Sunday, February 23, 2014


As I sit here rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle, I thought I'd share my thoughts from today.  February 23, 2014, another item completed off my "fitness" bucket list.  I completed my first half marathon.  13.1 miles.  Unreal.

I was so unbelievably excited.  I have run at the Cowtown for the past 2 years, and this would be my third. I ran my first 5K in 2012, my first 10K in 2013 and this would be my first half.  I registered pretty much as soon as registration opened.  And then I got stuck. Real life overtook my workout regime and I knew I wasn't going to be near ready for this race.  But I also wasn't going to forfeit the $80 I paid to do it either!  One way or another, I was going to complete this race.

All week I have been excited and nervous.  I haven't been able to run the past couple weeks, and I had *only* gotten back up to running 5 miles at a time.  But I figured my adrenaline and excitement would carry me for a little while, and I was hoping to at least run the first half and then run/walk the second.  

This was the scene from where I parked.  Traffic was pretty sucky so I only got there about 20 minutes before start time.  But hey, less time to wait around.  I was super stoked at this point.

My corral started off at 7:15.  The first few miles were lots of turns and running through Trinity Park and some neighborhoods.  It was neat to see all the people out cheering.  I felt pretty good for those first few miles.  Then at mile 3, I stopped to get some water and felt a burst of energy when I started again.  Hey, this walking for a bit helps!  Onward I went.

Around mile 5-6 I was looking for my parents and Jenna.  They were supposed to be somewhere along there to cheer for me.  I never found them and later on, I found out they thought they had missed me so they left.  I hadn't gotten there yet.  I was going much slower than they (and I) had thought I would be but I kept trudging along.

Just after mile 6 we entered the Stockyards.  I love the Stockyards.  It's such an iconic part of Fort Worth.

I didn't take this picture, obviously.  But if runners had been in this picture, we would have been coming toward you, down the hill.  It was neat to run through there but cobblestone is hard to run on!

After this, I started feeling it.  I would run for a little while, and then walk.  And my walking kept getting longer and longer.  By now, I was stopping at every water station to get something to drink and also walking a lot between stations too.

Then the infamous mile 9.  A long, gradual hill.  I had already decided that forget trying to run up that.  But this view was at the top.  Another great view!

Then the race ran through downtown, through Sundance Square.  The next picture shows how it would have looked if the runners had been coming towards the camera.  Another great place to run but I was hurting by this point.  My knees, which had been bothering me all week, really weren't bad but my foot was really feeling it.  I was pretty much just walking at this point!  I was excited though because I saw the 3:00 pacer right in front of me, but they started jogging again and I couldn't keep up.  

And I pretty much walked from here on out.  Occasionally I would jog a little but I was feeling it.  About mile 11, not only was I feeling it in my foot but my calves were really tight and I was wondering if I was going to start cramping.  One foot in front of the other.  Just kept going.

Right before the finish, I saw my parents and Jenna.  They did find me!  Jenna was yelling "Go Mommy!", my dad was high fiving me and as I said, "This has sucked!" my mom said, "Only 2 more turns to go!"  Thank goodness.

And I finished.  I didn't feel the elation I had with my 5Ks or 10Ks, but I felt relief.  I was just happy to be done, and I got my medal.

Hobbled to my car and as I was sitting in line trying to get out of the parking garage, I went on Facebook and saw all the posts, comments and encouragement from my friends.  Now the elation was starting.  I had finished a half marathon!  Dude!  That's a LONG way.

We went out to eat (of course!) and I remembered my decal that I had bought from the expo yesterday.  I have NEVER put a sticker on my car before but this one was definitely going on.

And that's the story of my first half.  Right now, 6 hours after I finished, I'm sore and hobbling, but happy.  It wasn't near the race I had wanted to run, but considering my life in the past few months, I'm DAMN proud to have done it.  And heck, it gives me something to improve on as I eye my next one (most likely the Fort Worth half marathon in November).  

13.1.  Done.  And I'm thrilled.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The end of a chapter

Big day tomorrow, my 40th birthday!  I will be closing the chapter of my 30s and starting fresh.  And the neat thing is, I really have NO idea what my 40s will hold for me, but I'm excited to find out.  But before I end my 30s, I did want to look back a bit.

In my 30s, the most significant event of my life happened.  I became a mom.  Being a mom has been the absolute greatest joy of my life.  I cannot imagine life before Jenna.  Not only did I become a mom, but I became a mom to HER.  She is the sweetest, most loving, most caring child and she has my whole heart.  

When I turned 30, I was working in urgent care.  About a year later, I realized how much I missed hospital nursing, and I went back to working in the hospital.  I have changed hospitals a few times since then, but I'm so glad I realized my true love in nursing is med/surg patients.  I can't imagine doing another specialty, and I'm so fortunate that I've worked where I have for the past 3 years.  In my 30s, I found the best hospital and unit I've ever worked for.

Also in my 30s, I became a Certified Medical Surgical nurse (CMSRN).  It means I know quite a bit about my field, and it's a great certification to have.

Personally, in the second half of my 30s, I discovered a joy of cooking.  I also have Jenna to thank for that, because I truly think that being a mom helped make me want to cook more, to provide better meals for her.  And I really, really enjoy it.  It's been a pleasant surprise.

Also in the second half of my 30s, I discovered I LOVE running.  I think I've completed close to 20 races since I started running in February 2012, including a Warrior Dash (5K obstacle course.)  I look back at the first entries of this blog, and I wrote about wanting to run a 5K and even further.  And in less than 2 weeks, I'll be completing my first half marathon!

Also in my 30s, not only did I realize I love running, but I discovered my inner athlete. Running is way up on the list, but I've also really enjoyed working out in general.  I realized the other day that I've belonged to a gym for over 2 years and I've actually used it frequently!  I think I've probably belonged to gyms that length of time before but I never consistently worked out.

As I end my 30s, I realize that I'm truly beginning to find out who I really am.  That process started in the last few years, as I became healthier, more confident, and happier.  That is definitely a work in progress, but in my 30s, I found my voice.  I'm not just a mom, a daughter, a sister, a nurse.  I wasn't just a wife.  I'm a really good person, and now is the time to find out just what kind of life I want to have.  I think so often, women especially, get caught up in the busy day to day life, and they don't have time for themselves to think about what THEY want.  And I've been fortunate enough to start that process in the last couple years.  I think that's what is most exciting about turning 40.  It's my time.  Of course, I will continue to be a mom, a daughter, a sister, a nurse.  But finding my true self will only help in all those other roles.

So 40 is going to be an open book.  Get ready world.