Monday, January 16, 2012

I Trained. I Ran. I Conquered.

Most people know by now, but yesterday I ran in the P.F. Chang's Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon. It is something I have been training for since June. I lost 55 lbs. while training for it, and was only 4 lbs from my goal come race day. I can't think of a better way to celebrate loosing all that weight then by really challenging yourself and doing something of this magnitude. It has given me a new appreciation of how truly amazing the human body is. How hard you can push yourself if you want something bad enough and that it really is mind over matter. When I wanted to walk (during the training and race) I told myself I could do it. Being 75 lbs over weight I didn't tell many people about my plans to do the race because I didn't want negative comments made or anyone to question my abilities- I limited it to a couple of close friends and mine and Drew's family. Thankfully my cousin committed to coming out and running it with me. What a blessing that was. Knowing she was supporting me in my weekly communications with her (she acted as my coach/trainer) telling her how hard upping my speed on the treadmill had been or when I had hit a serious wall about a month ago and found little motivation to run everyday she knew what to say and what answers I needed.
I realized how important the support was and I started talking about the race more. I realized the more I talked about it the more people started expecting things from me, and the more excited I was because others were bringing it up and wanting to know how the training was going. It started to feel more real. At Thanksgiving I remember thinking it was mean of them to plan a race 2 weeks after the new year because it was right after the holidays, but it really helped keep me in check. Now I am grateful- I am sure I would've gained weight during that period had it not been for what was coming up.
My cousin flew in Fri. for the race-. We went to the expo to pick up our race packets and gear, sampled energy foods, drinks, got free stuff, and enjoyed the experience. Which we also saw Dan from The Biggest Loser. Honestly I would've loved a picture with him, but didn't want to seem like some geeky teenage fan. So I took a pic from a distance. :)
I kept expecting myself to be nervous and anxious that whole weekend but I was surprisingly calm. Sunday morning we got up super early we left my house at 5:40 a.m. and drove to Mesa to take the lightrail to ASU's SunDevil Stadium where the race began and ended. We got on the light rail at 6:35 and were at the race in 15 min. It gave us time to check my cousins bag, go to the bathroom and find our corral. We were in corral 10 and had planned to do the race in 2 hours and 30 minutes. The race started late because of a train accident, but when you're standing out in the cold seeing the huge mass of people you're going to be running with, the starting time really doesn't matter, it was exciting and fun to take it all in.
Before the race:
The first 3 miles we made excellent time and were ahead of our projected time we set for ourselves and were feeling really good. We were passing people and drink stations, we passed Dan from the Biggest Loser during mile 3 and I started to realize I had 2 more hours left of running. During training the longest run I had done was 8 miles. I knew I could run 8 miles so I told myself get to the 8 mile mark, then all you have left is 5 miles. :) The half way mark was fun to cross and it was especially nice having someone running beside me the whole time that we could occasionally converse and keep pace with. She actually was helping me pace myself faster than I would've alone. During mile 8 my cousin started having some pain and had to go to the bathroom. When you sign up to do something together you want to start and finish together, and I always figured I would be too slow for her and if we separated it would be because she wanted to go faster. :) But we did separate at this point and I can tell my pace slowed way down. I did great until mile 10, mile 10 was really long for me, I think that was my longest mile. But that was the mile I passed the dragon! (If you passed the Chinese dragon in the race you got a certificate for free lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs) Once I got to mile 11 I realized I was now only passing people who were walking and more people were passing me than in miles before. (Including Biggest Loser Dan, who we passed in mile 3) I felt discouraged and during those last 2 miles I wanted to stop and walk so bad but I kept reminding myself that I was passing the walkers! It was better to be running and my goal from the get go was to never stop, Even if I finished the race in 4 hours doing 20 min miles because of a super slow jog I wasn't going to walk. So I didn't. After passing the 12 mile marker I assumed some giant burst of adrenaline would kick in and I would have mad amounts of energy to quicken my pace and help me finish that last 1.1 mile really strong. I tried, I tried my hardest to quicken my pace and shoot for an amazing finish time, but I didn't go for very long before I went back to my previous pace and figured I would rather finish than pass out during the last mile because I was pushing myself too hard.
Crossing that finish line is like nothing else. I almost didn't want to stop because I had been in constant motion for so long! My finish time? 2 hours and 28 min. I was 2 minutes quicker than the goal my cousin had set for us. After the race I took advantage of all the sponsors tents and grabbed all the food and drinks I could get my hands on. My cousin finished 5 minutes after me. I was so excited to get my medal. I love looking at it. When I went to the grocery store this morning I started wishing it was socially acceptable to walk around wearing medals- I wanted to talk about it and let people know "Look at what I did! Me! I still can't believe it!" :)
After the race:
During the race I thought that there was no way I could ever do this again. Now that it's over- I know this is something that I will do again. That it's possible and obtainable. I trained. I ran. I conquered the half marathon.
(Stats from the website: My pace: 11 minute miles, my time: 2 hours 28 min, Overall: 9232 out of 15663  Division (30-34 yr olds): 896 out of 1570  Gender: 4838 out of 9505)

5 comments:

Kristine said...

Just imagine if I hadn't had an upper respiratory infection and didn't have to go pee!! I think we could have finished at least 2:20. Great job!! You rocked it :)

Cindy Ardis said...

Wow that sounded so exciting! I wish I could of been there during at the finish line to see you. I am very proud of you.

Andrew & Lisa said...

April - That is amazing! Congrats! I'm totally jealous!

Jamie said...

WAY TO GO!!! WHat an inspiration you are to me and I'm sure everyone else. You rock!! :)

Heather said...

Oh how exciting April! I am so proud of you! Wow, that is an awesome time! And that is awesome you were able to loose all that weight over the holidays. You look awesome!