It Will Change Everything: A Race Recap of Sorts

4.28.2014


Four years ago, I watched as my friend picked up her race packet for the Oklahoma City Memorial half marathon. "That's so cool," I said. "I could never do anything like that." 

I'd never run longer than three miles at a time, and thirteen sounded so incredibly, insanely far. Half marathons were for real runners. People who were brave and adventurous and had really nice calf muscles. They weren't for people like me.

Six months later, I ran my first half marathon, and it changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true.

Since then, I've gotten most of my family to start running. In 2012 I ran the OKC Memorial half with my dad, and I did a mud run with my brother Daniel. Last year, my dad and I both ran the full marathon, and I finished the 2013 Texas Cowtown half marathon side by side with my brother Austin, whose pacing and encouragement helped me finally hit my goal of a sub 2-hour half.

This past weekend, my mom and I ran the OKC Memorial 5k together. After four years of watching the rest of us, I thought my mom deserved a chance to join in the racing fun. So I signed both of us up and gave her the registration as a Christmas present.
[Side note: The race start was delayed 2 hours due to thunderstorms. 
We were forced to hang out in a parking garage. Comfy.]
- - -

She started out using the plan I highlighted in part 1 of my "How to Start Running" series: 10 minutes of walking + 1 minute of running. Over time, she decreased the walking minutes as she increased running minutes. 

On Sunday, we crossed the finish line in just under 42 minutes with only two short walking breaks, which means she went from 1 minute of running to over 40 minutes of running in five months.

She was so nervous at the start, that her hands shook as she pinned her bib to the front of her shirt. "My goal is to finish," she told me. I laughed. "That's a good one."
- - -
"Look! There's the finish line!" I said as we turned the corner, our 3.1-mile journey almost complete.
"Where? I can't see it!" she said, craning her neck around the tall guy in the gray shirt who was right in front of us. We switched sides so she could run on the outside and get a good view of the green FINISH sign.

[photo credit to my friend Jenna!]

"We're not stopping until we cross the finish line," I said.
"But I think I'm going to die!" she cried.
"I know it feels like you are," I said calmly, "but you're not. Hang on. We're almost there."


With the finish line just steps away, she gave it a final push and crossed in 41:57.
"I think I'm going to start crying," she said.
"That's okay," I replied, patting her back. "That's okay. You did awesome. I've definitely cried after races before."
She leaned into me then, and her shoulders shook with sobs. "I can't believe I did that."


On Sunday I basically sat in front of my computer hitting "refresh" on my Facebook page as my friends continued to post pictures from the race. I'm just so freaking proud of them all. 

Jessica ran her first marathon; Marisa and Stephanie ran their first halfs; Scott, Natalie, and Sabrina finished half marathons; Ashley and Beka ran in marathon relays; and on Saturday one of my college friends (and maid of honor) Justine ran the 6.9-mile leg of a marathon relay in Illinois, beating her time goal by 15 seconds/mile. Months and months ago she originally started running on the treadmill for 20 seconds at a time, and she just ran nearly 7 miles. There are no words. Shoutout also to Abbey, who ran her first marathon last weekend.

Listen: If running isn't your thing, that's okay. It's not for everyone, and I get that. I don't like volleyball. It's all good.

But if you never start because you don't think you can do it, then you're only cheating yourself. When it comes to running, you can absolutely do it. 

At the end of the day, it's not about the medal or the t-shirt. It's about getting out there. Being healthy. Achieving goals for yourself that you never thought possible. 

And if you take the chance, I promise it will change everything. It certainly did for me.

Congrats on your race, Mom. I'm so proud of you.
And to Sarah, my dear little sister, you're the only one left. I'm coming for you.

38 comments:

  1. Yes, love this! I NEVER EVER thought that I would enjoy running, but it's all in how you start. For all of my friends that say they went for a 2 mile run and hated it, I keep telling them that they're starting out WAY too fast! It's too easy to start running, have no idea what you're doing, and quit because you're miserable.

    Your mom is awesome! Good for her!

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  2. This is so awesome. I LOVE that you have gotten your family into it and am sitting over here proud for your mom! I'm sure that's how my mom would be too if she ever got into it. Apparently she used to but her knees hurt. I got my brother into it, but now he crushes me with his times and says he's slow... We're too competitive to ever run together I think. ;)

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  3. LOVE THIS.
    (Shortest comment I've ever left you. You're welcome.)

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  4. This almost made me cry. Your support of your mom and the way she was able to finish...so inspiring and beautiful! Your mom rocks!

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  5. Congrats to your Mom!! I have cried after races too. This 5k ruined my knee but also pushing me to finally start training again.

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  6. love this post! i've never run more than a half mile at a time but my husband & i signed up for a 5k later this summer! so we are starting to train now & doing the couch 2 5k program! so excited!

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  7. I remember when my mom and I did a 5K together as team. It is definitely one of the highlights of my running career (it also helps that my mom totally beat me!). SO happy for Mama Okie (and you, of course!).

    xo

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  8. Yah mom! I just did my first run in a long time last Saturday: a 4.2 mile run for Pat's Run (for the Pat Tilman Foundation).

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  9. There are no words to express how much I freakin' LOVE this post! I don't know your mom but I am SO PROUD of her! Your last couple paragraphs encapsulate all that is good and wonderful about running to me. I started running solely because I 100% believed that I could NOT do it. I believed that my entire life until one day I realized I had no idea if it was even really true or not, and I wanted to find out. I totally get that for a lot of people, running isn't their thing, but I couldn't agree with you more that they are cheating themselves if the only reason they're not doing it is because they think they can't.

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  10. I love this story! I'm so glad you and your Mom got to run together. I'm glad I got to meet your family too! So fun.

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  11. Way to go, Mom! Also, hats off to you for inspiring your family and sticking with your mom. That's a lot of love!

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  12. Congrats to your mom! How awesome!

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  13. Thanks Amanda. This is such a sweet post. Love you dearly.

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  14. That is amazing! Congratulations to your mom, and to you for inspiring so many to join the fun! :)

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  15. This is such a wonderful story! What a champion, such an inspiration!

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  16. i freaking love this post. winner! seriously, way to freaking go. i completely agree about the cheating yourself if you think you cant. i was so afraid to run because i thought i would look silly, or do it wrong. now i love it, 3 half marathons later. whoda thunk!

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  17. Love love love this. Thanks for sharing, and for the shout out.

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  18. Well now that I'm tearing up at my desk! Ahhh! I just love this post! Love the message and love how awesome your mom did!! Yay running!!!

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  19. I have little tear prickles in my eyes. This is so sweet. You are an awesome daughter and your mom did fantastic!!! What an amazing distance (pun intended) to travel over five short months. Good for her! And for you - you're an inspiration!

    -Amy

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  20. Running posts always seem to make me cry or shout with joy - this did both! Congratulations to your mom, that is amazing and I certainly remember the moment when I crossed my first 5k finish line. It's a wonderful feeling.

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  21. I love your sweet mom and I don't even know her! That is so awesome that you two ran together - what a cool experience. I watched the race from my couch (ha!) and it was awesome. So fun to see everyone motivated despite the delay!

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  22. Ah dang... I ended up tearing up reading about your mom being so emotional. Its a feeling like no other to accomplish something you never thought you'd do... good for you sharing the love of running. High five to your awesome momma!

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  23. This is insanely inspirational and definitely brought a tear to my eye! My husband is a half-marathoner and I just ran my first 5K without stopping a couple weeks back - something I thought I could never do. I enjoyed it so much I want to start training for a half-marathon now. It's so inspiring to see people like him and you who are passionate about running - it makes us all want to join in the fun! Congrats to you and your mom! :)

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  24. I loved this post... so inspirational! And I can't lie, reading the conversation between you and your Mom near the finish line made me tear up. So glad you were both able to take part, reach goals, and kick some serious butt!

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  25. NOT THAT I HAVE TEARS IN MY EYES NOW OR ANYTHING. This post gave me all the feelings. It's such an inspiration not only to see so many people try something challenging but to see a family come together over a hobby, too. I would love to run with my parents, but I'm not sure that's a dream that will ever come to fruition. Sarah better watch it--it sounds like you can be quite persuasive.

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  26. I'm with Alicia….totally have tears in my eyes!! I'm proud of your mom! Haha. That's so great you could run together! It makes me want to call my mom and make her do a 5k with me! Also what you said about running at the end, I TOTALLY AGREE. You perfectly put into words what I think about running. This is my new favorite post!

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  27. I love our family and love you Amanda. Thanks for being a great daughter. That's all. Carry on y'all with your training and never say you can't because you can.

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  28. This is such a cool story, your Mum is a legend! And you can totally tell you are related, you both have such great smiles :)

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  29. Soo I definitely started tearing up, ha! You're such a great writer...and this got me SO pumped and anxious for my first half this weekend. My only goal is to finish...no times, no fast paces, etc...just finish!

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  30. Omg, you almost, almost make me want to start running!
    I did one half-marathon 2 years ago (my friend and I power-walked/ran it), and it was an incredible experience. 2:31 was my time! (Yes, I will take that number to my grave, I'll never forget it.)
    The only thing holding me back? The actual running/training part. Dang it.
    But I'm SO happy you got your fam started, it is a crazy awesome experience!

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  31. That was so awesome! And super encouraging! Come to LA and be my running buddy! Deal?

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  32. This is SO awesome!!! Congrats to your mom, that's a great accomplishment!!

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  33. Amanda, this is seriously the coolest thing! I also love that you once viewed doing something like running a half marathon as impossible--and THEN DID IT IN SIX MONTHS! You rock, girl!

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  34. this post is filled with so much heart - i love it :) you make me want to grab my mom and sister and next-door-neighbor and run a 10K with everyone by my side (maybe maybe?) but seriously, your passion for running is infectious.

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  35. This is so amazing!!! I absolutely love that you got your whole family (with just one more to go) to love running. It is such a huge accomplishment!!! Congrats!

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  36. Amanda, this is legit! How did you convince most of your family to start running with you? I have tried to get my husband, sister, mom, anyone to run with me and no one will. My sister in law is too quick for me, but I need to do some speed work so maybe my dreams of running with her might one day come true, and my Dad and I have done sprint triathlons together, but his knees are rough. He might be my only chance of competing with family in tri or running unless you know some miracle way to convince my fam it is amazingggggg. You go girl. Keep it up!

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  37. This is so touching! Way to go, Mama! She looks so proud :)

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