Where do I begin? It all began at 5:10 A.M. I woke up, reluctantly. The plan was to be on the road by 6. I got dressed and milled around for a while then I got my Little Buddy out of bed at 5:50. AN the RB, my cheering squad leader and babysitter, arrived just before 6. She is so good at being on time, me…not so much. I sliced up an apple for the road and made some toast and added some peanut butter. We were on the road by 6:15, no biggie.
Like a noob I took the wrong exit, the exit that all the other noobs took. If I had been smart we would have exited earlier and missed all the traffic. I was getting nervous about making it to the start. But it is a chip start so it doesn’t really matter when you start as long as you are close. Parking was crazy so we parked illegally for a few minutes so I could put on my shoes, get all my stuff together and snap a quick pic.
I made my way to the Porta Potty (or Honey Bucket as these weird Pacific North Westerners call it) line and lucked out in finding a Porta Potty without an official line, so I obliged in making a line and only waited about 1 minute. Thank goodness!
I jogged to the start and made a few warm up attempts, something I don’t normally do. Then I shouldered my way through the wad of people and got kind of close to the start, significantly closer than last year. I got my Garmin ready and before I knew it it was time! I walked to the starting line amongst thousands of people! When I stepped on the timing pad I started my watch and began to jog. I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people out there, running. As far as the eye could see, straight up the street was a sea of people…It was beautiful. I was so proud to be one of those people, a person taking my life and my health and getting it under control, a person who cares about myself and strives for a goal. A person who is up and running at 7:30 AM on a Sunday. I thought about those who were at church and I realized that I am using a gift and an ability that God gave to me. It was awesome.
I ran and worked at keeping my pace under control. I had adrenaline rushing through my veins, I could feel it pushing me to run faster.
Mile 1: 8:36
Mile 2: 7:57 (what on EARTH? That was NOT in the plan!)
Mile .41: 3:50 (on track for about 8 min mile).
That’s right, mile .41. I got ATTACKED by some SERIOUS Garmin Gremlins. I have no clue what happened but my poor Garmin was smoking and completely went nuts. I have a feeling maybe it had to do with thousands of other GPS/Garmin devices all around but I have no evidence of that. I spent a good half a mile jogging and trying to get the watch back on track and finally reset it around mile 4.
Mile 4: 9:16.31
Mile 5: 8:33.11
Mile 6: 9:17.82
Mile 7: 9:57.14
Mile 8: 10:38.9
Mile 9: 9:57.10
Mile 10: 10.23.66
Mile 11: 10:11.22
Mile 11: 10.10.39
Mile 12: 10:02.41
Mile 13: 9:57.14
And this is not completely accurate since I had to restart up my Garmin mid race. And look at those times! I am ALL OVER THE PLACE! What happened, aside from pooping out at mile 7?
The OFFICAL overall time was 2:08.05
So I accomplished goals C and D. I beat last year’s time AND I finished.
Somewhere around mile 8 my eyes were drawn to the crowd where I saw AN the RB and my Little Buddy waving all crazy like! It was awesome! They were hootn’ and hollering! I was so proud and it made me almost cry. I was on emo control for the next half mile, trying to hold back the tears. I have finished nearly every single race wishing The Hubs could see me finish (this one was no different) but the next best thing is to have my awesome friend and my Little Buddy there. It was great!
There came a point around mile 9 where I wondered to myself, “Why am I doing this?” I felt like I was going to throw up, I had to pee, I was tired, my arches were screaming…and the hills kept rolling. I wanted to quit. I saw no purpose in completing this race. I lost sight of my why. I had to look inside and remind myself why I could not quit, why I had to keep running, why I had to finish and do my best. This became a race against myself, not the thousands of people around me. When life gets hard I don’t quit. When I want to lay down and burry myself under a pile of leaves I don’t, I dig deep and keep going. Quitting does not make the problem go away, after all I would have had to get back to the finish line, and my ride home, somehow. I did a lot of self-evaluation and reflection during this mile and I realized that I am strong and I can do whatever it is I put my mind to, and as long as I do my best it is all I can ask. If I gave up on this race I would have been giving up on myself and setting a trend I am not willing to accept. I cannot do that, not now.
Around mile 10 I started to feel pretty good and actually came out of my thoughts to look around at the scenery. This is when I noticed I was running up the hills that I walked up last year. Not only that but I felt pretty good, or at least OK! Wow! It was hard, but not as hard as I remembered it being last year. I began to feel confident that I would in fact beat last year’s time. I kept on going and ticked off another mile. Mile 11 is always a tough one for me, three miles to go. Nonetheless this mile passed uneventfully. Mile 12, ah sweet mile 12 how I love thee, kind of. I kept telling myself, “Barely a mile left!” I thought about all the marathoners and how they have twice as far to go. I wondered if I really do have a marathon within me, I’m not so sure. I just had to go one more mile. The middle half of that last mile was down hill, a welcomed reprieve. But then there was an uphill (and I mean straight UP) just before a jog around a corner where people lined the street and sent us running down a shoot into a stadium…the FINISH LINE! I saw AN the RB and my Little Buddy cheering me on! It was wonderful!
I have only been more excited to cross a finish line once and that was last year at this same race. But today I had done it. 2:08.05. Not my best time but not my worst. I am laying the Seattle Half to rest (RIP), I have made my redemption. I came. I conquered. I climbed my Everest, twice. The lessons learned when we push ourselves to the limit are lessons not easily forgotten. With each half marathon I run I learn a little bit more about myself, who I am, what I am made of, and my character. I am not a quitter. I may not be fiercely competitive with those around me but I am in a constant battle with myself, to push myself to new levels, whether they be physical, spiritual, or mental. Today I became stronger.
7:15 AM getting ready to head to the start:
Kerrie T! She did awesome too! It was so cool to meet her! I was thinking about her during the race and wondered if somehow we were running close to each other! I love this picture and our Superman Capes!
Today I am grateful for:
Finishing this race.
All of you, my bloggy followers and readers, you were with me each step of the way!
Dont forget about my Asics Visor giveaway (HERE)! I wore it today and it was awesome!