The night before my first half marathon I was nervous, scared and worried. I kept asking myself, did I do enough work? Am I ready? Will I finish? I tossed and turned until early in the morning. My alarm clock rang at 4am and it was time to win the day. I hurried and took a quick shower and got ready for the race. My boyfriend got up with me, prepared for the race, and warmed up the car… oh how I love that man! Before leaving for the race I said a prayer and then held my “Pre” book in my hands, looked at the picture of Steve Prefontaine and thought about one of his quotes that has motivated and carried me along this journey. “To give anything less than you best is to sacrifice the gift.” I looked at his picture one more time and said…”We got this!” I stepped outside and it was pouring down rain! It was as if the heavens had opened up and building an arc was the next order of business for the day.
Meeting up with four super heroes…Seriously I saw their capes!
I have always run alone. So running with four other women was some what intimidating not to mention that three of the four women in this picture were running the “Quadzilla” four half marathons in four days that’s 52.4 miles in four days…holy shit that’s cray-cray! But these women were warm, inviting, funny as hell, and made me feel like part of the group right away and that was really nice.
It’s go time!
It’s almost time for the race to start. About 100 participants walked down this steep forest trail to the starting line and before I know it we are off and running. It was pouring down rain and I’m already soaked to the bone but my adrenaline is surging through my body and I couldn’t be more excited. I crank up my music and try to settle into a good running groove.
Mile four – the gratitude mile
As I approached mile four of the race I was over-come with gratitude. I began crying tears of love, joy and appreciation for all of the family, friends and Fit Camp ladies who have inspired me and supported me along the way. I was also humbled by the very presence of God and His unconditional love for me.
During this mile it felt like a flashing slide show of special people in my life. My 98 year old Grandmother who inspires to be faithful, compassionate and kind to everyone I meet. My Mother, who loves me, supports me and makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to do. My son who simply hung the moon and stars…it’s impossible to describe how much I love this young man. My amazing boyfriend who loves me, encourages me and is my greatest cheerleader. My friend Jason who lost his life several years ago in a flying accident he loved to run and always shared his love of running with me. Each and every one of the Fit Camp ladies who have shared their victories, struggles, challenges and joy…you filled my heart with gratitude. I will never, ever forget this mile as long as I live. I have always tried to live my life with an “Attitude of Gratitude” and now after mile four of this race I truly know what that means.
Anything is possible after getting lost…
As I began the eighth mile of the race two of women I was running with decided to slow down their pace due to injuries and told me to go on ahead. I said good-bye and began down the trail for the first time on my own.
This race was being held on forestry land and there were many, many trails to follow. Not until after the race did I realize that this is one of the smallest cross country races held in the state of
. Most of the participants are running in the “Quadzilla” and need this race to complete the four half or four full marathons in four days. Washington
The rain began falling harder and the trails began to flood. All of the directional signs spray painted on the ground had washed away under 3-6 inches of water. I took a wrong turn and I was lost but had no idea I was lost until I came flying down a trail only to discover a man trimming trees, a forestry gate and a paved road. All I could say was F! The man trimming trees looked at my race bib and asked if I was running a race? I told him yes, he then asked if I’d like him to drive me back to the starting line? I declined and told him I would finish the race. So I headed back up the road to once again take another wrong turn that led me to a steep ravine. As I looked up I saw a runner pass by 250-300 yards up this ravine on the trail. I knew I had no where to go but up. As I stood at the bottom of the ravine with water rushing down around my feet I prayed hard to for a safe climb. I also prayed that my boyfriend would not have to use his search and rescue skills to come fetch my ass from the side of the mountain. As I climbed up the side of the ravine I began sinking up to my knees in mud. Each step gave way to new challenges but I went slow and used the strength I had developed with all of the hours I spent with Tony and P90X to get to the top. As I reached the top of this muddy ravine I knew no matter what challenges in life I faced I had the ability to do what ever life had in store for me! I took one more wrong turn and then saw my running buddies up ahead. I was so happy to see them! They pointed me down the right trail to the finish line and off I went.
Seriously…Who ends a race up a hill?
I had just two miles left of this journey and most of it was climbing up the last hill to the finish line. I thought about my journey of weight loss and fitness and I was overwhelmed with pride. I pushed hard, it was cold I had been running and wet for over four hours but the top of the hill to the finish line was in sight. I sprinted to the finish line…I was done! I had finished my very first half marathon in 4 hours and 22 minutes running a total of 16.8 miles in some of the most adverse conditions the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Someone once told me that a goal is a dream with a deadline so my next goal is to run four more half marathons in February, March, April and May with the long term goal of joining these fabulous ladies below next year in the 2013 “Quadzilla” 4 Half marathons in 4 days race. Here’s to winning the day! Because anything is possible if you just believe!