Gone 13.1 .. One mile at a time

I thought you all would enjoy a play by play of my journey of the half marathon yesterday, it was actually quite a bit more entertaining than just running.

I set my clock Saturday night for 4:30 am, and went to bed completely afraid I would not sleep. Little did I know I went right out and sleep really good all night with the exception of some strange dream I could not recall the details of.  4:30 am is a time I know well now, as that is my normal Bootcamp time and I felt that I may need a few extra moments to calm my nerves or reflect on my journey.

When I woke up I actually wasn't too nervous, I had the quick thought of "It's raining, oh how fitting" then I felt a pang of sympathy for those that have only trained in excellent conditions. I knew I was ready for the elements of yesterday, it was rain, it wasn't cold rain it was just rain, it was wind, it wasn't close to hurricane winds, it was just a shirt tail breeze, it was a tiny bit of mud, it wasn't to your shins deep sand, it was a tiny bit of mud, it was a mulch hill, it wasn't Holy Hill, it was just a tiny mulch hill. Fix myself my normal running breakfast and took my time getting ready making sure that each thread of my attire was right in place. Out the door I ran to pick up my side kick, partner, friend, and sooooo much more, Amanda, she was just as ready as I was to get to this event.

We made our way to the Wal-Mart parking lot and met with the rest of our bootcamp family and laughed a few minutes and just shared time with each other before it was time to stretch and make our way to our corrals. It made the morning so much better to meet there and be with each other before the event. Matt and Jay spoke for a few minutes and we fell into formation and made our way to the start in a slow jog with Jay leading the way carrying our Bootcamp flag. Seventy - four of us. SEVENTY FOUR!! I am not sure what people thought when they saw us making our way in a pack like that, frankly I don't care what they thought, because I know how it felt in my heart and that was just a feeling of love and support and belonging.

When we got to the start arch, we were placed in our corrals, yes I felt a bit like cattle must feel, and I had the urge to moo but I didn't. There was a few minutes before it was time for my wave to go, as we slowly made our way to the start line, I was right where The General Matt Costa himself told me to be, in the front of my corral.  I glanced over and there he was, he said something, I don't really know what it was because there was so much going on and it was kinda loud, I figured it was something like "You are ready" or "You got this" or at least close.

Amanda was right beside me the entire time while we waited, I had made her PROMISE me that when it was our time to go that is exactly what she would do.. GO! I wanted Amanda to run her own race and me to run my own. It would not be fair to her for her to have held back and waited on me and it would not have been fair to me to have attempted to keep up with her at any given part. I have learned that while we train and are part of a team, we have to be able to hold our own and not have someone always dragging us along. While it is comfortable to have someone holding your hand each moment, you never know what YOU can do on your own.

Ok.. I know I said this was as play by play of the race itself but all those pre moments ARE part of the race.  The next thing I know I heard POP! The gun trigger was pulled and we were off.

The first mile was not so bad, it seemed like longer than a mile but it was ok, with in that first mile I did fall in with people and some of those people were still with me at the end, others BLEW by me and I passed some of them about half way (which I might add was really weird), I also realized that my pace put me firmly in with a group of interval runners. One of my new goals is NEVER to be hooked up with a group of interval runners again. While I would like to say I am strong enough to not allow others runs to effect mine that is just not the case yet.

I am going to be brutally honest here.. the second mile SUCKED!! During one of my training runs I took a short cut accidentally not knowing we were supposed to make a turn, I was now running on a road I had never run on. Running in new places throw me off. I think it is watching the surroundings or something I don't know. The good part is the second mile seemed to FLY BY and right after the end I saw Lindsey and Mr Meekins cheering and holding signs in the rain! That was my first bit of love on the journey and it was a real pick me up! As tribute I threw my socks at them. Ok not my REAL socks the socks I used as arm warmers, I was plenty warm by the time I got there.

I was really shocked at how fast Mile 3 was there.. There was water and gatorade, there I grabbed some water but it was just a swish of water didn't drink any I knew I was not ready or in the need of water yet. What was shocking to me was the lines to the porta pottys. Not that I needed one, I was just shocked that so many other people did.  I was incredibly thankful that I was NOT one of those people and I quickly then thought to myself DON'T THINK THAT or you will end up being one of THOSE people. Right after mile 3 I saw a girl on the side stretching what appeared to be her calves and she appeared in pain. It was just 7 shorts weeks ago that girl was me again I thought to myself don't think about it that was you, but I could empathize with her and the feeling she had of defeat at that moment when she had to stop running.

Next up I saw Kitty Hawk United Methodist church coming up , I looked and saw the Reverend Alan Swartz was standing there cheering us on, shouting words of encouragement and pirate Arrrgghhhs. I couldn't resist asking him why exactly he was out there and not in the church PRAYING! lol.

Before I could even think I was on Bay Drive and my friend Steve was passing me, yes he passed me which is ok cause I will just have to pass him on the next run. I was a bit confused as I wasn't sure how he ended up behind me but I found out after the race that is where he started. All of a sudden I am at mile 5 and the guy is shouting out our times it wasn't very good at all so I tried to pick up my pace a bit but my foot was having NONE of that. (those of you that don't know I ran this thing with a rather large nasty blister on the bottom of my foot, combined with the wet feet yesterday it just did not do very well.. as Daddy says I certainly have a time with my feet.) Mile 6 we had another water station I did drink some water at this point, I knew even though I didn't feel thirsty my body probably needed it.

Some how or another I totally missed the mile 7 sign, but between 6 and 8 on a strange leg of the race (only because we were running on the road and not on the running/ bike path) I saw the yellow signs coming up.. I thought to myself COULD IT BE??? and it was! How much a pick up seeing those numbers were right then I just can not explain with words.

Shortly after seeing the numbers I was running around the monument, not sure what one lady meant by "that was the hardest because of the up hill" I am still confused by that, but to me the monument was a welcome site, to me it meant the end of another leg of my run. I had broken the run down in my head, and I was already through part 1 and 2 now just 3 and 4! Part 3 was kinda short,  it was just from the monument to the woods but again I felt like I was running somewhere I was unsure and I have no idea why, but it felt like the longest mile so far.. but then I hit the woods!!!! YIPPIE HOME FREE!!!!

I love the woods run, rocks, hills, skeeters, noises and all, very shortly into the woods I saw a group of people cheering saying 3 MORE MILES.. ONLY 3 MORE MILES. WOOHOO! Because of the rain the woods road was a mess of mud and muck and I was slightly in heaven. I knew I had this, it was ok. The shear number of people who hit that woods and just plain gave up and stopped running was shocking to me. The number of athletic people that I passed walking up hills just had me in awe. There was a piece of me that felt badly for them, I can't imagine what it felt like having the "fat girl" pass them. As one little girl told her friend (a lady about my age) as the lady was saying "well I am happy to have the chance to finish this up with you", the young girl says "WELL I AM NOT.. I am not happy at all." The lady a bit thrown by the girls outburst says "but why.. i like you" the young girl responds "BECAUSE YOU ARE SLOW AND YOU CAUGHT ME" I couldn't help but giggle a bit to myself because I was thinking "Well I may be slow too but I am passing you."

Mile 11 was another treat, my friend Theresa was there shouting and cheering only two more miles! It was a welcome surprise to see her there, and I took the next mile in stride and just kept running. My body was rather tired at the point but I just kept telling myself Matt would be at the end and all I wanted to say to him was "I ran! I RAN THE WHOLE THING. I did not walk". I used that and the encouraging words of others to get me through those last couple of miles. I ran into a tiny bit of trouble at mile 12, I don't know what happened at all, maybe it was mental but I hit a wall. It was almost like I ran right into the sign, my whole body was just screaming stop! "NO NO NO.. you are a MILE AWAY FROM THE FINISH DO NOT STOP". So I didn't stop and I just kept running and shortly after rounding the corner from seeing that sign I was ok and knew I was going to finish this thing. (I am sure you are all hoping so too as this blog post is LONG!!!) 

It seemed like in only a few minutes I saw the yellow house, it was strange because last week I NEVER thought we would get to that house and this time all of a sudden it was right there in front of me. I never thought that little yellow house could looks so awesome, but I knew I was REALLY CLOSE to the finish then, just a few yards away we took a hard left turn and what felt like was STRAIGHT UP, but if it was straight up that is exactly what I was going to have to run and so I did.  This was another part of the run I was unfamiliar with but by this point the only thing I could concentrate on was getting past the people in front of me and running. What I knew was while I had not run this particular piece of the course, my legs were in fact strong enough to run it, even after just finishing 12 plus miles.

Right in front of me I see the 13 mile sign... I only have .1 of a mile left to run!!! The last portion of the race was a mulch hill straight up.. and straight down, I just let the momentum from that down hill take me straight in to the finish! I could hear people yelling and hollering and I probably heard Re a couple of times but honestly I am not sure. Apparently I tunnel vision when I see the finish, I ran in and was met with a SUDDEN stop by one of the metal holders (not anyone I knew), note to anyone who runs, do NOT suddenly stop, your head will start spinning, thankfully Nancy and Lori, who were there at the end as well, knew this and knew me well enough to keep asking if I was ok, even after I kept shaking my head yes cause I should have been shaking it no. Then I was suddenly surrounded by my friends and family so it made the whole 13.1 miles worth while.

A few things I learned along my 13.1 mile journey:
  • People running intervals are annoying to those of us trying to keep a pace who have not learned to tone you out yet. Nothing like having someone beside you say It's time to walk, when the only thing you are playing in your head is just keep running just keep running.
  • People wearing trash bags while running after 12 miles should be shot on site (ok kidding but it is a very annoying sound and really are you dry under there??)
  • People who scuff their feet from mile 1 to mile 3 may get me to scream at this PICK UP YOUR @#$##$#@ FEET. I didn't but I certainly wanted to. After mile 3 I don't know what happened to them I never heard the feet again. 
  •  Seeing and feeling love along the way of such a run is a HUGE pick me up. 
  • I can and did run 13.1 miles 
  • Mud is fun to run in
  • Having a family of runners, running an event with you can make you feel incredibly proud. 
  • do NOT suddenly stop at the end of running you will get light headed and will need someone to hand you a blue solo cup to make it better. 
  • About 15 minutes after you stop running you will feel like you can not take another step your body hurts that bad.. keep moving, I am positive if I had laid down then I would still be laying there stiff. 
  • I would not have been able to do this without the love and support from my friends, my family, and my bootcamp family!!! 
I apologize for the length of this post and I am sure I should have made it in three or four chunks but I wanted to get this down for you while it was fresh and for me so I can look back in 6 months and know I can add 13.1 more miles to this and will survive.

You read that right, next up Full Marathon on November 11th. 


Meg McCormick said…
Wow, you did it! I'm super impressed!
Country Girl said…
How inspirational!! I did a sprint up 3 flights of stairs here at school to get to the break room and was breathing heavy. 13 miles?!! Damn, girl!!!!
Lisa said…
I love this post, I love your spirit! You "owned it" Re! Way to be a leader and a inspiration!
Anonymous said…
passing me next race huh.....hmmmm...maybe not the marathon...how bout the tri?.....;)

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