October 15, 2011.. will go down in my Life Story.. as one of the most memorable days of my life.. It will be right up there with the birth of my children!. On that crisp, cloudy, and drizzly, 38 degree day... my life, changed... forever. I went from "One day, I will run a half marathon.. to "Today, I completed my first half marathon.."
On that day...
- I just proved to myself.. that I am athlete.
- All my hard work, paid off.
- My will power to keep running kept me going. I did not stop or walk..I kept running.
- I ran through the pain.
- My fears, were put to the test.
- I learned, endurance comes with time.
- I realized, I was strong.
- My dreams were no longer just visions.
- I knew, I will never be the same...
And it's true..
I'm not the same "Ronalyn" as I was the day before this moment. I am no longer "I wonder if.." or "Could I?"
I'm the Ronalyn, who can do anything that I set my mind out to do.
I'm not sure how many times, I've started to write and then deleted it...
What can I say? I'm stil on freakin' cloud 9! I mean.. holy #!@%& ! I freakin' did it! I get on here and I'm all tongue tied.. like I am filled with so much emotion.. that I can't even get one word out. The thing is, I wanna walk around with my medal on, in the grocery store, around the neighborhood, and even for a run.. I wanna stand on top of a mountain and yell "I DID IT!" I think I pretty much win bragging rights for a while.. on this one.
It's ashamed I didn't get a week to bask in my glory.. and to sit in a massage chair while rose petals fall on me.. while listening to the most soothing music. Right after the race.. I went straight to work! Yes, you read that right! I had not one but TWO photoshoots that day! I headed straight to a one year old birthday party where we were hired to photograph the event and set up our equipment for a dress up photoshoot as well! I even changed at thier house! Then right after that, we had a newborn shoot that lasted over 2 hours.
So, I kept going... till my head hit that sofa, and I literally could not move! Then the pain.. set in. My body was yelling at me.. and I felt it loud and clear.
This is Rebecca and I before the race.. Little did we know...
"Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.”
– Joel Barker
So just like most life-changing moments.. comes the re-enactment that you play in your head over and over again.. just trying to remember.. so you don't forget... that YES, you were there.. this happened...
So it seems like I've been training forever for this moment.. I actually wanted to run the half marathon in August.. but it just happened to be the same day as a wedding we were shooting. And even though I managed to do a one year old birthday party.. my 30 minute absence would be most noticeable in a wedding. But training started to dwindle down in the last 3 weeks leading up the race. Instead of following the exact plan.. I just tried to put in a long distance and a short distance in. But it really required me to run at least 3 times a week.. and I ended up doing 2. But I threw in some hills, which I've never done.. so that was good. And I also started running with people..
(photo below, Tuesday Night races with Rebecca and Brynn)
And.. I love running with others! Especially when we try new trails.. which I would never do on my own. I've also always ran with music.. but to be able to carry a conversation and run is amazing.
Back to the Half Marathon...
The first 5 miles I ran with Rebecca.. a nice comfortable pace. I kept telling myself "don't go to fast.. " Then Brynn met us at the drinking station.. Which btw, I've always wanted to take a drink and toss the cup!! And I did!
By Mile 5.. I was getting in my groove. Which I've noticed in all my runs. I start feeling really good by this time. So I ran solo from Mile 5 and on. But I've stuck with what my girlfriend and marathon runner, Lynne.. told me once.. was to find someone ahead of you and just try to keep up with them.. And ironically it was a lady that works with my husband, who I only see on races.. she always wears these bright knee highs.. so I fixated on her..
But by Mile 7-8 we were passing one another back and forth.. then I found another lady that kept a really good pace in all black. I was behind her the entire way. Little did she know, she kept me going.. even when she slowed down and I passed her, she always managed to come up ahead of me. Just enough so I could focus on her.
By now.. my legs are just doing what they were made to do.. which is to move.
My knees started to kill me by Mile 9. I started running while lifting my knees up with every other stride. And my neck was killing me.. If anyone knows how to stretch while are you running.. fill me in.
Then I saw MILE 10. Mile 10 = Mentally Challenging.
I've always agreed with runners.. that running is a mental sport as well as physical. I have never been put to the test, mentally, as I have.. during Mile 10. That's where.. it hit me like a ton of bricks.. First fear.. "Ive never ran past 10, the training stopped at 10!" When you begin to let in the littlest amount of fear.. well, it leaves room for everything else. I just remember.. my mind wandering.. to the path, then to the pain, then back to the girl I kept following from mile 7. The goal was to always be right behind her.. at some points passing her.. and then watch her ahead of me again. A mind game of cat and mouse.. is how I kept it going. But Mile 10.. seemed like the never ending mile. I felt like it took forever to see the 11 Mile mark.
But by Mile 11.. I began to see some familiar spots that Rebecca had taken me the week before to introduce me to the HILL that was the last mile.
Now why they goin' put a darn hill on our last mile? It killed me.. at the same time.. I knew I was almost there.
I remember chugging along, then my heart was beating so fast as I could hear the bells in the end.. I knew I was near.. And I pushed... and crossed the finish line.
I bawled like a baby you guys.. no joke! So many mixed emotions.. but most of all I was so proud of myself. The only thing I could think about is .. When can I do this again.
That night... I googled "upcoming races for Anchorage" And although no half marathons anytime soon.. there were a bunch of 5k's..I'm hooked. Already getting back to training.. to beat this PR. To be better than I was then... to keep proving to myself that I am stronger then I was that day.
So I enjoyed 3 days of rest.. and even better.. I enjoyed my first run after this Half.. a good, swift 6 miles.. My state of mind said "you got this!" And I breezed through it!