Monday, February 24, 2014

Gasparilla Michelob Ultral Amber Challenge Finish

Yesterday was a pretty exciting, exhausting and emotional day for me...

It was the final day of the two part Challenge I was competing and it was 13.1 miles standing in the way of me.

I woke up at 3:00 am. Yeah I wasn't too thrilled about it either, considering I could not fall asleep at all the night before because I was wired and restless from the day of running that day.

I got up and got ready and like the day before just treated it as if I was going for a long run, a long run with a couple thousand other strangers, but I mean I am not one for logistics.

James is a pretty awesome person and decided he wanted to be there to witness me complete this big accomplishment and got up at 4 and came over with me. I was so thrilled and excited to have him with me. He made my nerves go away and had me laughing and feeling awesome before the run.

My stomach was in knots and I was trying really hard to not concentrate on how my legs were feeling. Believe me they were tired and hurting.

We got to the area early so I could pee and just unwind a bit and we had a ways of walking, which I was happy about because I wanted to keep my legs moving. James got this awesome picture of me too..

We met up with my boss, Jen and two of her friends, one who this was his first ever half marathon and another who ran the 15k, like me the day before. We were all pumped and laughing and ready to go. It made my nerves go away and within minutes we were off and running.

Because it started at 6, the sun was not up yet and it was hard to run in the dark. Part of the road was rocky and cobblestone and I was concentrating more on the road then in front of me. I didn't hit my beeper until about a mile and half and then I tried to find my groove. I did good for most of it, but I was concentrating on the pain I was feeling in my legs and feet.

I knew this half marathon was not going to be like the rest.

And I was okay with that, I kept telling myself I have nothing to compare this too because I have never done anything like this before, so I just wanted to finish. I knew I was moving slower than normal and I could feel a blister or two just starting. Damn them!

I chanted to myself over and over, mind over matter, You can do this, push through the pain. I felt like I was shuffling a lot. Mile 7 & 8 were rough for me, but at that point you could see the other runners making their way back and it motivated me and got my juices going. I ate my Cliff Blocks along the way and dropped my beeper from 6.50 minutes of running to 6.00 minutes of running and kept the 1 minute walk. That helped a lot!

At mile 10, I was done. I was tired, my legs were like bricks and I was super emotional. But I wasn't giving up. I looked at my phone during my walk and texted James where I was. I wanted to tell him, I was hurting, and crying a bit, but I didn't want to scare him or worry him. My friend Jacke, knowing my pace, texted me and said your almost there, your in the home stretch, keep going.

It was what I needed to see. I was almost there, I was in the home stretch and so close to finishing and accomplishing a huge thing. Mile 11, rows of kids were screaming and high fiving and I got emotional. I thought about my dad and how much I wanted him there. I pushed and dug super deep.

Mile 12.5 felt like decades and as I rounded the corner, I looked for James and started sobbing. I must of looked like a hot mess. He was video taping me and waving and smiling. I waved and blew him a big kiss and then I ran for it. I finished strong in 2 hours and 35 minutes. I was so happy.

Considering I had just ran 12.5 miles the day before and still completing in a better time than last year, I was pleased. I was in a deep fog of emotion and just walked around a bit waiting for James. I texted my boss I had finished and then I saw him and I hugged him and cried a bit.

I did it, I completed 2 days of running, 3 races and 25.5 miles. I completed something few do and I did it injury free, just a little banged up and with a smile on my face.

I earned 4 medals and two blisters and very tired legs, but also an amazing confidence boost. I really can accomplish anything when I put my mind too and I really am stronger than I think.

I never once wanted to give up, I wanted to sit for a bit, but never give up. I am so glad I did this and I will do it again next year.

The rest of the day was just me aching and moving slowly. We went out to Applebees for dinner and I indulged in two huge sangria's and some dessert. I darn well earned it.

I rocked my half marathon shirt all day and checked off number 5 in half marathons in my book.

Say what!!??

Still gets me every time!

I want to bed with a full heart last night and running thoughts in my head.

Today I am even more sore but it is such a good sore feeling, I know I earned it and I earned it proudly.

No more races until April, when I take on Iron Girl again. So this week back to training and running, because seriously I am doing this all for the love and fun!!