Sunday morning, I participated in the Girlfriends Half Marathon in Vancouver, Washington. The race is by far one of the best in our area. Not only is it exclusively for women, but one hundred percent of the profits of the race go directly to the Oregon & SW Washington Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world's largest and most progressive grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Personally, I did not make it to my fundraising goal this year, but was able to raise $144.00! It's not too late to help out my fundraising efforts, though. If you would like to donate, please visit my fundraising web page:
I would like to kick start this race of the Girlfriends Half Marathon with what few pictures I have from the day. The recap & my race results are below if you want to skip down to the nitty gritty.
|The area is starting to fill up...|
|Me with my speedy neighbor, Shelley! Yep, that's a pink ribbon tattoo on my cheek. :)|
|Waiting in line for the porta potties.|
|Time to start this party...where is everyone?|
Miles 1 - 3
The first couple of miles were beautiful! We were running along the riverfront. Started off in downtown Vancouver, close to Esther Short park. Ran through the park where the weekend market was being held. Nothing like smelling freshly cooked donuts before the first half mile mark hits! I was ready to stop running & start eating. I could tell early into the run that I was not going to do well. I was taking much needed walk breaks by mile 3. Usually, I'm fine without them, but do them anyway because I have found they truly helped improve my overall speed in the long run. Yesterday, I needed the breaks. I was begging for more breaks! The third mile wasn't as scenic. There's about a mile long stretch of industrial type buildings along the river that we had to run past, but once you clear that mile....the beauty is back!
Miles 4 - 5
The 4th mile was rather scenic. Same with mile 5. There was a turn around at the 5 mile mark (or close to), and just past that mark was about the point I decided I was done with the run. lol I even went so far as to verbalize this fact to my neighbor as she sped past me. I toughed it out, pushed through the mental breakdown I seemed to be having, and kept running. Up until the end of mile 5, I was keeping a steady 9:30 pace. That has been pretty typical in my recent long runs, so I was OK with the speed.
A blur. I have no recollection of these miles. I'm not sure what was going on, but I must have done my typical "long run black out". I did, however, make a point to look up now and then to admire the awesomeness of this race! I made mental notes about my whereabouts.
- "I've driven down this street!"
- "I got lost here last week while looking for the airplane hanger where the goody bags were being filled."
- "I can see this from the highway...how cool that I'm running on it right now!".
- "Now that I think of it, I've been lost on this street more than once since we moved to Vancouver."
By 9, horrible stomach cramps hit me. In typical Heather fashion, there's a TMI moment coming up. Brace yourself. I've had diarrhea for days now. I have no idea what brought it on. I cannot seem to make it go away. I'm sure it is gluten related, but cannot track down what in the hell I have eaten that would have caused such distress. Maybe it's not gluten at all. Perhaps one of my cherubs brought home a bug from school. At any rate, I have the shits BIG TIME, and wondered how the race would go for me. I made it through just fine until mile 9. Luckily, things never got past the awful cramping phase. I'm not sure there was anything left in me to poop out, anyway. Is there such a thing as dry heaves for pooping like there is for the other end? If so, I would have had them during the race. This is where my pace really took a nose dive.
The big one oh. By the time mile 10 rolled around, I was miserable ready to cry. I was done running. I didn't want to do it any longer. My toes hurt. My IT bands on both legs hurt. My heart felt like it would beat RIGHT out of my chest cavity. I. Was. Done. But I managed to keep moving. Before I knew it, it was mile 11.
I walked a lot of this mile. I don't mean a little. I mean....a lot, a lot. Time goal? What time goal? That little dream is now totally out the question! I watched my pace get worse and worse according to what Gigi was telling me (my Garmin). I would feel sorry for myself, pick up the pace to a slow trot, but then run out of steam. I made a deal with myself during this mile. If I continued to walk, I would have no choice but to run the entire time through mile 12. How'd that go for me? I bet you're dying to know how it turns out....
The bribe to myself worked! I ran my little ass off during mile 12. I did stop to take a 5 second break, but remembered the deal I made and started running again. I refused to let myself down. Every part of my body hurt at this point. I could see the I-5 bridge ahead. I knew the finish line was close. I started noticing more and more spectators lining the block. I spent most of my time looking for Kent and the kids...which oddly helped distract me from the misery my body was feeling. lol
I did it!!!!! I made it to mile 13!!!! I honestly thought I wouldn't make it way back at mile 5, but I did.
|[Click on the image to enlarge.]|
Here I am about to cross the finish line. We all have the same "I'm so done with this" look on our faces! lol
|Rather than handing out medals, we got necklaces! [front]|
|....and here's the back.|
Here are a few highlights & facts that I want to include...
- I managed to run all of the hills - there were several - except the last one. I ran half of it, though!
- This wasn't my best finish time, but it certainly wasn't my worst.
- Despite what you might have just read in my mile by mile recap, I had a really fun time.
- I had the chance to meet several members of my new running group. They are beautiful, strong, spirited, motivating women! I cannot wait to meet more of them.
- I saw some of the most touching memorials to those who lost their battle with breast cancer. It was enough to bring tears to my eyes at times.
- I saw survivors of breast cancer speeding past me as though they didn't have a moment of time to waste. It was beyond inspiring.
- I saw two women literally trip, smack the ground with every bit of force in their body, and get back up to run without missing a beat. Amazing.
- Kent was at the finish with our daughter Riley...cheering me on like crazy! I love seeing them at the finish line.
- My friend Michelle was there to cheer on several of us running the event. It was so nice to see a familiar face multiple times along the route.
- I came home to a tub full of ice cold water for my swollen legs, lunch was made, the house was clean, all of the laundry was folded....BLISS!!!!! It's worth running these races to get this kind of royal treatment.
- During the race, I vowed to never run another half marathon again.
- By the time I got home, showered, and fed....I changed my mind.
- There amazingly strong women in this world. I witnessed about 3,000 of them running their asses off at this race.
- I am so thankful I turned my life around 10 years ago. Losing 80 pounds, finding my voice, standing up for myself, and taking control of my health were some of the smartest things I could have ever done. I would not have been able to run this race had I not done so.
- I am blessed to have friends all over the country who were cheering me on via prayer, email, and facebook messages! I swear that during my "down times", the one thing that perked me up & kept me going were your thoughts. Thoughts become things, and today they manifested into getting my legs to move. Thank you.
To sum things up, if you didn't get to come run this race with me, you should do so one of these years. It was worth it.