Monday, November 16, 2015

The Richmond Recap

As I started writing this post, I'm curled up on my couch in my Richmond Finisher's blanket, with my humidifier and hot tea, in the middle of a "Friends" marathon.  Because apparently the cold from hell decided to rear its ugly head and I am currently unable to breathe through my nose.  However, I'm proud to report that I ran and finished the Richmond Half Marathon this weekend.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling less than spectacular.  But I took some cold medicine and Brian and I headed to the race.  I was so happy to see Alyssa and Tracy find me at my corral.  They gave me the much needed smiles I needed.  I was in corral HB so I was pretty far back which gave me plenty of time to debate about running the race.  I stepped out of the corral and back in about 4 times because I really didn't know if I could run.  But I crossed the line, started my watch and I was off.

The Race:
(Please bear with me as I'm not sure if it's the cold or if the race really was just a blur, but I don't have a lot of details about the course.)

Miles 1-4: I remember crossing the line.  I remember there being a lot of people cheering and screaming.  And I remember feeling like I was okay, that maybe I could actually run this.  I had my first real emotional race moment around mile 2.  As I was running through downtown, Andy Grammer's song "Good to Be Alive" was playing.  I looked down and stepped over a crushed box of Marlboro 27's.  I couldn't help but smile as I continued to run past something that controlled me for 9 years of my life.  As I started to think about everything that's changed for me in the 2 years since I ran my first race, I started hearing the lyrics to the song:
I think I finally found my hallelujah
I've been waiting for this moment all my life
Now all my dreams are coming true, yeah
I've been waiting for this moment
Feels good to be alive right about now
To say that put a pep in my step is an understatement.

Miles 4-7: I knew that I would see Alyssa and Tracy around mile 8. I got a text around mile 5.5 telling me the street markers around mile 8.5 so I could find them. I was LOVING the signs and feeling so thankful for all the people that came out to support random strangers. I remember feeling okay around mile 6 and being excited that I was actually running the race, but also starting to get really tired. And then came the park.

Miles 7-9: This was hard.  Not because it was the hilliest part of the course - I'm from Raleigh - hills are where I shine. Around mile 7 is when the cold medicine I had taken that morning wore off.  I kept telling myself the whole race that I just had to make it to another mile and I could have a cough drop.  I never actually did because have you ever tried to run with a menthol cough drop in cold-ish weather ? I don't recommend it.  I started to feel everything shut down.  I was tired, everything hurt and I wanted to step out.  As I'm thinking this, I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Because I knew I just needed to get to Alyssa and Tracy.  They were only a 1.5 miles away.  Get to them and then step out.  They could walk back with me.  I passed the 8.5 mile mark with the cross streets Alyssa had told me and I didn't see them.  I stopped running and started to walk.  Tears started and I was about to step out when I saw them.  Huge smiles.  They had come all the way out there on the course to come help me.  I had to keep going.

Miles 9-12:  I had been playing tag with the 2:30 pacer the whole race.  My goal was to stay in front of him and I told the girls that.  However, my body was tired, sore, and sick. LOTS of walking.  Both Tracy and Alyssa kept telling me how proud they were of me, telling me stories to distract me, making sure I had water, and filling me in on how Brian had done. Those two saved my race.  If they hadn't been there, I would have gladly taken my first DNF (Did Not Finish). At one point, Alyssa put her arm on my back to guide me around some people up a hill and I could have started crying with relief right there.  NEVER underestimate the small gestures people.  When I wanted to push, they helped me push; when I needed extra walk breaks, we walked. When my legs started to shake uncontrollably around mile 11, I knew I could keep going because I had two of the best people next to me, helping me get to the end.  The plan was for them to break out at mile 12 so they could position themselves for the finish.  In better spirits, we parted ways as I set my eyes on the finish line.

The Finish: Alyssa had been relaying messages from Brian so I knew that the finish was downhill.  I added an extra walk break in for a few intervals because I knew once I saw the line, I wouldn't want to stop.  Someone had a sign that said "3 Turns Until Your Downhill Finish".  If I ever find that woman again, I will kiss her. I counted one, two, three turns and saw the downhill.  With "Du Hast" playing and gravity doing its thing, I pushed my legs and before I realized what was happening, I was passing people - a lot of people.  I felt so slow the whole race but it didn't matter because I was FLYING at the end.  I crossed the mat with a bigger smile than I've ever had in any race.  The woman who handed me my medal put her hand on my shoulder and said,

"Congratulations, you earned this."

When I got through the finisher's chute, Tracy and Alyssa were there again, ready to say congrats.  All the tears finally came as I hugged the crap out of them.  I couldn't and still can't thank them both enough for being there. Brian found us and let me tell you, at that moment, I was the luckiest human being on the planet.

My goal was to finish around 2:30.  With a final time of 2:32:37, I'd say I accomplished my goal.  Even though my time for this half was slower than my City of Oaks race last year, I don't care.  This is the race I will remember for a long time.  I'm more proud of that medal and my time than I have been of anything in a very long time.

I'll be back for you Richmond.  But first, I need to conquer the Tobacco Trail Half Marathon in March.


  1. awwww this post was so sweet!! You are awesome for pushing through even though you were sick. Having support during a race can really make it or break it! Hope you start to feeling better soon!!

  2. Someone started cutting onions in here around the middle of the recap, wonder what that's about. Still so, so, so proud of you and so happy to have shared that day with you guys!

  3. Awesome job Lisa! It's always good to have a "well, at least this isn't as bad as that time I ... and I lived!" You rock :-).

  4. I'm not crying, you're crying!
    I know this was a hard fought race for you and I am so proud of you seeing it through to the end! Honestly, when we saw didn't look good and I was worried for you. But you were strong and you pushed through and you raced hard but smart and that's why you made it through all 13.1 miles. Really, you had already won the second you crossed the start line. The medal at the end just affirmed it :)

  5. damn girl!! you're amazing. so sorry you got sick, but you are badass for doing it, and doing so well!! seriously. high fives all around!


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