You might have just run your first half-marathon if:
It hurts to sit down to go pee.
You basically made sweet, sweet love to some Chik-fil-A nuggets and a salad.
You loathe the decision to ever live in a two-story home.
Despite eating two donuts and lunch after the race, you could probably still eat a whole meal.
You go to hop in the shower hours later and realize you still have KT tape on.
Today I finished something I never, EVER imagined myself doing. A year or so ago I made the decision to start running, more as a social thing, and to stay in shape, never to be do anything competitively. Now here I am, having completed the Couch to Crazy program my crew puts on. We trained together for a 5k, the bridge to 10k, and now a half-marathon. A HALF-MARATHON PEOPLE. That’s 13.1 miles. THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE MILES. And me, ME of all people, did it. This crazy running journey has had a lot of ups and downs for me. I was the Queen of Random Injuries in Okinawa, from heat exhaustion to a pulmonary embolism. I have had to overcome a lot about body image, and a lot of social anxiety and self doubt. Now I find myself actually believing that I’m a runner. That may sound funny to anyone outside the running world, of course I’m a runner, I was a runner the moment I hit the pavement. I did not truly believe I was anything other than a really good jogger, until today. Despite some major IT band pain in my hips over my last few runs, I chose to run through it. I taped it up, took some Ibuprofen, and worked through it mentally. I overcame every feeling of doubt, every nagging pain, and every doubt it my mind. I finished. I finished dressed as Tinkerbell no less.
Honestly I never would have done this without the women I have met through Stroller Warriors. Perfect strangers greeted me upon my return to the U.S. and immediately challenged me with new goals. Goals I probably wouldn’t have made myself anytime soon. Through all of this I became closer with friends I had made in Okinawa, created new friendships with people I already hold very dear, and learned a lot about myself personally. Now when I titled this post the way I did, I meant it. As a runner, as soon as you finish a race, you’re planning the next in your head. It turns into a habit pretty quickly, and a lot of runners will warn you about it being addictive. Boy were they right. I am currently wanting to sign up for a 21 mile trail run in early January. Um, WHAT!?
I say, if you set your mind to it, you will do it. You could think you’re the worst runner of all time (something I personally had to overcome), to finishing a half-marathon and actually feeling pretty great. Sure, I’m a tad bit sore at the moment, but for a good reason. I am a more confident me, I am teaching my son to be healthy, I am doing so much more than running. I am accomplishing.
I was pretty anxious upon arrival, but joking with my husband and friends is how I calmed myself down, and reminded myself that this wasn’t something to feel pressured about, I was there to have fun. We started in the back of the pack with a little walk/jog warm up. The first 6 miles out went amazingly well, keeping at an 11 minute pace. A few water views and some gentle breezes, a little pine needle slippage and some wonky bridge planks. Kari and I are pretty stellar at intervals, and it definitely helped us keep pace for the entire race. At about mile 5 we each turned on some music, which actually happened to sync up on the same song at one point. We finally hit the half-way turn around and had a few more laughs thanks to a Marine in the barracks with a megaphone. After the turn around it was a matter of mind over pain for each of us, me with my old lady hip, and Kari with some knee/calf trouble. But it was nothing we couldn’t interval our way through at a 12 pace. So yes, our race took a little walking, but we finished before our goal time and feeling pretty great. Overall I am stoked on how my race went. I feel pretty awesome despite having run the furthest I’ve ever run in my life.
Stroller Warriors has changed my life. Running has changed my life.
I have changed my life.