Two weeks ago, I made one of my dreams come true.
I ran a half marathon in one of my favorite Florida destinations, Amelia Island.
That is right. A half marathon. If you would have told back in January that I would run that kind of a distance, I would have thought you were crazy. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could accomplish something like that and I am very proud of my journey.
If you have read my blog, than you know that my passion for running is very new. In fact, I have only been running for 8 months. It all started back on February 25th with the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa. I was given an entry courtesy of Cabot Cheese and chose to do a 5k. I figured I would run half of it and walk the rest. I was wrong. Not only did I run my first 5k and feel great, I fell in love with distance running that day and committed myself to running a 5k a week for 10 weeks. (To read about my experience, click here.)
I have to admit something. This half marathon was not planned. In fact, I was not planning on running a half until January in Key West. I registered for this event just weeks before it took place and pushed myself to do it. Why would I do such a thing?
Yes, on September 17th, I had my heart not only broken but shattered into a million pieces. It was one of the most awful things I have gone through and I am still healing.
So I signed up for ZOOMA Florida as a way to battle my heartbreak.
***IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT MY EMOTIONAL JOURNEY, GO AHEAD AND SCROLL DOWN TO THE FIRST PICTURE. I WON’T BE OFFENDED, I KNOW I TEND TO RAMBLE A BIT.
When I ran in the Gasparilla Distance Classic, I noticed something as I crossed the finish line. There were so many spouses/significant others waiting for their runners to hug them and celebrate their victory. I was alone and it really made me think how wonderful that feeling must be. Having someone waiting for you as you cross the finish line is one of the greatest forms of love I can think of. As I walked over to the post-race festivities, I could not get that thought out of my head. I had been single for a very long time and was comfortable just living life and doing my own thing. Maybe I was ready for someone to come into my life. I had to try and think about something else so I went on to look for post race snacks, as food always gets my attention.
That night, still feeling euphoric after my 5k, I decided to set a goal for myself and run ten 5ks in a row. I went online and registered for three right away. Each race I saw the same thing….people waiting for their runners at the finish line and there I was, still alone.
A month later, everything changed. I woke up one Sunday and headed over to run 5K number four. As I finished my run, I sat down on a bench and could not help but feel a tad lonely. Something was going on that day as I kept having strange feelings that continued on throughout the day and are hard for me to explain. Later that afternoon, I got a call from a restaurant where I used to work and they asked if I could come help out that night as they were short handed. Always wanting to help, I said yes and went in to work. Little did I know that night was about to change my life.
I won’t bore you with the whole story, but in a nutshell, a guy I had known for 5 years as an acquaintance came in that night as I was getting ready to leave and we ended up having some sort of a connection. 2 weeks later we went on our first date and were inseparable after that. We got along beautifully and got to know each other’s kids and did things as a family. We dated for 6 months and every time we saw each other I was just as excited as our first date. We did so many things together and were rarely apart. He even went to one of my races and was there waiting for me at the finish line, it was exactly what I wanted.
On September 17th everything fell apart. After spending the day with him and thinking we were incredibly happy, I saw that his ex was texting him. I found out that night that he had been corresponding with her and trying to get back together with her all while dating me. Needless to say, I completely fell apart. I felt betrayed, heartbroken and devastated.
After 2 weeks of not eating or sleeping, I decided to channel my sadness into something productive. I got up one morning and signed up for the Zooma Florida Half Marathon that was taking place on September 21st at the gorgeous Amelia Island. I wanted to challenge myself to doing something that would bring out my strength and courage. Was I ready for such a long run? Nope. My longest running distance thus far was just under 9 miles but I didn’t care. I was going to push myself and finish this race NO MATTER WHAT.
I woke up the morning of the race a nervous wreck. I barely slept the night before mainly because I was afraid I would not wake up in time to make it to the race. My alarm went off at 4:45 and I jumped out of bed. After having some coffee and a Perfect Bar, I took a cab to the event site. Even though I was all alone, I was feeling very brave. In fact, I didn’t even cry, which was a bit shocking considering everything I had been through.
The race began in the historical district of beautiful Fernandina Beach. This was my first time in this area of Amelia Island and it was just stunning. Of course, I had a Celsius before my run as it is my pre-run beverage of choice. Celsius has been an integral part of my training regime and never run a race without one.
As we all took off for the first leg of the run, I kept a slow and steady pace. My goal was to finish the entire 13.1 miles without walking. A friend of mine who is an avid runner suggested that I start with the slower runners and work on maintaining a slow and steady pace. I normally average a 10-11 minute mile and for this run I maintained a 12-13 minute pace for the first 8 miles.
We ran through some of the local neighborhoods before hitting a gorgeous trail for miles 5-8. The scenery during this run was just gorgeous and made me feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this special event.
I just loved this ray of light shining through the trees. It made me feel like someone was watching over me during my run.
At each water station, they featured Nuun Energy and this was my first time really using it during a run. It was very helpful with hydration and really kept me going.
As I saw that mile 13 was finally here, I felt overcome with emotion.
I crossed the finish line and ran right over to the ocean, as it has always been very soothing for me.
This is the medal that I am most proud of and still can’t believe I accomplished this!
Just look at this view. I felt as if God was smiling down on me and I felt nothing but love.
As I sat on the beach after the run, I reflected on this incredible journey. Of course, I was a bit sad that I did not have anyone there at my finish line but I knew that it was more important to be strong than to have someone in my life who is not capable of loving me for who I am. In fact, I had to be thankful that all of this heartache pushed me to do something really brave and now I know I can do anything.
And guess what…..
The ex messaged me during my trip and told me how much he missed me. Of course he did. He lost out on someone truly special and I am glad I got out of that mess. I will NEVER take him back or believe a word he says. At least I got one thing out of this whole situation, a very brave heart. He may have broken my heart, but he didn’t break my spirit. My heart will heal but his lying and cheating ways never will. Besides, how can I date someone that doesn’t know what love is? It all starts with loving yourself and clearly he does not.
Enough about him!
My next two races are the following:
November 5th: Getaway 10k in St. Petersburg
November 19th: St. Pete Run Fest 3 Daughters 1/2 Marathon and 5 K (yes, I am challenging myself to do both)
I am really excited about both of these races and can’t wait to complete my second Half Marathon in a month.
I will be featuring recaps of both of these races as well as a post on my training methods and necessities.
Have a wonderful weekend!