If you follow me on Twitter, you know I set out to beat my half marathon time and accomplished my mission. To the average person, my 2:14:19 might seem fantastic yet to the avid, hard-core runner, it’s just O.K. Well to me, it was my glory moment. Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona was my big pat on the shoulder, my “hey, you set out to come in at under 2:15 and you did it”. I will forever cherish that moment because for me it meant a new chapter in my running life and a whole new challenge down the road.
#RnRAZ was all the buzz on Twitter weeks before the marathon. It was great to hear everyone’s excitement and figured that some of us should meet up while we were there. @funegrl262 or as I soon discovered, Savitre planned a dinner for a group of us Saturday night. Lucky for me, I happened to catch her at expo. We were excited to meet one another as we’d both shared a passion for running AND baking. Sisters separated at birth I tell you. We ran through the expo like a bunch of little kids snapping photos and trying out some of the products. Thanks to her boyfriend Kofre for being our photographer.
Prior to Arizona, I’d received a Tweet from @Ifitnessrunning announcing that I was the winner of their contest. I’d won a running belt which by the way is awesome! I’ve yet to try it but it’s super stylish and has reflectors which you all know how much I love. I can’t wait to wear it! Thank you again IFitness! It was a pleasure to meet you Hailey—she’s a sweetheart BTW!
Right before we were about the meet the rest of the group, I rushed to the Sheraton to meet a fellow TNT’er from San Antonio, Lisa or as most know her, @BeMadThen. Lisa and I had shared a few Tweet conversations here and there. I’d only wished I had met Lisa sooner because the days leading up to this race, she‘d really inspired me to push my pace. Her goal for the half was a 2:07 which was far out of my range but definitely a good motivator for me. I arranged to meet Lisa the next morning because as crazy as it sounded, I was going to do my absolute best to keep up with her.
Before heading to the hotel to get my gear ready, I joined the rest of the people who had RSVP’ed for dinner. It was so great to meet all the people I’d shared Tweets with over the last few weeks. We went around introducing each other by name but our names were met with blank stares from one another. “Hi, I’m Julie. (Smile, blank stare)…@MissJewels212!” Once we went around introducing ourselves by our Twitter handles, all you could hear was, “OH, so nice to meet you in person!!!”
We had a blast exchanging our race-day jitters and hopes for the next day. Some had a time goal whereas others had hoped to just cross the finish line. Whatever our goals were, by that time the following day, we’d all have a medal in hand and a great accomplishment to look back on.
I headed back to the hotel, gathered my gear for the next day, took a deep breath and thought, “It’s almost show time.” It was still early out so my boyfriend and I went to a nearby restaurant, toasted to a good race and hopefully a new personal best.
The next morning I woke up excited and nervous. I put on my gear, hopped on the train and made my way to the start line. I met with my long lost sister Savitre for a photo. We hugged and wished each other luck. A few minutes later, Lisa made it to the start area and we rushed to corral 3. It all went by so fast and before I knew it, corral 3 was off and running. I held up just fine the first few miles. Lisa had to stop and use the restroom but told me she’d catch up. I kept looking back like a lost little child hoping I’d find her. I think it wasn’t till mile 3 that she’d actually found me again. We ran together for the next three miles but after that I just couldn’t hang. I was actually sad as I watched her get farther and farther ahead of me. I was really disappointed in myself but I had to remember that we weren’t even at the half way point and I didn’t want to risk burning out. I appreciate Lisa for agreeing to run with me and only wish I could have crossed the finish line with her but again, made the decision to stay behind and continue at my pace. THANK YOU AGAIN LISA!!!
I am truly convinced God puts signs or people on the course to help guide you through tough situations. For me, my sign came in the form of a little girl carrying a poster board that read: “Pain is temporary, pride is forever!” Now if I could just find that little girl and tell her how her sign carried me the last half of the 13.1 miles! I repeated this phrase in my head every time I felt like stopping for a walk break. “Under 2:15, beat your last PR Julie…PAIN IS TEMPORARY, PRIDE IS FOREVER!!!” Mile 10 came and I was spent. My thighs were burning, my lower back felt heavy and I just wanted to stop right there and then. PAIN IS TEMPORARY, PRIDE IS FOREVER! Mile 11 was a blur, mile 12 was a beast and getting to mile 13 was excruciating! I remember thinking, “Why do I do these again?” Oh that’s right…because PAIN IS TEMPORARY, PRIDE IS FOREVER! And with that, I got to 13.1!
The clock time said 2:16 which I knew was not my chip time. I wasn’t sure if I’d gotten under 2:15 but I’d definitely beat my best time. I rushed to find Shaun and get out of there as we had to check out of the hotel. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t nestle in my glory for a bit longer but being an out-of-town race, time was against us.
After check out we went to a place called Over Easy. I’m a huge Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fan, a show featured on the Food Network where they highlight places to eat all across the country. This particular restaurant was on that show…banana pecan caramel French toast was their specialty. So after my 13.1, I knew I deserved every morsel. It was delicious and the staff was very kind.
We made our way back to LA…a bittersweet trip since it had all seemed to be done in the blink of an eye. On our way home we stopped at a little dinosaur exhibit. Shaun and I snapped a few pics, marking one for the books on our list of memories as a couple. I can’t thank him enough for this experience (his birthday gift to me), for his patience and support.
All in all, Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona was a great event not to mention all the wonderful people I’d met while I was there. I hope it’s not the last time we all see each other: @goingforgoofy, @eorvieto, @funegrl262, @Indianabackdoc, @tipcan, @RNinSoCal, @dragonflytweet, and @KGirlTris. I want to also thank all of you who Tweeted their support before and after! There are so many to thank: @run2savelives, @KristyLPants, @liloruns, @aimeespencer, @FitsCute,@acmedragon337, @VodkaRoxchik, @Smplefy646, @RunWicked, @EndurancePro, @RunnerLuis, @LyricJunkie, @262milejourney, and a big congrats to @LJ3000 for setting her marathon PR!
A special shout out to my awesome co-workers for the support as well: @Alicia4181, @FreddyLee, @MaricelaC, @2Latina, @MarisolNajarro, @E_S123, @VPEPR! Thanks to them for having supported my fundraisers back when I was raising money for TNT and for their continued support down the road!
I know there a lot more of you I didn't mention but every tweet meant a lot to me! THANK YOU! I still can’t imagine how on earth I will do 26.2 but I will definitely remember that little girl’s sign for when the time comes to do my first full…PAIN IS TEMPORARY, PRIDE IS FOREVER!