Sunday, February 17, 2013

12 Miles- The Final Countdown

This time next week, I'll be loopy from runner's high and New Orleans fun. I'll have my first half marathon medal hanging around my neck. All of the hard work, the sacrifice, the hard runs, the aches, the pains, all of that will be worth with it, the euphoric glory of accomplishment. I've only been running for one calendar year. I remember my first half mile run, last February 2012, and thinking it was torture. It took me 8 minutes to run a half mile. I couldn't understand why anyone would actually want to run. I wasn't one of those people. I had always been a slow runner and, I've never had a high endurance level. I had only ever run a mile in grade school when they made us, and it would take me 12 minutes to complete. I hated every second of running, but last year, as the weight started coming off, and my distances got longer, I began my love affair with running. Something magical happens when a great run gets under your skin. When your legs feel light and it's just you and the road. Zooming along, beating up some fat and solving the world's problems. Running is empowering. Proving to yourself that you are capable of so much more than you could have ever even imagained. Running has literally transformed my life.

Saturday morning I set out on my last long run of training before my first half marathon. It was a cold windy day. I didn't do any treadmill work this week and the combination with the weather working against me made my run rough. It was hard run, an extreme metal test. It made me question why I ever wanted to embark on this journey to marathon running. Clearly, my love of physical activity is no longer about weight loss, it's about pushing my physical limits and molding the very best possible version of me. All kinds of thoughts ran through my head on the 12 mile run. I struggled from mile 7 to mile 12. My legs were heavy, I was forming a blister under my right foot, and my hips and knees hurt. I wanted to quit at ten. I wanted to quit at eleven. It felt like the run would never end. I had to force my brain into what I call Zombie mode. No thinking. Just one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving, do not stop. One step at a time. This run took all of my self coaching. You do not quit. Finish what you started. You CAN do this. You WILL do this.

My run group had run 10 miles, with only my run buddy Kat and I doing 12. We planned a destination run, meeting at the gym and running to a little breakfast place where we'd left a few cars. I rounded the corner and they were all done having completed their 10 miles. I still had a half mile left to run. I started to cry knowing they were finished and I had to keep moving, but I did not stop. I kept running for another half mile making the block one more time. It was miserable. I can't sugar coat it, but finishing that 12 miles, when I was trying to convince myself to quit, felt euphoric. It wasn't my slowest run, it wasn't my fastest run, but it was my longest. There was a big jump for me between miles 11 and 12. My 11 mile run last week felt like flying. This wasn't my week for running, and that's ok. I'd rather have a tough run this week, than a tough run next week on race day.

Three months I've been training for this lil half marathon run next week. When 20,000 other people who think running 13.1-26.2 miles sounds like fun, will meet at the start line at 7am Sunday morning. I've been dreaming of the finish line at the race. What will it look like? How will crossing it feel? Who will be waiting there? What will my time be? Are they gonna give me my medal right away? I really want that medal. I'll be wearing it all day after the race. I want that medal.

I'm looking forward to the running expo, to spending time with friends and family, and celebrating the half marathon accomplishment with my Sole Sistas! I can not wait to share this experience with all of you. I read that a half marathon should be on everyone's bucket list. I'm amped to cross I off mine!

I'm planning on running the full marathon next. I have to do it. I have to prove to myself that I can. My husband says I've been bit by the running bug.Whatever it is, I'm so glad the bug picked me. I really feel like running picked me. One week. Let's get it!

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  1. You are such an inspiration! I started the c25k program this morning. I have never been a runner either, but between you, Mama Laughlin and Skinny Megs I want to try! Good luck in the race next week, I know you will do awesome!

  2. That is so awesome Leigh Anne! You are doing amazing! I remember finding your blog back in August and I looked up to you then - you were doing I think 3-5 mile runs, and that was inspiring for me as I was only doing about 1. And now to see how far you've come!!! You're up to 12 miles and your first half next weekend! Now I'm up to 4-5 miles per workout and I can only hope that someday I will be able to do 13.1 also! I know it's going to take time, but following you and reading about your running workouts is truly inspiring!! Thank you!

  3. It's amazing how far you've come in just a year!!! Congrats on all your amazing progress and I look forward to reading about your race!

  4. Good luck next week! Once you hit 12, its all mental getting to 13.1. You proved today you can do it, so go into the half feeling confident! Enjoy!

  5. Tough runs are amazing. Amazing that we live through it when we feel like we wanna die. YOU are amazing! Good luck next week! I'll be rooting for ya from Denver. :)

  6. I was supposed to run 12 this weekend....but it was a big, fat FAIL!
    I'll be doing a post about it today.
    Can't wait to hear about your half!
    And a marathon sounds so out of my league. I love running but I can't imagine 26 miles....I just can't even wrap my head around that...but what a huge accomplishment!!

  7. Wishing you good luck! i'm running my 2nd half Sunday too and we're doing the same training program so best of luck! Can't wait to hear all about it monday.