.  I had done it, I was going to make it and nothing was going to stop me.  If you need a boost to your self confidence, if you need to feel good about yourself, train for this and do it - it was a tremendous feeling, to be proud of yourself for this accomplishment.

So here I am, about 20 feet from the finish line.  Dying on the outside, but bursting with pride on the inside. 

I crossed that finish line with my hands in the air and a smile on my face.

I had done it!

I have said this before and I will say it again.  If I can do it, you can do it.  I couldn't run 1/4 of a mile when I started.  13.1 miles seemed completely and totally impossible ... shoot 3 miles seemed impossible.  Don't think about the time it will take to get there, the time will pass anyway -- lace up those shoes and get out there!  You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain!


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