Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From DNF to a medal in Williamsburg

My last post was about my first DNF. It was a tough pill to swallow but the very next weekend I had a 1/2 marathon in Williamsburg to do. I was very excited about this race for many reasons:

1. the run was through colonial Williamsburg = beautiful
2. this would be my last long running race until the Army 10 miler in Oct
3. this would be the first race my dad would see me run
4. this would be the first 1/2 marathon where my kids would be at the finish line

Lots of great things to be excited about. My goal for this 1/2 changed many times. It was going to be an A race, then just a race Sam and I ran together, then Sam couldn't go (but got his bib transferred to next year!), then after my DNF the weekend before it became

THE RACE I JUST NEED TO FINISH

NEED to finish. MUST finish.

My confidence wasn't too badly scared, but I was beginning to wonder if all my health issues were going to keep me from doing what I love to do. Finishing the 1/2 marathon was my goal. Period. I didn't care if it hurt, it I was hot, if I walked. I just needed to prove to myself that I'm getting stronger and whatever health issues I'm having will not define me or keep me on the couch.

The race was very well organized and did not have the crowds of people I'm used to. There were no porta potty lines! Unheard of! I followed some nutritional advice from a team mate (thanks John!) and did not have the bathroom issues I normally do. Whew! There were lots of water stops and great volunteers cheering us along. The race started with a kindergarten girl singing the National Anthem - real tear jerker. Then a man got on the mic to wish us luck and start the race. He was one of the first responders at 9/11 and is a NYC firefighter. He and guys from NYC run races all over the country to raise funds for different charities. It was very cool to have him there.

The horn went off and my feet started going. I crossed the start line 5 seconds after the official start time. That should tell you how small the race was. I've had races where I didn't cross the start until 45 minutes after the start time. In the first few minutes I had a contact malfunction, but got it situated and kept my feet moving.

I finished. It was long, hot, and on mostly cobble stone roads. I gotta tell you, those cobble stones HURT. The race finished on the William and Mary stadium 50 yard line. I came into the stadium, went around the track, and saw my whole family cheering for me. My mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and both the boys. What a crowd! They announced my  name (which instantly puts me on celebrity status) and I crossed. I received my medal from a group of young girls that were super cute.

I did it. I finished. I will finish more. Each one is special and I can't wait to do more!