Austin 1/2 Marathon 2012: That hill is tough … but I am tougher

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!

L to R: Brandy, Heather, James, Lindsay

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!

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4 thoughts on “Austin 1/2 Marathon 2012: That hill is tough … but I am tougher

  1. What a great post! I’m 1 year ahead of you in age and decided to try to tackle my first half marathon in March. I loved reading about your great experience. Congrats!

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