After rehabbing my knee and building strength in my legs for almost seven weeks, I put my training to the test and set out with determination and heart. I wasn't sure what to expect. All I knew is that I had a great playlist, and that my friends and family were waiting for me at the finish line. Right from the first bend, I was at the back of the pack. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to cry right away. I immediately felt defeated and, well, like I was last.
Then my bff Heather drove by and her son, Tyler, was hanging out the window yelling at me and cheering me on. With a big smile on my face, my step picked up a bit and I went on my way. It was exactly the encouragement that I needed in that moment.
I could feel that there was a bike following me about 1.5mi into the course, and met Kathleen my bike pacer. She was lovely and such a great encouragement throughout the race. It was so nice to walk/run with her, especially throughout the University campus.
I was really happy with my pace for the first 6.2miles, and then my knee started to hurt.
The kind of hurt that throbs in one location and then shoots down through your leg. It did not feel good even a little bit, so I knew that I was in for a long haul of walk/run splits, with more walking than running. It was about that time that I text my husband to let him know that I was in pain and not sure what to do. He was great at telling me that I would finish what I started and could do it.
Kathleen stayed with me until about 10miles then went ahead and I never saw her again. If you ever read this, Kathleen, you are amazing. You talked the whole time about how I inspired you...and you had it totally backwards. You started running in 2012...and now are a triathlete at 54years old. That's incredible. Seriously, incredible. Thank you for sharing your journey with me!
After getting through Gibbons Park for the second time, and getting up that darn hill I could see Central Ave. up ahead. I sent my husband another text to let him know where I was and hobbled along. At this point, I was limping a little and favouring my right leg, but I kept going. One last set of lights and I was practically there.
I round the bend onto Wellington Rd. and then I saw them. Friends. Family. Husband. And kiddo...out Owen came onto the road and started running toward me. I couldn't hold it in anymore and just started bawling. I heard their cheers and saw my best friend jumping. I saw their signs and smiles.
And then I ran.
Hand in hand with my son, I ran to that finish line and we crossed it smiling, together. For as long as I live, I will never forget that feeling and the sound of my best friend yelling YA YOU DID when I picked up the pace.
Running a half marathon is very likely the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Yes, including giving birth. While my thoughts went from why did I decide to do this? to I will finish. Just 4/3/2/1 more miles, I finished.
I ran a half marathon!
Up next? Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon in June!
A great big thanks to all of you for supporting me on my training. Your cheers on the Nike app, comments on Instagram and emails filled me with an immense amount of determination. My leggings were sponsored by Evelynn by Nicole Snobelen, who was a dream to work with! To my friends with signs, yelling and hollaring...you made my heart so happy when I saw you. To my husband for pushing me to run when I really didn't want to, and encouraging me every step of the way...I love you so much.
And Owen. Oh Owen. Thank you. Thank you for holding my hand and telling me to run faster to get to the finish. I love you so, so much, Bear!