Sunday, June 10, 2012

I just want to run 2 miles

In Oct 2008 my fourth and last babe was born. It marked the end of the child birth years for me and the beginning of a different kind of journey. This journey would be one of self discovery, physical grit and power along with learning how to be mentally tough, yet flexy all at the same time. This picture is me with my four kids on Christmas morning 2008. Just a short month later I would embark on the journey to some semblance of health by "just running two miles".

Christmas Morning 12/25/2008

I just wanted to be able to run 2 miles. With an 11 y.o. and 7 y.o. who would find playing at the local Nampa Rec Center fun, I was so grateful to discover the Play Center to be a setting of love and comfort for my 3 month and 21 month old babies. In Feb 2009, I purchased a punch pass (good for 20 visits) to the Rec as I wasn't quite ready to jump in with both feet with the cost of the annual pass. My goal: run two miles without stopping. I remember so clearly those first several weeks. My legs were sore, my back ached and even my arms were tired. I can't imagine how that happened when I didn't run on my hands. :) I could barely carry my two babies out to the car after my workout that consisted of a 2 mile run. After nearly a month, I had used up my punch pass and my husband was ready for us to take the plunge. We purchased the annual membership to the Rec. I would look forward to the sights, familiar smell and friendly staff as I worked to make my body perform as I wished. I slowly added a few laps here and there and was able to run up to 3 miles. My oldest son was playing baseball that year and I would run on the track where he was practicing and hit more milestones there. The first day I ever ran 4 miles was the first day I ever experienced a runner's high. I came home that night and could NOT stop talking about it. My tiny little flame for running was fueled into a bonfire that evening. A few weeks later on Good Friday, April 10, 2009 I ran 5 miles for the first time in my life. I had the most ridiculous grin on my face the entire last mile because I knew I would make it. I had overcome an obstacle that once had me wanting to quit at the very thought of it.
Easter 2009, Family race...notice I'm nearly in LAST
(L to R: Dante, Troy, Hayden, Faith, Angie, me, Craig)

At some point in the late summer, mid-Sept range, a friend of mine posted on her facebook page that she had signed up for a half marathon. She was going to do it for her friend whose mom had died of ALS. My father-in-law had ALS and passed away in Nov. 2006. This was a near and dear cause for a race. I remember being so drawn to do the race but then the rational part of my brain would slap the dreamer side of my brain, saying "You've only run 5 miles a handful of times. You can't run 13.1. You're NUTS!" I told Craig that I would set out to run 8 miles one week and then 11 the next week. If I could do it, then I'd sign up for the race. So, three weeks prior to the race I ran 8 miles. Two weeks prior I ran 11 miles and that run nearly did me in. I wanted to puke, faint and never take another step when I got home. I couldn't believe how horrible I felt. That was the first time I doubted that I'd be able to run 13.1 miles. In addition, a few of my co-workers were tremendously encouraging. In fact, one co-worker and friend-to-be, Val, said if I ran the half marathon this year, she would run it with me the next year. I really didn't believe her. I knew that she wasn't a runner at the time, but I had no idea the level of athleticism she possessed. Our relationship eventually became a strong friendship that remains to this day.

The week going into the race I was a total ball of nerves. I was running more that week than I had in the weeks prior just to try and keep myself calm. The night before the half, I ran 4 fast miles just because I was so nervous. I did everything wrong. I didn't trust anyone and didn't like everyone telling me what to do and how to do my fun activity. I had been so careful to protect running since I didn't want it to become another pressure in my life. I already felt so much pressure between work, still pumping and nursing a baby, my two older school aged childrens' sports and activities, the last thing I needed was another thing pressuring me for time. Running was my getaway, my haven so to speak.

I had some very unreasonable and inappropriate goals for this race. I wanted to be able to finish without ever walking...running every step. When I walked I felt defeated, a failure and a loser. This race was never about just finishing.

The morning of the race I was so consumed with anxiety I couldn't even eat. I had about half a cup of coffee and literally two bites of oatmeal. I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast so this should not have been something of an issue. Everything made me feel sick. Armed with my iPod and shoes, I set out for the course. My son had a basketball game so my husband and children were going to his game and then coming to find me after it was over. I knew I'd be on the last few miles of the course but I was not mentally prepared or mentally flexy (either would have worked) for that first race day. I'd never run a 5K, never a 1 mile fun run, never anything. I didn't have a clue what I was getting myself into. That seems to be a recurring theme now that I think about it. Nonetheless, it was going to happen. In my naive state, I wanted to run the entire way. I didn't care about time, I cared about running the entire way without stopping. See how insane I was?

And the gun went off. Literally less than 100meters into the race, I wanted to puke. I wanted to quit. I wanted to hurt myself badly for getting into something that made me work so dang hard. I could not believe I was doing this! I'd never run this course before, didn't drive it first and really didn't have a clue what to expect. The first four miles are a steady uphill climb. I performed really well and felt super until about mile 6-7...I was not taking on any fuel. No water and no food. Big mistake! It was going to be all guts and mental toughness from here on out. My family drove past me about mile 8-9 and I started bawling.

Me off in the distance with the pink shirt on

When I saw my husband he looked so worried about me. He later told me that the moment I looked at him, he knew it was a mistake for me to see him. I was so tired I secretly wanted him to rescue me, sweep me away in his big blue Dodge truck. I was so tired. I was beyond fatigued. I was so thirsty. I wanted to jump in the canal and drink the water. At this point in the game, I think I was a bit delirious and it probably showed. My 12 y.o. son got out of the truck and ran the last 4 miles with me. Every time I wanted to walk he'd say, "Mom! Let's go. You can do this! Come on..." I couldn't believe he was running this far with me. When we reached the 10-ish mile aid station there was water and Gatorade. I took the Gatorade and chugged down a few cups full. Big mistake! It gave me the worst belly cramps ever. I was walking a lot at this point because of how horrible the cramps were. I tried really hard to run but it was excruciatingly painful. So, most of these miles were spent walking and even that was very unpleasant.

It's just little specs but you can see Dante ahead of me above the "TO" and me right behind the "G"

There is still a half mile loop that is being pointed out to me as I think
I'm coming up on the finish line...You've got to be kidding me!

Coming into the finishing chute

The very moment I stepped over the finish line I started barfing like it was nobody's business! Good bye Gatorade...Ugh!!!

Bottom Line: I finished! 11/07/2009, 1st half marathon complete 2:43:15

The race left me so lost and empty. I had started running just for fun. I didn't want this to turn into a negative experience. I wanted to put the race behind me but I just couldn't. It haunted me. The race was on a Sat and when I returned to work the following Monday, my co-worker Glen who has run several marathons himself, had balloons and a mug w/ candy in it. I instantly hugged him and started bawling. I felt as though I had let him and everyone else that said "you can do it", down and let them down in a huge way. I felt like I might as well have not even it was a futile attempt to do something really huge, prove that I was still strong and that I could still be an athlete. Who was I kidding? After debriefing with Glen for most of that day, all of the things that went wrong, places where I felt I had totally messed up, I made a decision. I decided that I had to do it again. I had to conquer this. Not everyone gets just what they want on the first try. So that's what I did. I continued to "train" during the next three weeks and on Thanksgiving morning I started out and ran the entire distance. Ran every single step and even gave a bit of a sprint at the end....I pretended I was running through the tape at the end, like I just got 1st place. I even yelled for myself. "Yay! I did it!" I cried all the way to my Mom and Dad's where I walked in their house and yelled with my hands in the air VICTORY!!! Craig came over to me and hugged me. He knew how much it meant to me and he was excited for me.

In the weeks and months to follow I started running more regularly and spent lots of time at the Rec Center. I had another goal in mind besides just adding up the miles. I wanted to lose some weight. I would imagine myself running with a 10 pound bag of potatoes on my back and then think about how dramatic it would be to take that 10 pounds off. That was my visual as I wanted to drop those 10 pounds.

In January 2010, I stopped nursing and that was helpful for my energy level. In Feb 2010 I went to visit my sister in Oklahoma City. We decided to run a 5K together. We'd never done anything like that but I really wanted to glean from Amber. She has such a healthy balance between performance for fun and performance for competition. She can stow away the competition and bring it out when it's appropriate. Being competitive doesn't control her the way it does me. I went to visit and run the 5K, we did. I was determined to stay with her the entire time and even let her cross the finish line before me. When we were about 100 meters from the finish she said, "Amy, I have nothing left. Sprint! I know you have it in you now GO!" I looked at her to make sure she was serious and when I knew she was, I took off! She's so gracious in spirit and the most positive thing in my life since I was 19 months old. :)

OKC 5K Hope for Haiti run Amber-30:05 Me-29:48

After running the 5K with Amber, I felt rejuvinated. My love, my fire for running had been fueled once again. It once again looked like a bonfire. It was burning strong. I returned home and spent March and April of 2010 putting in approx 15-20 miles per week and losing 8 pounds. The ALS half marathon that I ran in 11/2009 had been pushed up to 05/2010. The goal for the timing of that race had always been for it to be spring time race. Cliff Williams who was the person this race was being coordinated for, had ALS and would live to see the spring of 2010. That is why the inagural race was in 11/2009. Cliff died in 02/2010.

I knew in March 2010 that the race date was changing and it would be over Memorial weekend in May 2010. I reminded Val (my co-worker mentioned above) that she had promised to run with me this year. She had a little freak out session since her training schedule just got cut in half. She had been training smart and working hard. She'd already been doing 5K's and 10K's. The change in the race date was a non-issue for her.

At the beginning of May 2010 I was ready to run. BUT my 3 y.o. came down with chicken pox. These weren't just your "run of the mill" chicken pox. Most cases of the chicken pox are fairly mild with itching and a mild fever. Halle had chicken pox in places I didn't know was possible. These chicken pox didn't itch, they were excruciatingly painful. They burned, they were like needles and it was horrifying to watch her suffer. She didn't sleep for nearly two days. My husband and took turns for two nights with her as she lay, writhing in pain and crying out for some kind of relief from it all. We had her in soda baths, calamine lotions soaked her, we gave her ibuprofen and acetaminophen but nothing touched the pain. Needless to say, during this time I didn't run for two weeks. About the time we thought the chicken pox were on the way out, Dawson (18 month old) broke out. His were much more "run of the mill". I ran a total of 10 miles in the month of May prior to the half marathon that year.

Halle with chicken pox.

A few weeks prior to the half marathon, because of lack of participation, the half marathon was cancelled. Val and Chere (Val's running partner) had been training and preparing for this race for six months! How could this be? We begged the race director to please go forward with the half but he said it was too costly and they didn't have enough volunteers for water stations, etc. They were only going to be able to support the 5K, no half marathon this year. Val, Chere and I decided to do something a little rouge. We were bandits. With permission from the race director, we got to the race 2 hours early and ran the half marathon course. Val had a Garmin watch and I had my own timing device. We arrived early while everyone was still setting up and getting ready for the racers. The people had pulled our packets out since they knew we were coming early to run, making it possible for use to still have our race bibs. It was an exciting day.

A Legacy of Service, ALS Half Marathon #2 May 29, 2010.

This race was the first race I ever tried to fuel with food. Now I was smart enough to know that it's not a good idea to try something new on a race but I was stupid enough not to heed my own knowledge. It didn't turn out to be as bad as it could of but the other thing I tried new that day didn't turn out as positive. I knew I needed to have some water or hydration on this run. I had gotten a belt with a place for key, phone, music, etc. and it also had a little spot to hold your water bottle. Now this course has about 3ish miles that you run out and then begin a loop before meeting back up and running the same 3 miles back into the finish. I realized at about a half mile into this race that the water bottle belt thing was NOT going to work for me. I hated every step and it was making me crazy. So I threw down my water bottle at a spot I knew I would be able to find on my way back. I was armed with a granola bar in my belt pouch but I had also eaten a good breakfast...homemade waffles with peanut butter and syrup. Yummy! I munched on the granola bar after about 6ish miles and did so until mile 9 when I realized I was blowing through the place that in the year prior I had experienced a mental melt down. It was so encouraging. I was doing it and I was strong. I also had allowed myself to take a few walk breaks. I was accepting of this and not viewing it as failure.

Now there was something extra special about the race this year. My husband, 12 y.o. and 8 y.o. were running the 5K portion of the race. The 5K started at 10am. We took off at 8 and I knew that I would be reaching some of the 5K runners. I think the 5K ended up starting about 10 min late, judging from the time that I ran into them. There is a large hill around mile 9.5. As I crested the hill I couldn't see any of the 5K runners! Where were they? I ran down the hill at a speedy pace. It's my favorite part of the course. I kept running feeling a bit empty about the fact that I couldn't see anyone yet. Then I remembered my water. I began to search for it as I ran and found it at about mile 10.5. I was so happy to have some fluid...I was thirsty! After I got my water I passed the half way point for the 5K runners and the only water station on their route. Just a little bit further and I saw them. Not only did I see the front runners of the 5K race but I saw my son. He was like 3rd or 4th in the pack! I couldn't believe my eyes. He was FAST!!! As soon as I got close enough to make eye contact with him, he gave me the biggest grin ever. He knew how fast he was going too and you could see it on his face. I started bawling right there. I was starting to lose it and I needed to stay focused for the last little bit of the race. That was probably the most difficult thing I had to do this entire course. I began passing all these people who were cheering me on. I saw my husband and started screaming for him! I was so proud. Then I saw my daughter, Faith who was running with my dad. I just couldn't hold it together. I cried the rest of the race. Then when Dante came in and placed first in his division I just cried! Then I watched my husband give it everything he had and finish his race so strong. I was so proud of him for working so hard!!! Then I saw Faith and my Dad coming. My dad is not a runner or any kind of sports person. He gardens. That's what his activity is. But he's amazingly strong and healthy. He was gracious enough to run the entire 5K with Faith just so Craig and I wouldn't have to worry about her safety. This also allowed Craig to run his own race for speed and time.
Craig - 32:58
Dante - 25:25
Faith - 39:23
Dad - 41:13
This was the first 5K for all four! We were running this race in honor of Craig's father, Vilas who passed away in 11/2006 from ALS. Craig's sister Linda, brother-in-law Warren, nephew Eric (14 y.o.) signed up for this race and ran it in their own hometown (Minneapolis, MN). One of Craig's many brothers, Jeff, also signed up and ran this race from his Memorial weekend location. I cannot recall their race times but it was the memory of Vilas and in honor of his courageous fight against this horrible disease that spurred on this out pouring of enlistment for the 5K.

05/29/2010 - ALS Half Marathon - 2:21:10

During the summer of 2010 I averaged about 20-25 miles a MONTH...definitely not something to write home about. The main point was that I kept running. I decided I didn't need to eat in a healthy manner and went on kind of a rebellious type binge behavior. I gained about 3-4 pounds over the summer. This also included a very fun trip to Disneyland, Sea World, San Diego Zoo and most importantly (for me) the OCEAN!!! After school started, I decided that I would have a very attainable goal, yet it was still a goal I would have to put effort forth in order to achieve. The goal was a minimum of 10 miles a week. I had no other rules about the goal. If I ran two 5 mile days, great...five 2 mile days, 10 mile day, fine. Bottom line was run 10 miles a week.

Another thing happened late summer/early fall 2010. For my birthday I got a yearlong package from a local spa that included monthly massages. I was lucky enough to get a fantastic sports masseuse that found lots of issues, ironically, in my upper body and neck. I began to realize the importance of stretching and correct posture. These two little things alone can make such a huge difference. Of much more significance, during the summer of 2010 two very important relationships began to form. One of the relationships was with a person I'd known for many years, my friend Shanda and the other with my co-worker Val.

I'm not sure at what point Shanda and I began working out together but she listen to me ramble and carry on about what I thought I knew regarding nutrition, exercise, proper form, hydration and now I think she must have been rolling her eyes ever second I wasn't looking. Once I learned that she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and has spent years as a Personal Trainer, I began to call her my "friend with benefits". Shanda and I met at the Rec Center and let our little kids swim together. We would work out together and then spend an hour in the pool with our kids. Shanda was the first person I ever ran with. I'd always been against running partners even though I knew they were so wonderful for other people. I didn't think that fit me because of my severely competitive nature. Shanda is also super competitive but she has something I don't, a sports background. She played many sports growing up, playing basketball even at the collegiate level. Her sophmore year her team went on to win the NAIA National Championship. It sounds like I'm writing a bio for her but I just kept being more and more amazed at her knowledge. When I think about our first workouts, Shanda must have thought I was a complete joke! She even let me make up our circuits. I had no idea what certain exercises were called. I'm sure I was double working some muscles and completely skipping others, simply because I had no idea. The first time I ran with Shanda I completely surprised myself. I wasn't competitive with her and I didn't feel the need to beat her in order to prove my worth as a person, as an exerciser, as a wanna be athlete. She was easy going and just let whatever happened, happen and she was fine with it. She mentioned to me that she'd never run more than like 3ish miles so I invited her to run with me on a longer run. On Labor Day weekend we got a babysitter for just a few hours and set out to run from my house. We ran 8 miles. Her husband (Day) didn't think we could do it and was surprised by our time. It was the start of a very complex and rewarding friendship!

My relationship with Val began to flourish as we started talking about running at work. We'd compare ideas and thoughts about pace, eating, racing and all sorts of running related things. She shared with me her dream of running a full marathon and I thought (I think I told her) that she's crazy and she'd have to do that without me. I'd be there waiting for her at the end. Val was also very encouraging in parts of my life that I didn't realize were affecting me until she pointed it out. I decided to finally get diagnosed for allergies and get proper treatment. She talked repeatedly about how much happier I seemed once I had the proper medication. She would remind me of my pace just months before when I wasn't being treated properly and would struggle with my breathing. Then she pointed out things about me that I never the fact that I doubted everything I ever tried to do and severely doubted any strength or ability I had in the realm of running. In mid-Dec Val was signed up for a 10K YMCA Christmas Fun Run. She invited me to join but I told her there was just no way. My sister was coming into town for two weeks and going to arrive later that day. It would be way too busy for me to try and make all of this happen. I don't know why but I mentioned to my husband about the 10K race and he really wanted me to go ahead with it. He said he could hold the fort down at home and finish all the things I'm normally running around doing like a chicken with my head cut off, right before company arrives for TWO weeks. I was so excited. I signed up for the race just about 2 weeks before. I told Val that I just felt so much anxiety because whenever I had a good run, it was always about things that were out of my control, i.e. weather, having good legs when I wake up, anxiety levels, etc. Val said that was just simply not true. Any time I'd had a good run, it was because I'd put in the effort, been running several miles a week and had been working really hard to keep reaching my weekly mileage goal in spite of all the many activities of a six person family. It was a light bulb moment for me. Val was right...the weather, waking up with good legs? It was as though I was giving credit for anything good that came of my efforts, to circumstance or coincidence. No more...give credit where credit is due.

Val was going to be running this particular 10K race with her running partner Chere. I'd start the race with them and felt very comfortable with the idea of staying with them, falling behind them, charging in front or any combination of these that put me through to the finish. My race was no longer about how I performed against others. It became about me. Val, Chere and I met early at the race. I was nervous but not anxious. I had the good nervous energy that can be funneled into good running mojo and left the paralyzing anxiety in my car. At the sound of the gun we took off. As Val calls it, we "jockeyed for position" and I thought Val and Chere were right behind me. As soon as I was in a clear enough space, I turned my head just a bit and didn't see them anywhere. There were tons of people so I just assumed they were right behind the people that were right behind me. I never saw them again. I ran that race and it was mine. I had told Shanda I was doing this race. She had gotten pregnant in the fall and so wasn't doing anymore racing or long runs. What she did do however was come to the end of this race and I didn't know she was going to be there. I was so happy she was there. I ran over to her as though she were my long lost sister and bawled my eyes out. I was crying for so many reasons. I cried because I ran that race and it was good because of me, not because of the weather or because of some other uncontrollable force. I cried because she loved me enough to come meet me in the freezing cold when I'm sure she would have much rather been cuddled up in her warm house. 12/18/2010 - YMCA Christmas 10K - 56:25 (Garmin recorded 5.89 miles)

I spent the next 3 weeks without running a single step. One word: STUPID! My very next run was almost a month later and I figured it had taken a toll on my body to wait so long to run but had I known...well I probably would have done the same thing. After struggling with the hill climb in the first portion of the Christmas 10K, I figured I'd use the hill very near my house for some elevation in my regular runs. I figured once a week couldn't hurt. A local running friend, Christie and I joked about naming this particular hill. We called it Nemesis. The first week I ran the "Nemesis Loop", just over a 4 mile loop. Week 1 it took me 44:14 and 3 puke stops. Big ol mess! One week later it took me 40:41 and had no pukes. My training over the spring went very well. I had made a lot of headway mentally by allowing myself to take credit for my accomplishments. I kept up my 10 mile a week goal by running 2-3 times a week. During Jan/Feb 2011 I added weights into the mix and saw some fairly significant improvements in my pace overall. That made me happy, further fueling my fire for speed and pace. I began my half marathon training in March 2011 to prepare for the Legacy of Service half marathon (5/28/2011). When I first prepared my training schedule I nearly freaked at the weekly mileage since it was far over the 10ish miles I was running per week, not to mention the tempo runs and speed work that looked like death runs with the pace requirements. I looked at the week of the race where I was scheduled to run 1 speed mile at 1:58. I thought to myself, "I'd rather just run the race than try to do that speed work day." I dreaded that speed work day the entire 13 weeks I trained. The day that training run came, I knew I could nail it. It was just the boost of confidence I needed prior to the race.

A few random things happened during this time. My beloved running partner, Shanda, was getting very ready to have a baby. Another running buddy, Christie who also happens to live in my subdivision decided to become a race director and created her own Lake Lowell Marathon and Half Marathon. The race was scheduled for 5/7/2011, just 3 weeks prior to my actual race I was training for. I signed up for the half portion of the race. I was excited to network with some folks that I'd only known through an online website where I am able to log my miles and give/receive encouragement from other runners and athletes. ( Shanda's husband (Day) had started running some here and there so I decided to invite him to come run with me one day on a long run. Much to my disbelief, I was having a running affair. I had temporarily dumped my running partner (because she was 9 months pregnant) and was running long runs with her husband. Now how weird is that?! I realized how desperately I missed running with another person. My long runs started having more soul and depth and downright pleasure! I no longer despised my long runs as I looked forward to having a "someone" to run with. Day ran the Lake Lowell Half Marathon with me on 5/7. Shanda and Val both volunteered at the race. Shanda and my Mom (Lewis) were at this race, waiting for me as I crossed the finish line. I met a person at this race that I didn't know would be soon impacting my dreams and aspirations so severely in the next few weeks. Her name was Emily. She was going around taking pictures of people at the beginning of the race and took several of Day and I together. I felt so weird about these pictures that I finally told her that Day's wife was volunteering at aid station #1 on the marathon course. I didn't want her to think we were a couple since it seemed like the automatic assumption. I remember noticing Emily's shoes and thinking they weren't your average photographer type shoes and I thought maybe Emily is the athletic type, maybe even a runner of sorts. Nonetheless, Day and I ran this race together. The race itself started off very wrong adding insult to injury every step of the way. Problem #1 As Christie was singing the national anthem, we were all in the starting line and I realized in that very moment..."OMG I didn't go to the bathroom! I need to go. Do I need to go? Should I run over to the porta-potty? Is that disrespectful? What are the rules about the Nat'l Anthem and port-a-potties?" I had already decided I wasn't running this as a race, rather just a long run with time and pace not being part of my equation of things to care about on this day. Keeping that in mind, I knew that there was a port-a-potty at the 1 mile mark so I decided I'd wait and go there. My pace at the beginning of this race was WAY too fast for a long run. My beginning splits were:
mile 1: 9:45
mile 2: 10:14 (includes stopping for a potty break)
Mile 3-4 were spent catching up with Day who went on while I used the port-a-potty
mile 3: 9:40
mile 4: 9:26
At mile 4 there was an aid station where Val was volunteering. She had my gel that I used.

Problem #2 I decided NOT to run with my hydration pack that I'd gotten used to for my long runs. I knew there would be aid stations every 2 miles making the need for the hydration pack seem nil to none. What I found on this particular run/race was that I need to use my hydration pack. I am not able to gulp water at aid stations and then take off running again. I'd developed a side ache during the first mile of the race due to the lack of bathroom usage prior to the start. After I used the facilities, the side ache didn't let up much since I was running much faster than I should have been or what I'd been training for.

After leaving Val at mile 4 I knew I was in for a not-so-good race/long run day. Day was staying with me for the long haul. It was his first half marathon race. I felt horrible since it seemed this race was going to be about me and my side ache issues.

Toward the end of the race when Day and I reached about the 10.5 mile point, he asked me when I would start sprinting. I responded, "not for a LONG time" and "maybe when I'm IN the finishing chute!" I told him he should go for it whenever he felt like it. I was not going to hold him back. He said when there was one mile left, he wanted to go for it. As my garmin beeped 12 miles and then clicked over to 12.1 I told Day there was one mile left. He took off at a speed that, at the time seemed like wild horse speed. That last mile was the longest mile of my life. I felt so alone, so sad, so defeated and completely unable to finish. In fact, I toyed with the idea of "do I care if I finish?, what the hell am I doing out here?, why do I do this to myself over and over?, I've lost my mind, I'm NOT doing this again, etc., etc., etc." I walked THREE times in the last mile alone. My last mile was the slowest of the entire race at nearly 15 minutes! Day only finished one minute faster than me but at the time it felt like an eternity. I realized in that moment that I NEED a partner. Not only do I need my partner but I lean on them far more than maybe I should. I told Day probably 15 times that day how grateful I was to have him on that race. I knew that he didn't run the half marathon for me but somewhere inside of me, it seemed like I couldn't have done it without him and had he not been there, I might have quit. I cried 5 days later telling my Gospel Community about how Day and I ran together and how horrific the last mile had been without him.

05/07/2011 - Lake Lowell Half Marathon - 2:28:05

After the race was done, ( the website was updated with all the pictures from the race. I noticed on Christie's facebook page that this Emily girl was posting pictures from her own fb page. I drilled into Emily's page and found that she WAS a runner...not just any runner but an ULTRA runner. I spent many hours pouring over her blog and webpage ( only to find that my desire, my dream, my ultimate pursuit of running would be for this level.

The day of the ALS race for which I'd been training for 13 weeks had come. Everything about the day of this race went as I'd hoped. I got up early, felt good about my training and knew it would be a great run. I had nerves but they were all well within the good realm, no true anxiety. My running partner Shanda, who was due any day, had not delivered so she would again be at the finish of my race. That was ALWAYS something for me to look forward to! Since Shanda had not delivered AND the ALS Legacy of Service race was allowing same-day sign up, Day signed up. This was also really exciting. Our neighbor and her daughter were going to run the 5K with Craig and Faith. Dante had a basketball tryout that he needed to attend so he missed the race. My sister-in-law (Linda) and nephew (Eric) signed up as well. As we waited around it was a good time of confidence building mentally. I realized how far I'd come in the year prior. I wasn't nervous. I had confidence. I had excited energy that was not negative. I was surrounded literally by people who were supportive of me and had confidence in what I was doing. As the gun went off I stayed with Val and Chere but I was quite concerned since I felt like Val was running way to fast and I would not be able to settle into my easy-peasy pace. As it was, it was the best pace. Day wasn't with us at the very start but by the time we were about a mile and a half down the course, he caught up. I didn't have a good place to set my gel and so Val had this in her pocket for me. As I rounded the first corner of the race and the steepest portion of the 4 mile uphill section, I realized that I was getting way too far ahead. Getting my gel would be like turning around, running back and then running forward again. I decided to wait a few minutes, get my gel from Val and then continue on. I had no idea that I was going to have such a great race time and how this would affect my time. Overall, I ran a smart race making sure I didn't go out too fast but also had faster miles at the end of the run. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly work out to run with Day as it did in the Lake Lowell half the year before. Once we got to a little over 9.5 miles, the course has a nice downhill portion. I told Day that I was going to run like hell at that point and not stop until I crossed the finished. I'm not sure why but at the top of the hill I started to ramp up and I never saw Day again. I ran super hard from that point to the end. I finished strong! Shanda and my mom were there of course to hug and congratulate me. My dad was there and my mom (shipman) had come from WA for Memorial weekend also.

05/28/2011 - ALS Legacy of Service Half Marathon - 2:13:41
Craig - 44:08
Faith - 43:16

Over the course of the next few weeks, it became very clear to me that I want to be a runner. I don't just want to be any runner. I want to be an ultra runner. It's going to take me a long time and there are lots of steps, milestones, lessons and running...running, running, running! I can't wait! My next step in this process is marathon distance. City of Trees Marathon in Boise, ID 10/09/2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment