Friday, October 19, 2012

Fitness Friday: The Big Race

It's that time again friends!!


Today's Fitness Friday is going to be a little different, and I hope you all don't mind. Instead of sharing my usual weekly recipes and workouts, I wanted to take this time to reflect back on the last 6 months of my fitness journey.

When Dana and my friend Joe and I committed to running a half marathon in 2012, I didn't know if I would ever see that finish line. 13.1 miles is a LOT longer than a 5K. It was a big leap for us...but we jumped in head first. 

We started training in April and it was a long 3 months of pushing ourselves harder than we had ever pushed ourselves before. Our busy schedules and the insane heat kept us from training as much as we wanted...but we did our best. Dana and I like to say that we "Trained Like a Mother", meaning we trained as much as any Mommy could with two little kiddies at home.

So when the big race finally came in July, we felt as ready as we could be.

And if you look at this picture of me about to cross the finish line, you could easily make the assumption that I kicked that half marathon's ass.


 But the truth is...I didn't. 

Did I finish the race? Hell yes. Did I earn my medal? You bet your sweet ass I did.

But was I slightly disappointed in the way the race went? Abso-freaking-lutely. 

The first half of this race was so exciting. The fans. The crowds. The energy. I couldn't even feel my legs. I was just running....and watching the mile markers pass. I remember reaching the 5K mark and then the 10K mark...we were doing so great!!

But then half way through mile 7, I started to see that big wall in front of me. The wall that so many runners talk about. I could see it before I felt it. I remember I started feeling hot. Really hot. And then the negativity seeped in.

Suddenly it was quiet. The crowds were gone. The fans were few and far between. We were far from downtown and all I could hear were my feet hitting the pavement. And other runners breathing heavily around me. Dana was trying so hard to motivate me. When we would finally come across a band or a group of cheerleaders, she would reach for my hand and try to make me dance with her. She tried so hard...but I was gone.

All I can remember from the last 4 miles of the race is being excited for the buckets of wet sponges they were passing out. I wanted to grab 10 of them and shove them down my shirt and shorts. I was so damn hot. And dizzy. And tired. This is also where I started crying.

And in those last 4 miles I walked. A lot. It was like once I allowed myself to take a break...I was toast. I couldn't get my legs going again. I would jog for a minute or two and then have to stop again. I contemplated waving my white flag and heading for a Medical tent. 

But I didn't.

Dana had already sacrificed her time to help me and even though I begged her multiple times to leave me, she wouldn't. So I had to finish for her. And my Dad. And Eric. And my Mom and babies, who waiting for me at home.


Everyone was so, SO proud of us. Eric and Kevin were cheering, my Dad was snapping pictures, everyone I knew was sending me text messages and calling my phone. Everyone was so proud of us.

And because of them, I tried SO HARD to let go of my disappointment. To forget those last 4 miles. To forget I cried. To forget that I ruined Dana's time. To forget that I lost Joe somewhere in the crowd. To forget I didn't actually run the whole half marathon. I tried so hard.

But that night I couldn't sleep. I just kept replaying everything in my head. Was it all the weekday runs we had to miss? Was it because we didn't strength train? Was it because I didn't get enough sleep the night before? Was it the freaking heat?

I wanted a second chance.

And so on a late-night whim...I signed up for the Monster Dash Half Marathon. The race was in October so it would be MUCH cooler, I would have 3 more months to train the right way and of course, I wouldn't be as nervous the second time around. I would know what to expect.

The moment I hit send...I started questioning my sanity. What the HELL was I thinking signing up for ANOTHER half marathon? And 3 months later no less. But I figured if I was going to put myself through all this again...I wanted to do it right this time. 

And that's when I started Operation LGN. I needed friends to keep me accountable for working out, getting my runs in and eating right. I needed people I could vent to when I was frustrated, and celebrate with when I was excited. Sharing my fitness journey online with all of you has made me work so much harder these last 3 months and I am a changed woman because of it. Now I feel guilty when I don't get some sort of exercise each day, I think twice about what I eat (sometimes) and I feel more confident in myself. 

This time around, I know I've given it my all. The yoga, the strength training, the extra running...it has all made a difference and I can feel it. I know that we are going to do great this time around and no matter the outcome...I am going to feel proud of myself for working so hard this year. For sacrificing 6 months of my life to train for these two races.

And this time, I hope Dana and I can run side by side...in our tutus and t-rex shirts. I hope we can be each other's cheerleaders and each other's motivators. I hope we can dance at every band. And I hope we can finish this race as strong as we start it. 

Because you see two weeks from now...I'm going to have to be this guy's cheerleader.


Daddy-O promised me that if I ran my half marathon this year, he would run a 5K with me. And so, we will be running the Hot Chocolate 5K in two weeks...our first race together. 

The first of many.

And I can't wait to be there when he crosses his big finish line this year :-)

******

Thank you all for following along on this journey and for always offering such wonderful support and encouragement. It means more than I can ever express.

So I'll chat with you all Monday!! Wish us luck!!

3 comments:


  1. Why do you have to make me tear up before work? :) I'm sure I will be tearing up on Monday when I read how well you did! You are truly an inspiration, Jen. You are the reason why so many of us have gotten off our butts and started exercising. If the crowds start to get quiet, hear all of us cheering you on! You will do fantastic, and I CAN'T WAIT to hear how you did!

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  2. I agree with the above statement! I'm tearing up and I haven't even finished my coffee! I know how hard you have worked for this one. I have no doubt you will do much much better this time around. Hopefully this time you will be crying tears of joy! We've all had a bad race. Hell my first 5k I was still drunker than a skunk and oh so hung over. It was awful and painful. I can't wait to hear all about how you kicked that 13.1 in the ass! Enjoy it girl!!

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  3. YAY!!! I am so proud of you! I love hearing these stories. It is so motivational. Dedicating yourself to a goal is amazing. And you DID IT! You gave back to yourself....well deserved. I cannot wait to hear about how the race went! xoxo

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