Monday, March 29, 2010

13.1-- and the .1 really does matter

I can't even begin to say what an accomplishment this feels like--surviving, running (every single step), and finishing (faster than I thought I would) a half marathon. In all seriousness, I never imagined I would run again. Our accident nearly 5 years ago left me with an almost-severed foot and it's taken a long time to get it working right again. Up until this January, I hadn't run more than a mile in 4 1/2 years. I didn't train too hard, for fear I might permanently injure myself. I felt stiff and sore a lot of the time, but each time I ran I got stronger and faster. It has been so much fun running with friends. I didn't even know Pam and Jamie had signed up for the race, but was so happy when I found out. I doubt I would have even trained right and probably would have wimped out and run the 5 mile instead. These girls have been so much fun, and like I have mentioned before, running together has been much more than just a workout. We've created a friendship, a camaraderie, and it feels so good to talk with other girls. Pounding the pavement, breathing fresh air, and talking about everything under the sun really does something great for the psyche.

We went over to Moab on Friday and stayed in a very over-priced hotel. The wind was blowing and it was frigid outside. Saturday promised to be much warmer. I met the girls not-so-bright and early and we headed over to the buses. WHY on EARTH do they make you ride up to the start so early? I guess it takes a long time to get 5,000 runners to the start, but even so, we were all up there with over and hour and a half to spare. It's up the canyon, in the shade, and it's FREEZING.

We huddled together by a big rock and shivered half of our energy away. About 30 minutes before the start of the race we put our stuff in the sweat truck and made our way to the start. It was crazy to see so many people.

I was SO cold at this point (and wow am I pasty!), which maybe is why I can't seem to look at the camera. We waited at the starting line, in our pace group, for about 15-20 minutes. There were so many people that we didn't even cross the starting line until 2 minutes after the race began.

The course is beautiful. It goes down the canyon along the Colorado river and the red rocks are gorgeous. The aid stations were festive and at mile 10 there are people playing HUGE drums and it sounds amazing echoing in the canyon. I loved running with Pam and Jamie. We stuck together for 9 miles. Our goal was to beat 2 hours and we all smashed it. The last two miles were really tough, but it was the perfect time to see all of the little kids cheering, sticking their hands out for high fives, and running through the town full of people. Jamie and I ended up finishing only 8 seconds apart, and I wish I would have known she was so close so we could have crossed together. My time was 1:54:37, about an 8:45 min/mile. Not too shabby!
We made it! I actually found myself getting a little emotional as I crossed the finish line. I just felt so thankful that I was able to do it. I really felt proud of myself for doing something hard, something I never dreamed I would do again. I felt humbled and blessed.

It was so sad, Matt and my parents were watching so closely and didn't get to see me finish. There were so many people, and my mom saw Jamie, so maybe when she was taking her picture I ran by. I didn't mind that they missed me, but I felt bad for them, traveling so far and not getting to see the end. Kaden was great the whole morning, but freaked out at the end of the race. I am not sure if he saw me finish or not, but when I found them when I was done, he was in meltdown mode. "I wost my mama!!!" He clinged to me every second after that. I am glad we found each other.
Where's Waldo? I love that Matt is in the back of this picture, smiling. He is so funny. I love the whole feel of a race. The camaraderie among runners is special. People cheer and encourage each other on the course and at the end. Husbands and wives run together and finish holding hands. I saw a girl with a prosthetic leg and she was amazing. People were so inspired by her. The tents, vendors, music, and everything going on just adds to the excitement. The whole experience is a good one.

My parents were amazing. They drove us up, paid for half the hotel, bought us food, watched the boys, and were my biggest fans. I can't believe how much they do for me, for us, and how willing and happy they are to do it.

I think I might have caught the bug. I want to do more.


Dan and Ashley said...

Way to go JESS!!! What a great accomplishment! I am so so proud of you. Sounds like a fantastic experience. You are so amazing. We love you!

Tyrell said...

Congrats! You really are AMAZING! I have never broken any bone and there is still no way I could ever run that fast!

Tomber's Heaven said...

This is so awesome Jess! I'm seriously so proud of you and all you've done. You're a huge inspiration to me and I want to be like you when I grow up!!!

Kara said...

Congrats Jess! I cannot believe that you haven't ran more than a mile in the last 4 years and you just started running in Jan and 3 months later ran under a 10 min/min!!! You are one tough cookie! You are an inspiration and that's cool that you found something to keep you going and competing. Remember those days when we used to run against each other in the 4X 800 meter relay in high school? I wish I could still do that! I'm an old woman!!

wurstens5 said...

Yea! It really was a lot of fun can't wait until June!

Traci Barnes said...

Wish we could have been there. We are proud of you!!

me and you plus two said...

LOVE how Matt is in the background on can tell he is totally suppotive in all you do! Will you take me to the celestial kingdom with you? :)