my body can run 21 kilometres.
i have photo evidence and a medal to prove it.
i am EXCITED today.
when i crossed the finish line at 9:50am sunday, someone asked, how do you feel!? YOU DID IT. yeah! i did. it was fun. i was smiling. i’m a thinker, not a feeler — most emotion comes after big events in my life. whether excitement, grief, joy, sadness — i feel it after i’ve thought and written about it. i take a long time to process thoughts into emotion. that being said, my excitement has been growing every hour since 9:50am yesterday.
I’M EXCITED RIGHT NOW.
in a quiet, retrospective way. ;)
i was never a natural runner. i would have been your smartest bet for “the least likely to run a half marathon” in elementary school. i started running when i was fifteen years old and still have a 2006 journal where i recorded my “farthest distance ever!” aka 6 kilometres. that was huge for me. i have been running at least 3x a week for over six years. it’s become one of my favourite hobbies because a) you can run anywhere, b) it burns more calories than watching TV, c) it’s a great stress reliever! d) i listen to great tunes, e) i get to be outside! the world is pretty! [i could write all the way to “z.” i’ll stop.]
at sixteen, i placed “run a half marathon” on my list of life goals. at nineteen, i signed up for a half marathon and started training. running is hard on your body — especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. i didn’t. i had good shoes but didn’t replace them enough. my feet, hips and knees hurt because of my high arches. i never thought to ice my muscles. i rarely stretched [that requires slowing down — i don’t like “slow”] and i had never heard of foam-rolling. a few weeks out from the race, everything was hurting. runs ended in tears — i had to withdraw from the half. i was frustrated but knew i’d try again. in february, i ran the fort langley 10k & thought, “that ain’t so bad. i’m in good shape.” thought about my knees for a few weeks and then signed up, eight weeks out from race day!
i used hal higdon’s novice half marathon training plan, as i had for my 15K a few years ago. because of my solid mileage base, i started on week 5 of the 12 week program. my knees started flaring up around week 4/8 [as soon as i pushed past 10K] and i thought, uh-UH. gotta figure these knees of mine out. i took a week off [excellent self-control, jamie. oh thank you, jamie] and spent 5 days on the elliptical trainer. i went to deep-tissue massage therapy, started foam rolling [AMAZING] and the real hero was my physiotherapist. he diagnosed tightness in my IT Band as the issue. one of my kneecaps had very little mobility. he prescribed 2x daily stretches and foam-rolling. within days, i saw improvement. I WAS PUMPED.
saturday afternoon, after photographing gloria & roy’s wedding, i went downtown to pick up my race packet. walking into a room full of runners to pick up my t-shirt and bib number was frightening. i thought, this is why i run alone. i’m overwhelmed by herds of spandex. when i got back to the car, candace snapped this lovely photo of me. yes, that’s a dress underneath. saturday night, i took it easy at home. i’ve heard hydration 24 hours before a race is vital. i drank buckets of water with my dinner of chicken and rice. with extra rice.
1. picking up my race shirt on saturday.
2. before falling asleep the night before.
3. everything ready to go for the morning!
through all my research [yes, i read WAY too many “my first half marathon” blogs in preparation for sunday] i found most people get crappy sleeps before a race but their adrenaline carries them through. i can attest to this. i fell asleep at 10:30pm and woke up almost EVERY hour until 4:45am. also had two separate nightmares: 1) i missed the race. 2) it was pouring rain. sick. for breakfast i had a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana, two cups of water and a cup of coffee. i was at UBC at 7:05am, stood in line for the bathrooms until 7:25am and started the race at 7:32am!
music is very important to me when i run. i listen to worship music 90% of the time [especially long runs] and i can get emotional while listening. it sounds silly, i know. but music moves me in ways a lot of things can’t. the first song was “what joy (psalm 146)” by generation church. i started my first few steps, knowing i’d be running for over two hours [scary], to the following:
“What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace for those whose comfort is Him alone”
He is my Joy. He is my Hope. He is my Peace. and i was excited to have “church on the road” that Sunday morning. i switched over to a Rdio playlist i made, pictured below. Hillsong‘s latest chapel CD is perfect for long runs. i listened to that CD for about ~45 minutes until a hymn titled How Deep the Father’s Love [which inspired a blog post of mine] came on at the 10km mark. as the lyrics, i will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom // but i will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, played all i could do was pray thank you Jesus. for life, for legs, for this city, for Your love.
it was wonderful.
… then i listened to three Bieber songs. after that refreshing interlude, i had a 2nd listen to judah smith’s wasted love sermon: referenced in this blog post. those 40 minutes went by fast. i saw mom, dad and jeffrey at the 15k mark! i was smiling, they were smiling, mom was recording me on her phone. it was cute. i said “see ya later.”
i’m convinced pacing is the most important thing if you want to be a distance runner. thankfully, i’ve always found pacing easy. i run 10min/mile regardless of a run’s length. on sunday, i knew i was running slower [10.5 minute/mile] but wanted to make sure i could finish. i had never run more than 16km before. but by 18.5km, running across the burrard street bridge knowing i only had 2.5km left, i took off. i was listening to “lead me to the cross” by hillsong united and I WAS OVERWHELMED.
i started running FAST. i turned brooke fraser up in my earphones and started givin’ er. THE BEST FEELING EVER. the song ended. i thought, jamie, maybe you should slow down. you have 15 minutes to go. you can’t sprint that long… why, yes, jamie, you’re right. you’re not a sprinter. at the 20.5km mark, i saw brandon, jen, candace & grace on the sidewalk, they yelled, i smiled, i kept running. i was weaving in and out, passing errrybody [i told you. i’m a good pacer. in the first 10km, all of them folks were passing me.] i texted mom to say i was almost there, pressed play on the song “Cornerstore” [for the second time] and RAN LIKE HECK.
2 HOURS, 20 MINUTES.
happy, happy, happy. mom found me as i kept walking, gave me a big hug with tears in her eyes. “I’M HUNGRY. i’ve been hungry since 16km, GIVE ME FOOD.” [a lot of half-marathoners will drink gatorade or slurp running gels for calories. however, i heard if you have a sensitive digestive system, it might be safer to run with only water. i was a little light-headed but i think it was a good choice.]
1. brandon, candace, me, grace & jen — this is after they walked the last few blocks from where they saw me to the finish line where i was downing a banana, two smoothies and four glasses of water like a boss.
2. dad, mom & me! both these folks used to run quite a bit back in the day. they never ran recorded half marathons but used to run twice around stanley park on weekends… which is almost a half marathon. lots of their “dates” were runs too. yay family.
my mom and dad spent their morning researching, in their words, “a cool hipster place to have brunch.” they found one: wallflower diner on main street! i was proud of their skills — loved my breakfast of ham, two eggs and gluten free toast. after breakfast i wanted coffee… & apparently i get what i want after running that far. we went to JJBean so i could get an americano for the drive home. the rest of the day i put my feet up except for a quick walk with mom.
this morning, my quads were a little sore, but nothing compared to soreness from weight-lifting in the past. i feel powerful, excited, hopeful, invincible but… my mind is still tired. i hate needing rest when everything in me shouts, give ‘er all the time! run for miles, write all day, conquer the world, achieve something! go, go, go! …but i guess i’ll give myself a few days. ;) or at least one.
[ps: thanks for all your instagram/facebook comments. it’s been fun. i don’t take the readership i have for granted! blows me away that i get to share my life with all these readers. so neat. thank you from the bottom of my heart.]