Sunday, May 6, 2012

" was a painful and humbling experience."

For all my readers out there this post will be a lengthy one.  So grab some water to hydrate, some carbs to get you to the end and a soft place to read.  This post will be all about my two half marathon's I completed this weekend.  It probably will be lengthy and wordy but I have to share how the weekend went and how I feel at this very moment. Ready.. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.... RUN.

Cap City Half Marathon...

My plan was to wake up at 4:45 race morning to eat, drink water and pack all my clothes for my awesome weekend.  That did not happen! My alarm must have went off but I continued to sleep.  I woke up at 5:45.  In time to rush around like a mad women grabbing clothes and eating my normal pre-race breakfast. I will be getting another alarm clock for my next race just in case I decide to do that again.  It really made me panic.

I got in my car to head downtown to run my 15th half marathon with my good friend Lindsay Groom.  This was Lindsay's first half marathon and it was shaping out to be a perfect morning for her first experience.  We both trained hard together but what I love the most about this experience with her is we found our friendship again.  I was so glad I got to be there with her as she crossed the finish line and more important am so glad I got to watch her start this passion for running.


Cap City was a small race a few years ago but boy has this race has become a popular one in Columbus.  Commit to be Fit is what they call this amazing race! The temps at the starting line were in the low 60's and cloudy.  It felt warm to me but perfect for a race morning.  We talked about what our plan and what pace we should take. That plan ended one minute into the race! I knew Lindsay would fire out like a badass out of hell but I also knew that pace would soon slow down.  We started out running a 9 minute mile and it slowly went down to 10 minute.  We did what we said we wouldn't do and we were both completely okay with it.

If you are a long distance runner you know that talking helps you get to the end.  Since Lindsay and I talked all day on Friday at the expo and dinner.  We actually ran out of things to talk about quickly.  We were silent for most of mile 3 which never happens.  We decided this race would soon get boring if we didn't start talking.  Lindsay threw down the gauntlet challenge of clapping spectators hands.  At first it was a contest of who could get the most high fives but then turned into let's get 100 high fives by the end of the race. This for sure put the excitement back into the race.

If we high fived a cop that was worth 2 points, Army guy 5 points, Tough Mudders 10 points and all the all the others were 1 point.  It was exciting going up to people while we were still running throwing out our hand yelling high five.  It made the spectators smile and it made us forget about how far we had to run.  I actually enjoy this little challenge because it got the crowd involved.  Some people were taken back and shocked; of course that would only make us giggle.

My best high five was to a Army guy who was off to the side tying his shoe.  I had to tie my shoe too so I felt this was the perfect time for me to go up to him.  I shook his had first Thank him for his service and said "now get give me a high five." His smile was priceless and so was the chills I had running up and down my body.  I love moments like that!

Mile 11ish I would say I was completely over the high fives, I wanted to start focusing on my running.  When I start getting negative during my runs that is when the pain starts showing up.  I told Lindsay I didn't want to give out any more stupid high fives.. we both laughed and knew it was time to focus on the run.  I started to feel pain on the bottom of my left foot, a pain that I haven't felt before.  I knew I had a few miles left and I had to push to the finish line.

Lindsay wanted to speed up but I just didn't have it in me to run faster.  I knew she wouldn't leave me but I told her to run ahead and meet me at the finish line.  Another great thing about a running partner, they get when you are in pain and they will stay there till the end with you no matter what. 

Around mile 12.8 I yelled let's do this... so we picked it up.  When we saw the finish line we ran faster.  I wanted Lindsay to run in ahead of me as I wanted to stand back and watch her moment.  A moment like that is hard to forget.

Finished 2:14 minutes! Great time for her first race :) But most importantly 432 High Fives from complete strangers!

Here is a great picture of us at the finish line.  We both were pleased the race was over and started to talk about our next one.  That is what a finish line will do to someone that enjoyed the ride.  Lindsay signed up for the Columbus Marathon that night and I will be doing the same tonight.  We are ready for our next challenge and 26.2 sounds like the perfect one!

Lindsay thanks for being one of the best running partners I have ever had.  I love our long runs together and our silly race day challenges.  You are a special person to me.  I am so glad you enjoy running.  I am also so proud of what you have been able to accomplish since January.  You are now part of the running club! Welcome friend! I can't wait to run my 2nd full marathon with you and be there for your 1st.  I can't wait to bitch and complain about the aches and pains while enjoying every single minute of it with you.

After Cap City...
Now that I completed 13.1 miles in Columbus, I had to get into a car and head to Pittsburgh to do my 16th half marathon.  I felt great after the Commit to be Fit race.  Had a great lunch, awesome shower and a hell of a lot of water to help me get ready for part two of the weekend.

My cousins Diana and Angie arrived and was all smiles.  They too were completing their first half marathon and this would be my first half marathon walking.  We loaded up my car and headed to the steel city.  I was able to talk to my little cousins about what would happen race morning.  They were excited and a little nervous but ready for the challenge.

It took us 3 hours to get to Pittsburgh.  We got our race packets, walked the expo and loaded in the car for our final stretch to my Aunt Barbie's house.  We chatted, had pizza and called it a night around 10 o'clock.  Game plan was to wake up at 5:00 and be out the door by 5:45.  Since I was new to this city I wanted to be sure we had time to find a good spot to park, time to walk to our area and bathroom.  We made it in good time and was able to wait around for 30 minutes before the race started.

Here we are at corral E waiting for the race to begin.  It took us a good 20 minutes to get to the start line and once we were there we were off.  If you can't tell by the picture I am very short compared to Diana and Angie... so it was a struggle for me to keep up with these fast walkers.  Just like Cap City these girls took off.  I was like dang girls as I looked down and saw a 10:45 pace.  That is a walking pace no joke, I felt like I could die because 10:30 is my normal training pace for running... and we were WALKING.  I barely could talk because I was so out of breath.... thankfully we slowed down to 13:45 pace.

This race was beautiful race and I have to say that Pittsburgh is a beautiful city.  I do hate the Steelers so it is very hard for me to say those words out loud.  If you want to run a fun race put this one on the list.  We ran across 4-5 big bridges, every where you turned there was a huge bridge, which made the scenery amazing.  The only thing I did not enjoy about this race was the incline hills and the fact that they ran out of cups.  It was a hot day and the sun was in full force.  I am glad I had my water pack with me because there was plenty of water on the sidelines just no cups to drink out of.  This was a lifesaver for all three of us!

I was super surprised how well I was doing considering I just ran 13.1 miles the day before.  Had blisters on every toe and chaffing on my inner thighs.  I knew I would be using different muscles on this race then I did the Cap City but I never imaged how hard walking a half marathon would be.  It was challenging but I loved being there and enjoying the day with my cousins.

We had an awesome pace and felt that we could get to the finish line in 3 hours.  Our race goal was to get it under 3:15.  At mile 6 we felt that we would be able to complete this task as we were on target, but the hills were ugly and the sun was hot.  You could tell the excitement was starting to change around mile 9.5 all that matter to us now was the finish line.

I told the girls that the last three miles is always the hardest part of a race because everything starts to hurt and the mind starts playing tricks on you.  That is when it started to change for one of my cousins.  I was getting worried as miss fast walker asked if we could slow our pace down.  I took the water I had and poured some over her back.  She looked like she was fading and I didn't want her to drop this close to the end.

We slowed our pace down, I knew we would not get to the finish line for our 3 hour mark but I knew we would finish under 3:15.  I kept telling the girls come on we only have 1.3 to go, we got this.  The struggle continued and I knew we had to walk for something.  I said... okay girls let's do this last mile for Grandpa (God Bless him in Heaven on May 5th he has been gone for 14 years).  I prayed to Grandpa and asked him to send us the strength we needed to get to that steel finish line. 

I believe our crazy loving Grandpa helped all three of us because once we saw the finish line we knew no doubt we would reach it.  One of my cousins started to cry because all her hard work paid off.  Both of them never knew they could do something like this but deep down I knew they had the heart to do it.....after all we come from the same blood.  I even got teary eyed under my glasses because i was proud of what they accomplished.

Finished 3:06 minutes 

Angie and Diana you girls should be proud of that race metal and those sore muscles.  You did it and I knew you could all along.  I know you said if I didn't push you to do something like this you would have never took the challenge head on....You did the training, you walked those miles and now you have earned the membership of this unique club.  You both amaze me while your spirit and your great attitude.  I am glad to call you family but more importantly i am glad to call you my friends! I love you both and will cherish this day forever.


This weekend was one I will never forget! I got to be there for some amazing moments and I got to push myself past my own pain.  As I sit here in my bed looking at my two hard earn metals I can't help but smile.  These are memories that NO one can talk away from me.  Memories we will talk about for a very long time.  This is what it is all about for me.  Sure I love the race shirt, the food and the way my body looks when I run... but it is those moments where it feels like time stops and nothing else matters but being with the people you love.

This weekend was painful and humbling experience. My body aches all over but my heart is bleeding with pride and joy.  Nothing gets better than this people... this is what I was born to do inspire people to do something amazing.  I put on my Pittsburgh race bib "BeAmazing" instead of my name... why? Because when someone yelled "Go BeAmazing" They were not just yelling for me but they were yelling at everyone to do something amazing with their lives.  Message received! 

Now it is time for me to hang up the running shoes for a solid 30 days.  I need to give my body a break before training for the Columbus Full Marathon.  You can bet that I will be searching for another half marathon to complete this summer.... If your ready for the challenge let me know! I got three awesome people to do something they always wanted to do... YOU COULD BE NEXT!

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