I really have no idea what to write. Seriously one cannot put into words what an experience it was.
And I think some of the reason I didn't/haven't written about is because I figured it would be really over. It would be done. And I didn't want it to be done. The half was the best experience of my fitness adventure to date.
But here goes...
Game Day. March 9, 2014. A day that will be forever ingrained in my mind, body, and soul.
I woke up from *attempting* to sleep.
I took a shower, got dressed in my gear, laced up my shoes.
Packed enough water to supply a small country. Protein shakes, chocolate milk, and bananas were added. And I think we were finally ready to hit the open road.
Headed towards what I've been working on and dreaming about for so long.
I left Charleston *just* a runner.
But I came back so much more.
We arrived early to the start line.
I had to pee so much. Of course, at most of these races there are porta-potties. Thankfully I do squats! :) We arrived about 45 minutes before race time. So that meant 45 minutes to psych myself out. But thankfully Brent was there. We talked about small stuff. Trying to take my mind off about what I was getting myself into. He calmed me down. I calmed myself down.
Then it hit me.
I was about to become a HALF MARATHONER!!!
I, of course, started to cry from excitement, nerves, anticipation, and every other emotion one could have at this point.
I thought I was going to feel out of place, like I didn't belong. Because I still felt (and feel at times) 377 lbs. But there was such a variety runners out there. I felt so comfortable and ready to go!
Finally the annoucer told us to line up. Said somethings. Honestly couldn't hear or remember any of it.
We lined up. Brent went to the side and it was all me now.
We were off.
I kept my pace steady. I had it in my head to listen to my body and when I felt I needed to walk or slow down. Do it. This wasn't a race to beat everyone else. This race was about me beginning my new adventure. Leaving "Unhealthy Lydia" and all her bad habits and excuses in the dust. Although for the record she comes back from time to time. She always will but I don't let her control me anymore.
The trail was BEAUTIFUL!!! A fancy, shmancy resort. Lined with gorgeous trees, lakes, cutesy resturants and shops. It was something out of a movie set. I didn't take many pictures of the course because I was focused on getting done at the time I had in my head. But here is one that I took.
Next thing I knew, I was an hour in and 5 miles down.
Holy SHIT! I thought to myself. I just ran 5 miles in an hour. I've never done that before. I stuck my chest out and contined to run and pace myself.
Then 30 minutes later I was at mile 7! What the heck! I'm kicking ass!!
At this point my body was said slow it down some. You're half way through walk some so you can run across the finish line.
I walked mile 8. And during that time I met the coolest woman ever.
I wished I had gotten her name. She was in her 70s and running this thing. We made small talk and I told her she is my role model. Because at her age I still want to be doing halfs! Hell yeah!! She told me she wanted to finish under or at 3 hours like me. So then we parted and wished each other luck because my energy was coming back and I wanted to finish strong.
I picked my pace up at the beginning of mile 9, which the course took us through the little shops and there were people out there cheering for us. This one woman, having her morning coffee, said once you get over the small bridge you'll be at mile 10 and the rest is just a 5K! I laughed and told her that's nothing this is just my warm up! We shared a good chuckle and I got back in my zone. Saw the race photographer, naturally I had to ham it up! When I get them in I will post them because they are AWESOME!!!
Now it's mile 11-12 and I hit that proverbially wall!
NOOOOOOO!!! Damn it! Why now body and mind? So close!! Can't go on anymore. Leg hurts. Feet hurt. Being the beast I am I pushed through because I didn't come all this way to punk out. I didn't drive 2 hours to quit. I didn't put of with t-shirt nazi to quit. I didn't train for months to quit. I didn't lose 200 pounds to give up now!! HELL NO! If you have to crawl across that finish line...you're finishing. You're getting your well deserved medal and chili cheese dog!
Half way through mile 12, I mustered up whatever energy I had left and headed towards the end. At this point I think I was just so overwhelmed with everything. I was actually doing it. I'm a half marathoner. I am a BEAST! I need to do this again.
At around .2 miles to go, I saw Brent and my Dad walking towards me. Cheering me on. Rooting for me. That was the little spark I needed to finish strong! And they walked the last part as I ran. That meant so much to me. More than I think they realize.
I ran over the line at 2 hours 54 minutes and 27 seconds!! I did it.
I wanted under 3 hours and I got it.
I got my medal.
I got the honor of being in a place where I belong. A HALF MARATHONER!!!
And my little old lady friend finished in right at 3 hours. I congratulated her and cheered on the few people. And crossed the finish line with a woman and her friend. The woman was about my age and I was her weight at one time during this adventure. She inspired more than she will ever know. She is awesome. She went out there and did her thing. And I have mad respect for her. I congratulated her on finishing and we went our seprerate ways.
But those 2 women had such an impact on my life. They were strong, hardworking, hard finishing half marathoners. To me they represented what you can do no matter where you are in your life.
So the long awaited Half recap is done and so is my race. But not the memories I will forever carry with me. I will never be the same person I was at the start line. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds it really did change me. This whole adventure has shown me time and time again that I can do whatever the hell I want.
I am a stronger, healthier, more determined, more everything.
I am who I'm suppose to be!
Lydia the Half Marathoner. Obesity fighter. Ass kicker!