In 2007, I kissed Mr. R&R goodbye and boarded a school bus that would transport me to the starting line of my very first half marathon. I was absolutely terrified. I was a running newbie who really had no idea what I was doing or what to expect - or if I could even do this at all. I got to the starting area and was somewhat convinced that I was about to make a complete fool out of myself - or die. Those negative feelings weren't helped any when I discovered that I'd forgotten my watch. I remember calling Mr. R&R (because of course I remembered my cell phone and hauled it with me for 13.1 miles) and freaking the %#*@ out because of it! When the gun went off, I was swept along in a sea of people and managed to run maybe the first 1 1/2 miles before I needed to drop to a walk. I kept plugging along, listening to whatever was on my iPod at the moment, wondering exactly how slow I was going, and being very happy to see the aid station at each mile. When I hit Mile 10, every step forward was a new personal distance record since my training plan capped at a 10 mile long run. I remember being a little impressed with myself and I remember how much it started to hurt! My greatest memory of that race is running down the final straight away, smiling like a total goofball, throwing my arms over my head in victory as I crossed the finish line, and bawling like a baby when Mr. R&R found me. I had done it. I had run a half marathon in 2 hours, 37 minutes, and 37 seconds (12:02/mile pace).
|Fox Cities - 2007|
If I could go back in time and talk to that girl from seven years ago, what would I say to her (even though she wouldn't have believed me)?
- You can and will finish this race.
- A year from now, you'll run this race 2 weeks before you run your first marathon - and you'll do it almost 16 minutes faster than the first time. Five years from now, you'll do it in under 2:10.
- You will go on to run 2 marathons, 12 more half marathons, 4 duathlons, and a sprint triathlon.
- You will learn that you are so much stronger and more stubborn than you think you are. These things will both help and hinder you along the way.
- You will go on to run this race completely untrained on several occasions, and still run it faster than you will today.
- Your idea of "proper running clothes" will change. Trust me...you'll embrace the whole 'lined shorts' thing and you'll ditch the super-cushioned shoes.
- Gatorade is not your friend during/after races. Trust me.
- You will learn that the only true failure is not starting.
- You will discover the Finish Line High - and you'll chase it every chance you get.
No one ever said that this journey would be easy, but as I sit here tonight, I can say ever step I've ever run in the Fox Cites was worth it.