I signed up for the Surrey International World Music Half Marathon a week out of the race on a whim. My good friend Kendall was running it as her first half, and in all her excitement I wanted to be there and run with her so bad. So I randomly decided the week before I was going to sign up. I already had a race booked for Saturday, so I was in for my first ever double run weekend.
I would like to say that I was stoked and beyond excited over this weekend, but in truth I was scared shitless. I was not properly trained, I did not have my mileage in and I was running 2 back to back races which I had never done before. I hate admit how little confidence I have in myself, and my running abilities. I know I am not the fastest runner out there, and since surgery I have improved in my pace, but mentally my confidence wasn’t quite there.
Worst part, I wanted to run this race sub 2:30 so bad. So bad that the thought of taking longer than that was something I did not even want to think of. Worst part, I had someone offhanded tell me that I wouldn’t run it sub 2:30 with doing the race the day before, and that hurt me so bad.
Saturday after my race, I was walking back to my car with Solana when she told me to run my own race and not to let anything hold me back, and that I was stronger than I thought I was. It was the first time someone had ever said that to me bluntly and upfront, and it gave me a lot to think about.
Saturday I spent the night at my best friends house, which was right across the road from the start line. Sunday I got up bright and early thanks to a 5:30 text from Kendall and my Dad messaging me on Facebook. I met up with my running crew at the race, and we were ready to go.
The weather was cold, windy and raining off and on, so I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle on the road. My left foot was sore from my toes hitting the head of my shoes the day before and I was nothing short of a bundle of nerves. We stood with the 2:30 pace bunny, Kendall, Alanna, Ken and I and we all wished each other luck.
I couldn’t tell you where we ran. I couldn’t tell you how the course was, besides feeling like we were going constantly uphill. We started the race a bit faster than planned, leaving the bunny and Alanna behind (sorry Alanna!!!) and we kept on trucking.
Molly met us at the 6k mark holding her ever so awesome homemade signs cheering us on, and then a bit further down we were met with cheers from Kendall’s parents and other friends of hers. I fed off her energy and excitement of running her first half, and we kept on trucking.
By the time we hit 10k I knew I was in trouble. My foot pain had radiated up to my calf, and my body was struggling to keep going forward. I am sure by this point I was bitching pretty hard because Ken said more than once, “tell us how you really feel.” I had a constant eye on my watch, our pace, where the pace bunny was, and total time.
We cut in through Green Timbers, and my pace quickened as soon as we hit the trails. Any race I have ever ran with Kendall the phrase “let’s pull it back a bit” is said more often than not, and at 15k I knew that I needed to back off.
I knew our time was good, and I knew that sub 2:30 was in my sights, but my body and mind were struggling big time. We were slowing down, and I needed to walk a bit more, and the doubt was creeping in.
At the 19k mark, Alanna was back with us, and I told Kendall and Ken to push on without me. At this point I was not sure I would hit my goal, but knew Kendall could and I did not want to hold her back. Humphrey, another friend of Kendall’s had run back to find us and kept saying we were doing so awesome and were so close to the end. Kendall yelled back “love you!!” and pushed forward. I yelled the same back to her, and felt so proud to know I had the honor to be there for her first half, but sad to not cross the line with her.
Alanna was right there beside me at that point and I told her I didn’t think I could do it, I was hurting so bad and struggling big time. But she didn’t leave my side. We walked our last walk break and had 1 km left, sitting at 2:20. 10 minutes to cross the line, I could walk it right?? We had 2 turns and the finish line was there. 2 turns, 1km and 10 minutes.
I started to cry. Intermittently I could feel the tears coming down my face, and the self doubt sneaking back in. I wanted to stop and walk. I wanted the pain in my foot and leg to stop and I wanted to curl up on the side of the road and sleep. The 2:30 pace bunny was right with me at that point so I knew my window was getting small. We came around a corner, and there stood someone in a bright blue toque with camera calling my name. It was Solana!!!!!
I ran up to her, knowing there was less than half a km left, gave her a huge hug and said, “I am going to get sub 2:30.” And then kept running. Alanna was ahead of me, and the pace bunny was right beside me. I could see the finish and my body was done. I was so defeated, so close and I said, “I want sub 2:30 so so bad and I just don’t think I can do it.”
It was at that moment that I realized how great people are. The pace bunny, whomever she is, told me that she was not leaving my side. The finish line was in sight and she would get me across in my goal. And we ran across that finish line together.
Sub 2:30.. Official time was 2:27:16 which is 22:13 off my previous PR. Alanna ran up and gave me the biggest hug and I cried. The pace bunny hugged me and told me she was proud of me. And then I got one huge assed medal around my neck.
I found Ken and Kendall for a great photo
And then we got a great selfie with Molly, Cory, Humphrey, Ken, Kendall and I
I learned a very important thing this weekend. I AM a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. And that when my body and mind struggle on a race, others will help you when you need it. Someone said to me “who said running isn’t a team sport?” And this weekend proved it to me big time.
For those who believed in me, who cheered me on, who ran with me and who support me through all my crazy assed ideas running, thank you. This race wouldn’t have happened without you all and I love you for it.