This post is going to be hard to post just because there will be a LOT of emotion. Yesterday was a VERY surreal day for me and it all went by really fast. This is where I want to thank every friend who has helped. This is where I want to explain where my journey began and where I am now and where I am heading. Life is a journey.
In May 2012, I went online searching for answers. I felt very alone in my marriage and unwanted. When you make someone a huge priority in your life sometimes you forget to take care of yourself. I felt like I needed to find something, anything to make me feel a sense of belonging. I happened to stumble upon meetup.com. As I searched for different hobbies and interests I kept going back to running. I had NEVER liked running growing up and was never good at it. I decided to join a group called Phoenix Pheet. I tried to strike up a conversation on the Meetup but someone directed me to their facebook. I knew I wanted to start running or jogging or maybe just walking….I did buy a jogging stroller that MOST moms seem to buy their kids so they can “lose the baby weight”. Whenever you join a new group or activity I am sure you feel very intimidated. I am very social person by nature and will strike up a conversation with anyone. I HOWEVER, at first, had NO desire to go running with these people. Why would I join a running group and NOT go running? I didn’t know HOW to run and I knew at that moment I couldn’t even run a SLOW SLOW SLOW mile without walking. There was NO WAY that I was going to actual go out and run with these crazy people who seemed to run 5 times a week and did marathons on the weekends. SO I stayed my distance for awhile and would most interact online which I am sure how a lot of people knew me as. The girl who posts way to much. I did pick the perfect time to start running in Arizona…..SUMMER…..100 degrees and sun! I did want to start running but I didn’t want to actually run with these “Real” runners and make a complete fool of myself. Someone posted when I joined that there is a Summer Series in Arizona where you complete a 5K. It was cheap enough that I didn’t feel horrible if I ended up walking. So I set out jogging and pushing Landen and “training” (honestly maybe running once a week) to run a 5K. I did end up meeting up Pheet at the summer series. I am horrible but I am not sure I meet at he summer series but I do think it was a good place for me to start. YES there were a TON of fast runners but the nice thing was there were also walkers so I felt okay with my run and walk. I was VERY slow but I did it. I learned early on to set goals and work towards them.
The next “goal” or “chapter” I pick a 1/2 marathon. I again avoided social interaction with runners for pheet in fear of being judged on how I wasn’t “a real runner”. I did seek advice on how to train through facebook and they opened their arms and welcomed me. I tried training and honestly training completely alone is HORRIBLE for the pure fact that you will most likely give up on yourself before you give up in front of people. I yet again “trained” but not as much as I should have. On 12/2/12 I set off for my first half. I did meet up with Pheet before the race and they were ALL very welcoming. I had NO CLUE what I was really in for. The furthest my trainig log had me run was 10 miles which I believe was normal but I had NOT kept up on running the shorter runs so my endurance as not there. BY MILE 9-10 I was done. I was in tears crying and asked why did I pick this horrible hobby. I had my cell phone on me and I ended up calling me husband at the time telling him I couldn’t do it. I felt like knifes were going into my back. He ended up being at the finish waiting with our son and told me he would start heading out to me and he would “run” (more like crawl for me) in with me. As we turned the corner I saw all these smiling faces and people waving and cheering….these people were not the normal crowd….things were torn down and medals had ran out. The people starting cheering and waving…..it was PHEET. Some of them only took over an hour and here I came in 3:03:39 and they waited to cheer me on, on my first 1/2. That is when I learned most AMAZING GOOD runners DON’T judge you by your time or pace. They judge you on your heart and soul. All they care about is cheering on one another. They are there when you go to a dark place and start to have a lot of self doubt. They are there to pick you up and tell you all the positive things you have done and show you the light again. THAT is what running and the running community is to me.
Since that first REAL non-facebook interaction with pheet I have slowly come out of my shell. First starting with a few runners here and there. Then slowly working my way into doing TRACK. Track to me is where people really can see how slow or fast you are. The best thing though, if you are like me and slow, you just get MORE people cheering you on to finish the track work out =). Another great thing about track is I can take my son to track and he can learn what a healthy lifestyle is first hand and see it is FUN.
I have had many chapters since my first 5K and half. I have had the GREAT pleasure of finding trail running and what ULTRA running is. I have PRed at every race since I started running (that is the great thing about starting slow). I have found out and joined teams for Ragner Del Sol and Ragnar Trail McDowell Mountains.
Last year I decided to make the jump and sign up will at the RnR Expo for the Full. At that moment it felt like an amazing idea. All these people were at this expo and looked like they were having fun. I even volunteered at the iRun water station and had a blast. It wasn’t till a few months went by that I started to stress and worry. Up till that point I had been horrible at following plans. I knew though for anything over a 1/2 I couldn’t just step on the street and run it and complete it. AS time went by my friend and the lady who started Pheet Kim decided she would help me set up a training plan. The first 1/2 of my training plan went SMOOTH. I ended up PRing at my 1/2 (2:28:33……. 35 minutes and 3 seconds then my first 2 years prior) and I felt GREAT after like I could keep running or that I could have ran harder. Running can much be like life….it has its ups (amazing runs) and its downs (crappy runs or no motivation to run at all). I was on a runners high after that 1/2 but I forgot what it felt like to have some bad runs. I ended up having some shin pain and started to have a lot of self doubts. I ended up skipping a few midweek runs but still tried to get out there for my long runs. I had a few conversations with running friends including Kim to try to get out of the funk I fell into. I did end up skipping one long run during my training which yesterday I was kicking myself for but the past is in the past and now I know better. I DID following this plan better then I did for any other training. I did notice I got faster on my short runs. I was even able to break the 9 minute range. I was able to keep up with Jess and Mitzi on our Monday night runs. It felt great.
I am SO happy that I picked Rock N Roll as my first full. I have meet some runners that feel RnR is to expensive and that it isn’t a by runner for runners race. Yes RnR is expensive but you get a lot out of it. RnR is not put on by local runners ( I AM ALL ABOUT local places) but a lot of local friends come out and support. I think it was the perfect first full.
This is the moment where I take time to thank everyone (I hope I don’t miss any) personally:
KIM- Thank you so much for creating Phoenix Pheet. Honestly if you had never got online and created this group I would have never meet such amazing people. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy life to make a training plan for me, for taking time to hear me complain about how I am horrible at running, and for being such a great role model. Thank you for pacing it out at he end for the walk and run. IT made the last two miles enjoyable Thank you so much for the beautiful necklace you got me after my first full. I will FOREVER cherish it. I didn’t read the card till today because I felt so overwhelmed with emotions that I went numb yesterday. The card made me cry and made me realize that I need to write how I felt today. Thank you so much for being my friend
Mitzi- THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I would have gone to a self doubt place yesterday at mile 14 if you had not jumped in and ran with me. Your spunky attitude and happiness helped a lot from mile 14 to 20. Everyone asked what time I wanted to come in. My huge goal was under 6 hours (so that way I would beat my first 1/2 time). I believe I finished under the true goal because of you coming out and talking sense into me. You are an amazing friend!
Brooke- You were an amazing person to run the marathon with. I still feel bad that we didn’t get in at 5:30 but there will always be another race. Sorry for going to dark places at moments. It was nice to have someone to chat with the WHOLE TIME! I felt like the time did go by 10 times faster having a running buddy then if I did it alone. I am down to train for another race and run together if you are!
Mark H.- Thank you for pacing us at the start. It gave us a great goal and plan for that goal. I am still new and learning how to figure all that out. Thank you for running with me up and down A Mountain. We need to start that again.
Miguel- I HEAR MIGUEL I HEAR MIGUEL! I could hear you on the speaker phone before we even got to the irun station. I am pretty sure everyone around thought I was crazy when I was yelling Miguel from so far out that their was no way you could hear me. You are such a bright and happy person in the running community. Thank you so much for being so much more then a running friend. I have cherished are little runs on Mondays around the canal by your house. I hope one day to be 1/2 the dirt bag runner you are. Hope many adventures are in our future! BORN TO RUN 2015!
Stephanie and Larry- Thank you so much for running track workouts. I know you guys take your own personal time to do this free for the running community. Thank you for supporting ALL levels of runners and encourage us to get out there. Thank you Stephanie for running with me for a short time and give me a prep talk. YOU ARE AN AMAZING TEACHER not only to your own students but also to all of us runners.
Cristian- You have the most HEART I have ever meet. I know you can be very quite at times but you are an amazing friend and runner. Thank you so much for texting me yesterday asking how my race went hen you had an AMAZING race! Your heart and soul will get your far in life. You inspire me!
Jess- Thanks for being out there on Monday nights. Thank you for pushing me to be better. Thanks for being a friend outside of even running
Mark C- Thank you for opening up iRun! It is not only a store but a place that people come together as friends. I always enjoy visiting and getting new shoes or gear.
iRun Water Station- THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who came out and volunteered at the water station. It was amazing to run by and see familiar faces.
Victor- Thank you for pushing me on Monday nights to run faster. I think because of you I was finally able to get into the 9 minute range.
Claire- Thank you for letting me rant to you a few weeks back. I know you completed your first full last year and I need a pep talk from someone who just did something I was about to do.
Chris- Thanks for being so social online for Pheet. I am pretty sure you were the first one to welcome me to Pheet.
Sara and Silvia- Thanks for being my rock through the crazy pass two years. Thanks for being such great friends and supporting me in running even if you might not totally get it. I miss you guys
Mike- Thanks for putting up with the crazy moments. The moments when I have horrible runs and then I am grumpy because I want my body to do something and it won’t. Thanks for putting up with me when I come home sweaty and gross and am to lazy to shower right away. Thanks for taking the kids in the morning when I leave for hours to get my long run. Thanks for being at the start and the finish and even TRYING but missing me at Irun Water station. Thanks for being a HUGE greenbay pakers fan BUT STILL knowing that yesterday was about me and me reaching for the stars andcompleting something. Moments like that mean the world to me. OH AND thanks for taking both kids basically all day yesterday 😉
Landen- I love you to the moon and back. I am motivated to be a positive role model to you. Thanks for always smiling and cheering “GO MAMA GO!”
Quang- Even though we are no longer together. I would have never found my passion. I would have never found myself if I had not experience very dark times. I would have never found running. Thank you
Even if you are not listed here and I have meet you during my journey of running. I am sure I through of you yesterday. I thought of how amazing each and everyone is in the running community. WE bring our own spirit and selves to the running family to make something great. Sadly, I was upset at the end because my own family couldn’t make time in their busy lives to come see me do something that means SOOOOOOOO much to me. I could have stopped and cried about it but luckily my voice of reason at times, Kim, was there to explain that some people don’t get it. I had to sit and count my blessings for a moment…..My running family to me is really FAMILY. Thank you! Thank you for being there to support me. Even if it was just a wave, high five, or a pep talk. It means more then I can ever express.
What is next you might ask? One reason I started this journey is to push myself. TO prove to myself that NOTHING and NO ONE can break me. I see trails and Ultras in the future. I am taking time to enjoy the moment. 2015 is going to be about volunteering and giving back to the community that welcomed me with opened arms even when I thought I was not a runner.
PEACE LOVE RUNNING