Similar to the popular TLC show, I said Yes to the Race 🙂 I immediately felt terror and huge amounts of doubt. Why in the world did I sign up for a half marathon?!? I couldn’t even run a 5k all the way through (I still can’t, but it’s a goal).
My friends kept telling me it would be fine and they had no intention of running 13.1 miles straight through any way. Oh, did I mention I had only run outside when doing 2 previous 5ks?!? I always ran on the treadmill <insert more terror now>. Kathy and Angie convinced me that I could run outside, I just needed a little practice.
The first time I met up with the girls to run, I remember thinking, “I’ll probably die on this run. Thank God they brought their phones to call 911 because I don’t have mine.” We went out and I lived. I ran outside and I lived! I believe this was the time I got a wicked wind burn on my legs, but I lived.
We didn’t get too far into our running journey when I fell on the ice the week of Christmas and really hurt my back. I was on pain medication and out of commission until after the New Year. I couldn’t bend over and had a difficult time even walking, so running was out. But, you know what?!? Angie and Kathy were messaging me constantly and checking on me daily. They never made me feel guilty for derailing our plans. I barely knew these women and they had become such a big part of my life in no time at all. Everyone needs running friends like these!
Once I was feeling better, we started doing one longer run every Saturday or Sunday. We went out in crazy winds and freezing temps, but sometimes we had absolutely beautiful days. When we started, the thought of doing 4 miles was scary, but as we progressed I found myself worrying less and less. Of course, I had days when I freaked out and wanted to quit, but when you have other people relying on you, that’s out of the question.
In the beginning of training, Angie realized she had double booked herself and wouldn’t be able to do the Half. She continued to train with us, though. She kept us laughing and talking even when I was sure I was going to die. Angie even surprised Kathy and I at our 5k in March. I was overwhelmed and cried. Yep, I’m a mess!
As the half got closer, I found myself much more at ease. We did 8 miles and then 9 and I knew I could accomplish this goal. I just needed to stay focused, have no excuses, and stay healthy.
Kathy and I headed to Indy the Friday before the race. I was full of excitement and nervous energy. We headed to the Expo, spent 10 minutes trying to figure out the correct shirt size, and then met Meb. It was so exciting to meet Meb, he is amazing and nice. He gave me advice, as a first time half marathoner, about how to handle the rain we were expecting for race day. He told me to put Vaseline or body glide all over the top, sides, and bottoms of my feet. Then, we met up with our other friends from Mt. P, Tracy and Sarah. We had a nice dinner and chats before attempting to go to sleep. I am not sure any of us got much sleep with the nerves shooting through our bodies, plus Sarah was on her phone for most of the night. Hahaha—We love you, Sarah.
Race morning was dreary and chilly. The weather immediately put me in a frenzy. I had trained in wind, cold, and heat…but, I had not trained in rain. Kathy had suggested we pick up plastic ponchos on our trip to Indy just in case the forecast was right. As we lined up in our corral, it was drizzling. We put on our ponchos and got ready to start.
The start was crowded. Even with a corral for every letter of the alphabet, there were people everywhere. Running is difficult when you are trying to dodge people. I was swerving back and forth trying to avoid running in to people, but I was having the time of my life. It was an amazing experience. Despite the rain and the hoards of people, I was on cloud nine. After the first couple of miles, things cleared out and we had a little more room to breathe. There were people standing in front of their houses cheering us on, church groups praising Jesus, bands playing music. It was amazing! I high fived people and danced and sang. The encouragement from the crowd gave me motivation to keep moving forward and enjoy the experience to the fullest.
For the most part, I loved the half. It was something I never dreamed I could do, but had put it on my bucket list, just in case. Kathy got injured on the Speedway, which was miserable in my opinion. You are running on a cushiony, black surface that is on an angle. It was the only part of the race that I didn’t enjoy. We came off the Speedway with a new mindset, just get to the finish line. We had 5 miles to go. I don’t know how Kathy did it. 5 miles is no joke even when you aren’t hurt, but she kept moving. It wasn’t the race she wanted, but she showed so much strength. I couldn’t have been more proud of her. We stuck together until the very end of the race. I like to “surge” as I call it and run hard to the finish line. She finished right behind me. Crossing that finish line meant everything to me. It showed me I could do anything I put my mind to.
This experience made me stronger. It brought me new friends. It was the highlight of my 2017. I got home and immediately signed up for my next half 🙂 Chris and I are running the Rock n Roll half marathon in Nashville in April. I have a goal to finish in under 3 hours. Here’s hoping…..