I’ve never considered myself a runner.. in fact I would say I’ve always been an “anti-runner.” I was in track in high school but only did the 100 meter sprints and high jump. I hated long distance with a passion. It wasn’t until years later when I was about 28 years old I started running. I had been through a divorce, moved to a different country, moved to 3 different states and honestly just needed to do something for myself. I started running.. and didn’t stop.
About 6 months ago I decided why not try a half marathon? I knew this was insane and was a huge reach for someone who had only ran 3 miles at the most… ever, but I didn’t care. I wanted to set a goal that seemed unreachable and conquer it. I started training and ran about 4 times a week for 3 months. I found a bunch of “Half Marathon Training Schedules” online and stuck with one and printed it and hung it up at my desk at work to hold myself accountable. I had never felt so determined in my life as I was during this training time. ( I did get off schedule a bit during Christmas.. blame Santa Claus) but.. for the most part I stuck with the schedule and it felt so good to cross off those miles off every morning at work when I got to my desk.
One day I was walking to my car after work with my work friend, Karla and I was telling her about the race and how I was so scared but so excited because it was such a crazy thing for me to do since I’m not a runner.. I ended up talking her into joining in on the half marathon within about 4 minutes! I was so excited to have a running buddy. We ended up running together at least a few times a week for about 3 months after work. It was great to have someone to train with! My friend, Julie who is now a race junkie also decided to sign up for the race and flew in from Colorado to join in on the fun!
Fast forward to race day: Julie and I arrived and couldn’t find Karla anywhere. I was getting pretty down about it because we had trained together and I even talked her into doing the race! The 10 second countdown had begun and it was time for take off! It was so crowded! 11,000 runners! I looked around and couldn’t brush the huge smile off of my face. There were people all around me in their race gear, so many bright colors, so many smiling faces, so many people in the crowd cheering us on.. it was almost an outer body experience. About 1 minute into the race I hear someone yelling my name and it’s Karla! She was waiting in the line for the bathroom. We gave each other the biggest hug and wished each other a great race! I was so happy I saw her and I was totally ready to kick this race in the bootay!
The first 5 miles were bliss. I couldn’t stop smiling and high fiving everyone around me ( even though the first 3 miles were all up hill) My music was pumping to techno/ dance music and the runners were all as pumped as I was. I was so surprised at the sense of community. There were people everywhere cheering us on with signs, dressed up in costumes, giving away beer ( yes.. beer) and people shaking cow bells to get us runners hyped up. I can’t even tell you how many strangers gave me a high five and a pat on the back while I was running. I felt so much love and encouragement from total strangers.
I remember during mile 5 I had been running side by side with the same girl for about 2 miles. We both looked over at each other at the same time and gave each other a high five and smiled. Mile 9 finally came and the pain started to kick in.
From mile 9 on there were so many hills. I remember there was a hill by this restaurant I like called the Hula Hut and I almost wanted to cry. My right knee had sharp pains in it and my feet were killing me. I also felt delirious at this point. I realized after about 9 miles for me it wasn’t about my training anymore or about my physical fitness.. it was about my relationship with myself. I started literally talking to myself and saying “You can do this.. you’ve come too far to give up now.. keep going!” I felt like I was going a little crazy, and maybe I was… but it helped.
I remember at the last water stop one of the guys handing out water yelled ” You can do this Scarlett.. only 2 more miles, you’ve got this!” ( Our names were printed on our bibs) he must have saw how much pain I was in from my facial expressions. I’m sure it wasn’t a pretty sight. I was so thankful for this guy though. No clue who he was, but just him saying that gave me the strength to keep trucking up that one last hill.
Finally I made it to mile 13.. and only had .1 left to go. I remember seeing the Capital building and knowing the finish was right around the corner. I turned the corner and saw the finish line and never felt so happy in my entire life. All of a sudden my body had a burst of energy and I sprinted as fast as I possibly could to the finish line. I was so happy to see my boyfriend’s smiling face as I finished. I then saw my sister, Callie and Julie’s faces and gave everyone the biggest hug I felt so overwhelmed with emotions. I was so proud of myself. In this moment, I was also in so much pain and more exhausted than I’ve ever been in my life.
I realized we as humans are capable of SO much more than we even know. Coming from someone who barley could run a half mile to finishing a half marathon in 2 hours and 22 minutes.. I want everyone who is reading this to know you can do so much more than you think you can. ( Sorry, getting emotional over here.) but, truly.. I hope this encourages someone out there to set a goal that seems unreachable and to work towards it and crush that goal to pieces.
Have any of you ever ran a half or full marathon? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!