Monday, October 22, 2012

Half Marathon Complete!

I am sitting at my kitchen table feeling sore, tired and extremely satisfied.  I can now say that I have ran a half marathon.  To be able to say that after having three babies and battling two auto immune diseases makes this accomplishment mean even more to me.  There were times that I thought that this was never going to happen for me.  That this was going to be one of the goals on my bucket list that I would have to just let go.  I started in January at 0.  Probably below 0 because when you have terrible joint pain you don't want to even move!  In January, I slowly began doing the Couch to 5K running program.  I kept my pace slow and eased myself into running.  I was able to complete my goal of running a 5k in April.  I think that after that 5k I began to hope.  Hope that I would be healthy enough to try and train for a half marathon.  My sister in law, Emily, was training for a marathon and it was inspirational to see her go through her training.  I was able to run with her the last 4-6 miles of her long training runs.  I think that being able to run with her and move past just the 3 miles really gave me the confidence to go ahead and train for the half marathon.  The training was difficult at times.  I dealt with blisters, sore muscles and a foot injury like all runners have to deal with but I also had to keep my special health needs in mind.  I had 10 different medications and excess fatigue to take into account.  When I look back on the training I think that over all it was a great experience.  There were hard and painful runs but there were good and easy runs that brought tears to my eyes because I couldn't believe that I was actually doing it!

The week before the race brought its own excitement.  First, I realized that while I thought that I had registered for the race somehow I hadn't.  I don't know if I started the online registration process and got distracted and never finished or if I just didn't complete the whole process and thought that I had.  Either way, I realized that I was not registered!  Thankfully there were still openings and I was able to get in no problem.  Second, my house was hit with a terrible stomach bug.  I know that there were people praying over me and to be honest I think that is the only reason that I did not get it myself.  I had cleaned up so much vomit and poop that no matter how often I washed my hands I probably should have gotten sick.  I think that it was truly an act of God that I did not come down with the stomach bug.  We had all planned to go to Des Moines as a family to watch me race.  It came down to a wait and see.  Saturday morning we had officially been 24+ hours free of vomiting and everyone felt at least well enough to go.  Yay!

Here we are race day morning.  I was so glad that Dan was able to be there to see me run.  After he caught the stomach bug too I was worried that he wouldn't be able to be there.  He felt a solid 75% and toughed out the rest.  What a guy!

Emily and I all ready to go.  Let's do this!

The beginning of the race was awesome.  To be there with that many people (8,000) all with a similar goal in mind was a moving experience.  I got choked up a couple of times as the race was beginning.  It felt a little surreal to finally be there.  We were able to meet up with my other two best friends Stacie and Jennifer.  They were running too!  We gave hugs and wished each other good luck.  To be able to be apart of this together was special and something that I will never forget.

The race went well!  I feel like I was prepared for it and it was a fun run.   There were bands all along the race path, plenty of bathrooms and drink stations.  I think that made this first run all the easier.  I got emotional a couple of times during the race.  The first time was when we passed my parents, brother, Dan and the kids.  They were all there waiting and cheering us on. 

Here we are passing them the first time.  I was so excited to see them!

Everyone hanging out waiting for us to pass them again.  When I passed them a second time I got hugs from all of the kids.  It was perfect.

Another moving moment for me during the race was when Jennifer passed us going the opposite direction.  I was able to yell her name and cheer for her.  I was so proud of how she was kicking butt.  After last April when she got injured and wasn't able to complete her first half marathon it was beautiful to see her doing so well.  

We got towards the end of the half and by that time some of the Kenyan marathoners were passing us.  It was AMAZING to see them go.  I was so inspired at their hard work and God given talent!  When I reached mile 11 I realized that I was going to actually finish!  I was so excited and it made the last two miles fly by.  My friend Stacie found us at mile 12 and was so encouraging that last bit.  She is such a cheerleader.  It is one of the things that I love the most about her!  With Stacie's encouragement and the fact that Emily and I were going to cross that finish line together we made it.  I was crying my eyes out as they said our names one right after the other.  Dan, my brother Bryan and the kids were all there at the finish clapping and cheering.  It was a perfect end to the journey.

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