I am soo proud. So, so proud.
I still have goosebumps.
So, I took everyone's advice here and laid out everything I needed the night before. Even did a helpful cortices balancing technique (LUV YOU TON!) the night before and morning of. I kept my birthday celebrations to a very minimum and only had a couple drinks with my sister in law on Friday night and re-hydrated and carbed up a bit on Saturday. Didn't eat ANYTHING our of my usual food spectrum. I spent the evening doing calve massages, various deep stretches and hoped and prayed that an ominous shin splint, side stitch, or knee pain, would not rear it's ugly head come Sunday morning. To my relief, none of the above happened! Almost miraculously, I must say!!
The night before, although I tried my best to keep composure while packing up everything including making my half a pb sandwich for breakfast, iPod, and clothes (Kaiser made a cool long sleeved grey printed shirt for us in our area, so I opted to wear it), course outline, registration confirmation and mapquest directions, my tummy told me I was feeling quite the contrary. I consoled myself in the thought that "Hey, at least it's happening now rather than day of!"
I'll spare you the details but let's just say I didn't throw up...lol!
Set the alarm for 4:30am and *tried* my best to sleep. Think I woke up like 3 times just plain excited and nervous as hell.
RACE am - woke up...did everything I was supposed to do...tummy was feelin A-OK, kids all were up and functioning so thankflully I didn't have to worry about them too much. Hubby did end up taking me so I didn't have to deal with navigating and mentally prepping myself at the same time. Ride was perfect. Sure enough, heard the weather was going to be like a summer's day even in SF, where we were headed. The tips I got from a coworker who did this race several times were perfect, and we found plentiful beachside parking which to my relief - was only about a half a mile from the shuttles. Wish I took a pic of them - but the shuttles were full sized school busses and there was a line of about 50 of them. It was amazing...
In the bus...checking out the people getting in. Tried so hard NOT to size my very amateur and slightly overweight self up against these avid professional-zero percent body fat-awesome gear wearing types that were pilling in. Then you'd see a random person or two who looked as though the word "excercise" was not in their vocabulary. Interesting. Smells of banana and bengay filled the crowded bus. Thankfully, my tummy didn't turn from the combination!
Nervous, nervous. Said a few quiet prayers to myself that I'd just be able to finish injury free. That I'd NOT push myself from the start, but pace, pace, remember technique and BREATHE and the I'd be able to run the entire 3.2 mi and NOT be dead last...I sat with my little one right next to me and I realized that as I was deep in my mental safe zone, I was stroking her hand frantically in mine as to comfort myself. She, thank goodness, was oblivious!
All was perfectly planned out and the event appeared to be extremely well organized. Made my way to the tent and got my bib, pins, timing chip which hubby was able to figure out for me, found a bathroom for one last trip, and stretched out plenty. When we got there, the sun was barely coming up. It was beautiful. The energy in the air was positively electrifying - I'd never felt anything like it. More and more people were arriving. From children who were going to run with their folks, to a few elderly (so inspiring), to again, the totally name brand sport label from head-to-toe cladden beautifully bodied runners. They'd done this a time or twenty before, no doubt. Calm, calm. Stretched out...breathed in and took in the fresh air around me. I noted many runners warming up jogging around so I thought I'd do the same. Just a trot, more than anything else, but I felt the joints loosening up a bit - and my nerves as well. I didn't care WHO was watching...I even downward dogged right in the starting line!!! Was so focused on those shins..I did whatever it took. As I looked around me in all directions, I'd see an occasional theme-colored Kaiser shirt or two sprinkled through the crowd. Depending of which facility they were from, they had different colored shirts to represent their location. Kaiser was indeed, in the house - and practicing what we preached. After all, Kaiser was the main sponsor for the event! I felt proud to belong to an organization who sets the bar so high and really shows the importance of "Thriving" not only to our members, but for us employees as well.
They had a professional running trainer come out to the announcing stand and once the 5k'ers (3,000 of us) were lined up to the right of the main start and the HM'ers (10,000 or so of them), they blasted the coolest Black Eyed Pea and dance music jams for us to do a mass stretch to. It was fun. Could you imagine seeing over 13,000 of us jumping in place and doing random stretches all simultaneously?? Again, wish I had a pic of this, but my fam was already headed to the finish in hopes of greeting me at the end.
OK...here it goes...almost time. Had the iPod lined up with "The Pretender" by Foo Fighters on standby for the gun. We were off!!! I kept telling myself this wasn't one of my wogs...but I had to pace myself and do my best and just enjoy every moment. There were the coolest shirts I saw in front of me....ones that read on the back "Pace Yourself"...to "Just Finish"...to "Runners are Sexy"....I loved the last one. And I did just that. I found my groove, kept my rhythm and just went. Then...the dang hills came. Two to be exact. I attempted running the first one, and got really winded, so as I saw so many others do, I brisk walked up as best I could while keeping mind on my HR and breathing...then, I let the downhill help! Saved my energy for the flats and declines. I felt strong, proud and the most amazing ever. We past by lakes, the most gorgeous trees and waterfalls, and all the while I enjoyed it. There was a father running with his two children even. One looked about 7 and the other a bit younger, and there he was, between them both, holding each one by the hand to his sides. Amazing. And so sweet. I saw this gal that I thought had the most incredible legs and we had a very similar pace...then before you knew it, she stopped on the side. She must have cramped up because she immediately started stretching. I prayed again for strength. I kept on going.
Mile 2 marker - felt like eons until I saw the flags waving and my heart almost sank when I saw this since I felt I had already been running for ages. Damnit, I thought - this darn shirt is way too hot...Then not too long after I thought that, the volunteers with water magically appeared as if a mirage in the desert - I grabbed a cup and managed to get out a "Thank you" to the gal who handed me it - only took one gulp and tossed the rest. Instant relief. I kept going...I loved seeing the random people holding signs up that read "You're almost there" and "Keep going" - they smiled at us all and waved - it felt like they were personally there for ME. I beamed whenever someone smiled and waved at me...I even gave a few thumbs ups here and there.
It felt like forever until I finally saw way off in the distance the finish...right about that moment I felt the dreaded "Jell-O legs" creeping up. I reminded myself that my family was there, that this was almost over, that no matter how I was feeling, I wasn't going to die and then I heard my son's voice in my head "Save the best for last, Mama" - and I sprinted. Barely, but I did. I dug deep, remembered as Billy Blanks preaches that indeed, "I am more than a conqueror" and that I could do this. I saw my family there smiling and Alanna jumping up and down. I waved to them and smiled. I glanced up at the timer to the left of the finish and saw 37 minutes...by the time I finished I believe I saw 37.42 flash past me.
I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hugged my family and suddenly felt an urge to vommit and felt that I HAD to sit down. Thankfully, there was no ralphing plans for me. I sat down, became very teary eyed and thought about how amazing it was that I was here. Right then - and how far I'd came since I started my journey into fitness in October 2009, got injured and had to ease off, recovered and successfully hiked Half Dome in 7/10 and trained up for this, my very first ever in life run. I followed through, I was true to myself. I remembered all the advice my trainer and everyone here gave me and I excecuted.
OK - so 37.42 wasn't any world record. Perhaps slow as molasses to many, but to me, I thought I'd end up something like 45 minutes and for this, I was so happy! My friend who walked it ended up and hour and some odd minutes crossing the finish and I was so happy to be there to greet her. What a day!!!!
Here are a few pics...
There was EVEN a marriage proposal at the finish - this couple ran together and as they finished, there was a banner with the gal's name asking if she'd marry him!! SO romantic!! Had to capture a few pics of that!
Also, on the beachside shots in the end...you can see the HMers hard at work - to anyone that's ever done one, or a full Marathon...I had respect for you before, but NOW...I truly bow down to you! Amazing and incredible don't even begin to do you justice!
Hope I didn't miss any pics. There's a shot there of me during the "I'm gonna barf" feeling - I contemplated NOT posting it..but hey, I'm among friends, right? I'm so happy I could scream. I can't wait until my next one. There's a St. Paddy's Day 5k fun run next month that I might do. Also, so happy to say, Joey wants to do a run with his mama soon too!! Brittany I think may want to as well if she sees her brother doing it. So, it's spreading. Like wildfire. I feel like a celebrity here at work - so many people congratulating me (I'm one of the only employees out of about 30 Kaiser people in several branches who opted to run from my area.)
Even had half a second to stop by the beach - it was the most gorgeous day! Got all I wished for: no crazy wind at all, and a very nice, beautifully warm day!
So...as the lactic acids gently remind me of the slight discomfort, nothing and I mean, NOTHING - makes me feel more proud than I did on Sunday!
Happy Birthday to me!
We are ALL - much, much more than conquerers!
PS - Thanks Kimmie Pooh for the night before good luck text! Love ya girl!!