So here we are. I am not even sure I can even put into words how incredible that day was, but it was incredible. Was I the fastest person? Heck no! Was I even close? That's a negative ghost writer! But I didn't care. I fought through my nerves and the games my mind tried to play on me. And I won!!
Much of the experience is sort of a blur, but there are 4 moments that are so vivid in my memory that I will never forget and I have been waiting to share them!
- It had been only been a few minutes since we crossed the start line and turned onto Lancaster. As I crossed over University I could see the sea of people in front of me and all of a sudden I began to tear up a bit because it all became real - I was actually running a half marathon!
- Right before mile 9 my mind started to play games with me. For about 1/2 a miles I started to believe I couldn't do it and I was ready to give up. Then stapled to a phone pole was a bright hot pink sign that said "You've Got This!" All I could think about was Lala and how she never gave up, even when all odds where against her. Some may call that sign a mere coincidence, I call it a sign from my guardian angel.
- I really wanted to finish side by side with Kipper but once we were about 12.5 into it, I was spent and just couldn't keep up. I put on my favorite Chris Tomlin song, Our God is Greater, and said a little prayer that he carry me to the finish line. Then right before the last turn I see AJ standing on the corner cheering us on. I was dying and asked for her water. As I took a drink she started running along side me, cheering me on. Once the finish line was in sight I told her, "Don't cross the finish line again, they will disqualify your time." Without missing a beat she replied, "I don't care, let's finish this thing!" I couldn't have ever finished without that encouragement.
- Kipper crossed the finish line just 30 seconds before me and I couldn't help but smile with pride watching him. But the moment I will never forget it how it felt as I crossed the finish line and was able to run right into his arms. As I crossed the finish line the water works turned on. I can't begin to describe how amazing that moment was! Thank goodness T was there and caught it all on her camera!!
None of this would have been possible without the support of my family and friends! You all have no idea the impact your support had one me, from training, to what felt like a million phone calls/texts/fb messages the day before, right up to being there on the big day. Taking the challenge with a team of 5 sure helped too because I knew I wasn't alone out there! Knowing I was going to see Momma and Ms. G in the Stockyards got me through the first 6 miles and knowing that my amazing friends would be at the finish sure made climbing the hill into downtown a lot easier. But the biggest thing I can say about the entire experience is: "If you want to strengthen your relationship and faith in God - start training for a half marathon!"
To end, I have to once again thank Kipper for inspiring me to ever lace up my running shoes in the first place. Hard to believe a year ago we couldn't run a 1/2 mile and now we are half marathon finishers! I love you to the finish line and back Mr. Martin! Here is to many more racing adventures together!!