Saturday, September 24, 2011

One of Life's Proud Moments

Despite all that's going on I am still finding moments for life and commitments I have made and following through with them.  This past Sunday was an event I had committed to back in the spring by registering for the Army Run 1/2 Marathon!  I had every excuse in the book to drop out, to sell my race bib this year.

I used the heat as an excuse not to get out and run often and far enough (wasn't it stinkin' hot this year?).  Then almost 3 weeks prior to Race Day life was turned upside down with Mum's hospitalization.  I didn't let any of those excuses hold me back or stop me ... I spent the week leading up to race day freaking out, worried about how prepared I wasn't and so on.  As Nike says: "Just Do It" and that's what I intended to do.  My goal was just to cross the finish line, I didn't care how I did it, or how long it would take!

 This is what Freakin' Dark O'Clock looks like

I woke up Sunday morning at Freakin' Dark O'Clock!  Not my favourite time of the day.  With my bag packed the night before, and running clothes set out, I made a fantastic protein smoothie for breakfast and set out for what I was considering to be the craziest day of my life!

 Can't you tell I LOVE mornings?

Witness our nervous smiles?

I met up with my friends Amy and Marline.  Amy was supposed to walk the 1/2 marathon (21.1 K) but she sadly declared when I saw her at the end of August that she was "broken again" but that she would be my "Race Day Bitch" aka: chauffeur, photographer, Sherpa, water boy and more!  I couldn't turn that down.  Amy was going to take care of both Marline and I that day, Marline was doing her first race ever, the 5K event and I was doing the 1/2 marathon (did I mention that's 21.1K?). 

 Marline and I in our Army Run swat.  Black = 1/2 marathon, White = 5K

The morning started off cold, pretty darned cold!  I started the morning in a sweater but I gave it to Amy once I went to find my starting corral.  I didn't want to be burdened and I knew as soon as I got started I would be warm enough.  By the end of my race, it was a perfect day, sunny and 20c the conditions couldn't of been better!

 Injured Soldiers getting ready to start the 5K race

The 5K race started at 8am.  There was lots of ceremony to the event, the Governor General's Band was there to lead us through O'Canada, there were MC's, lots of press and more.  The start the race with the injured soldiers who get a head start.  That was one of the most emotional things I have ever witnessed!  You saw all kinds of injured soldiers some in chairs, some with one prosthetic leg, some with two.  There were wheelchairs, crutches, canes and more.  It was truly moving to see all these men and women whose life have been changed forever serving our country.  Marline used to serve in the military and she was doing the race with a friend of hers who was injured while in the service, she's in a back brace.  Amy and I both had tears rolling down our faces.  Then the 5K runners were off!

 5K Runners waiting to start

Not long after they took off, I had time for a quick visit to the porta-potty and I had to go find my corral.  I had initially pegged myself as finishing in 2hr 30min.  I knew after the summer I had that this wasn't a reality, I figured I would be more in the 3hr range.  The next thing I knew the Howlizter Cannon went off and it was time to get moving!  I turned my music on as I crossed the start line and off I went to conquer 21.1 K as best as I could!

 Getting a high-five from Marline at the 18K mark

The course took us past Parliament Hill, The Supreme Court, National Library & Archives Canada, National War Museum, across the river and into the province of Quebec for a jog through downtown Hull, back across the Alexandria Bridge, past the National Art Gallery, National Mint, 24 Sussex Drive (the PM's house) and up to Rideau Hall then back towards the Rideau Center, down once side of the Rideau Canal across it and back up the other side to the finish line.

My initial goal was to run as long as I could, I figured somewhere between 5-8K the do the rest of the distance at a run/walk (10 min/1 min).  I even surprised myself and RAN THE FIRST 14 KM!  Well over half of the distance!

 Mark who had already run the 1/2 Marathon talking me through the last 2K to the finish line

I knew a couple of other people who were running the 1/2 Marathon that day.  My buddy Mark from Taekwon-do passed me when I was at the 3K mark and he was at the 6K mark.  Carrie from work passed when I was at the 14K mark and she at the 16K mark.  It really was a bolster to see friends running too!  I had the best surprise when I hit the 19K mark and I was starting to run out of steam and my body was starting to protest.  Mark who had already ran the 1/2 marathon was waiting for me and asked me if I'd like him to run the last few KMs with me.  I certainly didn't turn down the offer.  Mark was amazing, he kept up this continuous pep-talk to keep my moving and my spirits up when I was nearing the end of my endurance.  Because of Mark I finished, and I finished strong!


I couldn't believe it as the finish line came into sight and I saw 2:55:10 on the clock!  I was going to cross the line in UNDER 3 hours!  2:49:42.6 was my official time when you take into account the time difference between the gun going off and when I actually crossed the start line.

 Receiving my medal from a Canadian Soldier

Nice touch!  Dog tags for medals!

Looking amazingly fresh and happy after finishing my FIRST Half Marathon

This was one of the most amazing, empowering, and positive moments in my life!  Right now I feel like I could do anything!  I'd like to think that one of my strengths is how when I put my mind to accomplishing something I WILL accomplish it no matter how hard the challenge is.

 Cooling down afterwards and using my cool silver blankie as a super-hero cape!  I felt like a super-hero!

I went from this fat, unhealthy 200+ pound girl in 2007 who the only time you would of seen her running was out of a burning building, to running a 1/2 Marathon 21.1 K!!!
You can do truly amazing things when you're stubborn!


Karen said...

WOW! You are amazing! With everything going on with your mom and all... You did great!

jayne@~an eye for threads~ said...


Maureen said...

I am so impressed! It would have been so easy for you to back out of it what with everything going on but big congrats on sticking at it! I've run a couple of 5ks before and they are tortuous enough - and walked a half marathon - anyone that runs one of those has my admiration ...