Cowtown Half Marathon
“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”
Aside from my wedding day, yesterday was one of the most memorable events I have ever prepared for, and I shall never forget it. It is remarkable when something you have committed to and planned for months actually comes to pass. Your hesitations, fears, hopes, and expectations are all relieved.
So here is my story…
My alarm went off at 5:15am, I eagerly popped out of bed feeling well rested (thanks to the Tylenol PM I took the night before) and excited about what my next few hours would hold. I put on my running clothes and got ready, ran downstairs and started breakfast.
My friend and training partner arrived about 5:45am, so I finished breakfast, got my things together and pinned my bib onto my shirt. We finished hydrating and took a last stop at the toilet, had hubby snap a couple pre-race pictures, and then we headed out the door about 6:30am to walk over to the starting line (conveniently right across the street from my house).
“I run too slow for chafing.” (My response to whether I used Glide.)
The route was fantastic! I live and work in the area, so the roads were ones I drive on almost every day. It was familiar but somehow new and exciting. There were approximately 8,700 runners that day, including the half marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon. The energy was so inspiring!
Miles one through four were a breeze, probably the easiest four miles I had ever ran. The sun had just risen and the morning air was fresh and inviting. My running attire was perfect for the weather, and the cool breeze felt fantastic on my face. There were hydration stations every mile and a half, so at mile three we stopped for our first refreshments. The volunteers at the race were spectacular – they were kind and worked very hard to fill and distribute the cups quickly.
On mile six we were coming up on the Fort Worth Stock Yards, a very notable site and conveniently located around the half way mark. At this point my friend and I split ways, as she needed a restroom break, so I kept on. Now I was on my own. For those prospective first race runners, I highly encourage a running buddy; it makes the miles and time go by so much faster.
(Geek Alert: I have a confession few of you will appreciate, but it’s worth sharing for those who will. As I was coming up the hill to the mile six water station the thought actually came to my mind, “Run Randi, run like Frodo and Sam running to Mordor.” Now for that to make any sense you would have to understand that I am on my fourth of Tolkien’s books, so a lot of my free time has been occupied by hobbits. And though as I was thinking this, knowing Frodo and Sam are fictional characters, I even took the thought a step further by saying to myself, “I mean if they can run all the way across Middle Earth, then surely you can run these thirteen miles!” Strangely enough, it still offered some encouragement to me. Don’t laugh!)
Miles six through eight went by rather quick, but I kept reminding myself, “Remember this, take it all in, don’t miss any great detail!” But all the while I knew the “mile nine hill” was awaiting me just ahead. I had been so anxious about this hill, worried to death that it would somehow defeat me. Yet proudly I will share, I ran the whole way up this mile incline! It was NOT going to slow me down.
Then we got into downtown, and I was relieved because I knew there were only a few more miles to go. But I have another confession. Before I got to mile ten, I ran by someone holding a sign that said, “Press toward the goal! Phil. 3:14.” And I began to get all choked up, I wanted to cry. I was so proud to be where I was, doing what I was doing. During my training there were a few scriptures that I had really held on to, they inspired me to not give up.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
At mile ten I found my super wonderful husband standing up high on a cement ledge, he was looking for his crazy wife in the zebra pants and hot pink top. It brought me such joy to see him there, supporting me and cheering me on. (I also appreciated the Gatorade he handed me!) I gave him a kiss, he snapped another picture, and then I ran on.
Miles eleven through thirteen were fun because they were unchartered territory! Until then, the longest I had run was ten miles. I had expected them to be easier, knowing the finish line was now so close, but they weren’t really. They kind of dragged on. There were three hills within these three miles that I could have definitely done without. But there was also a fantastic downward slope that brought great relief to my tired feet. It wasn’t until the end here that I began to really feel the impact on my body.
Then, my handy dandy Nike+ app spoke to me saying, “Congratulations, you’ve finished a half marathon! Thirteen point one miles in two hours and twenty minutes.” Problem was the finish line was nowhere to be found. Everyone was still running, but I was ready to stop. A half a mile later, the crowds grew, the noise was louder, and then I saw the big blue finish line. Finally! I sprinted the last three hundred meters, which is my race ritual.
So it was done. I finished my first half marathon with a time of 2:27:21; then walked a little ways further and received my prized finisher’s metal. It was a remarkable experience!
Then I went inside to stock up on the generous post-race snacks and drinks, to pick up my finisher’s t-shirt, and to find my race buddy and number one fan. We sat and talked, ate our snacks, stretched a while, then walked back over to the house. We were so proud of our accomplishment!
I was also thankful that the weather was perfect, I never had to stop for the restroom, I only walked through the refreshment stations, and I beat my goal of a 2:30:00 time. It’s the little things in life!
Today, every muscle in the lower half of my body aches; but I’ve got a huge smile on my face. I would most definitely run another half marathon; though I’m still not convinced I want to do a full marathon. But for now, I am going to rest my legs and take up my other hobbies like yoga and cycling.
-> Last shout out to all of the spectators who were there to cheer us all on – you guys were awesome. It would not have been nearly as exciting without you. I read each and every sign you made, and loved every smile on your face!