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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rock N Roll San Diego 2013

Today's race marked one year since I ran my first half marathon. I cannot believe it has already been a year! The days leading up to the race have been full of reflection.

We started the morning off with some laughs. When a hummer limo pulled up in front of the hotel just after 5am, Kari says "oh our ride is here". Funny enough... that was our "shuttle" to the start line.

This morning I found myself even more emotional that I was on the day of my first half. It has come full circle and I simply couldn't be more thankful.

Just before the national anthem there was a moment of silence for Boston. Sitting here now, I have tears in my eyes thinking back to April 15th. Terrorists tried to strike fear in our hearts. They tried to take the innocence of our sport away. They didn't. Today 28,000 runners united and ran. Nothing was going to stop us. I proudly wore my "Run 4 Boston" ribbon, "Beat Cancer" ribbon and "Boston Strong" head band.

There was a quiet reassurance before the race today. A large law enforcement presence. Look outs on rooftops and all sorts of dogs and handlers walking around. I was so thankful for that presence today.

About 5 weeks ago I was plagued with shin splints so I backed off on my training. My friend Chris gave me a great recovery plan and pep talk. I am so blessed by the people God has put in my life. My legs felt strong and ready for today. My mind? Not so much.

If anyone tells you running is 100% physical, they are very wrong. You see, there's this little voice in your head that doesn't want to shut up. It wants to tell you how tired your body is after 3 miles, how the twinge you once had in your foot it going to come back, how you "only" ran 9 miles to get ready for this race and that wasn't enough. Around the 3 mile mark, those were the things going through my head. So I did what I normally do... rebuke that inner voice. I tell myself to snap out of it and to keep pushing. I pray and thank God for giving me His strength to run this race. I remember that this is something that I love and I was ready for. That inner voice lost today, as usual.

I checked my watch periodically and knew I was a bit slower than I had wanted to be but I was ok with that. There were a few more hills than I had anticipated. I normally walk hills. Not today. I powered up those hills. I wasn't going to let that little voice back in. I walked way less than I have in the past. I can't run and drink water at the same time so I try to pair the two so I am not taking extra breaks.

My favorite memories from today (in no particular order)

1) A marine running in full gear. Back pack, helmet and all. I made a point to tap him on his shoulder and tell him thank you. I actually saw a lot of runners do that. One lady might have misjudged her shoulder "tap" because it almost looked like she shoved his shoulder. I know she didn't. She was just running fast.
2) A US Navy fire fighter running in full bunker gear (the big heavy turnouts they wear on structure fires), helmet and BA (breathing apparatus they were on structure fires). I also tapped him on the shoulder, high fived him and said thank you.
3) Around mile 9.5-10 I was struggling a little. The race benefits the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I turned the corned and it was lines with purple banners and white signs. Signs saysing "thank you" or who we are running for etc. One purple sign stood out to me. "Remember why you're running". It was at that moment that I thought about Kayla and all she has been through. At that moment I dug deep and remembered this was yet another celebration run because she continues to be cancer free. I also thought about a fire captain that works for CAL FIRE and my cousin Joshua that have both been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphona. It was for them that I ran. It is for them (and me) that I will continue to run.
4) I love seeing people on their porches, coffee cup in hand, cheering for all of the runners. They don't have to. They could sit inside with the TV turned up and be angry that their street is occupied for half of a day. There were people on every.single.street. Amazing.
5) I am a runner. I am still shocked by this. I am even more shocked that the farther I ran, the better and stronger I felt. I wonder if I all of that will every fully sink in!
6) Seeing Jimmy, Jessica, Justen, Alissa, Ali, Preston, Asher and Ansel screaming and cheering my name as I ran toward the finish line.
7) Running a major race with Michelle. She asked me if I wanted to do a 5K with her and Preston back in 2011. I have loved being on this running journey with her. We have different goals, training styles, paces etc but she "gets" me when it comes to running,among other things. 
8) Ali was here!
9) Free Jamba Juice at the fnish line. It was the bestest smoothie I've ever had!
10) Finishing my 4th Half Marathon in 1 year.
11) Being there to witness Veronica's first half marathon and Kari's second full marathon
12) Petting the black lab puppy after I picked up my gear :)
13) The enormous amount of support from my family and friends. You are all priceless
14) Riding to the start line in a hummer limo
15) Inspiring my brother Jimmy to start running. Who knew a baby sister could do such a thing?

I ran this race 12 minutes, 35 seconds faster than I did last year. My time was 2:32:34.
It was not my fastest half marathon (2:28:50 in Feb) but I am ok with it. I thought I would be disappointed but I'm really not. The course in Feb was completely flat. This one... was not. I think being only 3 min 44 sec slower than my fastest time while running hills is pretty darn good. I am proud of myself. It will just keep getting better from here!

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