Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finisher!! And a few personal lessons along the way

One of the things on my DC bucket list was to run the Richmond half-marathon. Last year I was registered with three good friends and ended up injuring myself in October and unable to run for weeks... so therefore no race in mid-November.

This year I was planning on running it as well. A few friends registered back in June but I held off... for some reason it just didn't feel right to register! Well, then I go and injure my knee in late June and couldn't run again until mid-August. I thought about signing up then, but again, didn't feel right. Well, good thing because then I injure my foot in October and was out for another 2.5 weeks. (It's been a crazy year for injuries!) So, I thought that was the reason... but then I was running again in the beginning of November. Nothing more than 3 miles, but I was still cross training on the elliptical... so not in terrible shape.

Well, a little over a week before the race, one of my friends emails all of us to say that she can no longer run it because she has a job interview that day. WOW - I was sooo tempted to run and take her place! I didn't tell anyone else, but I did let her know I was thinking about it.

Long story short... after wavering for days and days... literally, I did not decide to run it until three days before the race... I committed - FINALLY! I was wavering because some others backed out of the race, wasn't sure I wanted to spend extra money and stay in a hotel, wasn't sure I could get off work, etc. But, things feel together for me in unexplained ways. Beth just happened to be taking Friday afternoon off so she could be with the kids, Amanda was driving down and wanted someone to come with her, and Miranda's parents live just outside of Richmond and said we could stay at their house! It all just came together so well... I felt like I needed to do it!

The drive went really well. Perfect driving weather. No traffic. We got down there in less than 2 hours. It was fun to talk to Amanda. You learn so much about a person when you spend time in the car with them, and after 2 hours, I was SO glad to have had that time with Amanda! She's funny, insightful, smart, and down to earth. Also a good story teller!

Anyway, we went directly to the packet pick up. I was so glad Amanda was there because she was a PRO at knowing what to do and where to go. After we left there we had some time to kill, so we chatted in the car and then called two other friends coming down for the race and agreed to meet them for dinner. We still had even more time to kill so Amanda and I went to Miranda's parents house and were hoping that someone was there so we could drop our stuff off! There was one car in the driveway which we assumed was her mom's.... we were very surprised when the door opened and a sister missionary was standing there! Come to find out that the sister missionaries live there on the 3rd floor! Very awesome! So, we chatted with them and parted our separate ways for dinner :)

Amanda and I met our friends Jenny & Kristen at this Balkan restaurant that had rec'd fantastic reviews on YELP. I had no idea what Balkan food was but I was starving and new I needed to eat lots of carbs for the next day. I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was! And their specialized bread was fantastic! It's called Lepinja and looks like a flatbread - a pita bread, but on the inside it looks like a naan or something. Super Super YUMMY!!!

Here's a picture.
I didn't get this exact dish, but you can see the bread in it. The dish I got was a mixture of veggies, meat and a sauce that this bread just soaked up so well! Yum Yum Yum. I'll def be going back to a Balkan restaurant whenever I can!

We parted ways with our friends and headed back to Miranda's. It was only 8 PM, but I was exhausted! When we got to their house Miranda was talking to her cute mom in the living room so we sat to chat with them, but by 8:30 I was falling asleep in my chair. Off to bed I went and by 9 I was asleep!

Amanda is so great to go to races with because she is just prepared and helps you be prepared as well! She knew where we were going, what time to get up, leave, wear, etc. I was SO grateful for her!! Well, when her alarm went off at 5:30 AM, all I wanted to do was sleep! Fortunately I didn't ask her what the weather was like then, or I prob would have stayed in bed!

She's a morning person. I am not so much. But, got ready and out the door. Miranda's dad met us on our way out and said he hoped it would stop raining for our sake.

No -POURING was more like it
And, it was about 35 degrees... or that's what it felt like!
If it wasn't for Amanda I would have gone back inside and back to bed

But, Amanda's cheerfulness and optimism and persistence got me in the car and on to the race. She was patient with me, but encouraging. A CAN DO attitude! I waited as long as possible to get out of the car and got all ready. I've never ran a race with a hat/visor on, but in the rain, this was essential. So glad I had my "Relay for Life" one with me! Running with music is also essential. I thought of a few different options as to how I could run and protect my phone... and finally found the best option. I was set.

I was nervous. 13.1 miles is a long race for me. I was cold, already slightly wet (Amanda had given me an old foil wrap to stay dry and warm... if possible), and I hadn't trained for it. 

What the heck was I doing there???

Well, there's definitely proof that when you get people together and at least some of them are VERY excited, the excitement spreads to those who aren't so much! As I got to the race start and found my group of racers who hoped to finish in a certain amount of time... I started to feel their energy and lighten up a bit. I also got emotional thinking about how amazing we all were. All from different backgrounds, experience and lives, but yet we come together to test our bodies, our stamina/endurance, and to cheer on and support each other in our goals. I just LOVE that about humans! I love when people come together for a common purpose and there isn't anything that divides that. I thought about how grateful I was that I was even at the starting line after all the injury and things I endured the past few months. I thought about how grateful I was that I had the desire to run, the ability to run, the opportunity to test my mind and overcome doubts, and the opportunity to pray to HF and say that I will do what I can... but I surely needed HIS help as well.

And, that prayer was answered. 

The course is the flattest EVER. That helped. I felt good. I felt really good. Music helped A LOT. I found a girl who challenged my pace, but not too much and I kept up with her. It rained a little in the race, but mostly held off. Glad I had my visor. It's a well organized race and lots of people cheering us on, etc. That helped. A LOT. 

Around mile 10, I knew I was pushing my old injury, and I should have stopped to walk, but I made the active choice to NOT and to keep going. I wanted to finish with good time. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I wanted to prove to the Lord I could do it and could overcome my doubts and fears. I kept going. I slowed. I counted every tenth of a mile. 


I crossed the finish line and immediately said a prayer of gratitude while walking to the medical tent for some ice. I knew I needed to ice my foot asap. I got it and grabbed my blanket. Stretched and iced my foot... but then it started to rain. Pretty hard. I was already wet from sweat and my body was starting to cool in the cold temps... the rain did not help! I found shelter but then started to really get the chills. The blanket they gave us didn't help as it got wet too! I gave up on the ice and just tried to find Amanda so we could get out of there!

Long story short we did. Nice drive home and was glad to put on warm comfy clothes. Except for my foot, I felt fantastic!! Made me want to do more races... once I can find out what I keep doing wrong to injure myself!

So so so so grateful for Amanda. The Lord put her in my path for this one. And, so so so grateful for prayer and promptings of the Spirit. This one was a prompting over and over again and I tried to push it off, but so glad it stuck with me until I gave in!

I finished and I will cherish this metal. 

Not only for finishing, but for what it means for me in the larger scheme of things in my life.
I can do hard things.
I can overcome personal doubt and fear.
We are not on this earth to muddle through on our own.
I need to follow promptings of the Spirit the first time!
The Lord hears my prayers
AND HE answers them.
While I was running, my thoughts turned to the purpose behind the visor I was wearing. So many in this world suffer from trials much bigger than my own - cancer for example. Their strength, their optimism, and their courage gave me the strength, optimism and courage to push myself just a little bit longer and harder. I could do this. I could follow in their lead. I can overcome and do hard things!
 This picture was of the sunset in Richmond that Amanda and I took while driving to the Shurtleff's house. Such a pretty sunset. Just one more thing I am truly grateful for! The Lord's majesty and power... AMAZING!

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