Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Operation Clumsy Gazelle - Complete!

So here is something I never thought I would say.  I completed a half marathon last weekend.  Wait - that didn't quite do it justice so I'm going to say it again - louder this time - I COMPLETED A HALF MARATHON LAST WEEKEND!!!

Here's the scoop.  Back in November my (slightly insane) best friend Heather sent me a text message "Hey do you wanna run a half marathon with me in April?"  And for some weird reason I just sent back a quick "Sure" and that was all there was to it.  I was going to run a half marathon. The Rock The Parkway run in Kansas City to be exact and Operation Clumsy Gazelle was launched to get CJ on board as well.

Problem #1: starting training for a marathon in November is a bit masochistic due to the imminent arrival of the holidays as well as the cold weather.
Text sent to Heather 

Problem #2: I don't at ALL.
Here is how I felt about Heather and the project in general after my first 2.5 mile run in 40 degree weather.  Don't judge me for the gesture - I was in some serious pain and had to convey the feeling over a 200 mile gap in distance :)

But I perservered as much as I could between working, taking care of the kids, remodeling the house and snow and ice on the ground.  Got a membership to the YMCA and spent way too much time on the treadmill and track, utilized the training schedule on the "Couch to 10K" program and got into a reasonable amount of shape.  At least able to do a 10 mile run with intervals - averaging 14:30 minute miles.  With the minimum to not get picked up by the pace car set at 15:00 I felt pretty good going into it.

I had a fitness test when I joined the gym on 11/12/2012 and another one the day before I left for KC.  The results were pretty astounding.  Over 5 months I lost 12.4 pounds, 4 inches around my waist and 6 from my hips and my body fat percentage went down 10% points so even though my scale didn't move as much as I wanted it to, its under my skin that the transformation was taking place.

The weekend of the race arrived and of course it couldn't be without some minor drama.  Even though I had signed up for the 1/2 marathon, my registration packet showed 5K.  NOT amused!  Especially since I was sure that everyone thought I was copping out of the 13.1 in favor of the 5K...but we got everything sorted out and here we were, the day after I turned 34.  Starting off a new year of life with a big accomplishment.

I was seriously intimidated by the fact that there were a TON of people out there.  I knew that I was the one that everyone was looking at and figuring I would get picked up by the pace car or die on the way to the finish line.  I had warned Heather and CJ that I was slow - but starting off at the pace where they were running made me seriously panic.  I dropped back to a more appropriate pace and got myself into a rhythm and felt much better!  Before I dropped back in the pack I shouted to my fellow gazelles "I will finish - I promise" It was those words that helped me fight through the pain and self doubt.

Question: Do you know what they call someone who finishes last in a marathon?
Answer: A marathon runner!

The volunteers along the route were amazing, one guy that I will always remember around Mile 5 shouted to me "It's your pace - OWN IT!" and that became my mantra as I pumped my way through the next 8.1 miles (that extra .1 makes a difference don't let anyone tell you different).  Every mile marker was another one completed!

I only saw the pace car one time and that was while going up a gigantic hill at Loose Park.  Seeing the lights of the crawling police vehicle was enough to make me step it up and I never saw it again after I crested that hill.
 Along the way I was encouraged by a lot of the fellow runners.  Johanna - who was running her second 1/2 marathon was an awesome inspiration with a similar body type and we spent about 2.5 miles together but I could aways hear her shouting encouragement after another mile was completed.

Eric was doing his 14th run and still loved doing it even though he was at the back of the pack right along with me.

The volunteers and pace runners were just awesome and I'm glad that this was the first race that I have run.
 The last half was one of the most emotional experience of my life.  I was in an insane amount of pain.  Somehow my foot started rubbing on the bottom of my shoe and I could feel a blister starting to form at the bottom of the ball of my foot but my words to my friends echoed in my brain.  "I will finish, I promise" Seeing the "Mile 12" sign made me want to fall down and kiss the pavement.  I had one mile to go and it was all downhill.  I was going to finish this thing!!!

About a half mile from the end I heard my name being called from behind me, I looked over my shoulder and saw two crazy girls who came back for me and crossed the finish line with me!  By that time I was all out sobbing.

 The photos of my jog across the Finish make it look like I am going to die - but really its just the relief and overwhelming sense of accomplishment that could only express itself through heaving, ugly sobs and fat plump tears falling down my face.  I freaking did it!!!
I could not have done it without my Core Four sisters!

CJ, in her infinite wisdom, booked massages for us at 2:00 after the race.  I couldn't have been more happy about that particular deal.  Then some shoe shopping at Zona Rosa and a fabulous dinner at Peanches in Westport with all four of my Core Four sisters!  Much wine and celebration and amazing conversation!!

When I got home, with my big heavy medal the boys showered me with love, my legs were screaming and my feet were stinging with blisters but they were almost as excited as me to have me "win" the race and "beat the car across the finish line"  I still get choked up thinking about last weekend.  Oh my goodness I ran a half marathon!

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