Friday, May 29, 2009

Running with Angels

One of my goals this year was to run a 5K, something that I thought would be impossible. I started training in February and was only running a half a mile at the beginning, running 2-3 times a week. I used the 5K Novice Training Schedule by Hal Higdon. I hated running at first; I wondered if I'd ever really like it.

My wonderful husband who is an avid runner ran with me every step of the way. I think there were only 2 training days that he didn't go with me. On those days I almost backed out- I didn't think I could do it without him, but I told him he couldn't run the race with me. I was doing this for myself and I needed him to be my biggest fan. So he patiently listened to my complaints about running and how I'd never run without chapstick, gum, or my MP3 player.

About six weeks into my training I really started to enjoy my running. I was looking forward to it everyday and I realized that it was my mind that was holding me back. I kept telling myself that I couldn't do it, that I'd probably give up or end up walking the whole way, but I kept going and pushed myself every time I ran. I was now looking forward to the 5K and even talking about continuing on to a 10K and then work my way up to a half marathon by the beginning of next year. I was able to run the full 3.10 miles a few times in my training prior to the race and it felt amazing.
It's hard to explain, but it became an emotional outlet for me.

My MP3 player decided to stop working on me so I got my very first ipod. The 8GB nano, it's beatiful and it works like a dream, so much more responsive than my Samsung MP3 player.

The morning of the race I felt great. I had been so busy with Girl's Camp that week I really didn't have time to get nervous. I had picked up my packet the night before and so we headed to the race site around 6:45am. The race was at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. The course actually ran through the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. The weather was perfect. When we first arrived it still hadn't really hit me yet. I actually chuckled when we reached all of the other participants becase I couldn't believe I was actually the one racing (normally its hubby).

Matthew and I before the race.
Sporting the new running outfit. Waiting with the herd of people.

Prior to the start of the race they released white doves. This was very emotional for me. In an email before the race they said: "I have heard wonderful stories from many of you who have overcome incredible difficulties in your lives. Please continue to share them, if you’d like. We’d also like to thank Pam Staich for bringing her doves to the starting line. We honor the memory of your loved ones as we release them. We realize many of you will be running in honor of those angels in your lives. We hope you have a heavenly run!"

Releasing the doves
I was shocked at how many participants there actually were. I didn't want to be in front of the line and get trampled on, so I waited back. My plan was to let the herd go ahead of me and then start a few minutes after the gun. Just as I as passing the Starting Line, my brother in law Justin put the poster in front of the camera!

If you look close, you can see me peeking above the poster.

I was so inspired by the participants. Just after passing the starting line, I passed some incredible people. One man had an amputated leg, he was walking with crutches; another also on crutches; a runner pushing their family member in a wheel chair and countless others wearing "in memory" signs. It was quite an emotional site. I was happy that I started in the back for that reason, but found it difficult to pass people on the course once we entered the gardens.

on the courseI'm in the middle looking to my left.Approaching the finish line (the girl to my left is trying to beat me)YAY!!!! I did it! :) And I think I beat that girl too!A look of pain (the course was much more difficult than I anticipated).
I thought I did pretty well. I felt like I was going to passout when I crossed the finish line, but I recovered quickly and hubby was right there to take the sweet picture above and give me praise. After the official results were posted I found out I finished in the top 20 for the females in my age group. I finished in under 30 minutes and I averaged a 9:40 mile which was quicker than I had been in training.

Just after finishing L to R: Our friends Dorothy and Cameron, Matthew, me, Justin, Jenny and my MIL, Linda.
Hooray!Love this picture! :)
This has been such a growing experience for me. I've come to appreciate myself and understand that I can do anything I set my mind to. I've lost 20 pounds since starting the 30-day Shred and my 5K training. I'd like to run a 10K on Pioneer Day (July 24th), but because of my busy schedule I haven't had a chance to start training.

I wish my father could have been here to watch my race. I know it seems silly, a 5K really isn't a terribly long distance, but I honestly never expected that I could, or that I ever would finish. I can't believe it's been almost 7 years since he passed away. I think about him everyday and this experience has made me feel closer to him. He always loved running and it was something he tried to get me to love. I only wish it didn't take this long. I wish we could have enjoyed this together. When the doves were released at the starting line, I looked toward the sky and tears fell down my cheeks, at that moment I wished he was there cheering me on. I'm sure he was a lot closer than I realize.

I ran this race in honor of him, but more importantly, I ran this race for me.
In taking time for myself, I realized that I am worth the time and the effort. I've learned that I have more to give others; I CAN love myself and feel amazing when I reach my goals, not because I received praise from another, but because I feel good about my accomplishments.


MEG said...

Congratulations! You and Matthew are adorable. I want to train for a race - I just can't find the motivation to do it! That takes a lot of dedication!

It's neat to see a picture of your father - that's him in the yellow, right?

jack+alli said...

amazing job, emily! you are awesome! running is completely a mind over matter thing for me as well, like most things are i suppose. once we truly believe in ourself it's amazing the things we can accomplish. i remember crying after my half, i just couldn't believe i had made it that far!
awesome job losing 20lbs, too! that is so great! {ps:if you like the shred, i'd recommend her book, making the cut, it's a great workout, too!}
you rock girl!

Hibler House said...

Emily, I love you! I'm so very proud of you. You put your mind to it, and you did it. Running, for me at least, is very mental. You just have to push yourself through it. And look at you! You did awesome! Congrats on placing top 20 and losing 20 lbs! I'm sure you feel amazing.
I can't believe it's been already 7 years since your dad died. Your comments totally brought back tears and memories. I love you and am very proud of you! Hopefully I can be just as awesome as you and do a race after I have the little babelette!

Nicki said...

Way to go lady! And what an amazing event! You look fabulous and radiant (even as you "glow" after the race!). I'm so proud of your hard work and achievement of your goal!

Nakita Ellis said...

Emily, you amaze me! You are such a fantastic person. Way to go - taking time out to take care of yourself. You are an inspiration.

P.S. You look FABULOUS in your cute running outfit!

Mallory said...

you are my hero!!! great job!!! you look amazing! so i was wondering if at the baby shower this weekend if i could borrow your shred dvd, i wanna loose 20 pounds too!! :)

Lindsey said...

what an awesome experience. good job for sticking with it. you look so great, i can't believe you have lost 20 lbs, that is incredible! i am now inspired by you to get my post pregnancy body into shape...i only wish you were here to do it with me.

sassy red said...

Wow thats amazing Emily! What a neat experience. I am so proud of you!! Running is so hard for me too, so I am impressed you stuck with it:)

Stephanie Abney said...

Hi Emily ~

I'm a little slow, (but I see so was my daughter, Kaci - I'm just SLOWER than she is) but, WOW!!!
Congratulations! Great accomplishment!!!!

Stephanie Abney

S & K Merrill said...

hi emily--i love and miss your sweet smile!! you look great and i am so proud of your accomplishments!! i miss all of your family!!!love, kathy

Elissa said...

all i have to say is: "YOU GO GIRL!!!" you did it! and you did it in style!

Jenni Sue said...

Thank you for this post. I've also been training, and I love how you put everything into words. Congrats on finishing, and I hope you're able to do more races!

Patty Ann said...

I want you to know how proud I am of you! (Of course, I am ALWAYS proud of you!) You are such an amazing woman. There is not a doubt in my mind that your dad is aware of the changes you have made in your life. You ARE worth the time and the effort.