13.1…Run and Done!

 

I did it!  I finished my first half marathon!  That. Was. Amazing. It was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Mentally and physically.

There were some factors out of my control that were working against me for this run: unexpected humidity and allergies.  The humidity KILLED me.  I couldn’t stop feeling thirsty, so I kept drinking at the aid stations, but felt the water and gatorade just sloshing around in my stomach more and more with each mile.  I also felt like I was running through thick air, while my allergies weren’t allowing me to breathe properly through my nose-horrible combo in everyday life…MISERABLE when trying to run!!

I hit a major wall around mile 8.  If it weren’t for my amazing friends jumping and screaming and holding up signs for me at that exact point I think I would have mentally broken down. I saw them and it put me in a new state of mind.  I suddenly remembered “I can do this.”  Mile 9 came and so did major side cramps in my stomach (yes, cramps…plural…as in, on both sides) thanks to the massive amounts of fluids I was consuming from the humidity!  But I stretched them out and allowed myself at mile 10 to walk one song, run one song.  I was still fighting, but I needed back up.  So, I tweeted my amazing friend Janelle and amazing runner (she had crossed the finish many minutes before!) She kept reminding me that at this point it was all mental and that I am strong and to just keep running.

I saw the mile 11 sign and felt relief that I was 1 closer, but couldn’t believe I had 2.1 to go.  The next thing that happened was a true gift from the running gods.  I felt someone tap my shoulder, looked over and it was my friend Norah.  I told her I was dying and she looked at me and said we are so close, we are running together, you can do this.  (She is also a doctor, which when you feel that far past what you think your body can handle…having a doctor running next to you is very comforting haha!)  She just kept telling me “you can do this” “we are almost there” “you’ve made it so far.” (I don’t know what would have happened had she not run up next to me…but let me just reiterate how thankful I am that she did.)

As we were running, she said are those people yelling your name?  I knew my cheering crew was anxiously awaiting me at the finish line so I was sure these people weren’t shouting my name.  As I got closer, I realized Janelle and 3 other awesome people (Val, Lisa, and Matt) were there to pump me up!  That was huge.  I was going to freaking finish this thing…running.

As we crossed mile 12 I just kept picturing my friends and family waiting for me.  I knew the faster I ran, the faster I would see them.  That did it.  As I could make out the words finish the pain left.  This was it, I was about to cross my first 13.1 finish line.  As I got closer, I looked to my right and saw my brother jumping and yelling and my mom crying and my friends going wild.  I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.  I don’t remember the exact moment I crossed that finish line, but I will be forever grateful to everyone who made that happen.  I thought I would be a crying mess as I finished, but I think the extreme exhaustion and shock of what I had just done made everything surreal.

As I have looked through pictures from yesterday and thought about my training and all of the people who showed me so much love and thought about where I have come from it finally hit me…and in true Grace fashion, I balled!  Major things happened to me yesterday.  Things I swear to God I never thought I would ever do.  I said goodbye forever to Fatty Grace yesterday at that finish line.  That race was for her, but the next one…That one is for today’s Grace…Me.

An Encouraging and Thoughtful Note

I know I have touched on how amazing my Weight Watchers leader is in a previous post…But can I just please reiterate HOW AMAZING SHE IS!? I wasn’t able to attend my meeting this week, but I woke up to an email this morning from her wishing me good luck at the race this weekend and telling me that I am awesome!  Another reason I LOVE WEIGHT WATCHERS!  The community as a whole really does care about one another and is the perfect breeding ground for successful weight loss and healthy living.  Such a simple gesture, but it means the world to me to know I have so much love and support going into this weekend! 13.1 ain’t got nothin on me! (I might be eating those words in a few days)

I’m ready.

I can’t believe race week is already here!  The training is done.  Taper, stretch, fuel, taper, stretch, fuel are the main tasks on my agenda this week.  Today someone asked me if I’m scared…I hadn’t really thought about it (thanks for putting that thought in my mind!! No, jk.)  Scared isn’t the right word…I’m excited, I’m anxious, and I’m eager…but mostly I’m ready.  I’m ready to explode at the start (but not a crazy explosion…one of the many excellent tips I have received!) I’m ready to zone out all the worries from everyday life and zone in on the Beyonce, LMFAO, Black Eyed Peas, and Will Smith’s Gettin Jiggy With It, playing through my earbuds.  I’m ready to look into the crowds and see my awesome friends and family cheering me on.  I’m ready to push my body.  I’m ready to push my mind.  I’m ready to cross that finish line (crying like a baby I’m sure!) And mostly I’m ready to prove to myself that I can do this.  This one is for Fatty Grace and especially for  that reason, I’m ready.

13.1…Time to Fight the Mental Fight.

In four short weeks, I will be crossing my first half marathon finish line!  Training has been intense, but has taught me a lot about myself.  Like I have said before, there was a point in my life walking a mile was a challenge for me.  I used to dream of the day I would be like all of those fit people running at the gym and now I am pushing for 13.1!  At this point I am still training my body of course, but ultimately I’m fighting the mental fight.  When the “you want to stop” voice enters my mind I think about Fatty Grace and all of the times she wished she could do what Healthy Grace is now doing! This race is for [her].  And this race is for me. And this race is for any of you who think you will never be a “runner”.  You can.  You will. One day at a time, one foot-to-pavement after the other.  You got this.