I DID IT! I cannot express the feelings that I felt before, during, or after the race, but that is what I am about to do. So, bear with me and enjoy.
First, I need to go back about a month or so before the race. I had been following a training plan, but the longest run was about 5 miles, and around this time I did something to my hip and I was not able to run for a couple weeks. This caused me to worry about my training. I would try to push through but it just made it worse. I finally got back to training, but by that time I didn’t have many weeks left so I threw the training plan out the window and would run as long as possible and as often as I was able to.
The week before the run it decided to rain a LOT in the upstate of SC, which just so happens to be where I live, this made for a hard time training. I was hoping I would be able to finish the race, but at this point I really didn’t have much to go by. January 17th came and my sister, Megan, and I headed for Charleston. (We were meeting the Turner’s and Collins’ down there.)
I really didn’t have much to think about the race before, I checked, and double checked to make sure I had everything I needed for the run: Brooks PureFlow Running shoes, Nike+ GPS Watch, running leggings, shin compression sleeves, socks, dri-fit shirt, dri-fit jacket, dri-fit headband, headphones, iPod shuffle, clif gels, clif bar, coconut water, deodorant, chapstick… I think that just about does it. I had one drawer in the hotel dedicated to my running gear so I didn’t lose anything or mess it up.
January 19th: My alarm was set; however, I woke up before my alarm and couldn’t go back to sleep. I couldn’t believe the morning had finally arrived. I knew that this day would be a day that would change my life. I got up, geared up, ate my clif bar, drank some coconut water, and headed down to meet up with Maggie, Rick, Priscilla, and Robert. (Megan had left earlier that morning to get up to North Charleston for the 5k, which was her first AND she did better than she was wanting to! WOOHOO!!!) We made our way across the way to the starting line. Started warming our bodies (It was around 37 degrees that morning)… stretching our muscles and I was trying to just keep my mind focused and tried to not worry about what was about to take place!
I couldn’t believe it when it was finally time to go get in position to begin… 8 o’clock came and I knew that within the next few minutes I would take off to start my first half marathon! I slowly edged my way forward along with the other runners, crossed the starting line and took off running. Over the next 10 miles I did a lot of thinking, and praying (I had made a list of people to pray for during each half mile increment). Then mile 10 showed up. I wanted to quit! I cannot express the pain that I was feeling, I didn’t want to take another step. But there was something that kept me going. At some point between mile 10 and 11 I passed a guy on the side of the road who was stretching, some rescue people had stopped to make sure he was okay… the thing that caught my attention was that he had been running with a “Cheetah” prosthetic leg. He was also doing the FULL marathon!!! It was at this point that I knew I could keep going.
Somewhere along mile 12 I started getting teary-eyed. I was in so much pain, I felt like I was all alone, and I just wanted to quit! And then this guy, who had already completed the race, walked by me in the opposite direction and started encouraging me by saying things like: You’ve got this! Don’t give up! You’re almost there! I seriously had tears welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe that I really was almost there, I had just over a mile left!
Interjecting a little bit of why I was in pain… I have Plantar fasciitis in my left foot. My right toes kept wanting to cramp up and curl under my foot. (This caused me to walk the most of the last 3 miles…) I kept getting to areas where people would encourage me, or a group of people cheering on the runners and it would give me a boost of energy and ultimately they all helped to get me across the finish line.
I can not express the feeling that I had when I came around the final corner and I saw the finish line. (I had decided at the 13 mile marker I would run the rest, the last .1 mile.) Thankfully, I was able to finish the run by actually running! I got over the finish line, the lady handed me my finisher’s medal, I remember seeing my sister, Natalie, Stephen, Eidon, Asher, and Elijah… but all I could think about was needing a banana, water, and to sit down and stretch. I barely made it to get the things I needed before sitting down. My legs were cramping, I was out of breath, my legs felt like Jell-O… But! None of that mattered… I had finished! I couldn’t believe it! After I regained use of my legs I headed back to find people and started reading messages on my phone of people saying how proud they were, and how much of an inspiration I was to them. I stood there with tears streaming down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe that these people were talking about me, I couldn’t believe that I had really finished my first half marathon… my emotions were a mess… I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, but yet I felt great!
We then started cheering on the other runners waiting for Maggie to finish her first FULL Marathon! And when we saw her turn the corner, I started getting teary-eyed all over. It was such an emotional day for me. I cannot express how proud I am of Megan for finishing her first 5k… For Priscilla for completing her first half marathon… and Maggie for completing her first full Marathon! It was a great weekend spent with great friends. It was great having Rick, Robert, Stephen, Natalie, Eidon, Asher, and Elijah there for support.
I am still feeling the pains from the race, but I will honestly say: I cannot wait to start training again! (My next few races will be 5k’s). I apologize this is such a long post, I hope that you have stuck through to the end and if I could I would give each of you a cookie!
The biggest thing that I learned through all of this is you can do anything you set your mind to… never be afraid to accomplish something you think is impossible… it takes the encouragement from those around you to help you push through the pain and to reach your goals…
Thank you again for reading! Until next time…