When we got our "assignments" for our Saturday run, coach said we would be running 12 miles. Hmmm. But then I never got our routes; somehow Kelly and I were left off the list. So I mapped out a route for us for the 13 that I thought we were scheduled to do. The next morning, Coach Dan had forwarded me our 12 mile route, so I had both with me when I left my house at 4:15 am for our run.
It was cold out again, but this time I was prepared. Kelly and I warmed up, and took off. It started off pretty good, and we warmed up some within the first mile. We got to the point in our run where we sometimes turn and Kelly asked what we were to do. So we stopped for a minute to discuss. I told her that the 12 mile run I got that morning said to go straight. The 13 mile route I had mapped had us turning. What were we going to do? I told her I had it in my head all week that we were running 13 miles, and I really wanted to get there today. So we turned.
Things went pretty well. We were well aware of the distance we had to go, and Kelly was aware of the wall she was afraid of hitting. We had a small pow wow when this all came up. We had to take these thoughts captive. There would be no wall today. Only a small partition, if anything, that we would jump over. We would push through. I don't know what it was, but I just felt determined. Maybe it was the message in the mirror that my husband had left for me that morning. Although I didn't actually see it until I got home, I think I noticed it subliminally.
We kept going, and we took a quick break to stretch at our first water station at mile 5.7. When we were getting closer to our turnaround point, we met up with another group running the 12 miles. They looked great and strong, and we encouraged each other as they passed us up. The thought occurred to me that they were going to finish much earlier than we would, but that's OK; because I was mainly focused on finishing and not so much of the pace and time.
We made it to our turn around point somewhere around 8.5 miles. It wasn't until about 10.5 miles that things started going downhill. My back started to hurt. Kelly's too. Then my legs were starting to hurt. And my hips were tight. It was all at once, and I had to say out loud to my legs, "You will not win! I am doing this, so you may as well buck up and play along!" Kelly kept saying, "We can do this. We can do this." We told each other that we would stretch at the next water station; we just had to get there; but I knew we would. Some of the groups running 23 miles met up with us right before then, and seeing them helped.
We made it to the water station, and we took our five minutes this time. We got water. We stretched. We breathed. We were at 11.8 miles, and we had 1.7 to get back to the finish. We would not only do the half marathon route, we would surpass it a little bit. Refreshed, we took off again. We were even still laughing, so things were good. When we got to 12, I reminded Kelly that if I hadn't altered our route, we would be done. I think she told me to shut up, but it was probably in a nice way because Kelly is like that.
We were tired. Kelly asked if once we hit 13 if it was okay if we just walked. I said 13.1 and it was agreed. We were almost at the 13 mark when two of the other ladies running 23 miles passed us up. DeAnn was very funny. She looked at us and was all, "Why? Why? Why?" I laughed, and said, "Because we're rock stars!" They kept going, and I was glad to know we wouldn't be far behind.
And then we made it. We were at our 13.1 mile mark, and I had just run my first half marathon. We high-fived, took a quick breath, and then started to walk.
And it hurt!
I couldn't believe how bad it hurt to walk. We ignored the beeps of the Garmin, and let our heart rates come back down. When we got a little closer, I could see the group waiting by the entrance to the parking lot. I told Kelly, "They are waiting for us, let's go!" and we ran it in. We ran slowly, but we ran. I could see Tina at the end. She was clapping and hollering for us. She had waited for us to finish, and she ran to meet us and finished it up with us. We made it to the end and she hugged me. Kelly told her I just ran my first 13.1 miles, and she hugged me again and told me how proud she was of me. And I cried. I started bawling like a baby right there and was met with more high fives and hugs from the others. DeAnn gave me a hug and when she let me go, I almost fell-a small protest from my legs. We kept moving and then stretched for a few minutes. Coach Ric asked me how I felt and I said, " I feel great now!" Then he said that it's always the last three miles. Wow! That is exactly when I started hurting and things became painful. I always find it amazing that these seasoned and elite runners go through the same things I do. They are so graceful and they make it look so easy; it's a comfort to know that they feel the same way, they have the same pains, they struggle with the same voices and negative thoughts.
I love this group!
Two more of the 23 milers came in after us. After high fives, Kelly and I sat down in the parking lot to stretch, promising to pick each other up if one of us couldn't get back up. As we were stretching and just talking, one of the ladies commented that we looked so fresh and happy laughing over here, not like we just ran 13 miles.
But we had just ran 13 miles. 13.5 to be exact, and we did it in 3.5 hours. We were able to walk, and we were alive. I think that makes the run a success! I was happy the rest of the day. It was a great day. We went to see my daughter. We enjoyed the pre-game reception of the Texas State game, and the Bobcats won! Half time was awesome, as expected, and dinner with my family and my daughter's friend was wonderful!