Monday, March 21, 2011

Princess Warriors

 Courtney, me and Lindsey- the Princess Warriors

I'm totally hooked.  In fact I've already looked at the upcoming marathons for this fall. Without a doubt, one of the most fun and exciting things I've ever done.  We got to the ATL on Saturday afternoon and picked up our packets at the Georgia Dome. It was like The Georgia National Fair of running. Vendors of all things running were everywhere. We saw the latest and greatest shoes, clothes and food.  Publix had a mini grocery store in the middle of the complex full of organic snacks.  Mostly people were laughing and friendly everywhere you went. I think that is what I like best about the running community, a very supportive group of people.

We stayed at the Omni Hotel which was directly on the start line.  After looking at our loot we plundered from the Dome, we walked up the street in pursuit of a place to get our fill of pasta, the notorious pre-race meal.  We landed at Asio's and appparently we were not the only ones with this great idea. After an hour wait we finally ate a huge amount of pasta and bread and passed on dessert.

I decided to go with the running capris and the girls talked me into wearing my race T-shirt. Good choices.  I was so glad not to be bothered with shorts riding up.  We slept like rocks and bright and early I got up to down my yogurt. Ever since I got my GB out, I get nauseated when I run too far. I figured it was inevitable on a half marathon, but I have found that Activia yogurt helps alot. (think I could make a commercial for them?)

The start corral was the equivilant of three city blocks. By the time we found our starting corral I was nervous enough to puke.  Ever had the feeling you are in way over your head? I was desperately scanning the crowd for a chubby 40ish soccor mom type and all I was seeing were lean skinny marathoners with knee socks. Apparently that is the latest and greatest at preventing calf cramps. I fiddled with my ipod, stretched my calves and sent up some desparate prayers to God asking for His divine help and asking Him to at least let me finish.  I was terrified of the notorious street sweeper putting me in the loser wagon.

The bell sounded and I started a slow jog. "Keep it slow, slower than you need" I told myself throught the entire first mile.  The girls were gone almost immediately and I knew I was on my own.  After mile 2 I found my groove and even had some pretty interesting conversations with a couple people. I found a 50ish guy with his teenage daughter and decided to pace with them.  I stayed with them until mile 4 and decided it was time to turn on Mark Driscoll.  I knew if I listend to his entire sermon I could get through to mile 10. 

 Somehow around mile 6 I lost the man and daughter I was pacing with and so I picked up a group of two women who seemed to be going a little slower than me, but my calves were burning and I knew I needed to slow it down a little.  This is the point where I told myself,"OK, it's not important what your time is, it's important you finish and not walk." So with that I stopped checking my time every mile and decided to try and let my mind wander a bit.  I imagined the life story of some runners around me and that let me kinda chill out about my calves and just cruise in my mind.  At mile 8, the marathoners split course and the crowd thinned out a little.  I found my man and his daughter so I set my pace with them again and got my groove back.  At mile 9 I stopped for gatorade and water and could not start back up. I walked over to the right and in the middle of the hill just started walking.  My right hip was sore and I decided that walking made it hurt worse, so I started back at a  gimpy jog and turned my ipod up loud with some Toby Mac and decided to just try and tough it out.  Once I topped the hill, I found myself in a beautiful park. There were lots of runner just walking at this point, but my hip felt better and I decided to keep cruising. As we exited the park we started up a hill. I bargained with myself, if you get up this hill and you are still not in skyscraper country you can walk.  At the top I saw a high rise. I was back in the concrete jungle. By this time I had lost track of my mileage so my time meant nothing, but my hip pain was gone and I was in a good groove. I guess this is what the second wind feels like.

At the last water station I estimated I was probably at mile 10. As I sucked down the gatorade, the station girl smiled and said, "\You're almost there, only 1 more mile." I was ecstatic, mostly becasue I felt good, and I KNEW I was gonna do it!  I decided I had enough in me to flat out run, and so I did. The last mile was jam packed with cheerleaders, bands, cheering people, who did not know me, but cheered me on like family. As I turned the last corner into Centennial Park I saw the finsh.  It was surreal. I did it. I finished. 13.1 miles. Farthest I've ever run. I was moving, at that point nothing was hurting, but the best part was looking up and seeing my time. My goal was 2:30 and I finshed at 2:15 chip time. I am strong. I am a healthy 42 year old. I am a princess warrior. I'm gonna run a marathon next.....just because I can.


Chris, Lauren and Gage said...

Your post made me cry!!! Reminded me of the verse ofthe saints and "cheerleaders" in Heaven cheering us on daily! Way to go, I am so proud of you!!!

Liz said...

Ok that's it. As soon as I get these babies out of me we're running a race together!

Wendy Carl said...

You go girl!!!You should submit this to a magazine, so inspirational - I ALMOST want to run too!

Hollie said...

Wow! I knew you were gonna do it too! You rock my friend!

Harriet said...

That was so inspiring. I am working on Couch to 5K, with a set back this week due to cold/allergy stuff. Your blog entry makes me want to keep on. Thanks, I needed that this morning.

Tina said...

You just keep on inspiring me ! Way to go!! Doing a little cheer move for you RIGHT NOW!

Lynnie said...

Okay I am crying as I read this. How wonderful! God is so good. He gave you a wonderful gift and love of life. I'm so thankful that you share it so openly with everyone who loves you! Yeah Steph! Love you forever!

Heather said...

Way to go - so proud of you!

Template by