On Sunday I ran in the Marine Corps Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I've been training and stressing for this, my first half marathon, and have been filled with excitement and anticipation since November. Then on Sunday, it finally happened. Setting a goal is one thing, actually accomplishing it is something else. One year ago, I couldn't run one mile without stopping to walk at least 3 times. One year ago! Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles. Every single one of them. The last time I felt like this, I had a new baby in my arms. OK, maybe that's a bit much...that baby thing was a lot more work, but you know what I'm saying.
Thank you all for your well wishes and good advice that you gave me before the race, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. When I was younger, I was involved in sports and various clubs but it wasn't until I discovered running that I found a community as friendly and supportive as this. When I found SeeMommyRun, I was thrilled - finally, women in the same place as me, with the same goals and time constraints but still managing to do what they love!
Having said all that, I have to tell you about a member of SeeMommyRun, as well as a member of the Astavita running team, who helped me achieve one of my biggest goals ever. Jamie lives in Fredericksburg and saw my post where I was looking for advice (yeah, I might have been freaking out) about the race. Not only did she give me some great advice but when it became obvious to Jamie (which I'm guessing was pretty quick) that I was a little more nervous then might be normal, she put out a hand.
To try and make a long story short, I was driving from D.C. down to Fredericksburg the day before the race. I had no idea where my hotel was in relation to the starting line; I had no idea what running a half marathon was like; I had no idea what 5,000 people in one place looked like; I didn't even know that "baggage drop off" meant "give them the bag they gave you when you got your shirt and random stuff instead of bringing your own big black bag that you can't write your name on you silly rookie". In other words, Jamie saved me. She saved me from myself. I was already nervous beyond belief. All of the things about a big race that most people already know about and have experienced were exactly the things that were potentially putting me over the edge - it wasn't the 13.1 that had me shaking, it was the logistics of getting there and finding my way through. Jamie read my post and held out her hand. In a simple leap of faith, in what she probably thinks was no big deal, she helped me more than she knows. This thing we have...this connection called running...as corny as it sounds, builds bonds that touch us each in different ways. What Jamie did for me was huge. I hope she knows that and I hope that some day, I can do that for a new runner.
When we got to the race yesterday morning, Jamie introduced me to her fellow SeeMommyRun, Fredericksburg, friends and they all couldn't have been nicer. Thank you Jamie, Emily, Laura and Stephanie for accepting me into their club for the day (I'm still trying to post a photo, but blogger is giving me a hard time. I do have it posted over on my running blog though if you want to take a peek.)! And to you, Jamie...you are what they call 'good people'. Thank you. The memories of my first half marathon will always include you.
Oh, and for the record, yes, I had an incredible time! I loved it, every minute of it. Except for maybe the last 3.5 miles...those hills were not fun! But, I set a goal of 2 hours and I finished in 1:54:48...I'd call that a success!