Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon: Done!

Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon: Done!

Today was the day! 

Today was the day I ran - and finished - the Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon that I signed up for earlier this year! My goal was to finish, which I did in 3:38, slightly more than the 3:15 I anticipated. :-)

I wrote the names of all my running support friends on a ribbon and carried it with me. 

I wrote the names of all my running support friends on a ribbon and carried it with me. 

I didn't run alone: I had the support of running friends in the Runner's World Run Streak and other Facebook running groups. I wrote all their names on a ribbon, attached it to the front of  my water belt and reached for the ribbon often. The motivational power of the runners in that group is just beyond words. I also had an excellent base of training following the Jeff Galloway run-walk-run plan. Hubby provided sag support and moral support, and even better, cheers and kisses at a couple of crossings! 

Through all my months of training I imagined myself crossing the finish line with a big leap into the air. Instead, as soon as I stepped over the line I broke down sobbing with joy, started hyperventilating, collapsed on the grass, and found myself surrounded by first aid people. How ignomious! 

In addition to carrying names of runners, I also wrote all the words of advice I was given onto a ribbon and tied it to my belt. I looked at it often when I needed help getting up a hill, making it to the next aid station, or wondering how in the world I was going to go another 2 miles after I passed mile 11. Here's what's on that ribbon:

Running mantras I wrote on a ribbon kept me going. 

Running mantras I wrote on a ribbon kept me going. 

run your own race * have a blast * one foot in front of the other * follow the plan * smile * have so much fun * enjoy your race * listen to your body *finish standing upright * finish with a smile on your face * finish wanting to do it again (thanks to Jeff Galloway for the final three)

I'll be honest: I'm in pain. As soon as I got home I (very reluctantly, with hubby's insistant nudging) dropped into an ice cold bath to take down the swelling in my ankles, feet and knees. (It works.) 

But this post isn't about the pain.

It's about feeling alive.

I wanted to write this while it's fresh in my mind and I'm crying happy tears. Those aches and pains will be mostly gone tomorrow (or maybe the next day). What will stay with me for a long time is this deep well of emotions reminding me how wonderful it feels to embrace a challenge and succeed.

I've been keeping track of training by coloring in this shirt; I saved the hearts over my heart for last, to be colored in after I finished the run.    

I've been keeping track of training by coloring in this shirt; I saved the hearts over my heart for last, to be colored in after I finished the run. 

 

Coloring in the final hearts after the run! I forgot to heat-set the fabric paints, so sweating and dumping water on my head caused the colors to run - just like me!!    

Coloring in the final hearts after the run! I forgot to heat-set the fabric paints, so sweating and dumping water on my head caused the colors to run - just like me!! 

 

Waiting for the run to start. Surprisingly, I was so focused on running, being in the moment, and supporting other runners that I only took one other photo during the run. 

Waiting for the run to start. Surprisingly, I was so focused on running, being in the moment, and supporting other runners that I only took one other photo during the run. 

This is the only photo I took during the run; the beautiful Columbia Gorge as seen from the Bridge. 

This is the only photo I took during the run; the beautiful Columbia Gorge as seen from the Bridge. 

Moments from the final chute!

Moments from the final chute!

So focused on the finish line I almost missed seeing hubby!

So focused on the finish line I almost missed seeing hubby!

Instead of a victory leap at the finish line I ended up with a lot of new friends form the first aid station...

Instead of a victory leap at the finish line I ended up with a lot of new friends form the first aid station...

... who made me elevate my legs to recover! 

... who made me elevate my legs to recover! 

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October is Walktober!

October is Walktober!

Keep Your Bonnet On!

Keep Your Bonnet On!