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Monday, June 15, 2020

Running a Half Marathon in the time of Corona.

When this year started I had really high hopes. I think everyone did.

WOOOOO! The start of the new roaring 20's. It was also supposed to be Year of the Nurse. Irony sure hits differently when looking in the rearview mirror, doesn't it?

Then Australia burned, Corona pandemic hit home, murder hornets, and last but never least standing up for racial injustice to Black lives.

To say the least, it's been an uncomfortable year.

Then I think to myself one of my favorite quotes:

Nothing like shaking up your life to make you realize what matters and to change your perspective to everything around you. 

When all of this started I knew I needed to focus on myself. Really focus. I've never been a stranger to anxiety. I've lived with this my whole life. I was almost always consumed with whatever was happening around me. 

I could not change world events, but I could create a mindfulness to help me cope and help keep my sanity for my family. My kids need a Mom that is present and it is my job to create a safe, loving environment, no matter what. 

This is where running 13.1 miles came to play. 
Before things hit the fan, I had already signed up for a Run The Zoo Half Marathon in Albuquerque, NM benefiting our local zoo. I had already had it planned in my head: I was going to run this come hell or high water. 

Then it got cancelled. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't feel sorry for myself for weeks when my running was slacking and my Run The Year goal was going to shit. 

One of my running buddies, Chenile, had a goal of running 31 miles in the mountains with the bears and mountain lions, not literally, but she was going to do this whether or not her race was cancelled. 

I thought to myself, my goodness, if she has the motivation to run that after her race was cancelled, what is my excuse?
I didn't have one. 

Pandemic or not, I had a choice to run and be true to myself, or relent to what I normally did, quit. 

So I went on my journey of running. It wasn't easy, it made me choose courage over comfort. Many weeks, I spent my time running on the treadmill. My highest mileage to date on the treadmill is 10 miles. The miles didn't get easier, I got stronger, not only physically, but mentally. I mean you'd have to be insane to run 10 long miles on a treadmill with a 4 year old consistently asking for snacks and literally everything under the sun. 

Did I short out the treadmill? Yep. 
Did I start it over to keep going? Also, yes. 
Did I also run 11 miles hungover because I wanted to accomplish my goal? Yes, not my finest decision.

In my life, I've quit a million times because it was hard or because I wasn't mentally ready to accomplish my goals or I didn't think I was good enough. This time was different. 

I didn't want to give up on myself, I knew I was good enough. 

Sidenote: my wonderful friends made sidewalk notes for me throughout the way. I literally could not have asked for a better day. 

June 6, the day of the race it was raining. It never rains here in New Mexico, but somehow I was so lucky it did. We started the race at 6am. I slept like crap the night before and didn't have time for cup of coffee #2. 

When I hit the ground running, I was there with my two running girls, Catherine and Chenile. I didn't ask them to be there, but my goodness i'm glad they were. 

Chenile, Me, and Catherine

For the Mile 1-4, my legs were mud. It was not enjoyable. There were black ominous clouds all around us, and that reflected my mood. 

***These pictures were taking the day before because we definitely ran 13 miles in the rain.***

Mile 5, my legs were ready to go. I saw my other running buddy, Hannah, and that really gave me motivation to keep going. All along the way my friends wrote wonderful words on the sidewalk. Poster boards were posted on street signs, just to motivate me to keep going. My other wonderful running buddy, Ashley, joined us at mile 9 to run the rest of the way with us. I couldn't believe I had such wonderful people to help support and carry me through.  

I didn't get tired until Mile 11.5. I was on the side of a busy road and my motivation was nearly gone. My legs were tired and all I could focus on was the pain in the arches of my feet. Then I saw my neighborhood, the finish line was truly in sight. I remembered my son's favorite book, The Little Engine that Could, I could do this. I was already doing it. 

I got to Mile 13.1.  In front of my garage was my family, Matt, Allie and Eli. 

They were sitting there cheering me on and all of sudden everything was worth it, the pain I was feeling instantly subsided. I cried when I saw Allie because in that moment I remembered,  she had sat many of hours with me in the garage while I running on the treadmill, waiting to play or do something else. She's 4 years old, so she will ever know the impact of seeing her waiting on me, but it's a sight i'll never forget.

That rush of emotion is something that will fuel my fire for choosing courage over comfort every time. 

To my Turquoise Trail Runners: thank you for being my people. Catherine and Chenile ran 13.1 miles with me in the rain, not a small feat. I don't really know anyone that would have done that with me.  You both are such a great example that you can truly be whoever you want, if you want it bad 

Hannah helped my motivation throughout the run and at the end, she always told me a 12 minute mile is just as far as a 6 minute mile, when training and I wanted to quit, this carried me. 

Ashley ran with us for 4 miles at the end and brought bit of fresh motivation that helped carry me through a really tough part of the run. Erin had a special treat waiting for me at the end, you're always so kind and I'm so glad to have you to look up to. These ladies help motivate me in all aspects of my life and I couldn't have done this without you. My after party was everything. I loved it all. I wasn't expecting anything and you gave me everything. 

My bestie Olivia, who lives miles away has always been my sounding board and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. You've always loved me at my craziest. 

Last but never least, my husband, Matt. He has seen me through lots of seasons, the good and bad. He never doubted my abilities once. He consistently took charge by managing the kids so I could focus on myself, something I had neglected for a long time. He knew how much this meant to me, and for that, it's just one of the many reasons I married him. 

I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 46 minutes. I'm officially a half-marathon runner.

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