I am not really sure where to start with this post because I have so much in my head to write about my experience last weekend.
First of all, I rode to and from Dallas with some of the best women on the planet. They supported me, prayed with me, laughed with me and helped me get through the race and the weekend. I’m certain I could not have done it without them. Thank you, Dawn, Jeantelle, Michelle and Carol.
But… I guess I should start with the weather. Since early last week I knew, from peeking at the forecast over and over, that the weather was more than likely NOT going to be ideal. My friend Dawn (who also ran) and I just kept hoping and praying something would change but it did not.
So, this was my gear, including an old sweatshirt (which saved my bacon!) and a waterproof jacket, gloves and some new awesome socks I got at the expo/packet pick up on Saturday.
Fast forward to us ready to run…
the crowd, ready to go…
As we stood in our corral (C3) waiting to walk ahead and actually cross the start line (Holy Moses 25,000 is a lot of people to run a race!) I told Dawn we weren’t in Kansas (also known as Cajun country) anymore! We were cold (40 degrees cold) but huddled around many others so that kept us somewhat warm. But, as we started to move and spread out it got colder and started rain.
And it never stopped.
We actually crossed the start line more than 20 minutes after the first runners did. I won’t get into all the details but I had some wardrobe issues the first couple of miles and wanted to make sure my phone (which I ran with for timing and music) would not get too wet. By the time we were somewhere into the second mile my shoes and fancy socks were completely soaking wet, my toes were numb and rain was dripping off of my forehead. It was ridiculous.
Dawn and I ran together until about mile 5 when she went on ahead and I shed my waterproof jacket (literally threw it to some people on the side cheering us runners on) and put my earphones in and started my music.
Around mile 7 we were running in a really nice part of Dallas, north of downtown (I failed to mention that we ran down the street where our hotel was located but turned before we got there. I was REALLY tempted to keep going straight and get back in bed). Anyway, as we were running by mansions (yes, mansions), there were many spectators cheering and thanking us (the race benefited a large, local children’s hospital) and holding signs. At one point someone was holding a big pink sign with my baby girl’s name written in huge black letters and spelled the same way, KATELYN…
I started crying and couldn’t tell at that point if it was the rain or my tears on my face. I guess it was both at that point. Then I saw her sweet face in my head and knew I was past the halfway point and could finish, for her and for me.
I get all teary just thinking about it again as I type…
At mile 8.5 we split off from those running the full marathon (SO glad I went the right way!!!) and I knew I “only” had 4.5ish miles to go. But somewhere along miles 9-10 something really strange and new started to happen and I began to feel muscle spasms in my calves, on both legs. They didn’t hurt, just felt funny. And then during miles 10-11 the toe cramps started. Yes folks, TOE CRAMPS. My toes cramped and literally curled up SO badly that I had to STOP and stretch my feet and calves. And then I knew my time/pace was going downhill fast (no pun intended).
But, at this point I just wanted to finish. I had to.
I have NEVER been so happy to see the number 12 in my entire life.
I ran/walked the last 1.5 miles or so and crossed the finish line running, and even smiling, since I knew there were cameras everywhere (this race is a big deal in Dallas and was even on television).
I was so DONE.
In more ways than one.
I was hurting, in a daze and cold and soaking wet, down to my underwear.
I texted Tim to tell him I was done, even though he was hundreds of miles away.
And then I followed the herd and went into the building they had us all file into to get my medal, find Dawn, some food and drink and my “finishers” shirt. Oh yeah, that was MINE! I was a FINISHER!! 😀 We also took our picture together…
can u see how happy I was just to finish?
Thankfully, Michelle (one of Dawn’s BFFs who came down with us for support) brought us dry clothes and we changed in the ladies room. If she had not, I don’t know what we would have done because you know what? It continued to rain and rain and rain and when you are wet you are even colder. Just FYI.
I know this is already like THE longest post ever but I have to tell you all, I now TRULY consider myself a runner, even if I never do this again. I looked at that 13.1 around my neck and started to cry a half a dozen times. This is really something I would have NEVER imagined myself doing, 10, 5 or even 2 years ago…
I’m not very happy with my time which was 2 hours, 33 minutes and 27 seconds and works out to 11:42/minute mile. Ugh. During my training I was averaging 10:40/mile and I SO wanted to finish under 2 and half hours.
And I KNOW the weather and my unexpected pains (did you EVER see me mention my ankle above?? NO! crazy, huh??) hindered me quite a bit but it doesn’t do much to curb my disappointment on that front.
Of course the next question is will I do another half and right now, I just don’t know. I would REALLY like to beat that time but I’m just not sure my body is really cut out for this long distance running thing. I will just have to see.
I want to thank you all again for your supportive comments, tweets, emails and messages in general. They REALLY meant so much to me all weekend and I felt so very loved and supported by this community and that in itself is amazing.
Right now I’m off to take more Advil and nurse this cold that may or may not have come on after running in the rain for over 2 hours…
But I will do it all wearing this. 🙂