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...|
|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.
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.
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