May 14, 2011
click here for part I
We all know that it really doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get across the start line in a race because the final results go by chip time anyway, right? Well, mostly.
The problem is that if you start fifteen minutes late, then you automatically are surrounded by runners who are in an entirely different pace group than you are. And most of the time not only runners who are slower, but also walkers. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge level of admiration for anyone who can walk an entire half marathon, but it’s just a little frustrating when you’re trying to set a good pace and every ten feet you find yourself dodging people or having to stop entirely so as not to run over someone. Such was the first about 5 miles of our race, no kidding. Once we finally got going, I just wanted to go. Despite the freezing cold rain, I was feeling pretty positive and so excited to finally be on our way. My competitive side was definitely rising to the occasion, and I wanted so badly to set ourselves up to PR.
Other than dodging people and puddles, the first nine or ten miles were pretty uneventful. The first time we ran this race, I wasn’t as familiar with OKC, so I didn’t really know where we were on the path at any point in time. Which was probably good considering we did the full and I probably would have died had I known how far we were really running. But this time it was kind of nice to be able to take in all the neighborhoods, restaurants and streets that we’ve been exploring since making OKC our new home. We even ran down the exact same intersection where we got rear ended just a few short weeks ago. It was actually at that point that I remember looking sideways at this husband and saying “this is so fun!” haha. I’m pretty sure he gave me the evil eye in response. I was seriously having the time of my life, though. There were tons of spectators out, especially considering the weather…and it was so exciting. Moments like those are why I run races. There’s just nothing that compares.
I had known for awhile that the husband wasn’t having his best race day. You know how it is. Sometimes you’re on. And sometimes you’re just not. For whatever reason, the husband was just not “on,” and the freezing cold rain and wind definitely wasn’t helping. Around mile ten I started feeling a little sluggish and my legs were getting tired. But overall I was still in the game to keep pushing forward. We stopped at an aid station about that time and grabbed some orange slices, which I thought would give us just the right boost of energy to finish strong. But unfortunately it started causing the husband stomach cramps, and for him things just continued to go downhill.
It was getting colder by the minute, and by this point we were completely soaked through with rain. Every time we’d run under a tree, the wind would blow and dump a huge load of rainwater right on top of us. Honestly, the weather was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but chuckle. It was just plain crazy to be out there, especially around mile 10-11 when it started lightening again. All I kept thinking about was how sorry I felt for the full marathoners (including my little cousin) who were for the most part barely at the halfway point.
Around mile 11 or so, the husband really started to be in pain. Poor guy. I felt so bad. He tried to get me to go on and leave him behind, but that was never an option in my mind. There may be a day where I set out to train for and run a race on my own, but so far in our running lives, the husband and I have stuck together. He’s my partner in everything, and as bad as I wanted us to PR, there was no part of me that wanted to finish that race without him by my side. It’s just like in life…everything (at least for the most part:) is better when we’re doing it together. So, I just tried to encourage him as much as possible; he was getting so frustrated with the situation, and I just kept reminding him that it was just a race. And in fact, it wasn’t even really a race for us…it was a run. All I wanted him to do was to be able to relax and enjoy the rest of it as much as possible. Otherwise, what’s the point in running?
I was so proud of the way he finished. Between miles 11 and 13.1 we had to walk for various short spurts, but he always started back up even when it was painful and not easy. When we got about a half mile from the finish line, we both laid it all out on the line, and we killed it. It was exhilirating. As we sailed toward the end, waiving to my mom and step-dad, I had flashbacks and visions of so many things – our first half marathon, our full marathon two years ago, our year in Thailand, our house, all the challenges we’ve faced in our five years of being married, and I felt so happy and complete.
These last ten weeks have been really tough. I honestly didn’t realize how tough they were going to be. So much in our life has changed and this transition of living out of my mom’s extra bedroom, starting new jobs, commuting, missing Olive, dealing with health issues, building a house…it is such a replica of the passion and dedication it took to train for and run that race. We were hesitant and a little bit fearful when we started out. We’ve had some major highs. And some serious lows. We’ve helped carry each other through – mentally and physically – when things have gotten really tough and seemed impossible.
And we’ll continue to press on, hand in hand, until the very end. We’ll be better individuals…stronger. And we’ll know each other more deeply and be able to support and love each even better. I’m so glad we ran this race. Even though it didn’t go anything like we expected, it was worth it a million times over.
After the race, we grabbed some bagels and water and headed back to find my family. Both of my little cousins were still out, one doing the half and one the full, and I really wanted to watch them come in. After we stopped running though, we just got colder and colder (it even started to hail before the full was over). I think the temperature was in the upper 30′s by this point, and it was still pouring rain. I couldn’t feel anything from my knees down, my hands were throbbing, my face hurt….we waited around for about a half hour or so before we realized we might die if we didn’t get back to our hotel and get out of wet clothes. The walk back to our hotel was by far the most miserable part of the morning…I can’t even describe it. As soon as we got back, we had a quick photo shoot together since nobody had a camera at the finish, and then took the longest, hottest shower in the history of showers. I seriously never wanted to get out! No better way to end such a crazy, epic race:)
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May 13, 2011
To start, thanks so much for the well wishes and encouragement after yesterday’s post. Looking back at it, I realize that it sounded rather negative. That’s the kind of thing I’m less able to see clearly at three in the morning, ha. I appreciate all your kind words so much and they brightened my day; it never ceases to amaze me the kind of support one gets from the blog community. I am slowly feeling better today (no more ER trips), and I’m hoping and praying by the end of the weekend, I’ll be ready to jump back into real life. It never occurred to me that my recovery time would be this long, and I think that’s what has made it more difficult. But things could be so much worse, and I have so much to be thankful for, part of that being all of you. So, thank you.
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It completely blows my mind that it has been twelve days since we ran the OKC half marathon. Carrying on with our training throughout our moving/living with parents and job change process made it seem like it lasted forever, and now suddenly even the race seems like it was forever ago! I honestly have to say that while we stuck to our training schedule the best that we could during this season in our life, it wasn’t ideal, and it didn’t even come close to preparing us as well as our half three years ago. But we obviously weren’t running for serious time goals, and training together definitely gave us something to focus on and helped keep us active during these crazy last several weeks.
Not only were we not super well prepared physically, our mental game was also a little off. I was definitely ready and excited to run the race, but I just wasn’t super focused. The day before we spent some amazing time with friends from college and ended up getting back to our hotel super late. We decided at the last minute to stay in a downtown hotel primarily because my mom’s house is about 45 minutes from the race start and because we had enough points for a free night! We even got to take the baby along:)
So, after a late night and about five hours of sleep, we woke to our alarm and rolled out of bed to get ready. Thankfully we turned on the TV, and there was coverage of the race already on. It was at this point that we realized how crazy the weather was: forty degrees, windy and pouring rain. Further proof that our heads were just not where they should have been was that the weather forecast had predicted rain and colder temperatures all week, but for some reason we just hadn’t really paid attention. By the grace of God we had both thrown in a long sleeve running shirt just in case or we really would have been in trouble.
Just when we were finishing up getting ready, we heard the news announce that the race start had been delayed due to lightening. Cue the next sign that we weren’t really ready – I was a little bit relieved. We had been rushing around so much, and I just felt really scattered (which actually coincides nicely with how I’ve felt the last ten weeks or so) and disorganized…like I was forgetting something important. I couldn’t decide whether to take my iPod and risk it getting wet. Whether or not to take a gear bag to check in case I wanted to ditch my long sleeve right before the start (ha!). Whether or not to wear my headband or a hat. Etc etc. Let me break here and say to any of you who have not yet run a race: never wait until the morning of the race to decide these important matters! I should have made all the decisions at least the night before. But alas, I had not so I was frantically debating all these issues with the husband, who by the way was lounging in bed with Olive like it was the middle of Sunday afternoon. Clearly, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but he was every bit as mentally absent as I was.
After about another twenty minutes of watching the news, it suddenly hit me that if they were not going to delay the start another thirty minutes, then we should really be getting ourselves out the door and down to the start line. Again..hello?! So, I grabbed our gear check bag and my water bottle, and off we went. Once downstairs, the husband realized that he hadn’t brought his headband (his ears hurt if he runs in wind), so he had to go back upstairs and get it. At this point, I wasn’t super worried yet, but I was beginning to feel some urgency. The day before when we picked up our race packets from the expo, they had been out of programs (what!?), and because the start had been moved to a different location this year, we didn’t even know exactly where we were supposed to be headed. And it was still pouring rain.
We took off walking in the direction other people were going, and I distinctly remember the point where I started to stress. Looking at my watch, I realized that we couldn’t be more than about ten minutes from starting time, and with our gear check bag still in hand, we had no idea where we were even headed. About six blocks later, we found our way to the corral area, but it was all gated off, and I honestly couldn’t even tell which way everyone was headed in the corral. It was just so confusing! At this point I began to get a little frantic. There were people everywhere and it was all we could do to try and squeeze through the crowds. I kept asking everyone if they knew where the gear check was, and somehow not a single person knew anything.
Two minutes and counting.
The excitement in the crowd was overflowing (as was the rain), and we somehow ended up caught in the 5k corral. People were packed in like sardines, and they were not going anywhere. I kept trying to worm my way through, but despite the usual friendliness of Oklahomans, no one was even remotely willing to step aside. The husband and I were caught in a packed sea of people, having no idea where the gear check station or the actual start line even was….
and the gun went off.
I have to say at this point I felt so disappointed. I was so mad at us for getting ourselves in this position. If you’ve ever run a race, you know one of the best parts is the start. Everyone is so high on energy, and there’s a sense of euphoria that goes through you when the gun goes off and you start moving forward as a giant unit of runners, ready to embark on what you hope to be your best race ever. I just wanted to be there, but there was nothing we could do.
After about another ten minutes of trying to get through the 5K crowd (those 5Kers can be some stubborn folks I tell ya), we finally broke through. We took off jogging the opposite way of the runners in search of the gear check. Asking everyone we passed, we finally got some direction and found the station. I practically threw the bag at the gear check person, and the husband and turned back toward the corral…and then I spotted the bathrooms. Now typically, there is no way you could have paid me to waste another two minutes going to the bathroom when we were already 15+ minutes late starting. But really, at this point what did it matter? I seriously had to go, and I figured it would be better to go before our chip time started, even though the husband was looking at me like I’d lost my mind. Locking myself in the little porta potty, I quickly took care of business and then began to readjust my clothes when I heard something hit the floor. uh oh. My chapstick. Trying to block out the disgusting nature of the situation, I reached down and snatched it up and then stuffed it into the little zipper pocket in the back of my pants. Uh oh again. I immediately knew what had happened. Turning slowly, I gazed downed into the depths of the black hole, only to see my precious iPod headphones resting gently on top of the pile. I have to be honest here and say that for a split second I did consider fishing them out. But I quickly came to my senses, bid them a quick goodbye, and raced toward the start.
Finally at least heading in the right direction, I started feeling a little more positive. We weaved our way through some more 5K and 10kers and finally crossed the start line at about 17 minutes past start time.
to be continued…
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May 12, 2011
After spending the entire afternoon in the hospital today, it’s 3am and I can’t sleep.
It has been the craziest week and definitely hasn’t gone as I expected. So, I’m trying to sift all the wonderful things that God is trying to teach me out of the mound of uncertainties…and keep on going.
The primary reason (as there are many) behind my elusiveness from the past week is that I had surgery last Friday. Unfortunately, I’m not really ready to share with the world exactly what is going on, but I find it quite hard to write on my little blog while trying to sidestep the most major thing that is going on in my life right now.
So, I had surgery last Friday, and what was supposed to be a 45 minute operation turned into an hour and a half operation…which of course has extended into a seven day recovery rather than a two day recovery. And…being the genius that I am, I promised my new employers that I would begin my new position by substituting for a teacher who is on vacation for the entire week. Oops. Let’s just hope my first impression with them was super strong because otherwise they’re probably wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into. Either way. I actually went into work today for the first time, still feeling a little shaky, but ready to try and jump back out into the real world…only for it to end in disaster. Two hours later and the husband is picking me up on the side of the road and carting me off to the ER where I spent the next four hours in serious pain…and then three more after that just trying to get my bearings back and waiting to get out of there. All in all I’m just happy to be back home in my own bed with no more needles in my arm or awkward male x-ray techs. “I don’t care if you see the back of my hospital gown gape open – just get this x-ray done so I can get back in bed!”
So that is that. I went ahead and took off work again today and tomorrow. Even though my first instinct is always to push myself the extra mile, I’m learning that sometimes I just have to listen to what my body is telling me to do. Novel idea, right?
This past week I have eaten very little aside from graham crackers. I don’t really have an appetite at all, and it’s hard to get much down. The poor husband has been subsisting on fast and frozen food, and that alone is really starting to wear on me. So today I shall spend the day mostly in bed, planning some meals before I venture out to our local Country Boy to get a few groceries. I’m praying they have hummus because I’ve slowly started craving it again…but I’m definitely not getting my hopes up! It is Country Boy after all.
In other news, the house is coming along nicely! Yesterday they were staining our concrete and the brick and stone had arrived. Our close date is set for six weeks from yesterday, and we’re still hoping to make it in by then. I’m looking forward to doing a real update soon, once I can get up there to take some pictures.
And of course I still have a long overdue half marathon recap still to come…
I’m so ready to get back into some sense of a normal life. These past 10 weeks have been very trying, but I know there is a purpose in them, and I know we’ll come out better in the end. I just keep thanking the Lord that I have my sweet husband and amazingly supportive family along for the ride.
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May 5, 2011
I find it so difficult to write a post after being gone for awhile. There is just so much to catch up on it’s overwhelming!
This couple of weeks or so have been so busy. Someone please tell me how I went from living in our small town, the husband and I both working 2 minutes from home, spending our evenings working on Outbox, blogging and playing with Olive to living with my mom, commuting an hour each way, job searching, building a house and having visiting hours with Olive…all in a matter of weeks! It has been an exciting time, but definitely hasn’t been without stress and tiredness. I had to force myself to let everything go quiet here for a little bit while I tried to keep my head above water. But I’m back for the time being and ready to catch up!
Here’s a bit of what I’ve been doing (in random order):
- The husband, Olive and I visited Duncan for Easter. Of course mom and dad McCoy were there, but my brother-in-law and sister-in-law also came, carrying with them my (unborn:) nephew, baby McCoy. Have I told you I’m going to be an aunt???
- Our house got sheet rock! We were surprised at how soon it went up – one day we drove out to check on things and we had gotten walls! It was so exciting to finally be able to really see how big the rooms will be and what it really looks like inside. Since then we’ve been scrambling to try and make final decisions on paint colors. counter-tops, back splash, lights etc. It’s been super fun, but also stressful. The hardest part is trying to envision what something will look like based on a tiny sample. Oh, and trying to decide where to spend money on upgrades and where to save. All I can say is it’s a good thing the husband and I agree on most things, or we’d really be in trouble. The other night we went to the house to try and mark on the ceiling where we wanted the dining room light to be moved to. This was harder than you might think seeing as how it was pitch dark and our ceilings are nine feet high. One thing I know for absolute certain is that I will never get on the husband’s shoulders in a pitch black room again…scariest thing I’ve ever done.
small and cozy. living in small spaces = less room to accumulate junk and less cleaning
master bathtub and shower
standing in kitchen looking into living room
looking from living room into kitchen
- I started my new job! I was offered a job at the ESL Institute I told you about but instead of it being full-time teaching, I’ll also be responsible for other office type duties. I’ll be taking over communication with agents in the countries they work with – Korea, Taiwan, China, Vietnam – to be able to recruit students. I’ll also be in charge of trying to find home-stays for students once they get here and some other random things. I’m super excited about it. Next week though, I’ll be subbing full-time for one of the teachers who is going on vacation, so I’m spending part of this week preparing for that.
- The husband and I celebrated my new job by eating cupcakes at the house!
I wore the husband’s shoes so I wouldn’t get my heels messed up
- We spent the weekend with some friends who live in town and some from out of town. We were all good friends in college, but I hadn’t seen a couple of them in ages. It was such a breath of fresh air to spend time talking about old times and catching up on what’s going on now. One of my best friends from college, Hannah, has two of the prettiest and sweetest little girls who helped entertain us as well. We all tried a couple of new restaurants in OKC together, and reviews will be forthcoming!
Elyse and Ryan
Hannah and Todd
we stayed up way too late roasting marshmallows the night before our half marathon
- The husband and I ran our 2nd half marathon! With pouring rain and thunderstorms the entire race (and hail right after we finished), it was rather interesting and it definitely didn’t go quite as we expected. But I still felt so proud and euphoric as we raced across the finish line, soaked to the bone. I’ll be posting a full race recap later, so stay tuned!
So, those are a few of the highlights of what’s been going on lately. I’m hoping to be able to pull myself together to start posting more regularly again, but as you all know life has to come first. We only have seven weeks left until we close on our house…it’s getting closer!
Miss you all so much and hope everything is going well
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