I’ll start by saying I’ve never been a runner. I turned 40 in August and I decided to celebrate by challenging myself with something I never thought I could do at age 20, much less at 40… Run a Half Marathon. So I joined Rogue in November, and with complete uncertainty, laid down my cash for the Austin Half. With all the weeks of training in my back pocket, I knew I was prepared on race day, but I was of course still nervous. I studied the race map over & over, which I’ve had pinned to my wall at work (along with a fortune cookie message that reads ‘A solid challenge will bring forth your finest abilities’). I knew we’d be facing some crazy hills!
Everything about race day was truly magical. As we made our way up to the start line, I kept repeating to myself, “Trust your training, trust yourself.” I really started to settle in & feel good as we passed City Hall at mile 2 – hearing the Men’s Choir got me pumped to face the 3 mile hill on South Congress. We took that stretch steady, reminding ourselves to allow the hills slow our pace. As we turned onto First Street, heading back towards town, I thought to myself, ‘Hey that wasn’t too bad.’ Along the way, I really made sure to stay in the moment and soak up all the cheers, music and applause (really, all for me??). I tried to read all the signs. I high-fived Yellow Man at the LiveStrong cheer section! At Enfield, we cheered on the Full Marathoners as our paths separated. I still felt energized at that point but wanted to hold back for the 15th Street hill. When I got to THE HILL, I stared straight up at it and said, “Trust your training and JFR!!” I charged up it with everything I had, pumping my arms when my legs got tired. Made it! That hill was tough but I was tougher!! I finally saw my family at the top of the last hill on San Jacinto. My son pointed to his shirt that said ‘Finish Strong’ so I kicked it into high gear (well maybe 3rd gear). My kids later told me that I didn’t look like “one of those tired people.” Woohoo! As I picked up speed in front of the Capitol, I heard Coach Kim holler out, “Go Heather! Looking great!” I didn’t want to have anything left as I crossed the finish, so I turned on the jets and just let it all go! I finished 10 mins faster than I expected.
We walked back to Rogue, where we sat on the steps soaking up sunshine & enjoying the perfect post-race drink, Hops & Grain beer! I was blissfully exhausted. It’s a day I will never forget. I feel so blessed to be part of the Rogue family! I look forward to more training & more races. Now I can declare: I AM A RUNNER!