Monday, August 22, 2016

Memorable Moments

I often get super nostalgic about running races because I love them so much. I love the routine that running races create for me. I love days leading up to a race, especially a half marathon. I love the training that comes along with the races. The time, energy and dedication I put int succeeding is something I had never experienced before. When I trained for my first ever Half marathon, back in 2012, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I didn't know about long runs or what to eat or what to wear. I didn't know how long I should train for or what training even meant. It was so new to me and I had only completed my first EVER 5k only a couple of months before that.

But a co-worker of mine suggested we sign up and I said why the heck not. She agreed we would do it together. She had previous experience running a half marathon and assured me it would be tons of fun. I was up for a challenge and said sure why not.

And I hit the pavement running. She showed me ropes on all things half marathon training. We stuck to a plan of running at least 3 times a week, with one of those days being a long run. We tried to do our long runs on the weekends and I made it work around my crazy schedule. She trained me on how to eat properly for long runs, such as peanut butter and waffles before hand with water, eating a carbtastic dinner the night before. Which man did I love diving into some spaghetti and meatballs. She introduced me to GU and how that crazy texture was going to give me energy to keep on going.

We used her Gymboss and ran doing intervals. Running for 5 minutes and walking a 1 minute. I literally heard the beeping in my sleep and still 4 years later use that same method with all my training. I started buying clothes that were moisture wicking and special socks. I got fitted for GOOD running shoes and understand I am a neutral runner. I surrendered to wearing a fanny pack that held water bottles so I could stay hydrated on my runs. I was 100% dedicated to my training.

I loved the structure and the purpose it gave me. The first time I ran 8 miles, I knew, I KNEW I would be able to take on 13.1. We chatted on our runs about what our post meal would be. We laughed when I tripped over a bucket of fish because I am just that clumsy. I was thrilled when our running days came up and couldn't wait to feel that runners high before, during and after. I felt amazing.

Race Day came and I was nervous, anxious but ready to go. The atmosphere was crazy. So many people all over the place, so many walks of life, ready to take on those miles. I had ran the course, well most of it, it in training but I knew running it this time would always feel different. I peed probably five times before, from nerves and the amount of water I consumed. I texted my BF and told him I would see him at the finish. We got to our spots and off we went.

The miles kept going and going and once hit 10 miles, where typically the wall comes up, I knew I only had a few miles to go and I was going to be a half marathoner! I was tired and hungry, but I wanted that finish line and do something I NEVER thought I could do.

My first half marathon was probably my most memorable race moment because it was the first. I remember hitting that 13 mile mark and running that .10 with everything I had in me. I was crying happy tears and I looked over to my left and there was my Boyfriend, smiling ear to ear, waving at me and videoing this monumental moment. I was so overcome with emotion, nothing I have ever felt before.

I could have kissed the ground or did a high jump over that finish line. Neither of which I did because I was tired and sore but when they put that medal around my next, that moment, that feeling, no one could ever recreate that feeling again...

That was until I completed my fist ever MARATHON.

I remember when we did that first half marathon, as we were sitting down to eat for lunch, my friend and I said, we can not imagine running a full marathon. The idea of basically turning around and doing that again was madness. Well a few more half marathons under my belt and that feeling changed and I knew I wanted to take on a marathon. Something inside of me changed...

I trained just like I did for my first half marathon like I did for my Full with lots of dedication and time. I trained for 6 months in the summer heat and spent every weekend running long miles, carb loading and resting. All the feelings I felt when running my first half, I felt for my full and well 10x more. Running a full marathon is hard. Hard in the all the places, on your body, mind and spirit. It chews you up and spits you right out, over and over again.

It seems crazy that running 26.2 miles is a life changing experience but it is. It is BEYOND life changing. It makes you stronger and weaker, it makes you love running and hate running. It makes you laugh and cry and feel every single emotion is what seems like forever, in only a short amount of time. And like the half my favorite moment was coming that stretch and hearing the crowds and looking over and seeing my family screaming my name. And as I crossed that finish line the announcer saying Angelina you ARE A MARATHONER.

2% of the world start and complete a marathon, and I am one of them...

Now this moment right here is my all time favorite. I could barely walk, I was caked in salt and sweat and sunshine, I was hungry and probably could have eaten each of my family members, because they all looked like burgers waiting for me, but I felt amazing. I started something and finished and became a better person in the process.

The most common themes in each of these races were they were something I set out to do and never thought I could. See that is what running races does for me and for others.

Running a race pushes you out of your comfort zone. Watching a race, lets you see the drive and dedication, inspiration and motivation of the human spirit and how we can push our bodies in ways we never knew possible.

Now race season is starting right back up again. The weather will start to cool down and running weather will emerge. Races start popping up all over, from fun runs, to half marathons, the marathons, 10ks, 15ks, beer miles, color runs, hot chocolate runs and races here and there. The time of year to get moving and get outside and take yourself out of your comfort zone is coming up.

Maybe you can sign up for a local race that supports a charity in your area or maybe you can create your own. Maybe you can sign up for a race you have never done before or you have inspired a friend to come along with you. Maybe you can set a challenge for your workplace and as a team building experience do one all together. I recommend using EventBrite to search for local events going on in your area, so you can create a memorable race moment this year.

 BUT you can also use Eventbrite to create your own race, using their service to promote and sell tickets. What an awesome feature.

I have a race in mind that I am hoping to do some day in the new year. My best friend lost her husband to lung cancer and I would love set up a race to run in memory of him. A race dedicated to the loving, funny and caring man he is and donating the money to charity and hospice. The race would be about celebrating the man that is no longer here with us but carrying on his love for helping others. You can either walk or run, all that matter was you were moving and breathing fresh air into your lungs and helping others. Songs being played at each half mile that were is favorite as picked by my best friend with motivational quotes through out pushing you to the end. And of course at the end, celebrating with a big party, with free beer and tons of food.

If you are looking to start a race or create one or look for one in your area, check out Eventbrite and get out of your comfort zone now.

What was your most memorable race moment?