I actually woke up on time this morning (shocker) and for the first Saturday probably ever didn't have to rush getting ready. As I was leaving I had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting something but had no idea what -- I had my water, my gatorade, my gel, my Garmin - my 7am brain told me I was ready to go.
Once I got there I realized that of all things, I forgot my phone. That meant no route map, no music, and no pictures (the most devastating part obviously). Great.
We had another "field trip" today to run more of the half marathon course. The first few miles were familiar since we've ran them before. But boy, they weren't easy. I struggled to find my groove and could tell after the first few miles that it was going to be one of those "off" runs -- aka my only goal was to finish and not have to be committed to the mental hospital or the ER by the end.
If only I knew then that the first 4 miles would be the EASY miles, I would have probably thrown in the towel right then and there. Mile 4 is where we had a long and gradual uphill which led us to more hills and marked the difficult part of the course.
To prove that I am not just being my usual baby self and complaining about hills, this is what the elevation looked like:
|see? hills. not being a baby|
I started to really fall behind my pace group at this point, although I could still see most of them ahead of my still. The course goes through a big cemetery which is super hilly and has lots of twists and turns. About halfway through the cemetery, I was REALLY struggling and debated stopping and waiting for the 13 minute pace group so I could fall back with them.
Well, my decision was made for me when one of the girls in my group yelled back to tell me that our pacer had taken a wrong turn and that the 13 group wasn't behind us anymore. Awesome.
Most of my group was already way ahead and out of sight at this point. Thankfully two girls from my group who were in between the group and myself stuck with me and stopped and waited for me at the end of the cemetery.
One of the coaches was waiting at the end of the cemetery with extra water and let me tell you I felt like I was running towards Jesus, I was so excited to get some water in me. I had drank through all three of my water bottles by that point and really needed water. I refilled and we were off to tackle the rest of the miles.
I wish I could say it got easier from here but it most certainly did not. I was struggling mentally and physically to keep going and wanted so so bad to stop. Had it not been for the two girls staying with me I probably would have given up and hitchhiked back to my car.
After what felt like forever, we finally made it to the end. 2+ hours and 10.9 miles later, I officially have my longest and most challenging run under my belt:
I seriously got a little bit choked up at the end. First of all, because I was so grateful to have such amazing running buddies who didn't give up on me and stuck with me and encouraged me the whole time (THANK YOU Steph and Katie :) Secondly, because I am IN AWE that I just ran 10+ miles. Never in my entire life would I EVER have imagined that I would do this. If someone bet me a year ago that I would be running ten miles, I would have thought they were crazy. You couldn't pay me to do that! As discouraged as I sometimes get about being slow and having tough runs, I am amazed at how far I have come in my running journey. I am so proud of myself and even more proud to have such amazing support from my friends, family and training friends. Today was definitely the toughest challenge yet, but I made it through and am excited to keep on keepin' on!