I vividly remember when I started bootcamp last October and how I felt walking into KnuckleUp gym. What the hell was I doing here? I was terrified, but that morning I woke up knowing I had to make a change in my life or my life was going to be spent in poor health and ongoing health related problems due to obesity.
I’m good at faking it, so I walked into the gym and asked for Matt even though I truly wanted to vomit at this moment! I didn’t get that morning how much bootcamp would impact me and change me but it has and for the better.
The moment we headed out for that first run my brain was in shock! I was gasping for air, the nausea in my stomach and the pain everywhere. Back to what the hell had I just gotten myself into? Oh well, I had to keep up and that is what I have done this past year.
I have had my up’s and downs – my shin splints sidelined me, my fear sidelined me, my back took me out for two months, then my ankle took me out for another two months and just when I was ready to get back in the game my high blood pressure forced me to sit out another two weeks.
The day I headed back to camp after being gone for over 2 ½ months I told Matt I wanted to join the beginner group because I was coming back from an injury and I wanted to work my way back into bootcamp. Well, on the first day Matt threw down a challenge for everyone to step out of their comfort zone and to take on a race such as the ½ marathon.
I was on such a high to finally be back and I headed out that morning pissed. I took off muttering “doesn’t he know not everyone was built to run 13 miles”, heck I don’t even like running, and we aren’t even going to talk about 26.2!” You can ask my friend Jeanne, I vented most of the run.
Then a funny thing happened, I started processing all that was said that morning and it hit me. Why Not? Its 13.1 miles and it is a great challenge to set for myself. Granted, I had been back at bootcamp one day but I can conquer this. So I posted something on my facebook wall and the responses came fast and positive. By the end of the day I had decided to take the plunge, and set the 7 week goal of training for the half.
For me, I did feel like I was going back to the beginning. I had to get my breathing back, I had to find my pace, and I now had an ankle that didn’t always behave on top of the other issues that I tuck to the back of my head when training. The beginning of the summer, I couldn’t even run a mile!
In the course of my training I had my doubts, I had my fears and then I had moments where I realized that I was on course to succeed. I was tired all the time in the beginning because all I felt I did was eat, sleep, train and go to work. On top of that I volunteered on Friday’s to help with Go Far and coach the kids.
My life has never been this focused on me and I felt guilty. I was focusing on me and as a mother and a wife, I haven’t always done that. I am thankful that my husband was on board and in full support of me training and didn’t complain over my early mornings and early bedtimes. I have been married for 15 years, and I did feel selfish with my time but it meant the world to me to focus on this goal. Without his help I would not have achieved this goal.
I also had friends that supported me in several different ways, from facebook support to emails, phone calls, hugs, advice and even friends that took time to train with me for my long runs and also give me extra encouragement. I am so thankful for the friends I have made in the Outer Banks and I couldn’t have done it without your friendship, Jeanne, Ilona, Theresa and Re and to all my other friends that sent me encouragement. Thank you!
The week of the race I was a basket case, I cried at everything and was so sensitive to everyone. I had a nice conversation with my friend Joan who said the most meaningful words to me and they hit home “We have trained as a team and grown as a team, that day, we are solitary.” Those words were true during the ½ marathon.
The night before the race I had my husband write my 13 reason’s on my arms for me to focus on at each mile.
1. For My Health
4. My Family
5. My Children
6. Because I Can
8. For Life
9. Cancer Sucks
11. Work thru the Pain
At each mile I took a moment to focus on my reasons. During the race some of these would become my mantra and others would just be a moment of reflection.
The morning of the race I felt great. I was up at 3:45 and ready to go. I spent some time applying KT Tape to my back as well as my hip that was strained earlier in the week and of course my ankle. I chuckled to myself because I felt like I was all ducked taped up and ready to go!
Ilona picked me up a little before 6:00 and we headed to the race. It felt like the morning flew by and before I knew it we were lining up. I was so excited that my friend Jeanne came to see me off with a hug and some pictures as well as my friend Mike who was starting in a different corral found me to give me a hug. I was able to start with quite a few members of my bootcamp family and that made my morning.
I felt great for the first 8 miles, when I wasn’t focusing on the reasons I was able to enjoy the people around me and the beauty of the Outer Banks. I loved that I saw my work family at mile 6! I enjoyed the ½ marathon. I loved how much fun the people were having during the run, how much fun the stations were and for the most part I was able to block the pain until right before the bridge.
When I hit the bridge I had to face my back and butt going through one large cramp after the other. I tried to walk it off and keep a good walking pace, but I was getting smoked by everyone on the bridge, even a grandma dressed up as a pirate! I had a great pace going until this moment and this was my wall.
I worked through the wall, made it off the bridge and spent the rest of the race in my marathon shuffle. When I hit the Manteo line I took a moment to acknowledge that I just arrived from Nags Head to Manteo on foot!
Heading into the final stretch of the race, I knew I was going to finish even if it felt the end was never going to arrive. When I rounded the last corner the first person I saw was Re, then I saw a fellow bootcamper Vicky and then I saw my family. I was so happy to see my children and husband holding posters for me! What an incredible feeling to know they waited all morning for me and they were so happy and proud.
Heading into the finish line my eyes were on my coach, knowing that I had completed what I intended to do. I finished 13.1 miles and I ran most of the way. This past Memorial Day I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping for a breather.
Knowing that Jay was there to give me my medal and a hug meant the world, then to receive two more hugs from my friends Joan and Jessica made for the perfect finish to my race.
I wasn’t the fastest, but for me I took on a challenge and finished what I started. I am thankful to my coaches and the leaders of Outer Banks Bootcamps along with my family and friends. This past year has made me a better person, and a much healthier person. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for me, but I know for a fact another ½ marathon will be in my future and I will “Own It” in my way on my journey.