Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What did you do this weekend?!

Chapel Hill. Look at that hill. (This is the easier one)

I RAN A HALF MARATHON!! Yup 13.1 miles. Crazy? Yes, why yes it is. Rewarding? Yes it is. Will I do it again? I think the answer is yes, among other things.

I've always been athletic, or so I think. I love to move and sweat (and I sweat A LOT.. it's gross). I did sports all 4 years of high school, and somethings before then too. Then I got married and was very off and on about anything regular. I did eat though.

I ran a couple 5K's over the years, quitting after finding out I was prego with number 3, and some nagging stress fractures. My body was just too big for the running thing.

Last March my awesome sis in law (I have MANY awesome sis in laws.. this is just one of them) introduced me to my way out of the fat suit and into a leaner NORA. 50 lbs later, the opportunity to run came up.

The gym I work out at, has an incredible instructor, who is very inclusive and invited her Body Combat Chicks (BCC) to run a half marathon. They were starting from square 1. I ran. I woke up at 6 AM. I WOKE UP at SIX AM!!! 2 days a week and ran. We worked our selves up to the longer miles on Saturdays. My mental block was at 6 miles. Who can run six?! I missed that week and went straight on to 7 and almost cried that I ran 7 miles. After that, it was cake.

Along this physical journey, I also made some great friends. This group of BCCers was 50-60 strong. I was bound to find someone my pace to run with. It took a while. I was lazy and slow, I wanted to breathe, I couldn't keep up with some. After some soul searching a little bit of talks with some veteran runners and some encouragement and insights from some fellow runners. Something click. Everything worked together, I ran hills better, kept up with the gang, and had some great conversations. And I was able to breathe, or I just told myself I had all day to catch up on that breathing thing :0)

I was ready for race day. After running 8 miles, adding more miles didn't seem to affect me. It was a beautiful day! Cool and a little breezy. I guess I should mention that we trained in the hottest, most humid summer in a long while. 6AM was still not early enough for cooler weather. I think things started working out for me too, when the temp was below 70.

I found my pack, there is 5 of us, who stick together. We ran. The beginning was great, mile 7 was harder (first hill) But my Max and Family were waiting for me at the top of that hill. Then the next 4 miles were torture. Hills, Hills, HILLS! Yuck. By this time my pack had split up. I run with some fast ladies, and I didn't want to go that fast, and I stopped for water one place they didn't. By mile 11.5 I wanted to stop, quit, walk, sit, drink, stop. Then someone next to me stopped, I thought, QUITTER. So I kept going, and didn't stop till I crossed the line. 2 hours and 6 min, 34 sec later. Paced at 9:40 average 29th out of 75 in my age group, top 3rd of all runners. My target was under 2:10.The girls

A dear friend came over and told me how proud she was of me. That I must feel like I accomplished something grand, and that it must feel great. My feelings about this are way more complicated. Yeah, I ran it, I had to train for it, I knew my body can do this. But I could not of done this without the group of ladies who were constantly there waiting to run at 6AM. The ones who ran last year that we all tried to keep up with, were soooo encouraging and positive, ALL the time. The new ladies that learned the mechanics of running and that there is a right and wrong way to do it. My pack who listened to me whine, and encouraged me, and talk about ways to keep going, quicker and easier. Who distracted me with conversations about Religion, Husbands, Kids, Family, Friends, Life. There is where my gratitude and accomplishment lay. Not with myself but with my new friends.

What is next? I have always wanted to do Triathlons. I swim, who can't bike, and I can run. I found that there is a group that trains for these here in Columbia. I thought a mini tri (Sprint) would be all I would EVER want to do. I'm rethinking that after running 13.1, I think triathlon that lasted only and hour would not be as challenging as I would of thought. But I'll start there. Will I do a Marathon? NEVER EVER. The time commitment and stress on the body is insane! I don't like running that much. I have nothing to prove, and I don't want injuries. Not for me.