I did it! I set a goal that seemed far-fetched (to me), I worked towards that goal and then I accomplished it! Saturday November 1st, I ran my first half-marathon. I know several people who have done half-marathons, and it seemed like an attainable goal. So in May (I think), I enlisted the support of one of my best friends, Nikki. She graciously (and hesitantly) agreed to join the madness and train for this half-marathon with me. We live several hours apart, so we never got to literally train together, but we were training together in spirit :)
We headed to New Orleans the day before the race so that we would have plenty of time to settle in and prep for the race. My Aunt Margaret was gracious enough to let us stay at her house, even though she was out of town visiting her newest grand-baby. I sure missed getting to visit with her while we were there! Lucky for us (*please note the sarcasm), the morning of the race was one of the coldest (and windiest) mornings New Orleans had seen in a while. I tried to keep a positive attitude about it and remind myself that the cold is so much better than extreme heat + humidity. So the race came and went and I learned several valuable things that I would like to share:
Do you see us? We were cheesin' and totally not taking things seriously. I love it!
1. Shake it off! The first lesson I learned in the whole process is something that Taylor Swift taught me: the haters are going to hate, hate, hate, but you have to shake it off. This may not be a struggle for anyone else, but I had to realize that what other people thought of me choosing to do this half-marathon did not matter! I had over a handful of people gawk at me in disbelief upon learning that I would be participating in the Jazz Half-Marathon. A little constructive criticism--don't do that! Aside from the fact that it is rude, it's also very discouraging. While I may not be a size 2, that doesn't mean that I am somehow incapable of reaching my goals. If you have a goal in mind, go for it! Don't let the odds get you down.
2. Set a goal and work towards it! What is something that you see your best self doing that you would like to do? What's stopping you? If you are able, then do it! (I feel like in a lot of ways this is the pot calling the kettle black, but I'm working on it.) Set your goal, have an end date in mind and then work towards that goal. I definitely could have trained better than I did, but I am still glad that I accomplished my goal.
3. Plan for the unexpected. I think that this applies to life in general, but it definitely applies to my half-marathon experience. Something that I wasn't expecting--the way the roads slant to the right to (duh) allow for water drainage. I didn't realize how that would affect my run. It wasn't a huge issue, but something that gradually slowed me down, causing my toes on my right foot to blister/causing cramps in my right foot. I don't know that I could have prevented this, but I tried to keep a good attitude and not let it get me down.
4. 13.1 miles hurts! Obviously I was going to be sore after the race, I didn't question that. What I was not expecting was the pain around mile 9 or 10. I let the pain slow me down considerably, but I didn't let it stop me. The struggle made the victory even sweeter!
5. Enjoy the aforementioned sweetness of your victory! Celebrate the fact that you accomplished your goal. No matter why you decided to embark on this journey, you accomplished something that once seemed impossible!
My favorite part of the race was when I was crossing the finish line. Not just because the race was over, but because I saw my sweet husband (who has been a constant support throughout this journey) with a big grin on his face, cheering me on from the side lines. I headed straight towards him and then heard several people behind me saying, "ma'am, don't you want your medal?". How silly, I forgot all about the shiny medal I'd worked so hard for ;)
See the men pointing? Apparently you're supposed to go for the medal when you finish..
I couldn't have done it without this girl! So thankful that she stayed with me the whole time, even though I wasn't quite up to her speed. What a great friend!
I'm proud of my accomplishment and I encourage you to set a goal, too. What are some things that you have learned from a race (or other accomplishments)? I'd love to hear your thoughts!