Sorry this is going to be a bit long, but I have to share:
DH and I got up at 4:20 this morning so we could make the trek into Atlanta for the ING Georgia Marathon. I had been checking the weather forecast periodically yesterday, and when I went to bed last night at 9:30 p.m. weather.com said it was only a 20% chance of rain. Perfect! Well, this morning, that had jumped back up to 65%. I brought along my rain jacket just in case but really didn't want to add on extra layers (in addition to my underarmor and t-shirt). We picked up my friend who was doing the race with me (DH was there for support - he is not into long-distance running; biking is his thing).
Once DH dropped us off and went to look for parking, I decided to take my chances with the rain and nixed the jacket (ultimately a good move - the rain was intermittent and more slight drizzle than anything, which was kind of refreshing). My friend and I headed to our start corral, which thanks to me waaaay overestimating the time it would take to finish, put us several blocks back from the start line, but at least we were in the third-to-last corral, not the last.
About 12,000 people were in downtown Atlanta to participate in either the marathon or the half marathon. Once the race began at 7:00 a.m., it took us about 20 minutes to actually cross the starting line. Then we were off and running before the sun was even up!
For the first few miles, we did a rotation of running for 5 minutes/walking for one minute, but by about the 5th mile, the bursitis in my right hip which started giving me problems last week was kicking in, and it hurt more to go from walk to run or running up hill than just running. So we changed strategies and ran until we started a hill. And this was a very hilly course! But the next few miles were more running and less walking.
We were running through Atlanta neighborhoods and the streets were closed, so we had lots of people on the sidelines cheering us on and people out on their porches yelling out words of encouragement and telling us all how great we were doing, which was really nice, especially since the weather wasn't the greatest. There were hydration stations every couple of miles, and I couldn't believe the number of gatorade cups strewn on the road. You literally had to run over them.
By mile 10, my hip was getting more sore, spreading into my thigh, and my left knee was starting to bother me a bit (not painful, just enough for me to notice). I started walking more and running less, and for the last three miles, I walked more than I ran. For the last couple of miles, every time I ran, I would get a little ripple of cramps running through my calf muscles and I was scared they would seize up and I wouldn't be able to finish the race, so I erred on the side of caution. Coming into the last mile, I saw a girl about my size laying down on the side of the road, conscious but with medics attending to her. I felt so bad for her and hope she was OK and able to finish after making it that far.
As we got to the last half mile, we could hear the crowds and the music and the finish-line announcer, and then we started running again (I was determined to finish this race running!) and as we got close I smiled for the cameramen that were over our heads taking photos. Then I saw my husband on the sidelines right before the finish line, cheering and taking my picture. And then I was done! My chip time was 3:03 but I had my own stopwatch, and had stopped the two times I had to wait in line for the portapotty out on the race course, so my time was 2:58 - I'll take it!
We got our medals and water and a banana, snapped a couple of photos, stretched (and stretched some more) and then went for a post-race breakfast. Being the adopted Southerner that I am, mine was cheese grits and a biscuit, along with plenty of hot, hot coffee.
If you had told me a year ago that I would be doing a half marathon today, I would have thought you were crazy. I am so proud of myself, I can't even tell you, and so thankful that I am able to do it. I love living a healthy, active lifestyle and can't imagine that I'll ever go back to the 'old' me.
One of the things I thought about while I was out there were all the people who have supported me. My husband, who is also committed to getting healthy and has lost more than 100 lbs so far. He is my biggest motivator and inspiration. My family, who love and support me no matter what. For too long, I let my own shame over my weight stop me from going home, and it has now been seven years since I've been home and seen a lot of them. We are going back this summer, but that is too late to see my grandfather, who died earlier this year. I let my weight keep me from seeing him, and left it too late. I won't do that again, regardless of how I look. My grandmother, Mom and mother-in-law, all of whom have passed away but I know they would be so proud and happy for me and my husband, and I could feel them cheering me on today. My friends, who celebrate my successes and tell me how great I'm doing, how much I'm inspiring them, and who make me feel like I am a weight loss rock star. For 3FC and everyone here in the 100LB Club, for your insightful, heartfelt, encouraging, kick-in-the-butt, and informative posts. Even though I don't post A LOT, I read A LOT and reading about your experiences, trials, setbacks, successes and determination help me know that I am not alone in this and that I can do it, too.
I'm going to take it easy for the next few days, icing my hip, stretching and treating the bursitis while focusing more on biking and swimming until it heals. Next up for me is the Iron Girl triathlon in June! And then looking towards fall for something else ...
Here are some photos from the race.
If you're still here, thanks for taking the time to read this!