Yesterday I ran (and walked some at the end) the Diva’s Half Marathon in St. Augustine Beach. Today, I’m pretty sure that I was really involved in a NASCAR style, high speed, thirteen car pile up instead of a half marathon!
Sore, protesting muscles.
Hateful cramps in my quads and calves.
All feelings I welcome because it’s a reminder that I did something yesterday that has been a long time coming. A goal that I originally wanted to check off my list in October 2014 but my doctors said nope, as did my diseased body. Instead, in October of 2014 I was having major surgery. F U Graves Disease! F U Cancer! You can’t stop me; but I’d like to see you try!
I was so grateful to be standing there in that corral, surrounded by other excited and eager women (and a few men) as the sun rose on our 7am start. I didn’t have the training I needed (circumstances of my job and Hurricane Matthew) and I was nervous that my body would betray me. All I could do was pray. My only goals were to finish and hopefully under 3 hours.
The run started out beautifully. I had a great playlist. Lots of praise and prayers. Determination.
And a bright pink tutu 😀
As the miles tick by, and you’re alone with your thoughts, you start to notice things. Or at least I do.
Some of my thoughts during the half:
Someone’s pink visor. How do you lose that before mile 3?
A lost tube of Carmex. That reminds me, I need to apply more lip balm. Pucker up.
Ewwww, a flattened raccoon (thank God it doesn’t smell) yuck!
An empty pack of cigarettes…so glad I dropped that nasty habit over 4 years ago (go me!) and never looked back.
Oh look, a palm frond.
Gee, look at all the hurricane damage…still.
Litter. Whats wrong with people, use a trash can! Pigs.
These are just some of the things that were going through my mind during the half marathon, and all before mile 8.
Arriving at the mile 6 marker I was on pace to finish in 2:45. I was feeling strong. I was feeling positive.
Between miles 6 and 7 there was a mother/daughter running together. The Mom just completely folded and fell down. I ran toward them. Pulling Gu out of my pouch and stopping to help. Making sure she was okay. She was disoriented; no memory of falling down. I was scared for her. I stayed with them for a few minutes to make sure she was stable enough and then continued on as help arrived to attend to her.
A little while later I met the dinosaur, just after mile 9. Stopped for a quick picture, because why not, it’s a dinosaur dude! And dinosaurs are cool. RAAAAWWWWRRRR!
Then I arrived at mile 10 and it was all over. I was cooked. I wasn’t bonking; but I was truly hurting.
I became acutely aware that my hands and arms were completely swollen and it was difficult to even clench my hands to find some relief from a brief stretch while on the move. Was I going to fall down like that lady at mile 6.5? Was I having an edema?
I was pretty sure the third toe in on my left foot was experiencing the beginning of the nail separating and ultimately defecting from said toe.
It was so hot now. The sun was brutal. I was thinking about that runner who lost their pink visor. I bet they wish they had it now. And why do I wear a black ball cap?!? I should know better! It’s Florida. It’s hot as Hades here. Even in December!
My calves were on fire and experiencing full on cramps and I was so hungry I’m pretty sure I was considering eating the runner to my right (the one on the left was too skinny); I needed PROTEIN. Ya dig?
I was doing my best to run in intervals at this point. I felt like I was wearing concrete shoes, but I just wanted to make it to the finish. I knew my work was almost done.
And then…hello Mile 12. Just a few minutes of work left. My friend Melissa was waiting at the finish line and texting me with words of encouragement.
“Just keep swimming”, “Woohoo! Look at you go!”, and my fave, “You can do it beautiful!!! You got this!!! ❤ <3”. All perfectly timed. It was like having her right next to me.
As I came around the corner and saw the Boa and Tiara Station at Mile 13 and heard the music and the runners in front of me being announced as they crossed the finish I pushed just a little harder.
And then I was in the shoot. I felt like I was being lifted off the ground. Floating. I was ready to cross the mat, my angels were with me.
I didn’t care about my finish time anymore. I just wanted to be on the other side of my goal. To be a finisher.
And then I heard Melissa calling out to me. Yelling in excitement and happiness. And then she was there hugging me. And I cried like a baby. Grateful. Thankful. Happy. Exhausted. Hungry.
3:06 later, with my medal.
Coincidence that my bib number was 1306? My “1”st half marathon and I finished in 3:06…
…and I placed 111 out of 136 in my age group?
I think not ❤
What do you do after this?
You go to the opera and start thinking about your next half marathon 🙂
Until next time…
Love, Jeni ❤