Monday, May 6, 2013

Quote of the Day: 5.6.13 A half marathon vignette

“Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won’t carry a quitter."
 ~ Stephen King
This was a really emotional half marathon for me.
I wanted to beat my time (2:02) so bad,
and I was fully prepared to make that happen.

For one, I trained really hard.
I ate cleaner, I put more miles in, and I made sure my joints were ready by resting them properly between runs, icing my knee, and taking the proper joint vitamins to keep them well-lubricated and in proper working order
(I like to call myself the Tin Man when it comes to oiling my knee!)

Secondly, I really wanted to run for Boston.
It was my first major race since the horrific Boston Marathon
attack and I put so much pressure on myself to run
for those who couldn't run and didn't get to finish.
Those who were robbed from crossing the finish line.
To support and help reinstall faith in the whole running community.
I wanted to do this for them too.

Lastly, I wanted this for myself.
They say not to compete with anyone else -
not to look around at your competitors on race morning
surveying who looks lighter, more fit, or in better athletic shape than you.
I took that to heart.
I stretched alongside girls in the 6:00/mile category -
a pace I could only dream of having
and hi-fived girls in the 12:00/mile running corrals.
We were all there with purpose,
we were all there to compete with ourselves.
Put forth the best time we have to give.

Despite a chest cold I came down with on Tuesday,
I managed to get some medicine in me and still make the
trip to Cali...there was no way in hell I was missing this race.
A little congested the days prior to race,
I was confident that with some rest I would be just fine.
And I was right.

I woke up on race morning feeling great.
I had a good nights sleep (something I sometimes
wrestle with the night before) despite pre-race jitters.
I felt pretty clear (congestion wise) and had no qualms
about being able to breathe properly while running.
The heat wave of high 80's and low 90's had broken
Sunday morning and it was in the mid 60's -
perfect running weather.
Everything was falling into place. :)

Mom and I got to the race site about 6am
so I could use the bathroom, properly stretch,
and get myself mentally prepared for
my 4th half marathon all the way on the West Coast!
I was light hearted, extremely excited, almost borderline giddy!
She kissed me and wished me luck,
backing out of the 8:30-9:30 min corral
and heading off to the sidelines to watch the gun go off.
We bowed our heads in a moment of silence
for the Boston Marathon victims
and watched the flag fly high during our National Anthem,
-land of the free, home of the brave-.

Next I know, I'm running.
I don't pay attention to my legs, they just go.
I mind as well be flying.
I'm making great time -
completely zoned out in my music, on cruise control mode.
As we pass bystanders cheering,
I pound my arms in the air and smile,
feeding off their enthusiasm,
hopefully them feeding off my adrenaline.

Next I know I'm passing Mile 7, but something is wrong with my knee.
My right knee is jamming up,
a slight clicking every few feet.
This is not good.
My right knee is known to lock up
during the last few halves I've done,
but WAY later in the game. Like Mile 11.

I run through the pain, trying to focus
on the beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay on my right.
The breeze is intoxicating.
The view is breathtaking.
But the pain is more acute now.
It disables my pace; I know I'm in trouble.
From this point, I have to stop every 1/2 mile,
 bend down for the bone to click back into place
in order to continue.

I'm nearly paralyzed in fear as this is the first time
I don't know if I'll be able to finish a race.
I felt so great this morning,
why is this happening?

I push the thought away.
I keep running.
The pain is overwhelming,
but I run through it.
I feel like I am dragging my right leg
and I compensate by shifting the weight mostly
to my left foot, take a little pressure off the right knee.

The worst feeling in the world is having to slow down
because your legs aren't cooperating with your mind,
not because you're fatigued.
Its betrayal of the worst kind.
I keep moving, but I know I'm not on pace.
I know I'm falling behind,
but I don't let fear overcome me.
I keep praying.
I ask God to let me finish.
I ask him to take over and get me to the finish line.

And he does.
I cross the line at 2:08,
6 minutes behind my record time of 2:02.
Mom snaps a picture of me as I pass,
and I give a wave and blow a kiss.
She is there for me and only me,
and I share this moment with her too.

I'm crowned with a medal, and
 rewarded for my hard work with a rose,
a tiara, and a glass of champagne-
but I'm not in the celebrating mood.
I find the nearest curb,
collapse on it, and the tears come.
Mom comes over with a huge smile to congratulate me
and my hands are buried in my face,
I'm literally sobbing.
"What's the matter?", she's hugging me
and trying to soothe me.
I'm so disappointed in myself,
I can't even get the words out I'm crying so hard.
I tell her about my knee trouble at Mile 7,
how I dragged it the last 6 miles.
"I did SO bad!
I didn't beat my time" is all I can get out.
"What are you talking about?
You finished, even under adverse conditions.
1) You're sick.
2) You injured yourself.
And  3) you still crossed the finish line...
You're TOO HARD on yourself!!!!" she scolds.

When I calm down, I shake it off -
like a real runner does.
I'm proud of the work I put in.
I'm proud I traveled across the country to check
another half marathon off my list.
I'm proud I have the best support team in the world (aka my mom)
and I'm proud I crossed the finish line.

There is always next race.
Boston, this one is still for you.

Half Marathon Fall 2013,
I'm coming for YOU.

This quote of the day is dedicated to all those who finish,
despite unfortunate circumstances, setbacks, roadblocks.

Whenever you're feeling down, come back to that quote:
“Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won’t carry a quitter."


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