I ran my first half-marathon Sept 8th! It was literally the most difficult thing I've ever done. In fact, those were my first sputtered words after finishing, when asked how I felt! No doubt...giving birth was easier than this. I am not a typical marathon runner. I have hips and belly fat. My form could use some work...ok probably a lot of work. I don't shave my legs enough to qualify to wear the running shorts I wear, but do it anyway. I have alot of work to do before I reach a full marathon, but I'm determined.
At about mile 10-ish, I saw three people from church (thanks to the cowbells!) along the path and for just a moment felt like running off the course and smothering them in a sweaty hug...that's how happy I was to see somebody...anybody I knew and who could fill up my nearly empty mental tank. Around this point I felt like my body could probably keep going, but as usual, my mental state was fading. I seem to battle with myself continuously while running. Its rather exhausting and I'm sure I burn a lot of unnecessary energy fighting with my own brain as to whether I will speed up just a tad, increase my stride, breathe at 2/3 instead of 1/2...etcetera etcetera...blah blah. Anyhow, I crossed the finish line after having just seen my husband and Mattea and Gunnar sitting in their cute little wagon, banging on a drum and shaking a tamborine to make noise and cheer me on. It gave me the last possible boost of energy I had left to sprint toward the finish. I was then greeted with the beginning of an asthma attack, but I was prepared for that and sucked on my inhaler. I finished with a 10:32 avg pace, just over 2 hrs and 20 minutes if I remember correctly. I'm pretty proud of that. For your knowledge bank, that was 11th place in the...yes...ATHENA category. I'm an 11th placer. I registered with the big girls, although during my training I dropped a few pounds below the weight requirement for it. Oops...oh well, there were no scales on race day.
Seriously...the entire process of training for it and completing it was not just a physical and emotional battle and journey, it was a spiritual one as well. I had close calls with asthma attacks, heat sickness, injury, mental barriers, and the temptation to just plain give up. With prayer and friendship from my training partner Olivia Moore, the support of my family and friends and children, I pushed through and feel like God was running just beside me the entire way. I feel like He took my hand, at certain points, and pulled me, while other times I felt Him in the breeze that refreshed me, or the wildlife that crossed my path gracefully and renewed my love of the outdoors. He was in the water I drank, the strength I felt, and at each mile marker I felt His love and confidence in me. I was never alone, and never doubted that I could do it.