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VERONICA'S STORY

My running journey began last May.

My mom was going to be running the Houston Marathon. She had run that same marathon a few times before, and I thought to myself: “If my mom can do it, I can too”.

As a non runner, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

We joined a running a club, and I started following a training schedule and going to Saturday morning long runs. To my surprise, I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping. So I set small goals for myself, today run to that mailbox. The next day I would run two mailboxes further. Slowly but surely, I was running without stopping   Then concentrating on pace. It was such a freeing feeling. I began to crave my daily runs, and look forward to the tired feeling that came with it afterwards.

 

Running became a stress reliever in my life, a time for me to focus on bettering myself, a time away from two children to recharge. Mid season I was still only able to run 12 miles, and as proud of myself as I was, I couldn’t imagine running the full 26.2. But I was told to trust the process. And I did! By January I was lacing up for my first 26.2.

Prior to the run, I fully expected to cross the finish line feeling like the ‘baddest’ B in Houston.  I wanted to get in there, run it out, and finish feeling a sense of pride. And somehow, that did and didn't happen.

I had three goals:

  1. Just finish before the cut off time. Make it across that line before they opened the streets back up.

  2. Run the entire race without stopping, besides water stations.

  3. Hold a 10:30 pace the entire time.

I accomplished only the first one. I ran the first 20 miles, strongly and completely. At mile 21, I fell apart. I just couldn't get myself to pick 'em up and put 'em down in a quick fashion. And I walked. And that mile will be etched in my head forever. I may not be physically strong, but I honestly think of myself as mentally strong. And I still can't understand why I couldn't push through that mile. Miles 22-25 were ugly too. I ran half a mile, walked 30 seconds, ran half a mile, walked 30 seconds, repeat. Thinking, "I did not sign up to walk a marathon, I signed up to run one.”

 

I pulled everything I had in my heart and body and ran that last 1.2 miles in 8:30, my fastest pace. And I was about to cross the finish line feeling defeated. For not being strong enough to fully run the entire thing. I was not proud. But somehow, out of the literal hundreds or thousands of people at the finish line, I heard my son yell my name. I couldn't see him, but I heard him. And he was proud. And that one moment made it all worth it.

 

Running broke my heart that day. But it also makes me whole.

As a stay at home mom and naturally competitive person, running gives me a purpose outside of my family. Something for me.  In 7 months I went from being able to run half of a mile to a full 26.2.  Such an accomplishment! The time, commitment, and dedication taken to train for a marathon is unlike anything else. And seeing yourself to that end goal is something to be proud of. I’ll be running that same marathon again soon! And will be racing against only myself. And next time I’ll be stronger!

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