Sunday, April 27, 2014

Half Marathon Adventure

Me on my final training run 
 So for the last 13 weeks, I have been training with the American Heart Association's Start Training program, which helps to raise money for the AHA as well as raise awareness for heart health. The program supplies a coach, trainers, locations to run, etc. to help you achieve the final goal of completing a half-marathon, while you are raising as much money as possible for a great cause. The money goes towards research for heart disease, as well as education to help them spread the word to others about how to maintain heart health. Both are missions that I was/am more than excited to support.

Well anyway, after 13 weeks (starting from doing zero exercise)... I COMPLETED A HALF-MARATHON! This past Saturday I ran the American River Parkway Half Marathon in Sacramento, CA. I was so thrilled to accomplish a goal that I have been working so hard on, and extra excited because it got to cross this off my 101 in 1001 List! This is the first time, in a long time, that I was able to work so hard at something for so long, and really see results. I'm not going to say it was easy, because good Lord did that Half Marathon kick my ass, but I'm so proud to have gotten it done. 

The day started off with me leaving the house at 5:30am in the morning, so that I could get to the race on time. It had rained the night before, so it was wet and cold. I got to the start line around 6:45am, and then the nerves really kicked in. I tried to calm myself down, but I was getting really scared. This particular race has two tracks: one for walkers and one for runners. You aren't allowed to run on the walkers path, and if you plan on running any of it (even just a few minutes), then you are supposed to take the runners path. I had been training to run/walk, so I went on the runners path... which in retrospect, I wish I wouldn't have. I wish I would have just walked it, and not pushed my knee. 
About 5 minutes before the race started!

All 4,000 racers getting to the Start Line

The race started at 7:45am and I was doing really good. I had a previous knee injury that I sustained during my training runs a few weeks before, but it was feeling good. I had taken it easy for the week leading up to the race, and let it heal and get prepped. I was at, or slightly faster than, my "typical" pace and doing great. Then I got to Mile 9. My knee started to hurt so badly, and I was struggling to run on it. I decided to just walk a bit longer than my designated interval length, just to give it a quick rest. Do you know how when you are wearing high heels and your feet start to hurt, so you take them off, only to find that when you try to put them back on, your feet hurt even more? That's what it was like. The walking, while it made my knee feel better, also seemed to make my knee adjust to the walking pace and not the interval pace I was supposed to be doing. I try to run a few intervals on it after, and it kept getting more and more painful. I was determined to push through, and figured that walking was better than nothing. Slowly but surely, all the people I initially passed were now passing me. I was discouraged, and so embarrassed. My knee got worse and worse, and I ended up limping the last mile or so. 

When I turned the final corner and could see the finish line, I was so overcome. Ace came with the girls, and my parents were there as well, and as I looked down the line, I could see them cheering for me. I was in so much pain, and so happy that it was finally over, that I just started crying. They weren't celebratory "happy tears" but instead they were "I just need to stop and sit down tears." The pictures of me crossing the line are awful, and I really wish I could have just been a bit stronger so that I could have celebrated and enjoyed that moment. But nevertheless I'm proud at completing it and pushing hard to get it done! Do I wish my time would have been better? Yes. Was I embarrassed at how I did? Yes. Do I regret doing it? Not even a little bit. 

Overall I'm so happy that I did this, and really pushed myself, not only physically but mentally. So many times when I get discouraged, I just stop, but not this time. I am really trying to focus on the positives, in that I finished and worked so hard for 13 weeks, but I'm not going to lie, I'm fighting a few demons that are focusing on how slow my time was, how dumb I must have looked crying at the finish line, and how I must have seen like such an idiot to the people that passed me. But I just keep reminding myself, that I'm trying so hard not to think that way anymore. Who cares if I looked dumb? Who cares if I was slow? I'm proud of myself, and my family is proud of me. Why should anything else matter? I have taken a tremendous step on my journey to be better and feel better, and that is such an accomplishment. I really just need to focus on that and not always search to criticize myself first. I know this change won't come overnight, but I'm happy to be aware of the issue, and working to change it. 

On to the next goal and to making more progress!

Oh and I forgot to mention the "BEST" part! We got an email from the race director after the race was over, and they had MIS-MARKED THE COURSE! So instead of running 13.1 miles, we ran 13.76 miles! I had to laugh out loud when I read the email. As if it wasn't trying enough, lets just tack on a extra half mile for fun! 

1 comment:

  1. Aw, I just love this, it made me cry! You did something SO HUGE! I'm sure no one was thinking anything bad about you. They were probably admiring your tenacity and determination to finish! Tons of people wish they could do a half marathon, even slowly, but you actually did it! This is so inspiring. I'd really like to sign up for my city's half, which is in the fall. Hmm... maybe I will...!