Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guest Post: Running... or Something Like It, Part 2

While I'm in Florida not exercising at all, Rachel's here to tell us about how she's completely transformed into an actual runner!  

It has been a while since my last post on Calli’s blog, but she asked me to write a quick follow up on my last blog post which you can see here.

The last time I was here, the longest run I had completed was around five miles. I am happy to say that since then, I have completed two half marathons! I am more of a tortoise than a hare, but I am over the moon about the progress I have made since day one.  

My first race was the Great North Run, it is a half-marathon in Newcastle and is one of the largest half marathons in the world.  Katie, Karen, and I participated, and we all started the race together.  Karen had to sneak back to Katie and my starting section. She is super-speedy and had been placed with a quicker group. I was amazed when I looked around and saw many people of varying ages, sizes, and fitness levels. We were all there for one cause... to finish the race. There was a lady named Gladys who started with us. She was 81 years old, and she finished in style. Like I said, if I can do this, anyone can! At the start line, it was raining, but we all felt excited for the start of the race. Because there were so many entrants, our group started nearly an hour after  the elite runners.

Since we were all running our own race: Katie, Karen, and I separated not long after the start.  Along the route, I saw people in costumes (Shrek, a Jamaican Bobsled Team, a person in a full Guide Dog mascot costume, etc.). I stopped to walk a few times, but as a whole, I was able to jog for most of the race. All three of us finished with personal records (mine was a PR because it was my first race). It was a beautiful finish!  There was even a rainbow at the end. 

I don't know if I could be more proud of us.

I felt so encouraged by our performance, that just a few weeks after the race I somehow convinced our crew to run another. The next race was just one month later and is called the Great Birmingham Run. I was excited that our team would be able to do another race together before Katie moves back to the states. Also, Alisha committed to running this one with us. As you may remember from my last post, she had trained with us for the last one but was unable to run with us because she was out of town. In fact, on the day of the Great North Run, she ran 8.5 miles on her own... on vacation!  We all signed up. Because of the shorter notice, we all elected to run for ourselves rather than for a charity. We saw it as a celebration of our ability to run. I felt an enormous sense of camaraderie. We felt like such a group of badasses, that we actually put that on our shirt.  I mentioned in the last post about Calli being our biggest cheerleader. In fact, she was. She and Dan came all the way to Birmingham to cheer us on.  

This race was colder, but it was a beautiful autumn run. We all started together again. Katie and Alisha had a mission to see how fast they could go, but Karen opted to run the race with pokey old me! What a great friend. Running this race with another person was more motivating, and even though my feet were killing me, I had a blast! The leaves were changing and there was a lot of music along the race path. We ran by Cadbury World (tempting right?). Karen and I had a lot of bystanders cheer for us and call out our names specifically.
And... we hammed it up for the race cameras. At the finish line, the commentator actually called out our names. Also, I shaved nearly 10 minutes off of my previous time and couldn’t have felt more proud. It was such an emotional experience that I actually teared up a little after the finish. Katie, Alisha, Karen, and I shared a unique bonding experience with running, and I would never want to give up the memory of that day. And guess what... Calli and Dan decided to start running!  It was a win for everyone.

After the race with Calli's sign!
In the course of a few months, I feel transformed. Also, for the first race, my friends, family, and other kind people in my life helped me raise £442 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. That is over $700 US dollars and nearly 150% of my goal. I feel humbled by and grateful for everyone’s generosity. There were so many times that I wanted to quit, but knowing that I was running for a charity and that I had so much support from my friends kept me moving. 

The best and most supportive team ever!

Isn't she inspiring? Rachel really is a changed woman. She used to HATE running (almost as much as I did/do). But her positive energy is infectious. Dare I say I'm starting to enjoy our morning runs? Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! 

1 comment:

  1. Rachel you have done such an amazing job! It's been such a pleasure running with you! :)