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. www.runlikeadiva.com/
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.