"A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it is built for"

My first Half Marathon - Emerald Isle, 25 March 2017

Over the last year or so I have been sick. Very sick. It has only gotten worse. I lost a lot of my hair, i was extremely tired all the time, i could barely get off the couch nor did I have the energy to do anything. I had a lot of joint and muscle pain as well as swelling and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I saw at least 5 different doctors and not one answer, just a lot of "I don't know".
   Because of this, i slowly (and unintentionally) tapered off of my running. Last year, while active in my running, i purchased a ticket for my first half marathon at Emerald Isle. I was so excited, and as time went on i never doubted being able to at least attempt it. Last weekend was the race, and i hadn't run in a couple months. Just 48 hours before the race i was in so much pain and so nauseous that i couldnt even get off the couch! My friend, Liz was driving in from Maryland to run the race and I was so badly wanting to see her and do this race with her. The last time I saw her, we were running a 10k. That was in November. I felt so awesome running then! Liz kept telling me not to feel pressured into running this half with her, but as long as i was feeling "ok", I was going to at least walk it!
   I woke up on Friday morning feeling ok. I felt OK enough to make the 2 and a half hour drive to Emerald Isle for the race Saturday, and I felt good about waking up the next day to run my first half. I was excited, but didn't have butterflies. I was anxious, but not nervous. I just wanted to get there and see how it felt. I never questioned being able to complete the half, but at the same time, I didn't know what to expect. The farthest distance I had ever ran was about 7 miles, so i probably should have been more nervous about almost doubling that distance.
   I woke up Saturday morning still not nervous, but I was too scared to eat anything. I ate a banana, but by the time we headed over to the race i was starving. I loved the environment and all the happy people, which says a lot because i do not like crowds. The full marathoners started an hour and a half before us. Our race didn't start until 8:30.
   Everything started off ok. I ran the first couple miles at a decent pace, and i felt pretty good. I saw a man running with a flag, who seemed to be getting tired, i started talking to him to try and distract him. That completely backfired, because all that talking left me having a hard time catching my breath, I started to do the run walk. The man with the flag took off ahead of me, and then I saw Liz pass me. By mile 5, i was hot. the sun was scorching, there was no shade, but it helped to see new friendly faces pass by, in good moods and smiling. Mile 7 my legs were so heavy, i couldn't run if i tried. Mile 8.5 I was texting my husband and friend pictures of my swollen hands. My music kept stopping, but at one point they were like a ton of extra distracting noise that wasn't even enjoyable. I took them out of my ears around mile 2 when I was talking to the man with the flag. The turnaround point was around mile 7.5, and i remember a bunch of people saying "You're halfway there!" I really wanted to yell at them and tell them "I'M WAY PAST HALFWAY!", but the amount of energy that would have required made me lose that thought real quick. I was dying for the water stations. I heard that somewhere there was a gatorade station and for a couple miles that's all I could think about. I saw a GOO table and was so excited. I had never had it before but something, anything in my body seemed like a good idea. Mile 9.5 there were daggers in my stomach. Why did i eat that sugar syrupy crap!? I didn't care. I had so far to go but I was almost there.
   I stayed with a girl that i named in my head "Miss Run Pretty", because she was struggling but she didn't look like she had an ounce of quit in her - and her run was pretty! I tried staying with her by running a block, walking a block, running a block, walking a block - but even with her walk-run thing she had going on, she slowly chipped away and the distance between her and I got bigger and bigger.
   Mile 11- I was on the home stretch. There wasn't really anyone in front or behind me, I was on a long shady sidewalk and all i could think about was the finish. This woman out of no where says "Great Job!" as she passed from behind me and scared me so badly that I flew about 3 feet. She apologized and kept moving but all i could think about was the last little bit of energy I had just went into being a complete chicken because i didn't hear her coming up behind me! With just one mile to go i found the strength in me to run and just keep running. People that had completed the run kept saying "You're almost there!" but i couldn't help but wonder if they had already forgotten how far a mile really is. With about a quarter of a mile to go, my watch says i reached 13.1 miles. I was so angry because I would definitely have to walk the rest of the way because I gassed out trying to get to my fake finish line! but ..thinking about how far I had come, and how far i had left to go, i ran to the finish where I saw Liz waiting for me. A couple of paramedics grabbed me to make sure I was ok, but even with all the shaking and pain and slight bit of confusion, i felt better than 3 other times I had been struggling with pain during the race. I finished in 3 hours and 19 minutes, there were about 360 that ran the half, i came in around 340ish. Im proud to have completed this race, and feel no shame in my time.
   The next day I was SO SORE, naturally, but here I sit a little over a week later with a hurt ankle. I have broke it in the past and probably irritated it running so much. I believe it is finally well enough to run on again.
   Now Doctors think they may have figured out what's wrong with my body, so hopefully with my new medication I am on the road to recovery. I have a Diva half marathon to run on May 7th, and although I won't be in the best of shape in time for that run either, I know I will do a lot better than I did at Emerald Isle. I have high hopes to only improve my PR from here!

Run Hard,
Bobbie Jo


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