January 2012. My first half marathon was Aramco Houston.
Eeek. I was "training" but my foods were all out of whack, I was only running-nothing else. I was still overweight but had good stamina. I HATED THIS RACE. Hated every second of it. I ran with a friend, a very fit friend. She pushed us hard(I wanted her to, or so I thought) right from the start. We averaged a fast pace for miles 1-3 and then I hit a wall. I was used to running but at a MUCH slower pace. My adrenaline was fading away and the doubt started to creep in. I found myself angry at those around me because I was hurting, were they? I pepped back up until mile 7 then it was ANGER and PAIN. My mind wasn't right. My mind defeated me my entire life and now I was letting it win once again. I ended the race at 2:53 and I was MAD. Mad at myself for doing so poorly. Mad that I was hurting. I enjoyed NO part of this race but I didn't stop there...
I LOVE making comebacks...as you all can see throughout my journey.
So the Houston Half (different one) came around in 2013, I had lost more weight, was feeling on top of the world, had created Move It Mommas (so I had support and a new outlook!), life was good so I thought WHY NOT!!! Let's try this again but this time, let's get my mind right and focused!
I had FUN!!! I LOVED EVERY SECOND!
If I can give you any advice on this journey, do NOT allow other people or yourself defeat you before you TRY! It's about trying your best and putting it all out there...and that IS good enough. It's always good enough!
I ran MUCH faster, harder and I was stronger! Whew!!! I'm BACK!
Let's try Aramco again so we did in 2014! It felt AWESOME!!! My fastest time 2:24. I'm by NO means fast but that's okay because I did my best.
I've learned to approach the races MUCH differently. I focus on each mile and the milestone it represents for ME. I have overcome A LOT. I have lost weight, changed my life, my husband has changed his life and we are inspiring others to do the same...what's not to love about that?!
The bridge race series...EEEK!
This race took grit, hard work and lots of motivation and inspiration. It was THE hardest thing I've ever done. Two times over one of Texas' largest bridges, the Fred Hartman. Not once over but TWICE.
An emotional race for me but I did it! Me. That's what I've learned to love about running. It's about ME. Nobody can take that away, it was all me. I have to get my mind right before every race. I know within that I am capable, so each race I set out to prove it to myself...nobody else. Nobody else matters when I'm running...just me and the pavement. It's a very freeing feeling.
By mile 10 at this race I was in pain. My body wanted to quit but somehow I crossed that finish line, one foot in front of the other. A representation of so much in my life.
Now we had an army for the Rhythm and Blues! My Move It Mommas decided to take on 13.1 so we did it TOGETHER! So much fun!!! Of course my hubby is always there, right by my side at the finish line. While he's MUCH faster, he always meets me before I cross the finish line. He's that added motivator that helps me get through those brutal miles 12 and 13, and that darn .1 LOL!
And the most recent, sweet half marathon #6! Woohoo!
Move It Mommas by my side, we did it!!! Again, bonded these ladies for life. A goal not many will conquer for fear stands in the way, but not us! We did it! My hubby did it as well but opted to not take a million pictures as we did!! LOL
I had some ladies that had run 13.1 in the past but it was so much fun being together!
One girl "would never be a runner" or so she told me when I first met her a year ago. She was a beast out there, SO FAST! She's lost weight, changed her life and has been inspiring others to do the same....SO proud of her! And if that's not motivation enough, our cancer survivor was a beast too! She did it. While her body and mind wanted to quit, she never did! We gathered around her and caught her as she crossed the finish line. She had left it all on that course and I vowed to never leave her side and never did. It was beautiful.
What I've learned?
To live in the moment. To take moments like these to FEEL ALIVE AND HEALTHY. There's no better feeling than seeing that finish line and running right under it! I do it for me, the girl I used to be, and the people that cannot do it themselves. So many are physically unable to do this and we are able, so why not? Shoot for the stars! The pain, swelling, aching...it all goes away in that moment. It's amazing and can never be taken away from me. EVER.
I've learned that the doubters are the ones that push me further. They keep me reaching and exceeding my goals just for the "oh yea? WATCH ME!"...come on, you know that feels good too! I reflect on the ME I used to be. I hated running. I hated setting goals and I certainly never reached them, but that's not ME anymore. Not hardly.
On those tough miles? It's a representation of all the tough times on this journey. There are miles where you feel like you can't take another step, but somehow, someway you do...and you keep going from there. It's a reminder of where I've been and where I'll continue to go by pushing forward, never going back.
My favorite parts?
Around mile 11 and 12. It's silent. You see runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels but we're all just putting one foot in front of the other. It's beautiful. Very calming and inspiring. I watch each of them, they are hurting as I am but they are still moving. One foot in front of the other. They are getting their mind and body right. They are focused and determined. It's a moment that I cherish from each race. I look forward to it.
THE FINISH LINE. It's emotional for me because while on this journey there is no finish line, it means so much to me. For all the times I quit. For all the times I let defeat and fear win, that finish line is just proof once again that I CAN. I cry a lot. I get goosebumps and I tell everyone around me that I love them...wait, I do that all of the time but still!
I look forward to Sunday and welcome it with open arms and an open mind. Who cares where I finish as long as I NEVER QUIT! There is no mountain too high if we have support and heart...plenty of HEART!
What's next for me? Probably a triathlon. It's on my bucket list and I'm determined to just do it! I have done 6 half marathons (soon to be 7), a duathlon and plenty of 10K's and 5K's...it's about time, don't you think? Advice? I'm a terrible swimmer but who cares...I'll survive, won't I???! LOL! All I know is I must keep dreaming, setting new goals and conquering new fears. It's the ONLY way to grow and keep evolving as a woman on this journey. Each goal I conquer reminds me of the girl I once was, the girl I'll never be again and the girl that inspires and motivates me to help others see what I see...potential and the healthy person within. FIND YOURS! It's NEVER too late...NEVER!!!
Who is racing this weekend??!