I started training back in June with my older brother in the Rogue Basic training program. After 2 months of the program, we decided to up the antey and train for a half marathon. Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to make you stick to the program, right!? We’re up to 5 miles, what’s another 8? Pfft. For months we drove together at the crack of dawn to Rogue and had the same conversation:
Corey: “Whose idea was this?”
Me: “I don’t know. Want to turn around and go back to sleep?”
Corey: “No, we’re already dressed.”
Me: “God it’s cold…why do we do this to ourselves?”
Corey: “I don’t know.”
Then we proceed into the shop, meet our running buddies and always have a smile on our faces after completing a long run because we know we will reward ourselves with a delicious meal at Chuy’s, Kerby Lane or Trudy’s.
Fast forward…so here we are: race day. I barely slept the night before, full from pasta, nerves shot and waking up every hour thinking I’ll miss my 4:30am alarm. Off if goes, up I pop, dress and wait for my ride. Confident in the attire I chose, nervous as hell, I split up from Corey and Robyn to meet my running partner, Michele. It’s both our first ½ Marathons and I’m stoked to have the chance to run it with her. We lull around in the dark cold wondering which pacers to stay with, wonder why anyone would show up to a race in 35 degree weather in a tank top and start our warm up. We hear the announcers and off we go. Our first 2 miles are in the 9:10 time frame, faster than normal for me, but the adrenaline is pumping, the people cheering in the streets with cowbells and inspirational signs tell me I can make it under 2 hours. By mile 5, I’m thinking, “I started too fast, I can’t keep up.” Michele tells me we’re doing great, I don’t want to slow her down, so I keep pumping my arms, telling myself, “it’s all mental, you can do it!” I call this my “there is no spoon moment.” In the beginning of training I had a moment during a 5 mile run when I remembered thinking, “wow, my body is just going, I don’t have to do a thing but just let my body move. It’s like Neo in the Matrix when everything turns to numbers and he sees the light! There is no spoon!”
So, back to the race…mile 5 we take in a few chews and keep going. Mile 7, I’m half way there, “just do one mile at a time” is my mantra. Mile 9, time to GU…”hmm, the chocolate really is kinda tasty.” By mile 10 I can tell Michele has the eye of the tiger and can finish the last 3 miles at a faster pace and I don’t want to hold her back…she’d inspired me enough to keep a fast pace this far already. I tell her, “go, you got this!!” She hesitates, “are you sure?!” I say, “YES, you can do this in under 2 hours, run!!” Off she goes. I start to feel a little defeated and move to right to stop and walk. But, a voice in my head said, “you’ve come this far, trained this hard for today…don’t give up!” Plus those, “Pain now, Mimosas later” signs helped out! So I keep on trucking. Mile 11, “Don’t give up, pick up the pace, keep the pace, you got this!” Mile 11.5 my knee tightens, it hurts to land on my foot and I panic. I have to finish! I stop and stretch 4 times, it alleviates the pain but my goal to make it in 2 hours is gone. Oh well, at least I’ll finish this. Mile 12 and I think, “screw it” and the adrenaline pumps in yet again. “Pick it up Katie, you’re almost there”…past the UT alumni center, around the curve onto MLK and “sprint Katie, sprint”. I twist my left ankle. “Screw it! Run!!!” I see the clock, it’s at 2:03:19…we started with 4 minutes on the clock. “Oh crap, I can make it, I can make my time!!” I finished in 1:59:30 with the biggest sense of accomplishment I’ve felt physically since my days as a high school athlete. My whole body got the shivers, I teared up with pride and my lips quivered as I whispered to myself, “I did it, I really did it.” I walked up to a volunteer handing out medals. He handed it to me and I said, “I’ve been waiting six months for this thing.” He just smiled and said, “you did it”.