Friday, November 29, 2013

Anything is Possible

Thousands of people around...but all I can hear is the incessant beating of my heart, so much that I think others around can hear it. The frigid autumn air envelops me, but all I feel is the adrenaline flowing through my body. The pure anxiety was unlike anything I'd experienced...and I had brought it upon myself. It was like a crazy drug that you would pay good money for. The streetlights shone and numerous specks of reflective apparel filled my peripheral vision. The tears that welled up in my eyes made my vision clearer than it has ever been.  I was about to embark on a journey I had never experienced...but one I was well-trained for. The first starting gun went off and a calm flowed all through me. It was time. Throughout the miles, there were feelings of doubt, feelings of euphoria, feelings of pain, feelings of excitement, impatience, you name it...All I could think about was turning the last corner and being able to see the finish line...the culmination of months and months of dedication. As that moment got closer and closer, emotions were becoming stronger and stronger.  And then...there it was. The 26 mile sign. I was going to do it. I was going to do something I never thought I'd do. And as soon as I did that, I knew anything was possible in life. I once sold myself short, doubting my capabilities...but the fantastic sport of endurance running has changed everything for me...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An Amazing Running Experience

I realize in starting this post that I haven't written in quite a long time.  After the heartbreak of not running the Philadelphia Marathon last year, and the long road to recovery (mental and physical) I had, even thinking about running made my heart ache.  However, that whole experience just made me appreciate running and the sport itself even more. I took the time off I needed to heal, and came back an even stronger runner, a stronger person.

Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity to be an official pacer for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, MI.  I went into it a little bit anxious, a little bit intimidated, and VERY excited.   I had no idea what I was doing, really...but I did a lot of research beforehand on the role of pacers and tips to stay on target, so that put me a little bit more at ease.   This was my 6th half marathon, so the distance was something I knew I could do.   The biggest challenge that I was worried about was keeping a steady pace because I have never really had to do that.  I was a 10:30 pacer, which is quite a bit slower than I am used to running, so I had to make sure I didn't lose track of my speed.    I printed a laminated bracelet of all 13.1 splits so I knew exactly where I should be crossing the mile markers, and also obviously had my Garmin watch with me.

The thing that made this experience so amazing was just knowing that I was helping so many women in accomplishing new personal records, getting to the finish line of their first half marathon, and even being a source of running knowledge and answering questions people had.   At the starting line, I had several people ask to get their photo with me, because I was going to be their leader for the race.   It almost made me feel like a celebrity!  I knew right from that moment that being a pacer would be the most rewarding running experience I have had.  As soon as the gun went off, I had the most fun 13.1 mile run I have ever had.   Between getting pelted in the face with tiny ice balls and running through muddy grass and sharing lots of stories and laughs with amazing people, the ear-to-ear smile never left my face.   After the finish, a few women had even sought me out to personally thank me.  I can't even tell you how awesome I felt that I actually helped people.

I would absolutely love to do this again, and hopefully I will be asked to come back next year to pace the same race!

Now, onto the Lansing (Half) Marathon next weekend!!