Monday, January 9, 2012

Walt Disney Half Marathon Weekend

Well, it was finally here! A weekend that both filled me with sadness and happiness; a weekend that made me marvel at what a body can do, but frustrate me at what a body was unable to do. A weekend that I hoped would live up to the hype. I chose to be happy with what I was able to do, instead of sad of what I could not do. Sure, the quadriceps injury in November knocked me out of the marathon, but amazingly I was going to do the half.

I think a lot of people would have given up with the number of injuries and road blocks I had. One month from the start of the race I hurt my back, herniating three discs in my back. Two weeks before the race I had a spinal injection – it worked – and instead of having to sit out the race, I decided to attempt it. I mean if I had to, I could always pull out, right?

My old running partner even sent me a text message saying he was “dogging it” for the half marathon … implying that he wanted to run with me. I agreed, reminding him that I was not going for a time goal.

We met up at about 4:15 in the morning, checked our bags, and started the LOOONG walk to the start line. Yes, it was a big race and thus we waited well over an hour for our chance to start.

As the race started, I realized I felt pretty good. We trotted along, running and walking. Passing people, congratulating people, and having people chat with us. We encouraged people and people encouraged us. We stopped at mile markers for pictures … and marveled at the costumes that people were running in.

I was hanging in pretty good despite really no training and no road time for the 2 months prior. At mile 11.5 I started to cramp up pretty good. I had to make a decision, push through it, or just pull it back knowing that wasn’t my day. My running partner tried hard to push me, but I failed to see the point in it. You see, I was just happy to be here, just happy to finish. I was injured, I didn’t train … and yet my time was only about 5 mins off of my PR anyways. I was happy with my result.

We had a great time chatting with people. Every once in a while a good song would come on my iPod and I would sing along (and make people laugh). My fav songs were “I’m sexy and I know it” and a little known song called “Determinate.” The latter came on around mile 10 and I found myself just struck with the lyric “push it till you cant, and then demand more.”

I could have quit … but I would have missed this amazing weekend. I finished the race despite injury, I reconnected with my old running partner, and I met some amazing people. I met an online friend in person who lives in Florida and uses the Galloway method like me. She started out slower and has finished 4 marathons in the last couple of years. She inspires me like no one else, and its like looking in a mirror, knowing that I can achieve that too. I met my best MFP buddy slimyfishy in person and it was like we had known eachother for our whole lives. I met another online friend for dinner on Monday night and we stayed up chatting until 1am. None of this was planned, but it made the whole weekend amazing and an experience I will never forget.

Oh and at the expo … I met Jeff Galloway. I got a handshake from Jeff Galloway … and a picture … and oh yeah, a HUG! My life is pretty much complete!

Watching the marathon finish on Sunday was amazing. I literally stood out there for 2 hours cheering on people I have never met. And what it taught me … I CAN do it. I WILL do it!

So my plans: first marathon in September … Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November, then its time to get GOOFY for January 2013. Yep you heard it … half on Saturday and a full on Sunday. Can I do it? Stay tuned… but I think if you believe in yourself  and you are determined you can do anything you want! 

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