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13.1 miles to happiness

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I did something pretty extraordinary this past weekend: I ran a half marathon. Well, to be fair, I *completed* a half marathon (I didn't run the whole time). This was one of those accomplishments that I'm going to remember for a long time. But let me start from the beginning....

About four or five months ago I was looking for a local 5K to participate in and I stumbled upon this link for the Divas Half Marathon Series. It looked like fun and I decided right then and there that I was going to do it. I had never entertained the thought of running a half marathon before. Actually, until I joined SP I never thought about participating in any sort of race. After deciding to run this race, I naturally started training. I set an overall goal of a) finishing the race (otherwise, what's the point?) and b) not being last.

The day of race I was really, really nervous. I had to wake up at 5 am to go with my friend to get the rental car to drive up to Long Island. I'm so glad Emma was there with me because she made things a little easier. I couldn't believe how nervous I was, that's not usually an emotion I struggle with. I contemplated quitting before it began about a dozen times. I knew that I was stronger than that though and I remembered something my SP bestie EBEAMS wrote a while back: our bodies are capable of doing much more than we think (paraphrased). I knew that I could physically complete 13.1 miles, it was just a mental block. I think I can, I think I can...that was playing over and over in my head until the race started.

I was in the last corral (13 minute mile and above) so it was a few minutes until I was able to start running (jogging actually). That first mile felt really long. After that it started to get a little easier until the fourth mile. I honestly considered just walking back to the van that was at the back of the pack (ensuring that everyone finished in the time limit) and quitting. But then I thought about all of the people I'd be letting down. I knew that EBEAMS and my other SP buddies were rooting for me and that MUFFIY831 was also running her first half marathon. After I talked myself out of quitting, the next three miles were a breeze. It also helped that I was keeping pace with this girl who silently pushed me harder than I would have pushed myself.

This race was setup so well, they had cheerleaders about every two miles and all kinds of people cheering us on and music playing along the way. And the fact that the race consisted of 4,000 people (all women) made it that much more fun and exciting. One girl told me that I was awesome as she handed me a cup of water and it helped me realize that I *am* awesome for doing this.

At the last mile there was a station where some cheerleaders handed us tiaras and boas to wear. I felt silly running in that getup but it was pretty cool to see all of these ladies around me wearing the same thing as we ran across the finish line. I have never felt so accomplished as that moment I crossed the finish line and heard my name being called over the loudspeaker. I was immediately greeted by some hot, half-naked firefighters who put the medal on me and handed me a rose and glass of champagne. I had done it.

I met my goals: I finished (in 3:02) and I wasn't last by a long shot. And now I'm thinking about running this same race next year in Puerto Rico and have already set new goals for myself: beat my time, run MORE and help push someone else to do better like that nameless girl did for me.

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  • CHEEKY1000
    Oh wow! I really needed this right now. My BFF just signed us up for my very first 5K--and I'm nervous...and it's only a 5k not your 13.1 miles. I know it's a mental block and I've regularly been running more than 3.5 miles, it's just the idea of being in a "race." Scary!

    Thanks for sharing!
    2707 days ago
  • MSNISHA861
    Congrats on completing you 1st half!
    2716 days ago
    Sounds like an awesome race!
    I am so glad you did not quit!
    I am going to look for a Diva race myself.
    2720 days ago
    Wow! I have to admit, I got a little teary eyed reading this and we just became sparkfriends!
    2720 days ago
    This is incredible. You are an absolute superstar. That is a very impressive time too. It took me 1:39 to do a 10k, which is less than half of your 1/2 marathon. Are you going to make this an annual event? :)
    2721 days ago
    You had it in you all the time! You are AWESOME and you deserve to wear a tiara all that time! I'm so excited that you are already planning to do the same on in Puerto Rico next year! I'm trying to convince my niece (who isn't cooperating very well) to run the one next year in Myrtle Beach with me! We're already bestest Spark Buddies ... We can be twin divas!

    You are so, so, so cool for sticking to it and not giving up! I'm thinking that you can do anything you put your mind to ... forever! Nothing can hold you back! Go, go, go ... emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon I am sooooo proud of you ... and jealous that I haven't done a half yet! YOU ROCK! emoticon
    2721 days ago
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    You are very AWESOME! Congratulations on such a great accomplishment. Tiaras, boas and half-naked firemen? Sounds like quite a race ;-)
    2721 days ago
    Sounds like a fun half marathon! My first one is in exactly 1 month! I'm super nervous about it. I'm hoping to finish around the 3 hr mark as well! Great job!!!
    2721 days ago
    Wow! Thanks for writing this. You told me a few months ago that you were planning it, and I'm so happy to see that you did it. Congratulations. You are inspiring!
    2721 days ago
    You ran for sure!! Awesome job - congrats to you!!
    2721 days ago
    wonderful job! Way to go. You are a winner! emoticon
    2721 days ago
    That is awesome - great job! And congrats on your first HM!
    2721 days ago
    You did amazing!!!! 3:02 is a great time for your first half marathon!! I want to do one eventually, but I've been to scared! You have inspired me to go for it!!! Also I totally want to do that race! Tiara and half naked men?? YES PLEASE
    2721 days ago
    ok. 1) You're awesome. Amazing. Fantastic. 2) Congratulations! 3) There's a women's half marathon series? SIGN. ME. UP.

    2721 days ago
    I am so amazed by you. You should feel so proud. This is a MAJOR accomplishment!!!

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    2721 days ago
  • no profile photo ANNSLEE1
    Good job!
    2721 days ago
    That sounds like such a fun half marathon - well done! That's an amazing accomplishment, to do a half marathon.
    2721 days ago
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