I hadn't run in a month. The course promised (and delivered) lots of hills. I've gained a decent amount of weight. Are you guessing how this may have gone?
First of all, the fault is all mine. I know I've been whining about how busy I've been and how I'm struggling with time management. It's true. I have struggled. However enough is enough. I read a great post yesterday written by Lauren that gave me the swift kick in the ass that I needed. I need to sit down and prioritize what matters most. I know I don't have the time I used to have, but I can still find the time to so something. It won't be every day, but a small something a few times a week is always better than nothing! I am back to the place where I hate myself in pictures, I can only fit into some (ok, very little) of my clothes, and I hate it. I swore I would never be here again, yet here I am. My two choices are to wallow in pity and let it get worse, or I can do something about it. I've been in this place before (too many times), and the good thing is I know how to overcome it.
Moving on to the race!
I arrived in Austin Saturday afternoon. The expo was great! So well organized, lots of cool stuff, I definitely have no complaints. My friend Emily let me stay with her again, and she actually joined me at the expo. Afterwards, I met her new boyfriend, and we ate at Shady Grove that night. Since I had a 4:15 am wake up call, I tried to go to sleep early, but it didn't work out. I was very restless knowing how unprepared I was. I was dreading the race simply because I knew I wasn't ready for it.
I woke up, got ready, then drove to a Target to meet Lauren. Her and Alex picked me up so I'd have a safe place to leave my car and wouldn't have to worry about parking at the race. So sweet! We arrived, Alex dropped us off, and we were off to hunt down portapotties. We hung around around the Capitol and tried to stay warm while we waited for the start. It was chilly, but definitely not miserable like the 3M half was!
Funny story about my sweater is that the boyfriend hated it. It was dingy and ratty looking, which you can't tell in the picture. He would hide it all over my house, and then I'd find it and wear it just to annoy him. I decided to give him a gift, and I tossed it at the start.
As soon as we started, I knew I was in trouble. I could feel how out of shape I was from the very beginning. I told Lauren many times that I'd completely understand if she wanted to run her own race, because she is gaining quite a bit of speed! She said over and over that she wanted to stick with me, and I appreciate her so much for that. She is definitely what got me through that race! It was such a tough course. By far the toughest half marathon I've ever done! With that said, it was a great race. It's not the race's fault that I was terribly out of shape! Even in shape it would have been a challenge, but the directors do a great job of organizing everything. The crowd support was great, and I saw some really funny signs.
The theme of the course? Hills. Anyone I've ever talked to about this race has mentioned the hills, especially the monster that comes at the end of mile 11. The hills are all throughout the race and definitely keep things challenging. I had to walk a lot more than I wanted to, but Lauren provided great support and feedback. I knew I was holding her back, but she was so sweet about everything.
Lucky for me, the race photographers caught the least flattering photos I've ever taken in my entire life while walking on the course. Those photos alone were enough to make me cringe and realize I need a change. No, I will not be posting those! They truly are that horrifying. There were a few decent ones, but again, all I see is my weight gain. Sad.
I'll keep an eye out the rest of the week to see if any other good ones are posted.
Finally, after what felt like forever, the end was in site! Lauren told me that as soon as I passed the turn, I had to give it all I had to the finish, so I did. Somehow I found it in me to sprint to the finish line. I'm such a weirdo, because every time I see the finish line of a half marathon, I get all emotional and start to choke up. I've never actually cried, but it happens every time! I think it's from relief and pride. Anyway, we crossed the finish and I tried to catch my breath while we had a picture taken.
Lauren then gave me my phone, and I saw I had a text from the boyfriend. It said, "Don't leave! I'm here!". Cue many tears. He surprised me and came! As soon as I saw him, I was a bawling mess. I was so exhausted, disappointed yet proud, emotional, and he and I had been arguing about him not going. After our arguing, I couldn't believe he actually drove to Austin that morning to surprise me, and to top that with all the crazy emotions I was feeling anyway?!?! I was a mess! Seeing him was exactly what I needed in that moment.
We walked around the finisher's area and took some pictures. I'll post those as soon as I get them off the boyfriend's camera. From there we did some more walking trying to find somewhere to eat, but we ended up leaving. Lauren and Alex took the boyfriend and I to his car, and we said our goodbyes. I'll say it again, I am so thankful she was there for me throughout that entire race!
We were going to head straight back to town, but we decided to make a stop at The Cheesecake Factory! We had been there together once before, and I've been dreaming about going back since then. We had a great time together even though I probably stunk up the place! There were a few other runners in there as well, so I wasn't the only one.
In the end, I am glad I did the race. It was completely my fault that it was so miserable for me, but I know I can improve. While the not-posted pictures were horrifying, they were also a wake up call. I am very sore today, but I am going to find a way to ease back into working out. I have a 5k to run this Saturday, so we'll see how that goes!