When I was thinking about what to title this post, I looked up synonyms for difficult. Challenging, arduous, herculean, rough and nasty all came up...but the one that fits the best is hard-fought.
Almost exactly a year after I had first decided to run for health and weight loss, I completed a half marathon.
I'm not the fittest, I've never been physically coordinated, and I had a whole bunch of physical setbacks that threw off training like I had planned. But I finished 13.1 miles.
I took part in the first Divas Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We stayed at the beach spot, drove to the expo to pick up my packet (and super awesome race shirt...I'll have to share that sometime), and ate dinner with my friend CrimsonPurl and her husband. She gave me all kinds of tips on my first race. I was so glad she was there to calm me and mentor me!
The day of the race Hubby and Little Man dropped me off a few blocks away and I approached the starting line where, after a quick potty stop, I was ready to go. As I ran past CrimsonPurl's hubby I threw my light hoodie his way (Thank you!!!) and went on my way. There were tons of people cheering, and fun music as we wound through the streets of North Myrtle Beach. My pace was decent, I was in a zone listening to carefully chosen playlists. I ran. And ran. I drank at hydration stations. At the first hour I ate some sport beans. I ran. I stopped for a potty break. I ran. I hydrated and ate sport beans.
Around Mile 7 or 8
I saw the first casualty...a woman unconscious on someone's lawn being treated by emergency personnel. It freaked me out. I ran. I talked to myself. It was a very solitary experience. There were people cheering at different parts of the route...and there were DJs set up...but, it was a long, slow way.
My feet started to hurt.
My feet hurt like I had stepped on knives. I had massive blisters on my feet. I thought about how it could be worse, I wasn't getting punched like Rocky.. I could make it.
Up ahead I saw photographers so I pulled it together long enough to stride by them before I continued to walk.
At Mile 12 there was supposed to be a tiara and pink boa station so that when you crossed the finish line you'd be wearing them for pictures. I didn't see the station. Did they run out? Was my running watch wrong and I had further to go? How would I make it? I told myself as soon as I saw the station I would run the rest of the race no matter how bad it hurt. I got worried I wouldn't finish before the cut-off...what if I didn't finish by then and didn't get a medal?!?
I got that tiara and boa, took a deep breath in a ran like I had stolen something. Through the pain in my feet. I would get that damn medal! And I wanted Hubby and Little Man to see me finish strong, not hobbling over the finish line!
13.1 miles. And I did it. In the end, Hubby and Little Man were late and didn't see me finish. At first I was really disappointed...but...it was my moment...I had taken every step to get me there and kept myself from giving up.
Right after that joyful finish I hobbled to the side to catch my breath. I was dizzy, overheated and my feet were in horrible shape (okay, everything was in horrible shape). People all around me were smiling and I thought, "Why are you so damn happy? That was miserable! Didn't you just do the same thing I did?!?" I saw hot guys holding medals with long lines of women posing for pictures and I went to the fireman with a shirt on because I didn't have to wait.
Then I grabbed my long-stemmed red rose. And saw a friend. And then I grabbed my champagne (yeah, they know how to make you feel like a diva). Photos came next and then...the car. Where I cried a little, and had to get everything off me. Then we went back to the beach spot and I collapsed.
One day later I kept telling everyone I couldn't believe I had been so crazy. Two days later the pain started going away and I could sit without wincing. Three days later I started thinking about doing it again. A month later my feet finally got back to normal.
I still have to put a photo on the other side of my medal...the shine like a diva part spins.
That half marathon was DAMN hard-fought!!!!