Sunday, September 18, 2011

21km

Today was an incredible day, a day full of emotion and happiness.  Today I ran 21km and I did it with my husband and best friend Ryan.   Here's a picture of us just before the race started. 

Heading to our corral, full of butterflies...
Before I can tell the story of today, I have to go back to last year where it all started.  Last year at this time Ryan and I ran our first 5km race at the Army Run.  What a race to choose as your first (thank-you Eva), the cannon starting the race off, the soldiers, the band, the dog tags.  Its was an inspiring race, and HUGE....so many runners.  That race definitely got us hooked and we became running junkies signing up for a 10km race just a month later at Rattle Me Bones.  We were so hooked that we ended the year, running a 10km race New Year's Eve night.  New Year's Day we both agreed to give the half marathon a shot, half of a life long dream on mine!  At the time I had no idea if I had the ability to do it, but I was going to train hard and do my best.
Ryan and I at last year's 5 km race
That brings us to today.  I woke up at 4am this morning when one of the kids was crying and never fell back to sleep.  I had the butterflies so bad and was way to excited to sleep.  I was officially out of bed at 6:30am.  I made both Ryan and I our usual smoothie for breakfast.  We enjoyed a little coffee and some facebook well wishes.  Next I filled up our fuel belts with Gatorade, and water and packed our pouches with GU fuel.   
7:00 am, my super excited face :)
 We were out of the house and heading downtown by 7:45am.  On the way we discussed a bit of strategy, talking about our goal of running the race in 2 and half hours and finding the pace bunny to help us get there.  We got to the corral early and I asked the Pace Bunny to take his picture with me.  My good luck bunny :) 



Our Goal was to do the run in 2hrs and 30 min.  From my training runs I was pretty sure I could do that and was really hoping to push myself for between 2:20 and 2:30.  Ryan hurt his knee a couple months ago and his training was effected.  He just recently got back into the distance and had one 19km run under his belt.  Going into the race he was worried that 2.5 hrs was going to be hard to make.  So our plan was to do our best to stick with the pace bunny and with each other and then go our separate ways if need be later.  
Now is a good time to share with you, that last year at the 5km I got cocky and asked Ryan if it was ok to leave him during the race thinking that I might be able to beat him.  He said sure but only if he could do the same.  (Ryan and I are a little competitive at times) Well we got separated last year right away not being used to the crowds and running on the adrenaline of the race I started much faster than I am used to.  I was at about 3km in and thinking to myself "I AM SMOKING RYAN!" A few minutes later I CAUGHT UP TO HIM and couldn't hold it and he smoked me!  He's been kicking my butt in speed every since.  
So back to the half marathon, the cannon went off and we set off.  We were placed at this point quite far behind the pace bunny, we couldn't even see him.  So we ran at a pace that felt good.  I knew we were going faster then we planned but we agreed that we both felt really good and would keep it up.  I can't believe how GOOD  I felt. The weather was great, the spirit of the race was incredible, my music was rocking, and I was enjoying myself.  Ryan and I kept checking in with each other and we both felt great so we sped up a bit.  We passed the 2.30 bunny and later came up on the 2.20 bunny around 10km.  That's when everything got blurry with tears because out of no where I saw MY DAD...I ran over and hugged him...I was in shock and crying...and then I saw MY MOM a little bit further so I went and hugged her and then remembered oh right we are running...better get back in. I cried and jugged back my GU thinking OH MY GOD MY PARENTS ARE HERE!  I swear seeing them just filled me with this feeling of "Katie...this is it...you have trained hard...don't hold anything back...you have got this...give it your all!  Ryan and I picked up our pace again and surged forward, we ran hard but still feeling good till about 13km and then I went for it.  Ryan had given me his blessing just a few minutes before and I knew he had this, that he was going to run a great race.  The whole race changed here, it was almost surreal, the time passed so quickly.  As I ran I prayed for all of the health and fitness that Ryan had gained over this last year to come out to play, for him to run his best race.   I prayed for all of us to run our very best race.  I came up on the 2:15 pace bunny about 3 km away from the finish line (I think..its all such a blurr).  At 3km to go everything hurt now, my legs felt like tightly spun steel, but I focused on small quick steps and a strong core.  At 2km to go, my excitement, and the emotion got the better of me and my heart started racing really fast.  I focused on long slow breaths and calmed down.  At 1km to go I WENT FOR IT!  Half a KM in I sprinted with everything I had in me...I hit the finish line and thought my legs were going to collapse.  My heart was pounding, and I was shocked...shocked at the time..shocked that I wasn't crying...crossing didn't feel like I thought it would...it all happened so fast...in my head I thought it would play out like a slow scene in a movie 'Charriot of Fire Style.'  I was still confused and a little disoriented and I stood there waiting for Ryan.  I knew he was running a great race and would definitely beat the 2:30 mark, I expected him to come in at around 2:20.  I was shocked and shaking with happiness and pride when I saw him not to longer coming in at 2:16.  I grabbed him and hugged him, and together (me crying) we walked hand in hand to receive our dog tags. 

There was a row of soldiers standing their to hang the dog tags around our necks and thank-us for the race.  THEY THANKED US.  They who fight and risk everything to keep us safe, were thanking us for running a race.  That's when it all hit me.  The emotion like a tidal wave (and yes just like a scene in a movie...the whole race...the whole year training....the girl who thought this dream was lost..it all played out for me).  I held on so tight to Ryan.  We walked through the recovery area and gobbled down some bagels and oranges.  We walked hand in hand to the fountain and got our picture taken.  
Together we did this.  Together we supported each other, together we have changed our lifestyle and our children's, together we are pushing ourselves to do things we never thought possible .

We have had the most amazing day.  The run was just the beginning.  That feeling of bliss has been with us all day, at home with the girls, at the park this afternoon, at the dinner table tonight.  This is one sweet life.

Katie:  2hrs 11mins 43 secs

Ryan: 2 hrs 16 mins 26 secs

11 comments:

  1. yup. i agree. i am bawling and just so proud of you and ryan too!!! - donna

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  2. Tears of love, pride, excitement and joy are streaming down my face. Congratulations!!!!

    - Mell

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  3. SO AMAZING. You guys are truly an inspiration and the fact you could do it together is even better! So proud of you - and I have to say it - KATIE, you are one LEAN running machine. I was thinking about you today doing your race as I am working up to my first 5km in a LOOOONG time. You rock my world and I am soooooooo Proud of you.

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  4. You got me. There are tears in my eyes. I'm so proud of you guys. I love that you had enough fuel in the tank to sprint at the end. The full marathon is not that far from your grasp...

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  5. So amazing Katie...I am fighting back tears reading your post this morning. CONGRATS!!!!

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  6. I have not enjoyed reading a post on your blog as much a I have enjoyed reading this!

    So proud of you both .. and this mini will really be something special!

    Love and Congrats to you both!
    XOOX

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  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE that you parents surprised you...that is just awesome. And your time?!? Holy cow that's crazy fast!!! I hope you're proud because you are one amazing runner and an even more amazing woman. And even though I hate to say it because I think it downplays the awesome 'inside' stuff...you look AMAZING!!!

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  8. WOW! What a moment to celebrate for you and Ry! So great your parents came. Thanks for being such a great inspiration and friend!
    Love U xxoo

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