Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Race That Started It All....

Good Thursday Morning!

It is a good day to reflect back on some accomplishments this morning. I was inspired by Tampa Mom Runs post on her first half marathon, which happened to be Iron Girl, so I thought I should write why the Iron Girl Race means so much to me and how I will most likely run it every year.

In 2012, I ran my first ever race, the Iron Girl Clearwater 5k. My boss, Jen, mentioned she was going to be running it with her daughter and how fun it would be if we got a bunch of ladies from work to do the same thing. My work bestie, Jen, (another Jen) said she would sign up and we should do it. So anxiously I did.

I was scared out of my mind. I had just started running and lets be honest, I was barely running, maybe to the stop sign and back, but something in me, just kind of clicked. I was determined and willing to do this. I did not train at all, I didn't use any gadgets or apps to track my mileage. I didn't have runners sneakers, I had plain old shoes. I didn't have special shirts or even pants. I just went out there and was running up and down the street. I had my ipod, which was practically broken and an arm bad and a spark.

I was so nervous running up and down the street, where cars going by could see me. I was breathing heavy, I was just getting into shape, but I was moving and I thought, well who the hell cares. I am not doing this for anyone else but me. I think the longest I ran at that point was maybe 2 miles. I justified I could bike 3 miles, then it was the same thing. I went to the store days before and got a new shirt to wear on the day of the race, I got a tank top because it was going to be hot. I was always so self conscious of my arms, and I just didn't seem to care.

I went to packet pick up in Tampa, at Fit2Run and was so excited to get a shirt and my bib, which had my name on it...

I knew nothing about running races. I wasn't sure if I eat before, or how it all worked. I was sooo nervous the morning of. I got dressed and headed to my Bosses house and we met and all rode in together. Jen's husband kept us laughing and having a great time. I wasn't sure how I was going to do, I just knew lets get this going. Getting to the starting line was insane. There were so many runners, all females, ready to take on the morning. We parked and then they said on the way back we can shuttle back as there might be rain at the end. All my work ladies and I stood together, ready to start the race.

Then it began....

We started up a small hill and I was like great, I had no clue there was hills in Florida and I was not prepared. Jen and I laughed because at this point we had no clue what we got ourselves into. My ran together and then the bridge....

At the end of the bridge,  there was a water station and we walked and got water. I was like holy heck this is something, literally lost for words. Jen and I continued to run and walk when we wanted. We were out of breath, tired and all over the place, we would run fast and then walk. I don't remember much of the run, until the final turning point to seeing the finish line.

I noticed peoples signs and heard cheering. I was instantly emotional. I couldn't believe I was going to finish a 5k race and I wasn't dying. I don't even recall the song on my Ipod, but Jen and I said this is it, we are doing this and we are running it in.

And we finished...

Here it is.. my first EVER medal. My first 5k race completed and where it all began....

As I was making my way through the crowds, trying to find the other Jen, whom was our ride, over to the side, was James waiting for me. He surprised me at the finish. I hugged him and instantly starting crying, telling him, I did it. I finished. I was so shocked her came because he had to work that morning and I never mentioned I wanted him to be meant the absolute world to me.

I had experienced my first runners high right then and there. I couldn't believe how great I felt. I was instantly hooked. That moment and that finish line was what started it all for me. We took the shuttle to our cars and there was a lady sitting with us and she had done the half. I was in awe that she ran 13.1 miles, 10 more than what I had just completed. I couldn't believe it, I was like wow, I could never do that lol. 

Little did I know, I would run my first half marathon the following February with St. Pete Rock and Roll and a year after my first 5k race, come back to Iron Girl and run the half haha.

I have ran the Iron Girl 5k twice, my first in 2012 and then my 2nd last year. I have ran the Half also twice, 2013 and 2014. I will take it on for a 3rd time this Sunday, which will also mark as my 9th half marathon.

Amazing in 4 short years, with the start of this race, how much I have changed and grown as a runner and all it took was 3.1 miles. 

I love the Iron Girl race series. I love running the race in any form of mileages. I love the atmosphere and the energy. It is my best way to spend a Sunday, surrounded by so many amazing ladies doing the same thing.

If you haven't ran a race before or nervous about running, just sign up. The rest will be history and you will be amazed at what you can do. I never thought I would be a runner, I figured one 5k would be enough, but it takes one to hook you and 2 years after that, I finished a full.

Believe in yourself and you can do anything. 

If you are running this weekend, make sure to stop and say hi, we can take a selfie!!! I will be cheering you on and wishing you luck, while i take on another 13.1!!