I can say for certain my first half marathon was anything but boring. Denise and I pulled into a parking lot 1.2 miles away from the starting line at 7:30am - the race started at 7:30am. That 1.2 miles was cake - going to the race - walking back - I will get to that part a little later. We met Melanie along the way to the starting line. We had to sneak in with the 5Ker's. So keep in mind I have already ran/walked a mile before I even started this thing.
I have to admit the first five - six miles was amazing, the air was cool, the view was spectacular. Running as the hot air balloons flew above us was incredible. Denise and Melanie were a hoot. Denise made us stop and take pictures with the firemen. Melanie had to make a pit stop in the bush. Right before we hit mile five or six (I can't remember exactly) I had to make a bathroom stop - so Denise and Melanie who were already pacing well above my snail speed went on. I waited in line for almost five minutes by the time I got out of there I had lost 10 minutes of my time-blah. Someone should invent racing catheters, JK that would be awful! When I stepped out of that bathroom I swear the temperature went up by ten degrees or so. It got extremely hot extremely fast. I kept on keeping on. I had a good 12 min pace going through mile eight, slowed down to a 13/14 minute pace through 10. By mile 10 my feet felt like 10 ton bricks, my legs were numb. Then right in front of me a lady collapses, she was 75 years old!! Thank God there were bike EMT's right behind me who saw her collapse. I stayed with her and the EMT's until EMT golf cart came to take her to the ambulance. After that, my mind went to mush, I couldn't regain a steady pace, I cried for almost mile and a half, scared to death I was going to collapse. I had to walk, I kept a fast pace walk until mile 12. I picked up the pace because I knew I could not stand it for another 15 minutes if I walked. So I shut my mind down, took off my headphones, and went for it. I finished the last mile at about a 10 minute pace.
When I saw Jeff, Dylan, Donna, Denise, Mike waiting at the finish line, my heart dropped I had to hold back my tears. I was almost there just a few more steps and it was over. Quite honestly, I think I was on the verge of a heat stroke. I don't remember much right after the race. I wanted to puke, but didn't have the energy, I wanted to faint, thank God I didn't. Then reality hits - I still have another 1.2 miles to get to my car! About half way there, on the corner of Spring Creek and Jupiter I sprawl out on the pavement in the shade and give up. Dylan stays with me, Jeff heads to the car. I am seriously to the point of no return, when a car pulls right up to the curb, it's Donna-OMG-air conditioning. Dylan and I pile into her car. We pick up Jeff on the way.
Now that my body feels normal, my mind is back in tact, I am amazed at what our bodies can endure. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I wanted to get on the golf cart with the EMT's, they asked me if I needed to. Every thing in me wanted to say yes, everything except one voice-you have been through worse-you can finish this. I politely turned down my exit ticket and went on to finish.
I miss her, every single day I miss her. I don't know how I do life without her, but I do. I have an amazing young man that keeps my heart full, and I have an amazing Husband whose strength carries me through. I have friends and family that support me every single day, through good times, through bad times. They just walk beside me, never judging, never offering unsolicited advice, but they all allow me to pave this journey, to make my own way through her loss.
The day after Kelsie died, I ran-I didn't know what else to do. I needed an escape from the noise, I wanted to go back to normal. When I put my shoes on the pavement, something happens to my mind, and my body. Around mile two I get chills that run through my body and I know I can go as far as my mind will allow me. Once my rhythm hits my mind focuses on breathing and in that moment it is just me. Not the grieving mother, the wife, the employee, the maid, the counselor, the teacher, the trainer; it's just me. Running - that's why it's my therapy.