Last weekend was just a regular, run of the mill, weekend for me…oh, except for the fact that I ran 13.1 miles Saturday morning in the Inaugural Virginia Wine Country 1/2 Marathon! I have never run that far in my life, but I have been training for months for this, so you can imagine my pride when I crossed that finished line (that’s me in the grey shirt).
I would purchase this picture, print it up and frame it for my wall, except that I’d have to give up my arm and leg to buy it, then how would I run again? But don’t you love the wine barrels around the finish??
Anyway, the morning started off a little rocky when we got stuck in some major traffic trying to get to the vineyard where the start was located. We were in some Loudoun County rural areas with tiny roads and one way in and one way out. So as my carpool buddies and I sat in the car in traffic, only one thing was going through my mind….I need to hit the Don’s John!!!
So we barely made it, hit the port-a-potties and crowded around the start in the appropriate grouping for our pace (which would be “slow”).
The start was delayed about 30 minutes and then we were off. We quickly broke off into groups based on pace. By mile 2 I was by myself. I had a group of friends in front of me and a group behind me, but once I got into a groove I didn’t want to stop. I actually didn’t mind spending a couple hours by myself (um, I hardly ever get that!). It was just me and my music and the occasional friendly words with other runners around me. I’m a little on the dorky side (surprise, surprise), so I tend to make goofy comments to strangers to pass the time. One guy had a shirt that said “where’s the finish?” and I said, “Let me know when you find it”…har,har, like he hadn’t heard that one before. We also passed some beautiful homes, so I chatted up with a homeowner or two about how beautiful their home was. Hmmm, maybe I was lonely after all! Oh and the classic was the cute, girl in the cute Lululemon outfit that said, “um, excuse me, your skirt is riding up.” Lovely.
My goals for this race were:
1. Finish – check!
2. Not be last – check!
3. Run the whole time – check!
Oh and apparently not expose my rear to everyone around me! Despite the crazy hills, and there were many of them, I did not stop to walk. That race gave a whole new meaning to “rolling countryside”. But I kept thinking to myself that I worked so hard to train for this race and I didn’t want to disappoint myself. I felt I had made reasonable goals for myself and I knew if I put my mind to it, I could do it.
When did I hit a wall? Oh, about mile 11….that was the precise moment my phone died on me. Total silence for the last two miles except for the sounds of my breathing and my feet pounding (more like scraping along) on the pavement. I look like I’m skating in this one because my feet were too heavy to pick up:
So what got me through this race, especially those last couple miles? This isn’t meant to sound all mushy, but it’s the honest truth. I had 3 thoughts running through my mind the whole time….I thought about everything I have personally been through with breast cancer, I thought about my dear friend who has a beautiful 1 year old with a rare brain disorder, and I thought about my dear friend and blog partner, Deena and her 16 year old son who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Then when I’d feel the pain in my legs and wanted to stop and walk, I thought how the pain was nothing compared to what I had already been through and what my dear friends were going through. That’s how I encouraged myself to put one foot in front of the other until the end.
That’s not to say I wasn’t suffering. Can you see me in this one? I think my body language says it all!
At the end we all got cool medals that double as a wine stopper.
The only complaint I have about the race is the lack of water at the end. I picked up a dixie cup of water as I made my way through the recovery tent. When I realized I passed up the free bottle of sports drink, I tried to go back into the recovery tent and a heartless man who was lucky I was too tired to drop kick him, would not let me back in to get the drink bottle! Are you kidding me? I just ran 13 miles, dude!
But all in all, it was an awesome experience and a huge accomplishment for me. Running does not come easy for me despite my dad being a track superstar in his younger days.
I definitely did not inherit the natural running gene. But I worked hard for this goal and I’m very proud of myself for accomplishing it. I have a wonderful family and great friends who supported me during my training and cheered me on via Facebook during the race. I’m already trying to figure out the next race I’m going to run. But I can promise you this…it will not be a full marathon. You marathoner types are crazy!