Monday, November 25, 2013

Women's Running Half Marathon, St. Pete, November 24, 2013

Okay so I can finally sit down and recap my run from yesterday.
Lets start from the beginning...

I woke up in the middle of the night around 1:00 am and had a terrible time getting back to sleep. My nerves were getting best of me and I kept thinking I was having mystery injuries and aches and pains. After finally settling myself down, I was able to fall back to sleep until 4:15, when my alarm was set to go off.

I hopped out of bed, made my light English Muffin with PB2, a banana and some hot green tea. I needed all the energy and spark I could ask for, I really felt like I was dragging. I took my B12 vitamin and my multi-vitamin and started my mental prep. I got online and just started reading inspirational, motivational quotes. I know it sounds corny, but it really helps and pumps me up. I got dressed, pinned my Bib, filled my water bottles, took some selfie pictures and got James up and we headed downtown. I started to get the nerves and my stomach was turning in knots.

I know I have done this before but I get like it no matter what. James dropped me off at the start, and I used the restroom and walked around. We didn't start until 7:00, so I left myself enough time to pee again, I was so nervous I was going to pee while running. My boss was also doing this race, whom also is my biggest role model and inspiration. I am truly blessed to have such a fantastic boss and someone I can learn a ton from. I have learned so much of myself from her, from how to live a healthy lifestyle, running and being a leader inside of work and outside. She is such a freakin rock star. She was running yesterday too, with a major injury. This lady is a true champ!!

I was so glad to see her because her and her family are like a big ball of energy and there energy is intoxicating and it was just what I needed. Surround yourself with positive people I swear it makes a HUGE difference in your life. We got ourselves to our projected areas and then we waited. Each coral was set off with a gunshot and before I knew coral 4, which I was in was ready to go. I started shaking and turned my music up so loud and then took off.

I didn't turn my GymBoss on until almost the first mile. There was a lot of ladies and a lot congestion, so I was just trying to make my way through first. When I finally found a clearing, I turned it on and started my splits. I was very pleased to see A LOT of other people doing the walk/run splits like me. All different time frames too. It was comforting and encouraging.

Everything was going great up until mile 6. I was moving along, getting into the grove but I was having a bit of a belt issue, it felt so heavy and wasn't sitting perfect on me. I think I was making it up in my head and was just trying to find something wrong, each walk I fixed it, it was getting annoying, but I finally got it to work.

The cheering along the way was great. Lots of great and motivational sings that the race set up. And each sign had such a special meaning and seemed to talk to me at just the right times. Like "Find your happy pace" right when I felt I was slipping in pace. It was just what I needed.

At mile 7, I had some sport beans and my calves were starting to feel tight, but I was good. My music was playing and I was playing a mental game with the pace guy, the pace was 2:30 and I was freaking determined to make it to that finish line by then. My Runtastic app and the mile markers were not adding up, I was a half of a mile ahead of the mile keepers and kept deducting times to worry about my pace. I really, REALLY didn't want to dwell on it, I just wanted to take it all in, but that damn competition side kicked in. I was chasing that damn pace guy, looking for him everywhere.

I guess it was good because the miles were passing by. At mile 10, I really started to hit a wall, I always seem too. My body just says No and I just keep saying yes. I really wanted to walk some more than a minute, but I stopped myself and just kept going, no extra walks.

I talked to my dad A LOT during this race. I kept telling him to push me through. Get me through one more mile and one more step. I kept kissing my fingers and pointing them up to the sky, I really wanted to see my dad. To just hear his voice, see him on the side lines. He would have been so encouraging and I really needed that, but I settled with the fact I had my tattoo.

That is what made this race so special was it was the first time I was running a full race with my tattoo. I really felt like he was running right along with me, running side of me too. I got pretty emotional at mile 12, it was all hitting me again. I couldn't believe I was doing this and I was almost done. I start thinking about my dad, my family back in NY, how much I would love to just have them there looking at me on the side lines.

Then I remembered I had one person, James. I could not wait to see his face waiting for me. I scanned the crowd for him and found him, with his phone right on me videoing my whole journey. I literally choked back tears and sobbed a bit. My legs were heavy and my lower ankle was sore but I got a kick and ran it to the finish line.

I didn't care about the pace or time, dad and I were just going to cross that line. And we did.

The minute I crossed I grabbed everything they were giving me. Water, pretzels, bananas, powerade, mini muffins, orange juice and of course my amazing medal. I took it all and looked for James. He found me and gave me the biggest hug. I ate my banana and gathered my things and we went to the free cookie and champagne area, DUH, I was so having some of that.

The weather was chilly and a bit windy and I was tired. We grabbed our stuff. I never found my boss after, she went home right after crossing the finish, she was hurting really bad. She is one tough lady for doing that half, injured and hardly being able to run a whole lot. She was a champ to me. Found my friend Stacy, who took all those pictures, she finished under her goal of 2 hours. So proud of her, she is what determination and motivation looks like.

We left and all I wanted was a coffee  from Dunkin Donuts. Got that and an egg while flatbread sandwich and I was a happy camper. Made it home and we chilled and I just soaked in all my accomplishment of the day. I felt great, I was sore and tired but in the best way possible. I love the feeling afterwards, the joy and triumph and I feel like I am sitting on cloud nine and what everyone to know.

I know a lot of people get annoyed I post a bunch of it on facebook, but who the hell cares. This is my life and what I choose to do to make it even better. I could have gone done a really scary path, due to the way I was raised and what I come from, but I am taking a better path, one that is paved by only me, not from where I was.

I posted this on Facebook and I will end this post with the same because it really says it all....

Thank you everyone for the sweet words and motivation! I still can't believe I am on this journey, started just running about a year ago and in 9 months alone in 2013 I have 4 half's under my belt and each one getting better and better! First one was 2:43 and this one 2:29! I don't do it for the pace or the time. I do it for the experience, the atmosphere and just the pure emotion I get out of the races. A lot of people say I'm crazy to run, or they can't do it, they won't like it, I'm telling you it can be done, you don't need time, or the right attire, you just need a spark! Take that little spark and I tell ya it will become fireworks!! I'm dedicated and motivated because this is the one thing I never thought I would do or accomplish and I have fallen in love with it... And it all started with a spark and a single step!! Go out and light your way!