This post I write to you today is so hard. Much harder than I thought to write a race recap. Mostly because this race something to me, more than my first race as a rock’n’blogger, more than my first Rock’n’ Roll half, and more than my third half. It was supposed to be the first race my dad was supposed to physically be there to cheer me on. He was supposed to be moved home (to Seattle) after 18 yrs away. He was supposed to be at my finish line, to congratulate me. But he wasn’t. Instead he went HOME (with Jesus) two weeks before my race and the day before his 58th birthday. From now on my dad will be at all my races, in my heart, in my broken heart.
As the tears flow down my face, I have to remember how proud he was of me, we had told me the week before how he couldn’t wait to come to WA and get healthy. He wanted to run with me. He was the runner, the one who modeled it to me when I was a kid-through my teens, until he moved to GA. He was the reason this fire inside me always burned to run even when the doctors told me no. Which led me to one day do it in spite of those doctors placing the fear in me that disabled me for majority of my life.
Maybe they were right. My dad passed away of an unknown heart condition, he thought was heart burn for years. I know mine is there. I have since I was 15 and passed out running the mile in gym class. Heart disease runs in my family and has killed more people than the cancer that also runs deep in my line. It took my dad, I run to keep my heart strong so maybe it won’t take me too.
I could write you today to tell you about the amazing expo that felt like a health and wellness convention, the course that made my heart so happy, happier than it has been in weeks, or how much I love that I finally got to meet so many of my IG running friends at the #werunsocial meet up, but can I just share a teeny more first?
While I was in GA saying goodbye to my dad and my second home, I ran for therapy, to mourn. I even ran during a tropical storm, because I wanted the adrenaline. Mourning does crazy things to us. The temps there were brutal, but for some reason I was running to punish myself. For the first time I wasn’t running because I loved it, I was running because I hated feeling, thinking, and wanted the pain I feel when I run to top the pain I felt in my heart. I hope that doesn’t sound creepy. Running has always “hurt” me, I struggle with every mile and fight through pains and the struggle is really real. I have to be on my head game to get through 3 miles. I have to focus on something, it ia 90% of the time music. But while I was in Georgia, I ran a few times without it. I had a hard time controlling my breathing in the thick of the summer humidity. I have to be able to hear my breathing sometimes to make sure I keep my heart rate under 170. 160 is pushing it for me, slow and steady will always be MY pace, to protect my heart. It was kind of nice to run without distractions. To just prep for my upcoming half in ways I never had before. I couldn’t make it past 3 miles in it though. Once, I almost passed out and my husband wouldn’t let me run again for a day to make sure I was okay. But other than that I ran every day I could, and I walked any day I couldn’t run.
Okay thanks, I wanted you to know that detail.
Race morning I came alone. I needed to mentally prepare before the race, to cry if I needed to, to feel whatever I needed to feel, by myself. I touched the I RUN FOR MY DAD ironed on decal (that Alaska Airlines gave us at the expo) as I walked to the VIP tent for breakfast. Head full, heart heavy. I sat and ate my banana, scone, and PB while I got my bib on, in my head but very positive. I owe it to my #rocknblog friend Sue. She was the first friendly face I saw that morning and it was nice to sit and eat with someone. I found Sarah before she ran and got a selfie, I cheered her off and met up with my friend Elizabeth to run the course with.
I really needed the light-hearted conversation and some laughs. The course was of all my favorite Seattle spots along the water and through the city. Many places I have run before, but a few new sites as well. It is a whole different world to see the streets from on foot, slowed down and taking in every detail. Coming across roads you have only ever driven, where every detail is able to be seen.
Many times during this run when thoughts started to rise I would breathe through them and change the song on my playlist. I make playlists for every race, I had a specific one for this race. Some of the songs that reminded me of my dad, some of my Christian songs, and a few of my positive run tempo songs. Music gets me through my runs. Except for one mile. The blue mile. I took my headphones off and slowed my speed to read each and every sign. Those are my family, the heroes that line that mile. I am from a family of soldiers, a soldier’s wife, and a milbrat myself. I didn’t get a photo of it out of respect of their memory. I did pray for their families the whole mile. It got me out of my own grief for a bit.
This race was by far the funnest out of the 3 of my half marathons so far. The course was a good amount of hill, flat, straight away, and curves. There were people lined all over the city cheering, it was amazing. I remember seeing the C-Link at mile 12 and started running as hard as I could. I knew a little over a mile was left but I wanted to be done. I was so happy, I forgot to turn on my playlist, I forgot all of my heart pain, I just ran. This mile I ran alone.
Though I didn’t have anyone waiting at the finish line for me, I know I complete every race by grace. I never run alone.
I am so happy to be a part of the Rock’n’ Roll team this year. Be on the lookout for more of my adventures with them as I make my first racecation in a few months to Vancouver then I will head to Vegas! Wanna join me in rocking your run? I have an awesome code for $15 off your half or full race entry! make sure if you sign up, you let me know so we can meet up for a selfie or course high five.
Sweat ’til You Shine,