That would be the smiling face of a woman about ready to run the first half marathon of her life. It is crazy to think the day had finally arrived and that I finished in 2:41:59.8
It was a long path. I guess all runner's have a story, and after this experience I have a story too. Not only do I have a story to tell, but the stories I witnessed is enough to have me smiling for days.
The morning started off pretty quiet. The alarm went off and I laid in bed for a few minutes watching videos. I wasn't as nervous in the morning as I was the night before, which I found rather strange. It was the do or die moment, I think. There was no turning back at this point. Not that that there was ever a moment that I wouldn't follow through with this. It's just not how I'm wired.
I had various items of support with me:
Red shirt - my favorite colour
Shoe soldier - From Bree to Velda to me
Hat - from Cute Boy
Purple sweat rag - Velda
Music - from my girls
Pam and Mary - support
The shoe bling
Off to the race site we head, Mary, Pam and I. Tracy who was to come with us, had a family situation that kept her from spending the weekend with us. :( Let me say it here and now. I couldn't have chosen better supporters to travel with. Pam and Mary kept me entertained and filled me with hope and confidence. I couldn't be more thankful for their love and support.
The 1/2 was started in waves so as to alleviate congestion where the full and half met up. I was in the Red Corral. Okay, how cool is that? Red is my favorite colour. So, being slow had it's advantages. ;)
I was so far back from the start line, I could barely see it. It took almost 19 minutes for me to cross the start line. It was then that race really began for me. Those first few steps in an actual Boston qualifier and holy hell, I was doing it. One problem with this delayed training and whatnot, my Garmin and I got in a fight, so I was without it for the first 40 minutes. That really threw me off my game. I used my ipod as a timer on my walk/run splits. Oh well! Not everything is going to go right on game day.
I was in the 3+ pace group. Yee of little faith. At one point I saw the 2:45 pace bunny. I wanted her and I wanted her bad! I passed her, by a long shot and then all of a sudden she was back in my vision. Ahead of me! I don't know what happened to my pace, but I was pissed. It was a back and forth with the 2:45 pace bunny. At points I was envisioning smacking her with her little timer stick! LOL
I met up with a woman and ran with her for about 10 minutes and then pulled away. I realized I really was on this journey on my own. I wanted to set my own pace. No matter how fast or slow, I wanted to have the freedom to do my own thing and not feel less than someone else. I ran every training run on my own. No need at this point to mess with what got me this far.
I hit a favorite song at 5K and it totally pushed me forward. Jay-Z, you are the man! I was neither here nor there about the music I was hearing, except for a few songs. A few reminded me of Cute Boy and that was very special while I was out there. A few reminded me of each of my girls. I contemplated putting The Climb on there, but didn't think that was the smartest decision for me at this point in time, or ever.
There was never a moment that I doubted I would finish. There were moments of incredible inspiration, but never many of doubt in myself or the process. The various runners of age, body and physical disabilities, but really disabilities? I don't think so. They were on the route running a half marathon. That in my mind was incredible. I saw people with braces on their knees, ice packs taped to their shins. The whole thing was just mind blowing. I loved it.
I have to give a shout out to any of the volunteers that stood for hours handing out electrolyte drinks, water, gel shots, water sponges, Vaseline swabs. I made sure to thank every volunteer that I was fortunate enough to be supplied something from, usually with a 'You are a rock star' comment. It made them smile. It made me smile. The people on the side of the roads, when they would be encouraging, I would make sure to make eye contact and give a quick smile so they would know they made a difference in my race experience. They really do make a difference!Sometimes it's a bit embarrassing, but it was greatly appreciated and many times just what I needed.
All in all this was an experience that I wouldn't trade for a minute. I'm on the fence about whether I will do another. That is for another time to be thought about long and hard, but not right now. I did this one. I didn't prepare the way I had wanted to, but I'm happy with the outcome. Now, if there is something you think you can't do, go out and try! You just never know how well you may do! Have faith in yourself.
And, the hardware!