This past weekend I participated in my first half marathon. One years ago, if you asked me to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) I would have laughed in your face.
At 300 pounds, I could not even run a mile. It took me 22 minutes just to do one
mile. I struggled my first 5k (3.1 miles). I walked the entire time due to a horrific pain in my ankle (in large part due to the pressure on my ankles from the weight). Luckily, I still finished and had a blast because my friends walked with me the entire time and supported me.
When I started this journey to live a healthier lifestyle I decided to test myself with things I have never done before, things I did not think I could do…like long distance running. Fun fact, I actually do not like running.
I started off small. Fabi convinced me somehow to do a 10k (6.2 miles). With consistent training, I managed to complete that in 1hr 4min with a mixture of walking/jogging. After the run, she immediately asked me, “So when are you going to do a half marathon?” I thought she was crazy. With a little convincing though, I signed up for my first half marathon, the Women Rock Half, not too long after with my bestie Monica. Boy, was I nervous.
With my current work schedule and travel, training was really hard but Monica helped to plan a schedule for me. But, let’s get this straight; training was not all peaches and cream. I walked/jogged during a lot of my training and also gave up a few times or skipped training days due to LIFE. What helped is that I always got back up and tried again. Before the run, I managed to get to 10 miles only once and that was with a great deal of struggle and body pain. My average time went way past the 3.5 hour time limit. As a result, I went into the run on Saturday completely TERRIFIED that I would be asked to get off the course.
Race day came. With my biofreeze on my knees and my gel packs in my fanny-pack, I set off to test myself. The first 6 miles went smooth except for the fact that my headphones died on me for some reason and I CANNOT RUN WITHOUT MUSIC. Luckily, Chris and Kike ran to Walgreens and met me at mile 6 to hand them over and apply more biofreeze to my leg. And, to my surprise, Kike decided to run with me at mile 6 since he knows I struggle shortly after that. Keep in mind, Kike runs for nothing, not even TACOS!
Mile 9 hit and I started feeling the usual pain in my leg. I was cramping as I was running and my left knee was giving out. I started walking at certain points and even crying. I was so tired that I could not even respond to Kike as he talked to me or to Chris when he called to give me encouragement. Shortly after, Monica finished the half marathon. Chris and Monica started sending me snapchats via Kike to keep my mind on the end goal. It honestly helped a lot.
Mile 11 hit and the pain was unbearable. My leg cramps usually subside as long as I step and apply pressure to the floor. That did not occur this time. It was like a permanent cramp and pain shooting up my leg. As I approached mile 12, Chris switched off with Kike and began to run with me. I was so gas’ed that I did not even notice when they switched. I cried the entire last mile while Chris encouraged me to keep going.
As I saw the finish line in plain view at mile 13, I realized that I was going to not only finish the half marathon, but that I was going to finish it in under the 3.5hr time limit. I started balling even more with pure joy and pain. I crossed that finish line and immediately all the pain seemed worth it.
I finished my first half marathon in 3 hours (averaging about a 13min 45sec mile). I was limping, crying and hugging my friends like a crazy lady but I honestly did not care. I earned that finishers medal and was so grateful to have the support of my friends there to celebrate. To think, a year ago I could not do this and here I am today as proof that it is possible. I realized that I was the only one standing in my way. It was not about how fast I finished, it was the fact that I finished. It has only been 48 hours since the run and I am still in shock and SORE lol.
I have already been asked to do a full marathon (26.2 miles). While I doubt that this will ever happen due to my current commitments and the fact that I feel I have closed this chapter for myself, I do still want to challenge myself in other ways. I want to switch my efforts on more strength training and maybe do a Spartan Run or take up Latin dancing (which I love!!!). Until I decide, don’t judge me if you see me walking around with my finishers medal still in awe. 😉