Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My first half marathon








Never in a million years did I ever think I would run a half marathon. I think back to where I was 2.5 years ago, twenty pounds heavier, in horrible shape and struggling to run for 60 seconds straight. I thought I was going to die, but I kept going. 60 seconds turning into 90 seconds......and kept going and going and going until this past Sunday when I ran continuously for 2 hours and 14 minutes, finishing my very first half marathon.

The wonderfully supportive group of running mammas I trained with all summer!
I worked my ass off, anyone who knows me will tell you. I was committed to doing this. And I have to admit, I enjoyed every second of it. I loved the feeling of being able to do more. And More.....and even more. Pushing myself to places I never thought possible. Who knew I'd feel like this about running? Remember, me? The anti-runner.

My kiddos and their cousins having a carb dinner! Two of my cousins also ran the half marathon with me! 
For the last few weeks, I actually started to dread the race, and not because I was afraid of it but because I was afraid of no longer having any motivation to continue running. If I didn't have anything to work for, why would I want to go out and run 10 miles? What would make me want to push myself? A few of my running friends are heading to Jacksonville, Florida to run their first marathon in December........and, I am considering it. There's a lot involved, so I just can't say if I will be able to commit to such a feat, but, there's a half option, so I may do that, too!

My cousin Brooke (left - also her first half!) and Kelly (right)
So, about the half. It was amazing and even the rain didn't stop me. It was about 55 degrees and misting at the start. Perfect conditions, actually. Around halfway, the rain picked up for a while, and it was wet, but manageable! I was able to maintain a 9:45 pace for 10 miles until my IT band issues came back to haunt me with a vengeance. I was stopped dead in my tracks. My group pushed on ahead while I was left practically in tears wondering how I was going to do this and why this was happening today. I'd run, then have to stop because the pain was just so severe. I'd try to stretch, but couldn't release the tension. A paramedic on the course saw me and told me I should stop, but I told him no way! I refused to give up. I continued on trying and met up with another group of ladies from our running group. They supported me, and even offered to help me in any way, but I tried to continue with them. They inspired me to keep going. And I did...

Around mile 11.5 we encountered this house full of college aged guys. One came up running aside us offering us a beer. In good fun, I grabbed it, took a few swigs and yelled "Moms love beer, too!" - it was a great laugh, and a definite motivator! A few minutes later, I mentioned to my friends that I'd probably end up with herpes :) -- by then, my leg was feeling better enough to spring ahead and finish what I started. I thanked my ladies and went ahead. I finished my very first half marathon in 2:14. My original goal was under 2:15, but a few weeks back, I knew I could do it in under 2:10.....unfortunately, my body had other plans, and that's okay. I finished what I started.

It was so awesome seeing Kevin and the kiddos at mile 6 and at the finish line. It brought me to shed a few tears at mile 6 - there they were, standing in the rain, for me. I was just in awe of everything. I was actually proud of myself and I was so glad to see my sweet girls there watching their mamma set out to do something she worked so hard to do. At the end, I saw my family cheering me on and it was just awesome. I am so lucky to have a husband who supports me in these crazy things. When the girls saw my medal, they said "You won!!!? You got a medal!" - It was the perfect lesson for them...."No, mommy didn't win, I finished the race, and anyone who finishes, gets a medal" - it wasn't about winning. Winning isn't everything, I tell them. Even if I came in last, that is better than never finishing at all.



3 comments:

  1. Ok, I teared up a bit! So proud of you my friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Nice Job Steph! Way to persevere! I'm looking forward to my 1st half marathon in January. I was told from a young age that I wouldn't be able to run due to a birth defect with my hip joint. Well I can't wait to prove the Doctors wrong! Thanks for sharing your story.

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  3. Thanks, Jen! :)

    And good luck on your first half marathon - good for you for proving them wrong! Slow and steady wins the race! Good luck! Keep me updated on how your training is going!

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