Yesterday I came back home to Colorado after a whirlwind trip to my old home in Maryland. I signed up for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon so many months ago, and just didn’t want to let that goal go. Not to mention it made moving from all my friends a lot easier knowing I’d see them again in a few weeks. KC’s mom was so gracious to help with the kids so KC didn’t have to miss any work during crunch time on a big project. I felt incredibly selfish spending all this money and time on myself for no reason except that I wanted to. But as hard as that is to do, I think sometimes it’s just good for you. So I tried to let myself enjoy every moment through the guilt. The kids were in excellent hands after all, and I was getting a nice breather after the move. Breathers are good for moms.
So my flights went well. I had a nice girl to talk to on the way there, and the time went by very quickly. I had a layover in Atlanta. When we arrived, we had to stay on the plane while they investigated a security breech. It wasn’t long before we and every other passenger at the airport was let off. Needless to say, the place was a zoo as people were crowding areas trying to get where they were supposed to go. I was praying my plane was waiting for me since I was late by a few minutes. They were, but it’s never a good feeling to be one of the last few people on the plane while all the other passengers watch you board all out of breath from running. I did, however have probably the only vacant seat between my row mate and me. I love when that happens. That flight was quick, it was the baggage, shuttle to the metro, and track maintenance that took forever. But around midnight sweet Lili picked me from from the metro a couple minutes from her house. How strange to be the house you lived in for so long with someone else’s stuff in it! But it still felt familiar and homey with Lili’s things. I was able to fall right to sleep despite the time difference. It was so fun to hear Penny’s cute voice in the morning. I miss that little sweetie. Elise and Pen wanted to join me for the Expo in DC where I was to pick up all my race stuff. It was great! So much swag, and I was able to buy a couple last minute race necessities. It was a great place to load up on prizes for the kids, and I was surprised they were even giving out free tech shirts! Elise informed me of a burpee contest going on to promote a race series, so I had to check it out. I haven’t done much upper body in a while with race training on my mind, but it was fun to see what I could do. Courtney joined too. It was a fun challenge, and we got a t-shirt for our hard work.
It was nice to have some down time after that, but eventually we had to hit Aldi and Costco for a few groceries. I think not having the kids was making me do things I don’t normally get to do, like take a huge bite of an impulsive cupcake purchase right out of the store. And it was good. Those things are dangerous.
Elise wrote a few friends to come over that night to catch up. I loved seeing my sweet friends. We just picked up right where we left off, exchanged exciting baby news, and ate delicious food. It’s weird to not live in a place where you know so many people. I’ll probably always feel like I have a piece of me there. I tried to get to bed at a reasonable hour to prepare for the big day. It was hard to wind down, but I did eventually get some solid hours of sleep.
It was forecasted to rain, so I brought a couple garbage bags recommended by Courtney. Elise was kind enough to wake up at 5:30 am to take me to the station. I made a friend while waiting for and riding on the Metro. There were thousands of people running the race, so when you see someone else with a bib on, it’s only natural to say hi. I made my way off the train at the Smithsonian station, and waited for my friends to arrive. I was a loner for a little over an hour, and it was pretty chilly, but no rain! And quite a few runners in garbage bags as well.
Soon before the race, I finally found Courtney and her friend Kathy. And the race began! We all started together, and then Courtney took off. Kathy and I had a great time talking up a storm. Through the first 6 miles while we were together, it hardly felt like work. We warmed up quickly, and had plenty to talk about. And had fun posing for all the photographers. And we were running at a pace that I felt was helping me conserve energy for later on. The scenery in DC was excellent. Such an amazing place to run. It was find of fun having an overcast day, cause everyone’s bright funning clothes were a great contrast. It was like a huge river of runners the whole time. That definitely helps you keep going. I also think having the change in elevation was a huge help. I was hardly winded the entire time (except on the few hills), and kept a much faster pace than I had anticipated. I wasn’t able to train as well as I had hoped, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in the actual race. But I surprised myself with my energy, and consistent speed. A little after six miles, Kathy and I separated, and I was on my own with my thoughts. I tried a book, but I was at a boring part, and it wasn’t working for me. It was enough to take in my surroundings, and kind of fun to hear tidbits of other runners’ conversations. It also helped to have live music every couple of miles, and people cheering us one throughout the entire course. I kind of wish I had someone to chat it up with during the last few long miles, but I used that time to think about my family, do some praying, and just enjoy this big accomplishment I was achieving. I gotta say, after mile 8, those mile marker signs seemed like they were getting further and further apart. Not to mention my GPS watch was about 1/4 mile ahead of the signs, which wasn’t very encouraging, but I knew I could make it, so I kept my speed up and pushed to the end. And was able to snap a few blurry shots mid-run.The last mile I really pushed it, and it was kind of surreal crossing the finish line. Kind of a mix of ,”that was IT?!” and “Thank heavens it’s over!” Not 10 seconds after crossing I heard Courtney behind me! What a relief since I knew it would take us forever to find each other in the crowds. She crossed only seconds after me! I can’t believe we didn’t see each other until then! She has been a huge support in this goal of mine. Without her I don’t think I would’ve even considered a half marathon, but when she signed up, I decided to join her, and I am so grateful I did. It was a blast, and I felt so great the whole time. I was worried about my right foot, since I’d had some insanely painful days with it during training, but besides a little headache in the middle of the race, I felt in tip top shape. A huge blessing. I was surprised with my time of 1:58:27 (official race pics here) since my goal was to finish at all, and hopefully before 3 hours (I had no idea what to expect for my first long race). Courtney had more faith in me than I had in myself! It was so great being with one of my best friends. She’s a rock star, having had a baby only months ago! We loaded up on free post-race snacks, met up with some friends, and kept warm in those nice space blankets they provided. The sun did make an appearance which was a huge miracle with the large amount of rain we were expecting, and we were all incredibly thankful. But it was still chilly.
Getting home wasn’t so bad despite that tens of thousands were trying to do that same. I only had a few stops until I was in Cheverly, and Elise picked me up again. There wasn't much time to rest. We went straight to the store to pick up a few more things, and then after a shower I spent some time in the kitchen preparing treats for a party with some other friends. On the way there the Ribeiras wanted to stop at the store. I opted to stay in the car for a quick snooze. I think in the 15 minutes they were gone, I fell asleep and had a dream. I was exhausted. But it was just what I needed. Courtney was so nice to have everyone over. All the food was delicious, and I was starving. I actually got to chat with the girls without my kids running wild, and Molly offered to take me home later, since Elise wanted to get Penny to bed. It was so comfortable being with my girls. I miss our conversations and being with people that know me so well. I hope they all make a plan someday in the future to come visit us! I can’t wait to see them again. We do keep in touch pretty regularly, so I know we will always be there for each other.
I passed out that night. It felt good. The next day it was off to my old ward. Elise was singing, and asked if I wanted to join her and sing the alto part. It was fun singing with my sister for all my friends. And weird to be back where it felt like home and didn’t at the same time. I got to snuggle my friend’s little baby while she taught a lesson.
Soon after church I met up with Lisa and Dana where they had a delicious spread of beautiful food, and we picked up right where we left off. I love those ladies, and appreciated Lisa letting me use her foam roller on my aching muscles! We talked for hours and never stopped. Such a fun afternoon.
After a nice meal with the Ribeiras, I was out like a light on the couch while we were watching a show. Luckily I had already packed cause I had to wake up early the next morning to catch my flight. It was sad to say goodbye to teary Penny, and to my sister again.
My flights were very uneventful, which is always a good thing. No rushing or waiting. just perfect timing, and, I felt like I got a good amount of rest. It was a pleasure to see Janice and the kids pick me up! I missed those babies! Reality hit pretty quickly as the whining began the moment we hit the road, but It was good to be home in the lovely state of Colorado. As fun as it was to see everyone, and as hard as it is to say goodbye, being in CO just feels so right. I gave the kids their prizes, and they were happy little people playing with all the free stuff I brought them. So easy to please. They seemed to have had blast with Grandma, making letter pancakes and breadsticks, going to parks, reading books, and just getting a lot of Grandma attention. We can’t thank her enough!
So, I’m home and back into our routine. I still can’t believe I, the person who thought running was pure, painful torture, ran and enjoyed a half marathon. I love this turn my life has taken in the last couple years. Physical fitness has never been so important to me, and now I can’t get enough of it! And I love that Bennett keeps calling me a “running racer.” I don’t have any desire to do any marathons. I’m a little too ADD for that. But a couple good hours of festive racing is just right for a challenge, and I look forward to many more in the future. I’m sure Colorado has a lot to offer, but too bad the elevation won’t be on my side!