Monday, June 27, 2011

*blowing off the dust*

Wow, I've been neglecting this thing big time. What's new, huh?
From Wear Blue

I wanted to write about last week and my first half-marathon! I don't think it would have made near as much of an impact if I had not done it with Run to Remember. The whole week was an inspirational high...with a few bumps.

The excitement started on Tuesday when we had our last team run. We got together at the park for some team photos and also some pre-race advice from Greg Klein, owner of South Sound Running. He had some great advice to offer. Then we took off on a 3-mile run. That's where things started to go badly for me. I've been having trouble with allergies for over a month now, but Tuesday afternoon after cutting the grass, I noticed my chest was feeling really tight. Running didn't help. I was having so much trouble breathing it scared me. It felt like my chest was being squeezed in a vice--I was gasping for breath and wheezing. After spending a miserable and sleepless night like that, I was able to get a doctor appointment where he informed me I had allergy-induced asthma and gave me an inhaler and prescription-strength Allegra. I'm sure everyone dreams of having this happen the week before their first half-marathon, right?? The meds helped but not completely...I was pretty sure I either wasn't going to be able to run or was going to have a miserable time of it.

Anyway, Friday night the team was having a pre-race Dinner of Remembrance. My friend Teresa was planning a great deal of the event and she was stressed out of her mind, so she recruited me to help set up. I spent most of Friday doing that. I caught a little bit of the stress, haha, but by the time we all convened back at the venue dolled up in our dresses, it was all done and went off beautifully. It was also a very emotional night. We had Gold Star families in attendance (parents and family members of some of the fallen soldiers we run for), the picture of a fallen soldier at each table, and some very moving speeches and videos. I think we all came away completely inspired and pumped up to run our butts off in honor of these brave soldiers who had given the ultimate sacrifice.

Saturday morning the alarm went off at 3:30. We were all riding buses to Seattle and the volunteers (which included Andrew--R2R was doing one of the water stations and he agreed to help) were leaving at 4. We had 3 full buses of volunteers in blue--it was awesome! The runners left at 5. We were all in great spirits considering the early hour; the buses were buzzing as if they were full of schoolkids off on a fun field trip. =) We arrived at the starting line in time to make a mad rush to the gear check and portapotties before collecting in our corral. It was awesome to look around and see our crowd of blue in a sea of runners! The announcers also called out what R2R was about and read the names of the soldiers over the loudspeaker, and then we took off. It was an awesome moment!

The first 5 miles honestly flew by. I realized pretty quickly that I was not going to be able to run any hills due to my breathing issues, and being that we were running in Seattle, hills are a given. So I walked them and decided that my only goal was to finish the race, no matter how long it took me. By mile 6 I was starting to struggle--the pressure on my chest was really sapping my energy. =\ But what kept me going was the impatience to get to mile 7, where the Wear Blue: Run to Remember team was holding 41 flags with the 41 names of fallen soldiers and handing out water. I knew it would be emotional and inspiring, but I honestly wasn't prepared for the impact that Wear Blue mile was going to have on me and everybody running around me. There was a picture of each soldier along the route...runners were clapping, saluting, and some stopped to take pictures. It was great to get cheered on by my team and get a fresh burst of inspiration from the faces and names of the soldiers for whom I was running. It was also cool seeing Andrew and my friend Tasneem too handing out water. The energy from our awesome group kept me going for the next two miles.

But then I started to struggle again and this time willpower was futile. I had to stop and walk for a few minutes quite a few times and also had to stop and stretch. The last mile and a half was ROUGH. It was so discouraging to have trained so hard and have my body konk out on me for reasons beyond my control. My inhaler medicine was wearing off but there was nothing I could do about it. FINALLY the finish line was in sight and I managed to propel myself down the home stretch. My finishing time ended up being 2:39. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit it was pretty disappointing. But hey, I finished and I ran almost all of it and that was really all my body was capable of doing, so after the initial disappointment I decided to be content. I'll do better on my next one--hopefully I won't have allergies!
From Wear Blue
Emily, Mae and I, happy to be done!

Despite my body making things difficult, it was still one of the most exhilarating days ever. I am so proud of my group, especially the two moms running their first marathons in honor of their sons who were killed in action! I was so honored to be a part of it!

Here's some video news coverage of the race!