|A view from my corral on my iPhone.
It’s been 9 days since the inaugural Nike Women’s Marathon series in DC where 15,000 turned up and ran their hearts out. I’m assuming most women are fully recovered from the grueling pain and have moved on to the next thing. Ask me how I’m doing and my answer will give you the impression I’ve just spent 2 weeks in Disney doing it up.
I’m still enjoying a super high of emotion, completely tickled, but more proud and humbled I ran and finished my first 1/2 marathon ever. Oh, yes, and I’m still in pain. My feet took a beating. They’re all bruised up, are sore and I can barely run more than 2.5 miles.
Okay, so let’s put it out there. I hate running. It hurts, gives me awful headaches, seems to never end, doesn’t yield the weight loss effect I hear associated with it, and quite frankly, I’ve never seen the point in putting your knees through the grinder. Who does that? And where are you going? And why are you so concerned with going so fast?!
I swear this has been my attidtude toward running for about 15 years. I loathed it and gave it no importance in my fitness life. Everyone around me knows this.
So, you’re reading this with the most confused face wondering why I ran 13.1 miles. I kind of had to ask myself the same thing last Sunday morning when my alarm went off at 4:45 am. I hit snooze and got a bit more shut eye. Surely, I was not prepared to run with 15,000 other women, most of who I’m sure trained.
|My running gear! via my Instagram.
|My friend Bree was tracking me and shared progress on Instagram! Total surprise; My awesome friend Mario and me
|Day moments, some via Instagram here and here!
The Decision to Run…
I committed to running the race back in Feb. At the time, the idea sounded amazing and I got really excited. I even ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill while on a short family staycation 2 hours from home. I downloaded the Nike Training Connect app on my phone and did 2 workouts that weekend. I was pshyched.
I even harassed a veteran running friend to help me figure this out. He took me out on one single 2.5 mile run where I almost collapsed in front of him. He quickly tried to discourage me from trying this race.
And Not Train.
And then I went Australia for 3 weeks. I packed my purple Air Pegasus but they never saw the light of day. And then I went off to St. Croix for 6 days. In between those two trips, I suffered a hip injury and the idea of running was the last thing on my mind. Still, I kept boasting of how I was going to run my 1st 1/2 marathon. My father, in his kindest, yet most sarcastic tone suggested I was kidding myself if I thought I was going to run 13 miles without passing out.
So just 2 days after I returned from 4 weeks of traveling, absolutely no training, and piercing hip and knee pain, I geared up for the run. I went to the media festivities where the colorful expotique was set up. I bumped into friends, visited the massive new Niketown store right on the heart of Georgetown, and grabbed my runners packet. I even got a few cute DC shirts to run in. Oh, and those highly coveted We Run DC sneakers commemorating the race.
Yep. I scooped up a pretty little pair.
I still had no idea what I was getting into.
|Dad and me after finishing (on my iPhone).
On Sunday morning.
At about 5:50, everything changed. I arrived downtown, saw an exodus of women and knew I had to do this. The energy was wildly infectious and positive. I’ve never been to a race of that size so seeing thousands of women getting ready to take on the streets I know so well, Nike’s brand everywhere, loads of workers and volunteers directing us in the proper direction, and the start gate was moving. We all had one mission: to cross that line and raise money for Leukemia/Lymphoma.
What did me in was the backdrop: Our Capitol. I’ve always been in awe of that building. Seeing it brighten up as the sun rose shook me a bit. I was getting ready to run 13.1 miles in my hometown. I was running for the 1st time. And I was empowered by the mass of cheers and inspiration.
I made my way with a steady pace through Rock Creek Parkway, passed the Kennedy Center, through Haines Point where I used to hang when I was in HS and almost tapped out at the final stretch up Penn ave, approaching the Capitol and back around the botanical gardens.
I crossed the finish line all by myself, not expecting anyone there (remember my dad didn’t think I was going to actually do it, my sister thought I was kidding, and my mother thought I was crazy) in 2:40:12, as I timed it on my phone. Official race time clocked me at 2:40:04… a whole 8/10ths of a second faster! Woot.
The only thing waiting for me was a studly young man, clad in a black tux, holding a silver tray with pretty little blue boxes, courtesy of Tiffany & Co. For us… a lovely “medal” necklace with an etched female runner emblematic of each of us and the race name on the other side to reward our effort.
My dad and aunt surprised me at the VIP lounge with nothing but smiles after they picked up their jaw! They were in shock. I didn’t call them at the 6 mile marker begging them to come pick me up.
I really finished a 1/2 marathon! With existing injuries. And no training. What, what! In one piece with no displaced hip? No headaches or oblique cramps??
|Our “medal” in the little blue box taken on my iPhone
While jumping for joy– no mind I was in shock and in utter pain — and trying on my necklace, I heard a local black woman won the race. Samia Akbar knocked it out and up in 1:19. I caught a quick glimpse of her looooooong, beautiful legs in the VIP lounge and had to meet her. Our 10 minute conversation and her generous hug applauding my personal inaugural run was the icing on the cake. I congratulated and thanked her for the awesome inspiration. The race took on a new meaning at that moment.
I was thrilled for her and more excited it all happened right here. I spoke with Samia a few days ago so I can’t wait to share our convo about running, minority women in track & field and what shoes she loves to rock when not in sneakers!
Why I ran.
I ran because there are a group of amputated kids my sister works with every summer who would run 26.2 miles if they could. I ran for them and anyone who would do anything to engage in the physical activities I’m able to do, but can’t. I ran for my SIL-to-be who’s a Lukemia survivor. I ran for my mother who has chronic arthristis in her knees and can barely walk 2 miles without crying. I ran because it was in DC and the power it implies permeated into my spirit of determination.
I ran for me. I ran because I can.
And for that little blue box!
|Excited at runner’s stage via my Instagram
I learned and proved to myself that we really, really can do anything we put our minds to. I challenged myself to do something I’ve so long turned down and dismissed, convincing myself I couldn’t do it. I’ve never broken 5 miles at one time. This was huge! And I did it.
Nike did me a huge favor last week. They opened up my heart and mind to my body. I love it more than ever before. I have this renewed sense of treating it right. To using it the best way I can and to help others.
They say just do it. Seriously. Just do it.
And now I’m gearing up for the San Francisco 1/2 in Oct. 😉
Wondering if that bib will also have my exact birthday numbers. Because yes, it’s not coincidence my 1st ever bib was my birthday number, I don’t think! 😉
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.