The gun went off for corral 'D', the corral I was in, and I walked to the Start line behind thousands and thousands of runners.
The corrals are based on how fast you're going to supposedly finish the race.
I had stated I'd finish in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
I was wrong.
I crossed the Start line and pushed start on my Garmin and was off. Running. Pacing myself as best I could. Listening to the thousands of runners feet hitting the pavement all around me. It was cold and I tried to just focus on moving one foot in front of the other.
At not even mile marker 1, I'm guessing around a quarter mile, the pain started creeping in. I could feel it building and getting more intense. I was pissed and didn't want to stop. I tried to run through it. I just couldn't do it.
It was too much. So I stopped to walk. Not even at mile one. And I was pissed. And frustrated. And disappointed. But mostly just mad.
Mad that this was my 2nd half marathon and I was supposed to be faster and better than my 1st. The one I didn't walk ONCE in. The one I finished in 2 hours and 35 minutes in. The one I ran 5 months postpartum with my second baby!
But there I was, 7 months later, about 20 lbs. lighter, so much faster, yet, with not as strong a body.
Mentally I wasn't prepared for what I was going to go through in that race.
Physically, I had it in the bag... or so I thought.
I walked for most of miles 1-7ish.
I thought SEVERAL times about bowing out. I looked for medical carts along the route. But then I thought of how disappointed I'd be in myself if I didn't finish that race. If I never got that medal. I've never been a quitter, and I wasn't about to start.
I continued to update you all live via Instagram and Facebook with my issues. What I was going through, how I was feeling, the pain, when I was walking, and when tears were streaming down my face.
And through all that, I got so many encouraging words from you all.
When tears would start to fall, I'd read a few more of your comments and they'd keep me going.
Your support and encouragement helped me finish that race.
You telling me I was inspiring you at that very moment, kept me moving toward that finish line.
Here is what I updated you all with along my race:
With every update I got so much support from you all.
It's like you were right there running with me, encouraging me along the way.
Because of YOU GUYS I was able to finish that race when all I wanted to do was quit.
I cried through most of those 13.1 miles. Tears poured down my face as I thought of how far I've come and all the people I've been able to help and inspire.
I thought of my dad and how he always taught me to give 110%.
You may not be the very best at what you do, but as long as you try your hardest, that's all that matters.
I was getting passed left and right by runners in that race.
And I walked over half of it. I jogged when I could, but when Whitney found me on the course and walked with me, something clicked.
After she left me I began to run.
And I don't know if it was because I was used to the pain, or that it was less intense, or I just had that extra push and encouragement, but I ran. For miles 7 1/2-13.1. I ran. Through pain.
It wasn't excruciating anymore. Maybe it's because I wasn't focusing on it. Maybe I had a little more of that "help" I've experienced before. But I ran those 5 1/2 miles. Tears streaming down my face. And now, I was passing people.
The "walkers group" I'd been with for the past few miles, I began to pass.
I'd pat people on the back and give them a thumbs up when I'd see they were struggling.
I'd say "good job!" to people I'd notice with no earphones in.
I tried to pay it forward during that race.
To my followers, supporters, fans, friends, and my family.
To anyone that would listen.
Because I was out there. Running through pain. Digging deep for the will to JUST.KEEP.GOING.
I didn't PR in that race.
I didn't accomplish my time goal.
I didn't accomplish my goal of not walking at all.
But I finished.
And I finished with pride in my heart.
And I again felt that amazing feeling you get entering the chute. When I saw my friends and The Hubs at the finish line cheering me on, with signs. And I powered through and crossed that finish line at 3 hours and 2 minutes. Only 27 minutes slower than my first half marathon when I'd ran the entire thing.
I want to thank each and every one of you for all of your support and kind words.
They not only helped me finish the toughest run of my life, but have picked up my spirits along the way.
I hope that in some way I was able to inspire you through that struggle.
That maybe you now know that ANYTHING is possible, you've just got to have some heart and DIG DEEP!