Thursday, July 8, 2010

Half Marathon

Once upon a time, in the fall of 2009, during the month of October, a mother of two children decided that she wanted to make a habit of running in the mornings, 3-4 times a week.
On day 1 of this attempt, this anxious and determined mother ran 1.5 miles and BOY, was she oh so proud! (she was also very exhausted and sweaty). The next week, she decided to get a running partner to tag along with her since she felt like it would make her runs a more pleasant experience, so she asked a friend who served in Young Women's with her, Marilee .
When Marilee began running with her, she insisted that they increase the distance to 3.2 miles. The once anxious and determined mother was now frightened and decided maybe running alone wasn't so bad. However, Marilee's enthusiasm and will-power encouraged this young lady to stick with it!
Pretty soon, the 3.2 mile runs became less and less strenuous and the urge to run became more and more desirable. By the end of October, the young mother and her dear friend, Marilee decided it was time to participate in a 5k in Salem, Utah.
Though the word "5k" once terrified the young mother, it now had a ring of excitement to it!
On the morning of October 31st, the race began. It was cold. It was crowded. It was a little intimidating. But when the gun went off, it was incredible! So many people running! Some were old, some were very very young, some were performance athletes while others seemed to be running for their first time.
Throughout the race, the young mother was determimed.
Determined to be positive, determined to focus, and determined to endure.
After 27 minutes of determination, it happened!
I, this young mother we have been reffering to, finished the race.
It was a proud moment in history.
A few months later, my husband's cousin, Jami encouraged me to run another race on May 1st - this time it would be a half marathon in Sacramento, California.
Yes, people. That is 13.1 miles.
I really thought there could be no possible way, but my mind gave in to the idea and soon, in 6 weeks, my family would be venturing to Sacramento so that I and my sister, Alyssa could take on the challenge.
Each Saturday, prior to the race, Alyssa and I trained. The first week we ran 6 miles which seemed like an enormous victory for us! But then the next week, we ran 8 and 6 miles did not seem like a big deal. Pretty soon we were up to 11 miles, which made 8 miles look like a piece of cake.
When it came time for the race, a wave of emotions began to take over.
I was nervous, anxious, excited, determined, and oh, did i say nervous?
However, the nerves settled down when Alyssa and I were able to find Jami, her husband, and friends amongst the crowd of 3000+ people.
There is something very comforting about knowing that you are in this together!
And we were!
(Below: Stephanie, Jami, Alyssa, Me, Tim, and Shanna)
The first 5 miles were at complete ease for me. In fact, many conversations took place amongst all of us during this time.
Between the 6th and 8th miles, my body began telling me that it was getting tired, so I had to start talking to myself (not out loud, of course).
Then, after what seemed like an eternity, the 9 mile marker approached us. Though it was 70 degrees outside, the sun beating down on me made it feel more like 90.
Then 10 came. Hallelujah! I literally shouted that because I needed a drink really bad (each mile marker there was Gatorade or water available).
Finally, 11 came - More Gatorade, please!
Throughout the 11th mile, my sister had to tell me lots of positive things like "You can do it!" or "We're almost done!" or "Don't stop now!" I had to start talking to myself (out loud, of course!)It was all I could do to stay in the game til' the 12th mile, where I was sure I would be re-energized after taking one last swig of water.
However, disappointment sunk in when we hit the 12th mile only to find empty cups where the people on the sidelines were saying, "Sorry, we ran out of drinks."
Uh, what?
To me at the time, these people were traitors, liars, and thieves. I felt utterly betrayed.
How on earth could I possibly get to the finish line now?! I felt hopeless.
But then something magical set in.
I started thinking about my family. My kids. I started thinking about how I never want my kids to give up on me, so I should never give up on them.
I started thinking about my health and how important it is to stay fit as a wife and mother and individual.
I started thinking about how I feel when victory takes place.
Pretty soon, I could hear the crowds cheering. Then I SAW the crowds.
My sister and I began sprinting to the finish line!
The adrenaline set in again, though this time every muscle in my body throbbed!
After what seemed like several minutes of sprinting (probably more like 15 seconds), it was done. FINISHED. COMPLETE.
It was wonderful to see Jim and the kids at the end. Oh, how I missed them so!
(yes, I have more pictures I need to aquire from my sister's camera, as mine died right before the race)
How grateful I am for my sister who pushed me every step of the way! She truly is an amazing person!
Though the ride seemed rough at times, I am grateful for the encouragement of so many people who helped me accomplish something that I never thought was possible!