So, picture this:
About four months ago, while taking the kids out for ice-cream, I get this crazy idea...
"Why don't we train, for the next four months, in the blistering heat, to run 13.1 miles? THEN, we will PAY someone, to get up at 4:00 in the morning, to ride a bus to the top of a mountain, to be left in the chilly air, with thousands of other people and a hundred porta-potties for a couple hours, before we run down the mountain???" Yeah...why in the hell didn't someone slap me and bring me to my senses?
For the next four months I trained. And trained. And trained. I trained on days that I wanted to train...and it was amazing. I trained on days that I did not want to train...and some of those days turned out amazing, too. I trained on days that I left the gym crying, upset that it hadn't gone the way I had expected. I trained on days that I had to get up at 4 am, to drive to a neighboring town and leave the car, to run home, just to get in enough miles. I trained on days where the pain from my legs was unbearable. I paid over $1,000 in medical testing, ruling out a stress fracture, torn ligaments and ripped muscles. Finally, after finding out it was more of a circulation thing and being prescribed compression knee-high "socks" (can you say SEXY?), I found some relief. I trained through my running partner's gallbladder removal surgery. (She trained through that recovery! Can you say ROCKSTAR???) I trained through school, finals week, a trip to Mexico, crazy long work days, days with migraines, "I don't give a damn" days, studying for and taking the NCLEX, starting a new job and days that I just wanted to quit. I trained.
"Believe in yourself and all that you are.
Know that there is something greater inside you,
that is greater than any obstacle."
No one tells you what you are getting yourself into, when you train to run these kinds of distances. No one tells you about the need to pee, so badly, that you can't stand it...and you're still 5 miles from home. No one tells you that you really do fear pooping your pants (which I will gladly say NEVER happened to me). No one tells you that your feet will swell and be painful to the touch. No one tells you that your toenails will feel like they are being ripped from your body, like a military torture session. No one tells you that your sports bra can rub a permanent mark around your rib cage that swells, turns red and BURNS. No one tells you that your appetite goes through the roof because you are running your ass off. No one tells you that it's possible that you will train for four months and not lose any weight. At all. No one tells you that although you didn't lose any weight, you finally got your bum more toned, "Heeeeyyyy, bottom buttcheek! Nice to meet you!"
No one tells you that the greatest obstacle you will face with training...is yourself.
The race we chose to do is Top of Utah, in Logan, Utah. Because it is about two hours from home, we decided to make a weekend of it and get a couple hotel rooms. It was important to me that the kids see me finish this goal I had set for myself and I figured that one last hurrah before my semester started, was well deserved. We arrived at the hotel Friday afternoon, picked up our race packets and went to dinner. By 9 pm we were asleep, knowing that we needed to be up at 4 am. We boarded the bus from our hotel to the park, where we changed buses and were driven to the starting line. Weaving through the canyon on the way up felt like it took forever. Knowing that we were going to have to get back down to the finish line, on our own, was a little daunting. At this point, the furthest run I had done was 12 miles. But, what was another 1.1 miles at this point, right?
We stood at the top of the mountain, with a couple thousand other amped up runners...and waited. Most people were fantastic. They were nice, they were helpful, they were friendly. There is always that group of "mean girls" that feel they need to stand around and bash other people. We quickly moved away from them...that wasn't what I needed to be listening to, before I attempted to do one of the most challenging things of my life.
When the gun went off, a cheer went up from the crowd...and we didn't move. That's what happens when you place yourself near the back of the pack. ;) You wait several minutes before you actually get to approach the starting line...but then it thins out rather quickly. The first seven or eight miles were fantastic. We ran most of it, walking only to take a drink and tie our jackets around our waist. I tried eating half a banana at mile 6 and it made me super nauseated, so I didn't eat again until we finished.
Mile 9...I hit my wall. I fought back tears and I had to dig deep within myself. I had to find that place where I can push through anything. I had to find that place within that doesn't allow me to give up. I had to pull up my big girl panties, swallow back my tears, squash down my doubt...and plug on.
Somewhere around the beginning of mile 11 we turned a corner...and there it was. I actually said out loud, "Oh. Shit.", as I looked at the hill. The next two miles would prove to challenge me, in ways I know now that I hadn't trained adequately for, as most of it was at an incline. (Which, let's take a moment to talk about. WHO DOES THAT? Who puts the last two miles of a half marathon on an uphill incline? Asshat.) This was the moment that I decided that I will never, ever, ever...do another half marathon. Again. Ever.
We could see the finish line for most of the last mile. It was like a mirage in the distance, that we swore kept moving. That was the longest mile I have ever run, in my life. But then...I saw them...and then, I heard them...my family. They were screaming, and jumping up and down and holding signs and tooting kazoos. Ahhh...my chaotic little bunch was there...and I was almost to the finish line.
|They all ran along side us, for the last little stretch.|
We started this training together. We made it through months of ups and downs to get here.
We for sure, were going to finish this, together!
I have never, in my life, been so happy to finish something. I crossed the finish line, bent over and thought I was going to hurl, looked at Bek and said, "Meh. I might do another one."
After finally attempting to eat a little something, icing every part of our bodies, wincing every time I even looked at the rub marks that encircled my ribs and taking a short nap, we celebrated at Olive Garden for dinner.
|Hell yes, we wore our medals to dinner. ;)|
I had a date with the hot tub and the kids wanted to play in the pool, after dinner. It was a fantastic way to end an incredibly long, painful and amazing day.
|My Fantastic Five|
I'm happy that the race is over. I sacrificed a lot of time (and mental anguish) to train for this race...but I don't regret it. Bailey would like to run it with us next year and nothing would make me more proud, than to cross the finish line with my little ladybug. She has already started training and even now, I'm impressed with her and I can see the runner that she will become.
I'm happy that once again, I have shown my children the importance of setting goals and reaching them. The importance of pushing yourself past your comfort zone. I have shown them that nothing is unreachable, if you are willing to put in the time and the work. I want my children to know that hard is okay. They can do hard.
Luke: "Mom? I thought this was a race...? Cause you lost..."
Me: *laughing* "Darling, this was a race with myself.
Me: *laughing* "Darling, this was a race with myself.
No one else. And I promise you...I won today."