Bittersweet

Today’s events began with an early morning. 5am to be exact, but when I really think about it, today’s events started much earlier than that. It started many months ago when running 5km without stopping seemed impossible. It started with a step that led to 30 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking. It developed into running longer intervals and shorter rest periods, until one day I pushed for 1km, and then 2, and then 3; all the way up to 6.5 last Sunday.

It developed further when I started sharing my thoughts and feelings through writing these posts, and today I am overjoyed to share with all of you my sheer happiness with today’s race. It was a beautiful sunrise, followed by a beautiful run. For the first time ever, I wasn’t nervous about running. I told myself over and over again that it was going to be amazing. I felt calm. I felt prepared, and when the buzzer went off, I had a smile from ear to ear until:

a) my calves started protesting like the hippies at Berkeley in the 70’s (if any of my history peeps read this, they’ll enjoy that reference). But my lord, I literally asked these two fools if they were going to behave like assholes on today of all days. Thankfully, my brain chimed in and told them to shut their faces (apparently calves grow faces during races, duh!)

b) I saw the massive hill just past the 2.5k mark. By this stage, the calves had given up their riot, and my mind had to shift into overdrive in pushing those positive vibes through. All I could think of was how glorious the run DOWN that hill would be and sure enough, as I ran up with this in mind, the down was the greatest stretch of the race next to the last 500m of it.

By the time I made it to the 4k mark, the heavens opened and gifted me with Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us”, and I pushed myself into speed mode. By 500m, I pulled out my headphones to soak in every noise, cheer, and word of encouragement the crowd was giving. The absolute best was seeing my family, especially my niece, cheering me on. At that point, I stepped it up even more. I crossed the finish with an official time of 46:13, and I can honestly say that I am so proud of myself. Having that medal placed around my neck was absolute perfection. I STILL feel like an Olympian.

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I recognize that it was ultimately me that ran the race, but there are so many people I’d like to give some shout outs to:

a) My husband. Thank you for believing in me all the times that I didn’t believe in myself. I still remember the phone call I made to you in the summer. The one where I cried and said I was an idiot for even thinking I could do this and you calmly told me that you knew I wasn’t a quitter, that being such a determined person you knew I’d crawl across the finish if I had to, and that one day I would run the whole race and inspire others to do the same. Those words stuck, and I am SO LUCKY to have you. I love you.

b) My family.To my mom, sister in law, aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course my brother in law (who ran the race with me), thank you for all of the words of encouragement and for believing in me. Your support means the world to me. There is truth in the saying that it takes a village, because knowing you supported me fueled my fire to succeed even more.

c) My girl A. You know who you are. You are a special lady. I ultimately wouldn’t have taken this journey if you didn’t push me to see my potential. That is a gift I will treasure forever. Thank you for every piece of advice, every push, and every chat that helped lead me to this day. I cannot wait until I get to 5:30/km to run with you. I also fear this day because I can only imagine you pushing me to go faster and aim to achieve Kenyan status.

d) My girl S. You hold a special spot in my heart. You made me realize that even someone like me can inspire someone else to run. You were the first person I called to share the news about my first 5k, and you just jumped in head first with me. It was the BEST thing you could have done. Not only for you, but for me because I loved knowing we were preparing together, and now, you’re training to run your first half marathon. I am so proud of you, and I am so glad I have you in my corner.

e) IronNan. You remind me to smile and love running with each step. You remind me to always think positively and that anything is possible. I have truly appreciated every run we’ve done together and I am so glad it was you that I got to share my 6.5k victory with. I hope that we will get a chance to run a race together soon. You make me want to achieve more.

f) My amazing friends. Some of you have come out and run with me, and there are also so many of you that have sent texts, emails, and messages my way with your overwhelming love and support. I cannot thank you enough because ultimately, knowing I have shared all of this with you has helped me with the BIGGEST thing of all, ACCOUNTABILITY. You have helped me set foot into every run during my training. So thank you for every text, email, and Facebook like. Not only did it help me hit the pavement for training, but it means the world to me to have your support.

Some of you may be wondering if this is the end of the road for my running adventures. The short answer is no. So now it’s time to share the next goal with all of you: THE SEAWHEEZE HALF MARATHON AUGUST 2014, VANCOUVER BC. To that race I say, I have my eye on you and your 21km route. I am going to conquer you too. Get ready, I’m coming!

Yours swiftly,

Alex ❤️

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