Thursday, July 8, 2010

Provo City Half Marathon - May 1, 2010

My training for the half marathon was difficult. It seemed every race I had leading up to the big day had its own challenges; the biggest of all was the IT Band Syndrome I had in both of my knees. 

The last few weeks of training were a huge struggle. Matthew and I would head out on Saturday morning with our water belt, gum, music, GU Chomps and our trusty Garmin GPS watches; and we would head up Provo Canyon. I felt great for the first few miles, even making it all the way to Vivian Park on one training run, only to be discouraged and disappointed on the way back. My pain would get too severe, so I'd have to stop at one of the parks and Matthew would run ahead to get the car and pick me up. I was devastated; I felt like I wouldn't be able to accomplish this one goal I had set for myself.

Matthew talked to me about possibly running the half marathon relay, he would take the first leg and then I could take the second and cross the finish line. He also talked about the possibility of skipping the race altogether and not doing it. Taking time off, resting my knees, recuperating, and then trying it all again in a few months. I wouldn't listen; I got upset anytime he brought it up. I was determined to do it, but in the back of my mind I had doubts.

I wanted May 1, 2010 to be the day that I accomplished this goal. My parents would be there, my little sisters, Matthew's family and that was more important to me than any pain I felt.

The farthest I had gone in training was 10 miles, which hurt. I didn't think I could make it another 3.1 miles after that race. Two weeks before the half marathon I was planning to run 12 miles, it was on the schedule, but I only made it 8.5 miles. I was determined to run 10 miles the next Saturday, but I only made it 5.

I broke down, I didn't know what to do. Should I give up? Should I rest? Should I risk getting injured just to reach my personal goal? I decided to go for it. I knew if I was going to do it; I needed to give it everything I had. So, I went to our family doctor the Monday before the race. He gave me a cortisone shot in each knee, which was really painful, and told me to rest until Saturday. He also suggested I buy some straps to put above my knees while running to take some of the pressure off, so I did.

The week went by fast and before I knew it, we were celebrating Matthew and all of his accomplishments and then we headed to pick up our packets. We went to bed early and I prayed for good weather and a strong body. I woke up early, ate some breakfast, and we headed to the starting line. It was a beautiful morning.

Provo Tabernacle (Start and Finish Line)

But, it was a little chilly,

And, I was really nervous,

So, I turned on my tunes,

and I stretched a LOT. Before I knew it, we were saying goodbye,

and we were OFF!!!! We stayed toward the back of the pack and I got in my groove. And about 5 minutes into our race, it started sprinkling...and then it started drizzling....and then it even snowed, but it didn't stop me, I kept going.

The weather stayed at a constant drizzle and we were both grateful we decided to run with our gloves on, they literally saved us! I stopped at every aid station. I stretched a little, drank some water, ate my GU Chomps and tightened my IT Band straps as I needed to. My pace was a little slower than I would have liked, but I felt good and that's all that mattered to me. My music was keeping me motivated and before I knew it, we had passed the half way point, which was such a relief. Each mile marker we passed I felt good, and when I passed mile marker 7 as "Another One Bites The Dust" came on, I started laughing and then my eyes filled up with tears, I was actually running my first half marathon!!!!

At mile 10, Matthew looked over at me and he said, "This is virgin mileage, babe! Every step from here on out is farther than you've ever gone before".-And I still felt good. :D

Around mile 12, Miley Cyrus started singing "The Climb" to me. MOST.AMAZING.SONG.EVER!!! I started crying and laughing all at the same time. I think it was in that moment that I finally realized that I was going to make it. I was going to finish the half marathon.

The last mile was definitely the hardest. I felt like I was running in slow motion and my body felt like it was shutting down, but I kept going. And when we rounded the corner for the home stretch, my step-dad was standing there in the rain and pretty soon I started seeing all of our other family and friends that came to support me, and it was emotional. 

We were almost there, and every step was a little more difficult than the last.

And then Matthew started celebrating before we even got to the finish line...

And then I grabbed his hand, and we finished together, just like we always do!

We were soaked and we were tired and it only took 3 minutes before we started to freeze, so we didn't stay long, but it was so worth it.

I'm so happy that I had friends and family there to greet me at the finish line. It was emotional giving them hugs and sharing this experience with them, definitely something I will not ever forget. 

And I couldn't have done it without my best friend. He is the one that keeps pushing me and helping me reach all of my goals! And maybe someday, we'll even run our first full marathon, and finish together! :D

This has been the soundtrack of my life/training over the past several months: 

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb


Patty Ann said...

Nemmy, We loved being there with you! What an example you are to your three little sisters! We love you and are so proud of you!

Nicki said...

Em, I'm so proud of you! I can't believe it SNOWED on top of everything during the race! You are a rock star for working through ALL the obstacles and just going for it! I really think that running these kind of races is so amazing because they kind of magnify real life-- as soon as we start toward a goal, adversity sets in to test our resolve and, ultimately, make us stronger.

jack+alli said...

oh my gosh! emily! you are amazing! and you look amazing! what an inspiring story. i love your determination, you are such a strong woman! the emotions felt when we reach our goals are priceless.

Blake and Erin said...

I got choked up reading this and applying it to my own life! Thanks for putting this on your blog :) You are awesome, and just think, anytime life gets hard you can look back to this moment and know that you pushed through, and tried something you didn't think you could do, and you succeeded! You can do anything now!

Bethany said...

SO beautiful. congratulations a million times! I so wish I could have been there!

Hibler House said...

I'm so proud of you Em! I think I'm going to tackle a half marathon on Labor Day. You're my inspiration! I've had IT problems too- have you gotten a foam roller? I looked up IT band stretches (YouTube) and I do those all day, whenever I can. My knee hasn't bothered me at all since. Really, you're awesome!