November 15, 2017

13e.1ieve in Yourself

My body hadn't fully recovered from running my first half marathon in April when I was already scouring the internet for my next race.

Outer Banks Southern Fried Half, boom, bam...registered.

Being that I didn't die or injury myself running the Flying Pirate, I felt confident that the race in November would be a breeze. At least, not rougher than my first...right? 

Between the summer heat and summer schedules, training quickly fell off my calendar. I managed to get in a few miles every week or so...most runs motivating me for the next.

Cut to the end of October...crunch time.

"I'm doing it...I can do it," I told my husband.

Having a positive attitude is half the running battle. If you let your brain tell your body you can quit, you will never make it out of the driveway. #nevergivein

I hit the pavement while Little Miss was at play practice, running a few new routes. I learned quickly that running in Nags Head vs. Wanchese offered two obstacles 1) restaurant food to smell 2) pools...lots of pools to consider trespassing/diving into. #itwashotandiwashungry The struggle was really real on my beach road runs. 

Between weather, migraines, and training could've been so easy to say eff-it and hop on the couch to train for a Netflix marathon instead. But I didn't give in to the temptation. I ran in the rain. I ran with a migraine. My determination kicked into high gear.

Friday, two days before the race, my excitement (or adrenaline) started to kick in. I thought back to the previous race- which I ran in honor of Daddy. A mix of anger and sadness stole my excitement.

"Fuck cancer," I whispered to myself.

A light bulb went off in my head. I immediately grabbed my phone and typed in those words. I found a few ideas that I liked...but, knowing our Southern community...I wasn't sure how a runner with "F Cancer" on her back would be received.

Later in the day, I picked my packet up and mentioned my idea to one of the vendors at the race expo.

"My daughter wears a headband with that on it...she is 12. It's well-received. Cancer is the offensive word there," she said.

"I agree...does your daughter have cancer?" I asked.

"Yes, for 10 years now. She recently opted out of treatments."

My heart stopped for the mother standing in front of me. I couldn't imagine her pain, her worry...her every day life. 

"Wear that shirt proud," she winked at me.

Saturday morning I woke up with the beginnings of a cold. I tried to keep myself busy designing my race shirt and planning for the following morning. 

"That cold is just trying to distract're going to kill it!" my race partner from the previous race texted. #shewasright

At 4am, I popped out of bed like it was Christmas morning. #whodoesthat? Breakfast. Yoga. Immodium. (#seriouslyworstfear) Hydrate.Hydrate.Hydrate. Out the door.

It seemed like I blinked and the timer began. I ran the first 3 miles feeling great. Then someone must've attached concrete blocks to my feet and poured baby powder down my throat. I was dying of thirst and felt like I couldn't- for the life of me- pick up my feet to run.

Push through it...mind over matter...I can do this...why did I sign up to do this?!...and alone...that was dumb...I will never do another race again....I can do it...just 9.5 more miles.

I talked myself through each time I felt like I couldn't do it. I reminded myself that my battle was nothing to complain about. I reminded myself why I had those two special names on my shoulders and F-CANCER on my back. I played little mind games with myself- set short goals and met each one. Before long, I was feeling great about my running once again. 

Mile 9. Washington Baum Bridge. Holy freaking incline-that-never-ends.

From this point to the finish, I don't remember much but everything hurt and I was just trying to make it to the finish to collapse into my family's arms. (Although I do remember getting passed by a few full-marathon runners...that added a little boost to my confidence. #lies)

But I made it! (And I beat my previous time!) All the thoughts I had of never racing again, were gone as soon as I crossed the finish line.

I'm so thankful I believed in myself. I'm thankful I had two heroic names on my shoulders to remind me to never give up. And today, I'll be thankful for the moment my shins quit throbbing so I can run again. #crazymotherrunner #fucancer

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