Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm Only Half Crazy!

Yep, that's me, holding up my first half marathon medal! This was an experience I wouldn't give up for anything. When I first made this goal at the beginning of 2012 I honestly was terrified after I posted it, because I was like "did I really just say I am going to run a half marathon and I've only done one 5K?". Well, after being bitten by the running bug and completing more races I became more confident about accomplishing my goal. I didn't jump right into it, I followed a lot of running blogs, listened to seasoned runners for advice, and subscribed to Runner's World magazine to be in the know about different training programs and proper ways to recover when taking on a long run.

One race I wanted to do before completing my 1/2 was a 10K (6.2 miles). I figured if I could get to the half way point I could be ok in a half marathon. Well, as we know, in life things don't always go as planned. Let's just say in this case ALMOST didn't go as planned. At the beginning of August this year I became very ill and was sidelined for a little over a month from running, I couldn't do any kind of exercising. Due to the illness I became very weak and lost 15 pounds, so yes, I was no good! After doctors visits and completing the medications prescribed I thought I would be "off and running" in no time. Well, if it's not one thing it's another, and as I was completing my antibiotics I began to breakout in hives because a form of penicillin was in them and, yes I am allergic to penicillin. So yep, I was sidelined for another week and a half. I became more and more discouraged because my 10K was just weeks away, and I had not trained for it at all, it was out of town, and with my illness it was strongly advised that I don't fly. What was a girl to do??? Well, being stubborn and determined the first moment I felt better I hoped in the car ( I couldn't drive either while sick) and headed to the gym. I was able to get in 3 miles on the treadmill without passing out. My mother being a mother was concerned about me jumping back into running so quickly, but in my head all I could think about was this 10K I needed to complete. I was able to train and run a bit longer more and more each day. Now, that I was building my stamina/endurance back up I had to figure out how the heck I was going to get to Atlanta, GA to compete in my race. This was the Black Girls Run! Inaugural  race and conference I HAD TO BE THERE!!! So I reached out to my BGR sisters and decided to take a chance and fly up, and my BGR sister Sonya was driving back so I was able to ride with her, I figured flying one way shouldn't be too bad. Then I was able to room with my BGR sister Doris at the last minute. Things were working out according to plan.
I completed my race strong ( see my Sole Sisters post) and I knew there was no stopping my now.
I registered for more races to stay active and upped my mileage every two weeks. I am so thankful for those Ft. Lauderdale beach runs with BGR because I swear everyone there was training for a half so long runs were the norm and I needed them for that extra push.

Almost showtime! The week of the race, I changed my diet and upped my water intake I had to finish this thing strong, the swag wagon was NOT going to be picking me up. I was going to finish this race on my own. All of the ladies running in the race with me who had never done a half before were so nervous about it, at first I was but then it was like the fear went away and I was just ready to do it. I ran Monday and Tuesday of that week, and then let my body rest in preparation. I ordered a new pair of compression pants that have gotten rave reviews in the running community, now this is a big no no for runners, you should never try anything new the day of a race, but of course I wore these pants because I wanted to do my best and have a great recovery. I think the most challenging moment about this race was getting these pants on, lol. Ladies, if you wear Spanx you know the struggle of getting them on so multiple that times 10. I've never had a set a pants that came with directions on how to put them on. However, it was imperative to follow the directions so that your legs received the proper support while running.

Race Day! I got up at 4 am and was full of energy, ready to get moving, I had my Race Day playlist going and was ready to hit the pavement. I got to S. Beach and saw all the runners geared up. I didn't know what I should eat with it being such a long run so I had some water and a banana. I put an energy bar in my pants pocket in case I needed fuel on the course. I lined up in my corral and said my prayers while stretching, got my Nike+ app ready, I changed my playlist to Gospel cause I knew it was me and God running this race. And I was off.....
I felt good, I was in a zone, I started off at just the right pace and I was able to catch my grove before mile 1. I was happy to see the pacers in the race holding up signs stating if you run with them you'll finish a certain amount of time. This was motivation, I told myself "you can finish before that" so I sped up just a little. I didn't stop at all the water stations just those that had Gatorade, for some reason water makes me cramp up when I run. Just like Forrest Gump. I was running, and running, and running! Before I knew it I had ran 11.5 miles straight without stopping. Around this time I was still feeling good, however the sun was rearing it's ugly head and I had the final bridge to tackle. I took out my energy bar to fuel my body and started a 5:1 interval. The intervals didn't last long because I just wanted to finish so I kept pushing myself more and more. I did suffer an "injury" around mile 12. My right shoe kept brushing up against my left ankle as I was running and of course it cause a blister and skin came off, so I had an open cut with sweat running into it, talk about feeling the burn. I kept pushing through that. I started to see people walking with their finisher's medals so I knew I was close.
Now let me let you know something that I can't stand about race spectators, it's when you are close to the finish line and they yell, "you can do it, the finish line is right around the corner!" Umm no the hell it's not! I swear the closer you get to the finish line the farther away it gets. So people about a mile and a half away need not say things like that, it just frustrates me cause I really do expect to see the finish line around the corner, not around the next three corners.
I hear the cheers my heart is beating fast, my sister texted me saying she is at the finish line waiting on me and that I can do it! You know what else pushed me? There are cameras at the finish line! Do you really think I would be caught on film walking!? So I save up some energy and walk for about a minute and I gave myself a pep talk and said alright Apryl, it's time to bring it in. With all I had left in me I ran to that finish line with a smile on my face like I had only run for 3 miles. When I go to the line and saw my time and my sister there cheering me on, and it hit me... I DID IT! I finished in 2hrs and 36 minutes, I beat my own time I had set which was 2 hrs and 45 min.

I really want to say THANK YOU to all of you who were there cheering me on via Nike+, at the finish line, and while I was training. This had to be my proudest moment of 2012. I had a goal and I was able to accomplish it with setbacks and all.  I am looking forward to doing many more 1/2 marathons in 2013.... I know you didn't think I was going to say I look forward to doing a full marathon.... I'M ONLY HALF CRAZY!


  1. Congratulations! Your passion and drives inspires me to keep going on the new found journey of mines. Just to think, you started your journey a few months prior to me. Sooner than later, I will be able to keep up with you without breathing heavy.

  2. LOL, you got this Katavia! Like the saying goes, nothin to it but to do it! You'll be surprised what you really have inside of you when you start the race. You are on the right track, slow and steady... your turn is coming up real soon!