I have named this race "Proud Disappointment."
In the weeks leading up to the race, my training was struggling. Not hitting all the runs I needed to with snow, slush, cold, and laziness. I went into the race unprepared, but knowing that I would take this race easy.
I made it to Florida, headed to the expo, and got ready for the race. The next morning, the alarm sounded at 4:15AM. Alyssa and I headed to downtown Tampa and made our way to the starting line. With bag checks a couple blocks away at the convention center, and with just a few minutes to go before race start, we had to hurry up and get ready. Even at 6AM, the humidity was awful - I was sweating before the race even started, as we hit the starting line almost 10 minutes after the race started. Because of the huge race size, there was still a steady flow getting started when we did.
The race course was beautiful - a five mile loop of Davis Island before the sun rose, and a four mile out-and-back stretch along Bayshore, a road that follows along the Tampa Bay.
Alyssa and I made it to the halfway point with relative ease, but then I started getting overheated. The switch from zero humidity in Colorado to sauna was getting to be too much, and with every step, I was fading more and more. At about mile 9, I had to stop to take a walk break. At about 9.5, I started to feel the beginnings of some cramps. The rest of the race was just that. Run for a bit, walk for a bit, legs tighten up for a bit, repeat. Lots of time to think about how much torture it was. When we rounded the final corner, saw the finish line, and trudged our way toward the end, I don't think I've ever been more excited to see a finish line. When it ended, it became one of the worst races for me, being my slowest half marathon by about 20 minutes.
|My friend Alyssa and I are smiling because it's over!|
But the race was more important to me for a different reason. Three years ago when I started running, it was on that same route in Tampa. So as I was running, I was thinking about the journey I have been on since then. Down 60+ pounds, running almost 1000 miles, 47 races- including 5 half marathons, a Tough Mudder, and a marathon. I have found a love for running, and it all started across the bay in St. Petersburg and along the exact route on Bayshore. I kept thinking about the dozens of runs I had along the route when I couldn't even run two miles. For me, this was my full circle run. To return to the place it all started with how far I have come meant the world to me. And as I crossed the finish line, I said a quick prayer of gratitude, not only for surviving the humid torture run, but for the journey I have been on these last 3+ years. I am the person I am today because of the sweat that was poured on that concrete. I am stronger. I am faster. I am more resilient. I am better. And because of everything I am because of it,
I am proud.