November 13th 2011- a day I will never forget. The culmination of 7 months of training. The anticipation of that day drove me for so long. I dreamt of what it would look like- what it would feel like- how I would react- how I would push through- how I would succeed.

I think it’s taken me this long to write about, not just because of the issue of having time, but also because- I’m disappointed. Or, maybe a better way to say it – I was disappointed.

Let’s start at the beginning- because that seems like as good a place as any…
Jan 1, 2010- I had a 6 week old and was determined to get back into shape. My friend and I started taking a spin class at the Y at 5 am. My obsession with exercise ensued. Six weeks later we were running my first 5k. It was a Saturday morning and I believe my time was somewhere around 36 minutes. I was so proud- 3.1 miles and I had finished. Then the goal became improving my time- I trained and was ready for my second 5K about a month later. I had big dreams- a couple more 5k’s a 10k, a half and then a full marathon. A week before race day, I found out I was pregnant. I had a barely 2 yr old and a 5 month old- needless to say, it was quite a shock.
The morning sickness forced me to quit running, pretty much quit everything that didn’t have to do with feeding, clothing and caring for my children. But I was determined- I couldn’t wait to run again. Two of my close friends ran their first half during this time. I was so happy for them, yet- SO jealous that it wasn’t me!
I counted down the weeks till Zayd was due- I was going to start running ASAP. My midwife wouldn’t clear me to run until 12 weeks postpartum. The finally- the day came…

I pulled out my barely used, year old shoes I had bought weeks before our surprise. It felt so good to run again! A month later, I ran my second 5k. My time was great (for me)32ish minutes- and I was so proud I did it again- and with an almost 4 month old!
Then the true training began. We picked the day- November 13th. I would have a 9 month old, an almost 2 yr old and a 3.5 yr old. We decided to make it a weekend since the race was in San Antonio (about 4 hrs away) so just Trey and I would go.
Training went well- running a new distance very week made me feel so accomplished. I felt great because I was dropping baby weight and because I got “me” time consistently. My hubby was über supportive and watched the kids many a morning while I had my long runs.
The weekend finally came and I couldn’t decide what I was most nervous about- leaving my babies or actually running the race. I had never left all three- and hadn’t left town without my kids since February of 2008. It was so tough to do- yet so worth it. The drive down was very relaxing in a cat with no one screaming or whining. Trey and I talked and joked – it was like dating again. We stayed in a beautiful hotel and got to soak in the jacuzzi the night before.
The morning of the race- I was awakened by some not-so-quiet neighbors at the hotel. It was somewhere around 3 am. I was not happy! My first night away without kids and I had to listen to crazy people instead of sleep… I woke up countless times following – not sure if it was nerves, or a new bed, or the combination of it all. At 5:30, I stopped fighting to sleep and decided to ready myself for the race.

All my gear was laid out, my protein bar was ready, my headphone charged. It looked to be a beautiful morning in San Antonio.
The starting line was chaos. If you were claustrophobic- you would not have made it! People everywhere you looked, it was exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. One of my biggest fears was having to fight the crowd, so we moved up a couple corrals to try and avoid that issue. The whistle screamed and the first corral was off- about 20 minuets later, my friends and I crossed the start line.

I was ready- 7 months of training and it all came down to this! I couldn’t have been any more prepared. The first 4 miles were great- my pace was on target, my breathing on track, my body felt good. Mile 5 came and went on my GPS and I looked for the mile marker- nowhere in sight. I jogged on. 5.25, still no sign… 5.5 and I finally saw it, the 5 mile marker on the course.
Now, for those of you who don’t run, this may not matter to you. But for me- it was a HUGE upset. You see, I trained to run at a certain pace to make a target time (2:10) I ran that time two weeks before in my training. I KNEW on race day I would run at most a 2:10. I had already done it- I knew I could!
But mile 5, I was over my goal by about 2 minutes. I shook it off and continued to run. In a last minute decision I would soon regret, I decided NOT to wear my camelback. The race provided water- why did I need to carry my own?!?! Now I know why- cuz drinking out of a paper cup while trying to run is insanity!!!! And walking to drink only slowed me down more. Mile 10, I wanted water SO badly. But there was none in sight- I remember praying for a water station to appear out of thin air. I actually texted my husband on a walking stint and said – I don’t think I’m gonna make it. By my calculations, my time was beyond repair. My GPS kept telling me I had run farther than the mile markers and even by that time, I was slow! Mile 12- my race was complete on my GPS. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to quit in that moment. It was a constant battle to, ever moment, decide not to walk. I rounded a turn and saw a hill right before mile 13 marker. I trudged on. At the crest of the hill- I finally saw it- the finish line. I pushed harder than I thought possible and crossed the line as quick as my tired little legs would take me.
There was no sudden burst of joy, no real pride I what I had done- I had one mission. WATER!!! I quickly downed two bottles and tried to sit, I was ushered on by a race attendant who told me I couldnt sit here. A couple more yards and I had to sit- my world was spinning. I held onto a rail for dear life and am not really sure what took place after that- I remember coming too and losing all the water I had just drank. I was then escorted to a medic tent where they told me my blood sugar had plummeted and I had to drink some electrolytes. I laid there for what seemed like hours.
The tears came hot and heavy- I kept saying “it’s not supposed to be like this”. It was my race day- I was doing this for me, yes, but also for my sister who lost the use of her legs in 2008. She would give anything to run again. I would run a million miles if it would allow her to run one. I wanted to be triumphant and celebratory- but all I felt was shame. All I thought was I had failed. I knew my time was nowhere near 2:10.
After about 30 minutes, I made my way through the crowd and met up with my friends. We shared our horro stories- her headphones had quit at mile 5, and she ran the rest of the race without music – a playlist which she had planned to a T specifically for race day. Truthfully, I don’t know how she did it- she even met her goal time. I was amazed. Two hours later the results were in. My time was 2:21. Not really a bad time, but not what I had wanted.

In the days since, I have realized that no matter how hard you plan, what you do to prepare, life has a way of messing plans up. Funny, I thought I learned that lesson with my third pregnancy. But apparently, I need to be reminded of the fact that I am not in control. But His hand constantly holds me, even when I think I have missed the mark. I will run another half marathon, and hopefully a full soon enough. I will run for me and for my sister. I will think of her always, especially when I am ready to quit, ready to give in, ready to walk. I will praise God for my ability to use this body he has given me. I will set an example of good sportsmanship for my kids- because sometimes success means simply crossing the finish line.