Monday, February 25, 2013

I've Got the Dreamer's Disease- Half Marathon Number 1

My first half marathon. I will always hold this experience incredibly close to my heart. Even having shared it with so many people, it will always feel incredibly personal and monumental to me. What a weekend. I have to be honest, it got off to a rocky start. Saturday, when something could go wrong it did. Organizing large groups of people is always complicated and can be stressful, and honestly, Saturday was just that. Stressful. BUT I woke up Sunday morning and decided Saturday would not affect Race Day, and guess what? It didn't. Sunday was perfect. The weather during the race could not have been better. No rain. Little wind. It was cool out but not cool enough to need a jacket, the stars really aligned on this day. We booked a hotel on the same block as the start line and all of the Soul Sistas met up in the hotel lobby at 6am. Positive Patty was all up in my kool aid Sunday morning. I woke up with energy, excitement, and tons of enthusiasm. I'm sure it can be annoying at times to be around someone who is just so dang excited and happy but I didn't care. One of the Sole Sistas even had glitter spray to douse everyone with. Happy, excitement, AND literally sparkling. It was going to be an epic day. After 3 months of training, Race Day was finally here! I could not wipe the smile off of my face. I was about to do something HUGE. Something that a very small percentage of the population does in their lifetime, I was about to run a half marathon. Going into the race, I never had any doubts or thoughts of Can I finish? Can I run 13.1 miles? I knew I could do it. I knew I would do it. I felt prepared and confident. My goal was to finish the race under 2:10:00.


I was a little anxious about my start corral. I had been told by other runners to really over estimate my finishing time, as people who walk the race, aren't sure of their finish time, and I may have to dodge slower runners for miles. So I lied when I signed up. I said I thought it would take me 1:45:00 to finish(HA HA) this put me in corral 3, out of twenty something. Woopsies. My run buddy Sabrina did the same, and another friend of mine who runs (ALOT), but he really can run it in 1:45:00. He actually ran the race in 1:58:00...after going out drinking the night before. It was his 7th or 8th half, just a lil 13 mile jog to start the day right?! Cray. It was just the three of us, in corral three, with the serious people. To my surprise, we didn't stand out. The hardest part was containing my emotions at the start. I think someone played the national anthem, there may have been a prayer, Honestly, I wasn't paying attention to anything other than the energy around me. It was buzzing around the air, like you could reach out and grab it, excitement.


A gun went off, and the clock started ticking. Corral number one was released, about a minute later, corral two, and before I could blink five times fast, the crowd began to move. I started my ap, and music filled my ear buds, time to roll. We started off fast, but I was conscience of my speed. My super fast friend shot off before we hit a quarter mile, but I focused not to run to quickly right at the start. Even trying to hold back, my first mile was still my fastest of the day. Sabrina and I ran together for about 9 miles. We fell into a comfortable pace, laughing at different people's signs, and enjoying the experience. We never passed on water taking some at every stop, when we also ate two shot blocks per water stop. I found trying to run and eat and drink to be quite difficult. It wasn't something I practiced during training and I won't make that mistake again. I ended up pausing at several stations to eat my shot blocks and drink water. Let's just say my middle name is not Grace.

The route was crowded. Runners on top of runners. I still had to dodge other people and weave through the crowd, and other people did the same to me, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. At mile 6,  I saw a few girls I went to high school with working the Medical tent, and they cheered so loudly for me I heard my name through the obnoxiously loud music in my ear buds. I was so touched. They gave me a huge boost. I enjoyed the spectators immensely. My favorite signs read Run Like Kenyans- Drink Like Belgians, At least New Orleans is Flat, Look Alive Cemetery Up Ahead, Run Random Stranger Run, YOU CAN DO IT and Chafe Now Wine Later. There was music and constant cheering. My play list ROCKED, the whole run felt, dare I say it...easy. That was until...womp womp womp, miles 10-12. This was the hardest part of the course for me. I started thinking negatively. the sun was baring down on us and it got hot. I had fallen behind Sabrina and was on my own with the road. I was still on pace to complete my goal, but I couldn't shake the negative feelings. I thought about quitting. I even thought about who I would call to pick me up. I asked myself why I wanted to run this half marathon anyway. Why did I want to torture myself like this. My legs hurt. My knees hurt. My lungs hurt. I had blisters all over my right foot and I could feel one of my left toe nails coming loose. It was ugly. I seriously contemplated walking. In the end however...

My pride refused.

At one of the last stops, I drank two Gatorade's just hoping to regain some energy. Miles 10 and 11 were slow for me. Everyone I talked to, even the full marathon runners, said this section of the course was the most difficult. It was a struggle. My husband was following me though an ap, ya know he tracks me when I'm out on the road- ain't nothing bad happening to this girl I tell ya- and he sent me a text, You can do it you're almost there. 

I dug deeper and kept running. I thought about all of my runs previously. The months of training, the races I'd already run, and the girl I used to be. The girl who couldn't run a half mile, a mile, a 5k without walking. The girl who was over weight, self conscience and plagued with self doubt. I thought about all of you and how fortunate I've been to have such a constant stream of positivity backing me through the amazing world of social media. I started counting all of my many blessings. The positive energy started to return. I started to feel good again.

I saw the mile 12 marker. I was almost there. The end would be coming soon and I thought to myself, You can do anything for one mile. One measly mile. Think about all you've already done. Finish Strong!! I picked up the pace and really got to pounding. I couldn't believe my speed was increasing. It started to feel good again. Every step brought me closer to completing the run. The finish line was inside of City Park, when I saw the marker for the park, I started to cry. Every nerve ending in my body felt like a live wire. I suddenly had a burst of energy. I high fived a group of spectators with outstretched hands on the route leading into the park. Then I saw the barricades lining the road. The people. 20,000 runner's loved ones. Cheering. Waving Signs. This was it. This was the moment I had been working towards. I'd made a last minute addition to my playlist the night before. On the drive into New Orleans, I heard Christina's Aguilera and Pitbull's new song Feel This Moment, and I thought, what a great song, I'm adding it to my list. That song was blasting through my ear buds as I powered out the last leg of my first half marathon.

One day when the light is glowing
I’ll be in my castle golden
But until the gates are open
I just wanna feel this moment (ohhh)
I just wanna feel this moment (ohhh)
I just wanna feel this moment
 

I really felt that moment. Every step bringing me closer to the finish line and further from my past. The pride I felt was so intense, I thought surly my heart would burst. The tears were flowing. Full on ugly cry. I saw the finish. I couldn't focus on anything else. Here I was finishing a half marathon. Finishing a half marathon and completing my time goal. All of the hard work, the sacrifice, the aches, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, learning to love new things, all of it was worth it.



My family and friends were there, My heart waiting for me to complete this journey. It was an incredibly emotional moment. One I always remember and cherish for my entire life. It was the type of moment that every single person should experience in their life time. It was up there in my top five moments in life thus far. I will never forget how amazing it felt. I sprinted out the finish. Hands in the air, tears streaming down my face. I did it!


Official time-



Nike Ap Tracker- It had me over 13.1, everyone's aps seemed to be a little off Sunday



Directly after finishing the race, there was a flurry of activity. People are crying, people are celebrating, people are hugging one another. There are pictures, and people shoving bananas, protein bars, water, power aid, and pretzels at you. I was looking for one thing and one thing only. My medal. At first glance, some people thought they were just handing out Mardi Gras beads, but I knew what was dangling from the end of a seemingly innocuous bead. My medal. I walked right up and grabbed one. I'll take that thank you!


My Aunt and Uncle found me first, I didn't even know they were coming down to watch the finish, I was so touched to see them both. Then came Mr. Noel with the biggest hug I think he's ever given me. It felt like summer, wedding bells, and glitter all wrapped in an embrace. I found my Mom with pride beaming from her face. Hugs all around. My best friend Madeline and her man Pitbull who had videoed my finish and taken the above action shot. My family and friends had made me feel like I'd won the most loved award that day too.

I found my Sole Sistas and run buddies, and we cheered along the barricades to wait for the rest of our group. I felt emotional every time I saw one of them with their eye on the finish. Knowing the intensity of the emotions they were feeling and what those tears symbolized. Pride, self wroth, realizing your potential, the euphoric glory of accomplishment, I will never look at a run the same way.

Then came my dear friend Kate. Who 12 weeks ago had never run a mile and was collectively coerced into training for a half marathon. Her first race...ever. In her life. Kate had been plagued by self doubt, like any new runner, through out this process. Can I do it? Can I do it? Am I crazy to attempt such a big race? I've only ever run 10 how can I run 13.1? I was so proud of her when I saw her running for the finish. We hung on the barricade and yelled and cheered at full volume.  I could see her hitting her own runner's high. We had all done it. We had all run our first half marathon. It wasn't until this morning that the full enormity of our accomplishments fully sunk in. We spent the rest of Sunday eating, laughing, reliving the moments, and drinking in celebration.

Yoyo check out my medal!


We stayed up late, we partied, we plotted our next run. We shared the high. I will always cherish this experience and the people I shared it with. This morning, with sore legs a new Rock N Roll pull over and a my medal still hanging from my neck, I slapped that 13.1 sticker on the bumper of my car with pride. I did it, and I can not wait to do it again. Look out full Marathon. I am coming for you!

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!


Daily Motivator
 

61 comments:

  1. I got chills!!! So proud of you Boss Lady!!! You are a huge inspiration - look how far you've come on this journey! Love you sweet girl! xo

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  2. Congrats girlfriend! This is so amazing and I am so happy you didn't give up! You should be SO proud!

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  3. I won't lie, I got teary eyed while reading this. Especially, reading the text Mr. Noel sent! What an amazing feat and great job! Is it weird I feel so proud?! :)

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  4. Yay!!! Congrats girl!! You had an AMAZING time :)

    I ran my first half on Sunday too and it was awesome.

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  5. I seriously almost burst into tears when I read your husband texted you!!!! SO SO SO SO happy for you! Congrats gorgeous you are a ROCKSTAR!!!!

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  6. Congrats on your AWESOME accomplishment! You are such an inspiration...and your post today made me tear up a bit! Keep rockin' it out girl! You've inspired me!

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  7. I am sitting here with tears running down my face. For you, for this post. I have my first 5k Saturday. I am so scared, and am going to keep reading this everytime!

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  8. So I don't even know where to start my comment other than CONGRATS!!!!!! What an amazing accomplishment. My first half was a Rock N Roll race, and I really felt like I was reliving that day reading your post. Especially the part about wishing everyone could experience a moment like that. I truly wish they could. It's like none other. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news...but no matter what race I'm running, 5k, half marathon, marathon...if I'm giving it my all, and running my bootay off, I still have those dreaded few miles of "Why am I doing this" and "I want to stop right now." But it's overcoming those negative thoughts that makes us stronger. And girl you are one strong woman! Congratulations!

    PS when is your next half? :) I know you caught the bug like I did.

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  9. I am so excited for you! I follow over on IG as holliemj. I've been watching your training. I love reading this recap. I can't wait until one day when I can have a post like this!

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  10. PS Someone may have already told you this, but races are measured by the tangents...ie the closest way to get from point a to point b. So unless you're running as close to the corners, etc. as you can run (which is IMPOSSIBLE especially in a big race), your watch/app will always be off some. Just FYI :)

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  11. Great job!!! I always had thoughts of quitting during my training long runs, but thankfully I was able to get into the zone when I did my first half this past Sunday. It really was an amazing experience to pass the finish line and I got emotional more than once on my run :) Congrats!

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  12. I think I cried reading this! I am so extremely happy for you, words cannot even express it! I don't even know you and I want to hug you and cheer you on forever! Thank you for being so strong and inspirational!

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  13. Hi there! I'm a new reader and I have to say you are such an inspiration to me! Congrats on your first half! I have my first half marathon coming up in April so I'm right in the middle of my training :) I have a couple of questions for you: 1) What brand is your belt? and does it bump up/down when you run? 2) What is the app called that Mr. Noel used to track you? Thanks!

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  14. Huge brownie points for Mr. Noel for that text. What an awesome husband! I can't imagine the feelings of finishing a 1/2. I can't even finish half of a mile, but this makes me want to try harder and harder! Congrats!!!!

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  15. Awesome job! I am so proud of you! I had tears in my eyes reading your post!

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  16. OMG that was such a good story! I cried!!! Way to go girl, you are amazing!

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  17. Tears are running down my face now! I am so happy for you! Congrats on beating your goal. Enjoy that medal. Now all you need is a runners plaque to hang it from and display with pride. I start training for my second half this weekend and you have given me renewed excitement for this next adventure. Congrats again...you truly ROCK!

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  18. Gisele ---you are an amazing inspiration!! I got tears and chills reading this post. You rocked it like a boss lady and I'm so proud of you! So excited you caught the running bug and looking forward to following you on your marathon journey.

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  19. Congratulations!!!! How awesome!! I had tears in my eyes reading your post! Such an inspiration!!

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  20. I have never commented before but Congrats girl!!! You are awesome and you had me crying throughout your post. I will run my 2nd half marathon on Sunday and your post has me ready to run! Again, congrats!

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  21. Congrats, girl!! That was a helluva recap and left me with tears in my eyes! So happy for you! :-)

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  22. Oh my goodness! That was awesome. Trying to type through the tears! Way to go!!!

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  23. Congratulations! I had chills while reading about your experience. I start training for my half tomorrow, and reading about your race has me so pumped!
    Elisabeth

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  24. No one has ever described the feeling of being a runner like you just did. Amazing post but more important AMAZING race. I don't even know you and I thought about you Sunday morning. I was so excited when I saw your updates on Instagram! Congratulations girl!! Just so you know, I heart positive Patty!

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  25. Congratulations! What an amazing experience. You made me cry lady! Your husband is such a great support system to have. Can't wait to hear about your full marathon :)

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  26. I am so excited for you... and I also definately cried while reading this... thats so awesome that your hubby was able to encourage you from the side lines... this makes me really want to find a half to sign up for myself now! I am doing this this year!!! Congrats again! :)

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  27. Congratulations! I love reading your "Positive Patty" posts and I just full on ugly cried reading this. I love the way you describe your experience!

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  28. Congratulations! Loved reading that part about your husband texting you towards the end. That got me all choked up! Before you know it, you'll be posting your FULL marathon recap. :)

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  29. WOW! First off, congratulations!! Secondly, this is so well written... so powerful! I'm almost in tears reading this (at work!!)... what an accomplishment!! Thank you for sharing your journey with us :) From someone who is a "wannabe runner" on my own journey this definitely inspired me to keep pushing and experience all of this too one day! Congrats again :)

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  30. Congratulations! Very well worded and written. So inspirational and amazing! I have my first 13.1 on May 5th. Today is supposed to be a 3.5 mile run but I fell on Friday night on a patch of ice DIRECTLY on my knee.. so I'm resting for a few more days. It does feel better today but I don't want to push it. I did 5 miles on Sunday and at mile 2, it got pretty sore. Keep up the great work!! I really enjoy your blog.

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  31. Congratulations!!! Especially emo today, but I'm tearing up along with everyone else!

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  32. Your post has me in tears...I am so happy and proud of your accomplishment. I had planned to run a half back on the 17th but I slacked.....you have just reinvigorated my passion. Keep it up girl, great job!!!

    http://footballbeachmom.blogspot.com/

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  33. Awesome job lady! Your post brought me to tears especially your husband texting you telling your almost there!!! Great job so proud if you and all your hard work!!

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  34. So proud of you girl - it really is an amazing experience.

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  35. You rock my socks. I'm currently 220 and 5'9''. I love you and your story. I signed up for my first half in Nashville - November. I'm beyond excited. Honestly, I know I can do it because of YOU! Thank you. :) I made a team - Shut up and RUN! I'm hoping to get an awesome group to do it with me. Keep me motivated.

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  36. Great post - this brought tears to my eyes. I'll be starting my training for my first 5K, and this just gave me the extra push I needed. Congratulations!!

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  37. This is the best race recap I've read! Congrats on finishing your first 1/2 marathon!

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  38. Oh girl...your husband's text made me cry...your blisters made me cry (I hope they're better now) and your finish...chills, crying. And dear Lord I WILL run a 1/2 marathon before I die...or turn 27 haha. Seriously so excited for you.

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  39. CONGRATS! I love that feeling at the finish line. We're so tired and hurting so much but that last mile? It's like we don't feel anything. So happy for you that you finished before your goal!

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  40. I know I already told you this but I must say it again, congrats! This post made me cry because it is so powerful. Thanks for letting us follow your journey!

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  41. Amazing testament! I felt like I was there. A full marathon HAS always been on my bucket list and I WILL ACHIEVE IT (and a 10k and half marathon along the way)!!!

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  42. seriously crying over here...I am in the 1 month countdown and I needed to read this. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! You are so amazing...one day I want to kick it with you.

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  43. Way to goooooo!!!!!!!!!!! Loved reading your recap. Awesome! :)

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  44. Good gravy. I started crying when your husband sent you the encouraging text - when you needed it most - and I didn't stop til the end... What an amazing experience! I ran a 1/2 marathon a couple years ago, (mainly walked after mile 8 due to foot issues) and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. My kids were waiting for me at the end, I ran into my sons arms crying my eyes out. The body takes a beating and what it can accomplish amazes me! I'm so proud for you! Thank you for sharing this post! I felt like I was there with you... reliving my own experience all over again.

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  45. YAY!! Congrats girl! What a great recap:-) Miles 10-11 will be important for your running future, when you need to dig deep again.

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  46. So frustrated I didn't see this until now! I'm so incredibly happy for you and I love this post so much! It makes me terrified and impatient for my half! I love that you had so much family there! I love your description of the hug from Mr. Noel, I love that medal you earned, and I LOVE that you hit your time goal!

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  47. You are soo amazing! Congratulations! I cried like seven times reading this! I want to do a half marathon. The farthest I have ever ran is 6 miles. You are such a great inspiration and I want to feel all those feelings you guys felt when you crossed the finish line!

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  48. OMG. Seriously I was waiting for this post yesterday and then well work happened and Mommy mode so I am just now seeing this BUT HOLY FREAKING SHIT BALLS WOMAN I AM SO FREAKING HAPPY AND PROUD OF YOU! I may be wiping my freaking tears as we speak!!!! This is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so proud of you!!! I cannot wait to have an experience like this and slap that bumper sticker on my car ;)

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  49. Congratulations!! Such an awesome recap and I think you did an amazing job. Way to go!

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  50. this is absolutely amazing! I am SO proud of you...and you wrote this post so well that I want to go out and run my half tomorrow. luckily I have until April to be prepared though. thank you so much for writing this...and the text from your husband almost put me in tears because that is SOO something my husband would do! thanks for sharing and way to go!!!

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  51. I would be lying if I said my throat didn't get a little tight reading this and that I didn't have to stop myself from crying at work. Maybe it was the way you described it, but girl.. I'm printing this blog post out. Posting it by my front door. I want to remember. Because one day, I'm gonna write a blog post just like this. Big, BIG congrats on your race! I'm so so so happy for you!

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  52. I read your blog religiously, but this is my first time commenting. First off - congratulations!! What you accomplished is so amazing! I really felt the emotion in your words and at times, I felt like I was in your shoes...I could only hope. You have literally inspired me to take up running. And for that, I thank you!

    Keep it up!

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  53. You're amazing!! Great and honest post. YOU FREAKING DID IT!!!!!
    So stoked for you!

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  54. This has got tears running down my face. I loved this recap! Congrats on so many things!!! Finishing, getting over hurdles, and realizing you can do anything you put your mind to. You are such inspiration!! Congratulations!!! :)

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  55. Aww, I just recently found your blog & I'm loving it! You go girl, this gave me chills!

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  56. I totally got teary-eyed reading this. What an inspiration you are! I definitely don't consider myself to be a runner AT ALL, but reading this made me want to do something like this. Absolutely crazy in my book, because I never thought I would WANT to do this. Maybe I should start off with a 5K, because seriously...running and I don't really "gel" all that well. But reading this just really makes me want to buck up and at least TRY.

    Thank you for sharing this!!

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  57. Love this! I live in New Orleans and kicked myself for not participating this year! *sigh* next year I am committed.

    Happy to find another NOLA blogger. I thought I was the only one! :)

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  58. Congrats on your first (and most certainly not your last)! You had a great time and persevered - that's what t's all about!

    PS - I think I would've cried my eyes out if I got a text from my boyfriend like the one your husband sent you. This makes me glad I don't run with my phone - too many distractions! LOL

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  59. Chills and teary eyes SO many times while reading this. Incredible story, can't wait to have my own to tell come May. Thank you for sharing. :-)

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  60. Thanks for the recap! Awesome race! I'm running my 1/2 in May and have the same goal as you. You rocked it!

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  61. I know that this post is old - but I am re-reading it, as tomorrow is my first half marathon. I'm anxious, I'm nervous, I know I can do it. All of my training has to pay off for me tomorrow morning. Thanks for the inspiration!

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