Monday, April 22, 2013

Iron core finally uncovered!

Predawn Potty Pic before their FIRST half ever!!
 I woke up ready for a bridge challenge, or two..or maybe three or four!! I was so excited to be running the Iron Girl half marathon for the first time. I always opted for the 5k, but this time I wanted a long run over some bridges! Race day ritual always includes multiple potty visits before the start, where I found some Iron Girlfriends before their first ever half marathon. Jen was nervous and emotional, but ready to rock some bridges. We made it to the start just as the gun went off, exhilarated!

Pit stop to hug my sis at .3m!
I gave hugs and kisses and went on my way, promising that I would come look for them after I finished. Always encourage people along the way, whether you know them or not. It will come back to you a hundred-fold! I love cheering people on, it has always motivated me! As I reached .3 miles I hear hoots and hollers and see my sis and some Strider friends and had to stop for a quick hug before my lil' sis ran her 5k and ran on.

The Memorial Causeway is NO joke for sure. If you ever want some bridge training and you live within an hour of this bridge, DO IT!! You can have many thoughts as you look to the top of that bridge at any mile, 'I will never make it' or 'Let's rock this mountain!' I chose the latter and relaxed my shoulders back, taking a deep breath, and bounded up that bridge. And just like a kid running down a hill, I smiled and did some controlled falling, a.k.a. getting a great quad workout!

The morning scenery was delicious as we ran toward the beach and along Gulf Blvd, over the Sand Key bridge. Yes, another bridge to challenge all those Iron Girls powering their way over these obstacles. It is like life, we can stop and complain about the obstacles OR we can power through them with confidence that we WILL make it to the top feeling like a conqueror! It felt amazing and again I was exhilarated.

After running through Sand Key Park and to the turn around on Gulf Blvd, I was on my way 'home'. However, I made sure to STOP at the top of the Sand Key bridge and stare into God's beauty for a quick prayer and a good morning to my father, who's presence I could feel along the way. Walking through the water stations always helps me revive my energy and made the difference as I climbed the Memorial Causeway for the finish.

Smiling at my Strider family zealously cheering me on!!
As I came off the swirly decline, we were directed onto a sidewalk. I increased my speed, but was slowed by someone taking the whole sidewalk. So, of course, I said "Come on girl, let's do this!" We both sped up as we were directed back out onto the road to the finish line shoot. I finished in under 2 hours, making my goal, and stopped my Garmin - only to look down at a registered distance of under 13 miles. The distance was my only complaint about Iron Girl, everything else (packet pick up, race day organization, course marshals, finish line announcer, and post-race celebration) was near perfect.

Running with Jen & Leah to finish strong!!
I reset my watch, accepted my medal, grabbed some water, said hello to my Strider family, cheered for them when called for age group awards, and made my way backward on the course to find my pre-race potty line They were both amazingly tough as we climbed the Causeway for the last time, running the swirly decline, and encouraging Jen all the way. We were met by my sistas to bring them to the finish line triumphant! Iron Girls!!

Post race gathering at Frenchy's on the Beach, but not until after some shenanigans in Rachel's van...but what happens in the van, stays in the van!! We emerged in our bathing suits and ready for FOOD! To celebrate accomplishments of all these beautiful ladies, I had the pleasure of sharing some white sangria. It was delicious and a must make for ladies weekend! So many awesome journeys taken and stories written that Sunday morning in Clearwater and I am very proud to have been a part of all of it. WE ARE IRON GIRLS!!

1 comment:

  1. I think aside the beautiful views I really enjoyed running down that spiral decline. Congrats on finishing under 2 hours!