Saturday morning I woke up at 4:45 am with a feeling of pure dread. Oh crap! Why did I sign up to run a half marathon?? When was the last time I ran 13.1 miles? That was 2 years ago when I ran the San Jose Rock n Roll half marathon! Not only was it 2 years ago, but I had trained specifically to run that half marathon and had all of the mileage I needed. This time, however, I kind of threw myself into signing up, all the while knowing that I wouldn’t be as prepared as I should be. So, last weekend I ran 7 miles with the team… the furthest distance I have run in over a year. Now, I was rolling out of bed with the awful feeling that I wouldn’t be able to make it 13.1 miles. Over and over again I kept saying to myself “well, just run as far as you can and then walk the rest of the way.” However, I knew that I would never let myself do that. You see, I am a pusher. I push and push and push. Even after divulging my anxiety to my best friend, she put it simply: “well, you probably will push yourself.” Then I could only think “Great, now I am going to injure myself before I even have the chance to run the Disney World marathon!” But, wouldn’t you know it, I got out of bed and got dressed in my best running clothes.
So, there we were. When I say “we” I am referring to my husband and I. It is just so easy for him to be here regardless of whether or not he has trained well. You see, he is a man (well, duh!). No, really, what irritates me is that men can just run an endurance race without even giving it much thought and do better than the average women who has worked her butt off training for the same race. So, I stood there among a group of 5 men (they all work with my husband) and listened to their sappy little stories: “Man, my foot really hurts. It is really bothering me all of a sudden. I don’t think I am going to do so well.” You know what his time was in the end? 1 hour, 33 min. That poor sap had it so rough. Then the other dude: “My goal is just to finish this thing. The furthest I have run is 6 miles. I have never done a race before.” Well, you know what time he finished in? Around 2 hours. Okay, how about this guy: “I am shooting for about 2:15. I have been cramping up. I just found it that it is because I don’t take in any calories while I run. I didn’t know I needed a nutrition plan.” Well, here you go: 1 hour 56 min. Then, my husband practically limped across the finish line with an injured foot after he had walked a mile. He did it in 1 hour 57 min. So, what the heck were all you dudes complaining about? You were still all there at the finish line as I crossed at 2hr 14min! And I worked my butt off for that time!! Okay, but I least I can say that I just gave birth 3 months ago! Men have NO IDEA what that zaps from your body! You go girl! And I also must say that our honoree sure kicks butt when he runs with the team. Sure he is a man, but he is a man who battled cancer! I have never experienced the toll that cancer takes on the body, but I think it is definitely greater than giving birth (and when you give birth you get a beautiful reward… when you get cancer there is no reward).
A positive attitude is the most important thing you can have during a race. It doesn’t matter if you are feeling pain or if you are thirsty as heck. If you think you can do it, then you will. If you think anything less, then you might as well quit. So, I knew better. I kept my mind on that finish line. I thought about how my mom was watching me and thinking about how proud she is that I decided to follow in her running steps. Sure, I hated it when she dragged me to those fun runs and 5Ks when I was a kid. And I really, truly hated P.E. in school. And I never participated in athletics during high school. But here I am now, a changed woman, running 13.1 miles just for the sheer pleasure of doing so. In January, I will be running 26.2 miles. I will let you know how I feel about doing that… I just know that when I crossed the finish line on Saturday, I couldn’t even imagine running 13.1 MORE miles!
So, I ignored the burning sensation on the bottom of my feet (yes, I think new shoes are in order), the burning in my calves and thighs and the feeling that my groin was going to be ripped apart (okay, maybe too much information there). No need to talk about the chaffing in my armpits as my tank top rubbed against my skin. Otherwise, I felt great! Like I was floating instead of hitting the pavement. Like I could do anything if I just put my mind to it! Time flew and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line. To put a cherry on top, I bowed my head as a nice looking Marine slipped a medal over my head and handed me a pint glass that I will soon fill with some nice cold beer. I sit here now a little sore, but satisfied with my accomplishment. My husband, on the other hand, is creaking around like some old man who needs a wheelchair 🙂
* Just a quick note to my audience: I know that some folks are reading my blog, but I have no idea who. Feel free to leave a comment! Also, don’t forget to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by visiting my website: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ncfl/wdw11/haponte Don’t feel intimidated by high $ amounts. If everyone just gives $5-10 then we will be well on our way to finding a cure for cancer!
Congratulations Heidi! I have been reading your blogs and they are inspiring me to get out there and add distance to my run even though I am quite slow at this age! Keep up the hard work and dedication. You WILL be ready to conquer 26.2 🙂
Heidi- I don’t know how you do it, you are superwoman!!! I’ve been reading your blog, it’s inspirational! Keep it up lady!
Heidi, first let me congratulate you on your accomplishment. Awesome! Not just anyone, man or woman, has it in them to run a half marathon. When you’re in that big crowd of runners at an event like that, it may seem like anyone & everyone does it, but you are still by far in the minority. So it’s good to know that you’re satisfied with your accomplishment, you surely earned that. 😉 (Oh, and thanks for the shout out in your blog. The team did an 8 mile while you did your 13.1!)