my first 1/2

This weekend I ran my first 1/2 marathon. It was amazing. It was hard. It was hot. It was hilly. It was such an accomplishment. My friend Heather and I , who run together weekly, both signed up to do this race. She had signed up earlier than me and I hesitated and finally commited several weeks later. I thought I was signing up to support my friend on this big day and to do something together. But as life often does, I got so much more than I had planned for. Bare with me while I recap:

We met early in the morning and drove out to the race. It was a trail run in a state forest not too far from home. We were chatty and excited. Ready to run! We got to the starting line, a few butterflies in my belly but smiling Heather was next to me and I felt good. The race starts and off we go. First 2 miles you hustle along with people all around you. You are caught up in a stream like a fish just moving forward as you pass some and others pull ahead. We are smiling, chatting and feeling good. Then we hit the base of a pretty long hill (maybe 1 1/2 miles) and it started to kick my butt. My mind starts to worry about the rest of the race. Can I do this? Will I slow Heather down? All the what ifs send me in a panic. It was something I have never felt. I went from feeling great to falling apart in my head about my abilities. But we get to the top. I ditch my annoying fuel belt and decide to depend on the water stations to get me through. Feeling lighter and better we run flat for a few miles and I run past my Physical Therapist I used to see last year. She motivates me to keep going. The power of positive words charging my run. The middle of the race goes OK, but I am just not myself, something is off. In all of our training runs, I never had such a bad run as I did on race day. But all along there is Heather, a constant support who stayed with me because we had agreed before the race that we would finish together.

By mile 10, I was toast. The hills seemed steeper, the miles longer and the sun hotter. I was holding Heather back but she stayed with me and I was so thankful, even as I kept saying "go ahead." Heather's constant words of encouragement were pulling me along. Her smile and determination were what I wish I could have mustered for her as well. She gave me the last sips of her water without hesitation. She was having a rock star day and I am so proud of her.

As we neared the end I saw the crowds at the finish, I saw all of our kids ringing cow bells and jumping up and down. I ran to them, I ran to the finish and felt the literal last drop of energy I had in me to get there! Heather and I finished together and shared a big hug that only we both could understand what it meant. It wasn't my legs that got me to the end, it was the power of friendship. Thanks H.


brown robin said...

Darn, Liz! I started crying when I read this. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a great friend in return for all of the moments of your extraordinary friendship. Literally... that's what friends are for... being there for the good, the bad, and the in between. I had a blast, and I'm just so happy to call you my "running partner."

JEAN said...

I have tears of joy for both of you. Thank you Liz for your spirit and courage. You both are a endearing example of love and sharing in a world of chaos and struggles. What a lesson in the energy we gain in reaching out and working together and not alone. This world is blessed to have you. Your strength "Helps us finish the course". It is no accident that you and brown robin were there for each other.

"Petunia Pill" said...

I very randomly happened upon your blog just now and when I saw the title of this post, I immediately clicked to open it. My daughter just ran her first half marathon on the 12th. For her too, it was an incredible accomplishment! I was one of those waiting at the end, cheering her home. Thanks for letting me share a little piece of your world. As random as it is, I don't believe in coincidence so I'm pretty sure I was meant to see your wonderful post. From a stranger, please accept my sincerest congratulations! Running a half marathon is no easy feat and you should be so proud! And, lucky you for having such a devoted friend! Annette

Ivan Pylat said...

I really had a great time with your post! I essay-writings-service.com am looking forward to read more blog post regarding this! Well written!