Honestly, it’s hard to even know where to begin. Yesterday feels kind of like a blur. I got into bed the night before at about 10:00, finally kind of fell asleep after about 45 minutes, and then proceeded to wake up about every hour until my first alarm went off at 4:40 am. I had a “take your pill” alarm and a “yo b, get yo booty outta bed and run this half marathon” alarm, but I knew after the first one went off, there was no way I was falling back asleep, so I got up and started getting ready. I still felt about the same sick level as I had Friday and Saturday, but was grateful not to feel worse and knew that it would be annoying, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t push through.
Kara and Mona arrived at about 5:40, Kara and I drank some iced via (which was delicious and did everything I wanted it too—HOORAY! Why have I NOT been drinking coffee before my long runs until now???) and ate our pre-run breakfast of Ezekiel bread with sunflower butter and banana.
Then, we took some pictures and were on our way!
We got to the start/finish area of the race (loop course) pretty quickly and were amazed that traffic really wasn’t bad and we found parking immediately. After a quick stop at the porta potties, we made our way to the starting line just as they were setting up the corrals.
Pretty soon, it was time to start heading to our corrals. I handed my sweat shirt off to Mona and Steve, wished Nicole and Carolyn good luck and set out to find lucky number 13. Steve headed over to the starting line and caught the first people to take off.
He also got pictures of the dragon. You know the one that I passed later on in the race 😉
And he caught Nicole too. Of course, she had made a friend in her corral and was talking her ear off haha.
We had to wait quite a while (almost half an hour) before finally starting due to delays with the light rail and just being back in such a high corral. I was so antsy! I kept saying to Kara “I want it to be my turn!!!” like a 5 year old. Finally, we were off and running through Mill Ave. It was a pretty neat area to start out, and I was really grateful for some new scenery. We saw Steve and Mona pretty quickly. Steve took a lot of pictures of me and I learned the lesson that I should never put my arms in the air for these pictures because I look about 40 lbs heavier than I am in most of them, but I figured I had to post one, so I picked the least unflattering of the bunch haha.
From there, Kara and I just kept on truckin’. I was super annoyed by my ipod because I had spent all of this time putting my perfect playlist in the perfect order, but I couldn’t get the stupid thing not to shuffle. I messed with it for a while, and then just decided it was okay and I still liked all of my music, so it was fine. The day before at the expo, Kara and I had picked up these temporary tattoos that have your goal time on the bottom and where you need to be at each mile to reach that. They didn’t have a 2:20, so we grabbed the 2:15.
This was so unbelievably helpful. We took the first mile as a warm up at 10:24, and then every mile after was under the 10:18 needed to finish sub 2:15. I had told Kara she was in charge of making sure we started out slow, but honestly we were both too excited and I know that I was feeling really great, and so we didn’t go out speeding, but we went out with the intention of following the tattoos. We ran through Tempe, and pretty quickly got into Scottsdale. I was so excited that we had made it into a different city! My dad and Hermano were supposed to be in Scottsdale–my dad was all nostalgic about meeting me right in front of where my high school used to be–so I looked for them, but never ended up seeing them. I was a little bummed because I thought maybe I had just not seen them, but figured they’d understand and I’d see them at the finish. Turns out they had some directional confusion haha.
Before I knew it, we had reached the 10K mark and I still felt like we were passing people left and right! I love passing people. Is that bad? I definitely felt like the motivation to get in front of people pushed me to go faster. Just after the 10K mark, I took my first Gu. Not long after that, Kara and I lost each other. This race was packed from start to finish (my only maybe not so favorite thing about it) and I thought she was right behind me, but I turned around and she was gone. I kind of started to panic, and didn’t know what to do. Do I wait? Do I keep going? I slowed down a bit, but eventually I just went for it. I knew I’d see her at the finish and I was so grateful for being able to run the first half side by side, but I knew I just needed to focus on my goal at this point.
Right around this time, I saw a man in pink compression socks running the entire race backwards. I also so him run into a gate. It was pretty entertaining and took my mind off how quickly I was starting to feel tired. By the time I got to mile 8 marker, I was no longer feeling like I could run forever, and I started to wish for the finish line. It’s funny that the tattoo says “lucky mile 9” because mile 9 was my least favorite of the entire race! I had to start taking walking breaks, I was exhausted and I just wanted to be done. I really hoped I wouldn’t have to walk during this race, but I got 8 miles without walking (except for water and Gatorade), and I knew I needed to take breaks if I was going to make it to the end. I was still right on track with my time goal though, so I just kept pushing and running hard so that my walking breaks didn’t kill my time.
Once I got to mile 10, it started to get real. I was going to finish this race. I was going to complete my first half marathon. I was exhausted, my feet hurt, and I wanted to lay down on the side of the road, but I was going to make it. Most of the end was even downhill!! Excellent choice, map people. Seriously, thank you. I took my second Gu and tried to soak up the energy from the crowd. One thing I will say, is there was so much crowd support! I don;t think I went through a single section where there weren’t people on the side lines cheering, and several people called me out by name which was awesome! Having a shirt with my name on it was more than worth it for that extra support!
Finally, I realized I was crossing the bridge back to the finish line. I saw the building I had pointed out to Kara when we arrived and said “When we see that, we’ll know we’re almost to the finish line!” and that’s when the emotions started, but even more than the emotional idea of finishing, I was so focused on my goal. I knew I had to keep pushing if I wanted to make this new goal of sub 2:15 (I’m so glad there was no 2:20 tattoo!!!!). I was meticulously checking my Garmin, and I knew it was possible, but I had to focus. Just before I got the mile 13 mark, Defying Gravity came on my ipod and I started to cry a little. “I’m through accepting limits cause someone says they’re so. Some things I cannot change, but ’til I try I’ll never know.” Seriously, it’s like the musical theatre kid’s anthem and the words are so fitting.
I crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin and realized that now Proud Mary was playing and even with my stupid ipod shennanigans, I finished to it after all. And then I cried more, and took my medal and just kept walking, overcome with emotion. I took my phone out of my spibelt and it was ringing! I answered the phone and Bethany asked where I was and I said “I’M AT THE FINISH LINE!!!! I DID IT!!!!” She told me how proud of me she was. I can’t think of a better person to talk to right away than my best friend who has been there through the last 13 years of my life, has seen me at my very worst and understands just how far I’ve come.
Once I got off the phone with Bethany, it didn’t stop ringing! Hermano and my dad were trying to find me, then I had to meet up with Team Lava and Steve was at the finish line still trying to get pictures of Kara. I found myself a little area, sat down and just tried to stretch a little and soak it all in. Before I knew it Kara was right in front of me! I was so happy to see her!! I honestly don’t know if I could have done all of this without her.
Steve got some more super attractive photos of me just before the finish. Haha, it was like a series of unfortunate pictures, but here we go 🙂
And he got one of Carolyn crossing too!
Okay, now the part you’ve all been waiting for (unless you’re my friend on facebook or follow me on twitter)….
OFFICIAL CHIP TIME: 2:13:58!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Although, according to my little garmin
My average pace was 10:07 😉 I like the sound of that much better!
Regardless, my goal was sub 2:20, and I beat it by 6 freaking minutes!!!!!! I had signed up for updates to go to some friends and family so they would know where I was in the course. Steve told me that when he got the final message that said 2:13:58 he even got a little emotional knowing I had beat my goal.
After I graduated college and got married, I thought all of my major life events were behind me at 26 years old. I felt like I already had my big moments, and there was a sense of sadness that came with that after our wedding. I’ll be honest, I am a person that thrives on making others proud and feeling supported by the important people in my life, and of course they always support me, but there are moments in life where you realize just how amazing your life and the people in it are.
Almost exactly 4 years ago, I reached my breaking point. Something shifted in my mind and I wish I could explain how it happened or why or pass that shift on to others I know who are struggling with the same issues I was and continue to struggle with. I knew I wanted to change, and I loved the feeling I got every time someone said “Wow, you’ve lost so much weight!” I knew I
wanted needed to lose weight for my own health and well being. I never expected any of this. My waiver for the race had a spot at the bottom that said “signature of athlete” I looked at my friends and said “Who am I going to find to sign this? I need an athlete.” Me? An athlete? A runner? ME?!
I spent so many years of my life believing I couldn’t do things, believing I wasn’t good enough to perform, to run, to have friends, to be likable. So many years spent telling myself every reason why I couldn’t do things and living in too much fear to take risks and try. More than anything, I want every single person out there to know that you can do anything. And it is so freaking worth it to do the things that matter to you, that make you feel proud. Nothing worth accomplishing is easy, but good lord is it rewarding. In 3.5 months, I went from barely being able to run 3 miles, to running a half freaking marathon–A HALF MARATHON!!!!
The only time I can remember feeling this proud of myself is after I did my senior recital, but the best part is, this isn’t the last time I will feel this way. This is just the beginning of accomplishing new things, proving to myself that I am strong and capable, and crossing finish lines both literal and figurative.
Lastly, in the longest blog post ever. I want to say thank you to everyone for the amazing support I received during this process. All of the texts, comments on facebook, phone calls, and especially to Steve, Bethany, my dad, Hermano, and Mona for showing up at the race to support me, Nicole and Carolyn for making the whole experience amazing and all of your kind motivating words, and most especially Kara–you’re friendship has changed my life and I am so grateful to have you as my friend! I don’t know how I scored the most amazing people on the planet to all be my friends, but seriously every single congratulatory message I got meant so much to me and I am beyond grateful. I don’t know what I did to deserve all of you, but I do know that I am beyond grateful.