On Saturday morning, a few friends and I ran the Utah Valley Half Marathon. Before I tell about this experience, I would like to start by saying that I am not a runner. I have never enjoyed running. I actually hate it while I am running and don't feel good about it until after I am done. I wish I loved to run. I hear about people experiencing "The Runner's High" and I have wanted to know what that feels like... but I never have.
I remember my first race. I had a couple of friends convince me to sign up for the Freedom Festival 5k on the morning of the 4th of July in 2008. I remember being nervous since I had never run in a race before. After finishing that race I thought... well, now I can say I ran in a race, I will probably never do one again. HA! I look back on that and it's funny that I thought a 5k was hard. Now when I go running.... that is usually what I run. Anyway... I ended up doing the Freedom Run again with my sister the next year, did a 5k Dirty Dash, 5k Pink run, 5k Santa Run and a Sprint Triathlon (which included a 5k). 5k's are no longer a big deal to me. That being said... I never really pushed myself to run further than that.
Fast forward to the beginning of this year. I decided when making my goals for the year that I wanted to do a 10k and a half marathon. Why would I desire this when I hate running? Well... simple. If you sign up for a race, you have to train for it. I hoped that if I signed up for these races, especially the half marathon, I would spend time training for it and that would help me get in shape and lose weight that I had put on over the holidays and in the Winter. My good friend Liz told me to pick the Half Marathon i wanted to do and she would do it with me. So in February (I think) me, Liz and Steph all signed up for the Utah Valley Half Marathon. After we signed up, other people in the ward started signing up too. This just made me more confident that I would train for it because I would have support and people to train with.
I felt like I had so much time to train, then all of the sudden it was June. Seriously... when did that happen? So it is time for the half marathon and I didn't train for it. I feel like I need to explain why I didn't train for it. I had every intention of training, however... right when I got back from my cruise in April, I started a diet. The diet is strict and has me on fewer calories. I could still run. I would go out running having every intention of running further than 3 miles, but once I went 3 miles, my body would run out of energy. So I continued to just run a few miles once or twice a week for a month or so. One week before the race and I had still not gone past 3 miles... so I decided to push myself and I went 5. It was a struggle and I had to walk a lot. I came back and saw my friend Melodie and told her I should back out of the race because I didn't think I would be able to finish 13 miles if I was struggling with 5. She told me I could do it... and if I backed out I would regret it (which is probably true). I thought about it more for the next week, getting more and more nervous as the week went on and the race got closer. During the week, Liz told me I could do it, that it was scientifically possible to do a half marathon without training. When it comes to science, I believe that girl, so I told her I would still do it with her. We went together to pick up our packets and make it official. While I was there picking up my stuff, my darling friend Nicole (who I hadn't seen in years) was at one of the booths there so I got to sit and catch up with her for a bit. So fun. Love her.
The night before the race, I was SO nervous. I ate a bigger meal so that I would have enough calories to complete the run, I was giving myself pep talks that I could do this. I reminded myself that I did a sprint triathlon without training and was ok. I put together a killer playlist for my run to keep me pumped up and motivated to keep running. This playlist included songs such as "The Worlds Greatest", "What doesn't Kill you Makes you Stronger", "Don't Stop Believing", "One Step at a Time", "Stronger", "Shake it Out"and "Ready to Run" to name a few. I didn't know if I would be able to sleep, thankfully I could (for 4 hours) because we had to get up a 3am to meet over at Liz and Steph's at 3:15 to have a banana and head over to the mall where we would park our car and get on a bus that would take us up the canyon. Here we are before we got on the bus.
Up until I got on that bus, I still considered backing out of the race. NOW... there was no turning back. I guess I could have called someone to come get me, but who is going to answer their phone at 4am? So here I am sitting on the bus driving up the canyon in the dark. I just kept thinking how long that bus ride was to get us to the start of the race... and that I was going to have to run back! We get to where the race starts (just a little past the Sundance turn off up the canyon) and it is dark and cold and we have an hour and a half to wait until the race starts. They had fire pits that tons of people crowded around to try and stay warm. We looked like a bunch of homeless people. We stayed by the fire for a little while, but it was too smokey... so when we ran we were smelling smoke and sweat. Gross. We all stayed close and tried to stay warm as we told stories to try and pass the time and calm our nerves. Apparently... when I am nervous I am quite funny. I just talk and ramble nervously... not realizing that I am talking any different and everyone just laughed at me. I seriously was so nervous though. I had never run that far in my life. I had never even done a 10k... so I had no idea how far I would be able to run and how my body was going to react and take it. I only had two goals, and they were:
* Don't Die
*Finish the race.
Pretty simple right? So the race started... and I went for it... one mile at a time. I just kept telling myself to enjoy the scenery and not over think things.... just to tell myself that I was just taking a stroll down the canyon.... with thousands of other people.... In all seriousness though... it was a beautiful run (the beginning of it). Provo Canyon this time of year is BEAUTIFUL! My music was on my phone, which meant I also had a camera (and my phone in case I needed to call someone to pick me up if I couldn't finish). Here are a couple of pictures I took on my beautiful run down the canyon at 6:30 in the morning.
So I get past the half way mark and almost all the way down the canyon without walking. I'm very proud of myself because I didn't even think I could do that... 7 miles without hardly any walking. This was a good sign. Then I got to mile 8. This is when my body started to hurt. I expected my feet and calves to hurt first or most... but they never did... it was my upper legs, hips, butt and lower back. I started to feel the pressure and I had to start walking... jogged here and there, but I had to walk it out. The pain never went away so it became hard.
I never stopped... I just kept trucking a long. Every time I saw people on the side of the road with encouraging signs, it made me smile and I kept going the best that I could. I was so happy when I got to mile 10. Only 3 more miles. That seems like nothing now, that is usually what I run anyway... I could do this. However I had never done that run so tired and with aching legs, so it was a struggle. Then right when I was about to get to the last mile, my roommate calls me to ask where I am and how I'm doing. I tell her I'm hurting and about to get to the last mile. So they (Sabrina and Jessica) run to find me and run the last mile with me. When I saw them I got a big smile on my face and almost started to cry. It was a lot more helpful that I thought it would be. So I ran across the finish line, was given my medal and wanted to collapse and cry again because I didn't think I would be able to do it, but I did. PS I never really did cry. I was last out of our group, which means I got to have all of my friends cheering for me at the finish line which was awesome. First person I see after I cross the finish line.... Tyler (the guy Steph and I met on our cruise) RANDOM!!! Anyway... I was so happy I did it. My roommates and friends just hugged me and told me how proud of me they were. I was proud. Here is the shirt we got.
I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing and caring people. My family called and wrote the night before to check up on me. People wrote me notes pre and post race, etc... All of that makes such a big difference to me.
After the race, we took pictures and went home to shower and rest. I was out for the rest of the day. Not only because my body was aching from the race, but also because I was so tired from getting up at 3am after having 4 hours of sleep and then running 13 miles. Next day I could barely walk. Today... a little better, but I'm feeling like an old woman.
I posted this of myself on instagram after the race. I'm not that popular on instagram... but this picture was the most "likes" I have ever gotten on a picture. 28 likes.
I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I didn't have to compromise my diet or the race. I'm proud of myself. This showed me how amazing our bodies are and what they are capable of... even without training. Now that I have experienced this, will I want to do a marathon? No way. Will I want to do another Half Marathon? Not really... but will I actually do another one? Maybe one day. I mean... look how far I have come since my first 5k. :)