Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Aftermath

It’s been almost two weeks now since the Aramco half marathon, and I have had some time to think. I have been a little hard on myself about the finish at the Aramco, and I understand that some might think that just crossing the finish is a great accomplishment, I heard “I could never run 13.1 miles” or like my husband has said “13 miles means you get in a car and drive”. The truth is that I finished last year’s race about 10 minutes faster than I did this year. The more I thought about what happen the more upset I was about the whole ordeal.

Then last night I was getting after my son for not passing his Astronomy test, I was upset because he has the tendency of doing well in a class and getting so confident that he doesn’t study for the test or doesn’t use all his resources at hand...
That’s when it sank in, I was so sure that the half marathon would get done, I just ran the La Port Half only a month and a half before and somewhere along the way I stopped training as well as I should have. I was a little disappointed in myself to say the least, but it’s time to – let’s just say “Let it go”.
The whole year leading up to this race, although a not so great race for me, was a thing of beauty for all of us. The experiences that we shared throughout the year have been great. The experiences that we are going to face this year will be epic :)
All in all we ran, in the sun, under cloudy skies, in the middle of thunderstorms, in the heat, humidity and cold- we ran- tall, short, skinny, not so skinny, dark haired, red, single, moms, hardworking, wives, juggling home, kids and work – we ran – to keep our self’s sane, when we were stressed, overwhelmed, heartbroken, insecure, happy, sad, elated, mad and unsure – we still ran. We ran together while miles apart, in races at different paces, hundreds of miles logged, and while a hard run felt horrible on the bad days we felt stronger because of them, not just because of the run but because we were still doing something we never thought we could do. The strong we are physically makes us realize that we are stronger in everyday things that require no physical strength at all. We all have been empowered not only by our runs but by each other, I draw closer to my faith not just in me but in God and not only in running but in every other corner in my life. This year was awesome and the girls and I are beautiful, a different kind of beauty not measured by looks alone, or pounds gained or lost, not by pace or miles but by the inner determination to do what we do despite our circumstances and the ability to encourage and help each other lace up once again.
The aftermath of all of this? Is more. I have plans to do more with “Running in Faith” from monthly group runs to a 2nd annual 5K. Ultimately I have long term goals, fitness, health and running. I am signing up for the Chevron Marathon next year and that means a different kind of training and clean(ish) eating – the struggle is real my friends because the comfort zone is real!! So the slate is cleaned off and it’s time to lace up and of course I hope you’ll catch a few miles with us :)  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Aramco ½ & Chevron Marathon Race Report

Another long overdue Race Report Part #2

 Pre-Race- I have to say that the Aramco half feels like such a big deal! I mean I did the La Port Half over the Fred Hartman Bridge in November and it pales in comparison to the pre-race jitters we all had going in to this race.  I think it’s just the enormity of it all - it’s the city of Houston standing out there and rallying together in support – it’s the thousands of people running vs. hundreds. Not matter why the reason (maybe our shoes were tied to tight…) we all had the butterflies in out tummies and we were as ready as anyone could be.

We meet up and in a flurry of making sure we had everything on our bodies (earbuds, gels,  phones, watches, etc…) that would carry us through the next 13.1 or 26.2 miles and meeting everyone we knew would be joining us in this run – somehow we managed to be set and in our corral ready to go. Ah and Guada showed up and although she didn’t feel 100% better – she dressed to help her fake it until she would make it!! I just love her attitude!

Mile 1-2 – We were off and running! Alma was running the full marathon and was gone like the wind bull’s-eye! Guada teamed up with a few ladies from the Chronicle. Cindy, Clari and I started off in step with each other with hopes to stay by the 12:30 minute pacer and Lety started off with us but somewhere in mile two had moved well out of my sight.  In mile two we found Joseph and Amina cheering us on!! She was so happy to see her momma (Clarissa) out there running and it for sure gave us a pep in our step!

Mile 3 & 4 – I see this as our first big “turn” onto the Heights and over Allen Parkway, the people cheering us on seemed to keep us moving right along, by this time it was the three musketeers – Cindy, Clari and I moving right along! Another turn and we were on W. Grey, which for me is always so nostalgic because of so many years that I worked in this area and everything seems so familiar – Kinda like “Oh hi Office Max remember me?!!”  :)

Mile 5 & 6 – Right where mile 4 ends and 5 begin we were surprised by Joe and Amina again! How cool, was that! I mean in such a huge race with hundreds of people cheering us on there was this tiny person with a smile larger than life smile cheering on her momma!!  Melted my heart each time, of course I would get so excited that I would run up to Amina too and give her some quick loving and crazy screams :) and then if that wasn’t enough Diana (friend and trainer from Fit4her Gym) was on the other side of the street cheering for us too!! She made a super awesome sign for us!! It was like “Hello?!” we belong here we even have our own signs and fans on the sidelines!! Whoop-whoop!!!!!!

In Honor of … I decided to run in Honor of Sara, Josh and Zori, who lost their lives 01/07/2015 … the days leading up to the run were very hard on our community and family, especially for my son. I was overwhelmed with my thoughts and the song “God’s not Dead” came on and in the middle of mile 6, and I wanted to drop to my knees and cry… why? Honestly? I am thankful that my son is here with me today; my heart literally hurts when I think about the parents and what they must be facing now. But also because God is not dead, not in MHS, not in Alvin ISD, not to my son who had to ask God the question why? I run in faith, faith that God gives me the strength when I have no more… and not just in running but in everything I do. 

Mile 7 & 8 – I was a little lost in thought at mile 7 but right before you hit mile 8, there is the split for the full marathoners to head out and away from us only half crazy runners. It get a little crazy right around here as volunteers start trying to guide the traffic one way or the other and that’s when I thought about Alma, I knew then that she had headed out before us and was taking on the challenge of the full marathon without training just on the simple notion that she knew she could do it. I didn’t doubt that she could do it but you know me and I was worried all kinds of ways that she might get hurt! So I mentally threw prayers out her way down the street hoping that they would catch up to her and keep her safe! In mile 8 Joe and Amina were there again and although it was fun and encouraging I felt myself starting to fade!!

Mile 9 & 10 – In the beginning of mile 9 I knew I was in trouble, I just wanted to walk! Being with Clarissa and Cindy kept me chugging along. Then at mile 10 Oscar (Cindy’s hubby) made his appearance! Ha we got a quick picture and off we went again! Right after our water break in mile ten, I knew I was in trouble, my legs were tired and I think that I had let my mind beat me into thinking that I was done…
In Honor of… Cindy dedicated her run to her mommy Estella who passed away 07/09/2014. Around mile 9 a wonderful lady came to Cindy and shared a very special moment with her, as her husband had passed away a day before Cindy’s mommy. Per Cindy’s own words “I felt this overwhelming sense of strength overcome me. It was game on after that!!”

Mile 11 & 12-  At the end of mile 10, told Cindy she would have to push me because I was done, in a state of delirium I might have told her that I would not walk anymore… just running from there till the end –HA! Cindy was the best ever for these last miles she carried me forward and never let me stop. If I slowed to a walk she would hook her arm in mine and say “are you waiting on someone??” “Who are you waiting for?” and “Come on, we are not stopping!”.  Clari fell back a little bit but Cindy would turn around and look out for her telling me “ I can still see her!!” We were both so proud of Clari and how much she had pushed herself for this half.

Mile 13.1 – When I would run with Cindy on the weekend I would tell her to finish strong, the last turn into my street we would run as fast as we could to the end. In mile 13.1 – I hate to say but I had no fast finish left in me, I kept thinking that I was holding Cindy back, but despite that she never left my side. Near the finish I saw my kiddo yelling for me and just as I passed him I saw my hubby and Hailey on his shoulders cheering me on! And just like that once again we crossed the finish! We met up with Lety and waited a couple of minutes for Clari and we were done!

Mile 13.1- 26.2 – Alma was a beast, she finished that marathon, her first ever, like a champ. I am so proud of her, if you know Alma you know there is rarely a challenge someone can put in front of her that she won’t fight to accomplish.  I think the 26.2 took a toll on her physically but  26.2 puts a toll on anyone who attempts to do it – she finished that 26.2 a little bruised (on her toe) and a little sore, but I would bet that she will never be the same again! They say you learn a lot about yourself in 26.2 miles…

Saturday, January 24, 2015

ABB 5K Race Report

My very long over due race report... Part one. 
As always I have a hard time writing a race report when I have such mixed emotions about the out come of the race it self. So be it that I will be taking time to give credit where credit is due and praise where praise is due I have to be honest with you and with myself. 
The day before the Aramco half marathon, we all participated in the ABB 5K.  I was so glad that we all did it this year, we all got that wonderful satisfaction of bringing triple medals home at the end of the weekend and it gave us all a chance to warm up our race legs and as it turned out it gave us a boost of good vibes. 
Lety had (still is) been fighting an upper respiratory bug, that had her coughing up a storm and feeling very unsure of what was to happen with her very first ever 1/2 marathon- she ran the 5k just fine and just like it did for me last year, it gave her a better idea of what she should wear and how she would do the next day. Over all she left feeling much more confidant about the race the next day having tested out her lungs in the cold weather :)
Guada also felt like poop the days leading up to the race and actually switched from doing the full marathon to doing the half marathon because she felt so funky. I fought up to Guada in the last mile and could tell she was struggling, I stuck it out with her to the end and she made it but we all went home worried that day and lots of prayers were said for her in hopes that she would make it the next day.
Alma was our go go speed racer of course, about a mile into her race she thought she wasn't going fast enough until she found out she was booking a 7 something mile per minute!!! Needless to say she was happy with her run and was all smiles when the rest of us crossed the finish! 
Cindy Luu as normal knocked out her race easy peasy, I know ultimately her worries were not in the 5K but the the race that was to come. Cindy is my quiet one, although she was excited to cross the finish to "Gangnam Style" - LOL!
Clarissa was my favorite by far, she ran the fastest 5K yet! She was beaming when I finally caught up to her :) my bestie has come quite a long way since she started her journey and there is always that moment when your body shocks you and your given this awesome realization that you are capable of great things. 

Cindy Luu is missing form our picture!
My run was good, like I said before I was glad that all of us were together for this run. Last year Alma and I ran it and we were missing Cindy Luu. Unbeknownst to us Guada also ran it but we didn't know her very well at that time and she was there running solo. This time there was power in numbers and I said to her prior to starting "you won't run by your self again!" I meant this in so many ways, I mean I can't run every run with her, she is the crazy runner out of our group putting in a half marathon in every weekend leading up to this weekend since November!! But better yet she has us on her side now and hopefully we can join her more often and also we are here cheering her on and if she knows it or not she is now one of my Running in Faith girls! 
For the first time I didn't give this 5K too much thought, I got lost from the pack because I wanted to get rid of my hoodie and I moved away from everyone looking for Max (babysitter/cheerleader) so I could toss it over to him. By the time I got into the race I had lost the girls, for a moment I thought I found  Cindy Luu and right before I hugged a stranger I realized those were not Cindy's shoes!! So by mile 2 I was cruising along solo and then I spotted Guada, at first I thought if I try to catch up to her, I would burn myself out! I may have tried that once before, maybe ;) So I kept going at a good pace when suddenly I realized not only was I closer to Guada but she had started walking too. I knew then by the look on her face that she was in pain :( so I came up next to her and said "see you're not alone!" So we ran a while together and I could tell she was struggling because she would pick up her pace and slow down, pick up and slow down. I asked her if she wanted to walk, she said yes. When we slowed to a walk she said she didn't want to slow me down because she knew I like to keep up with my time, and I told her sometimes it's not about time... And it wasn't. She is one of the coolest people and she runs because she can she doesn't give it too much thought and she has such a great outlook on everything. She is right about me though, while Guada is as cool as a cucumber - I am normally having a mini panic attack about something running related. She realized we were close to the end and wanted to run again so we did and a little bit of "Gangnam Style" and I think the beginning of "Happy" and the whole thing was over. 
A group of girls that had just been out for a run :)
That night we went to church and thankfully Pastor Tim prayed for us and all the runners that would be heading out the next day. Lety and I went on a mission to have spaghetti for dinner and we all promised each other to go to bed early and get some rest...