Rachel Rodriguez  •  Fitness

Rachel Rodriguez  •  Fitness

Half Marathon: Finish Line

A New Year challenge was completed, and there were only three lines that I cared deeply about throughout the race.

Smile Lines

The little girl inside is getting excited, we’re about to start the race. I have butterflies in my stomach counting down until we all begin. 

It’s early, the sun is barely starting to rise, and it’s cold. My day started at 4:00 am to make sure that I ate before the race.

Also, I planned for it to be chilly being that it is in Orange County, California right along the beach. I picked this race purposely because I love the beach and the ocean. It’s my safe place to mentally escape! My first race had to be by the beach. 

As I’m waiting, stretching, and keeping warm I make small talk with the other runners. A lot of done this specific race before and gave tips about the run, and I asked how their training went. They gave insight and I took a mental note to add it to my lineup the next time I decide to run a half marathon. 

happy little girl

At this moment, I reflect back on my training. I had two setbacks of being sick. It truly cut into my training schedule because both times I was making progress and as the saying goes it felt as if I took one step forward and two steps backward. Read more about them here Half Marathon: training after sickness.

I could’ve failed, and not run! Don’t get me wrong every single excuse popped into my head once I started my training up again. 

It’s funny how the mind can play tricks on you. Yet, you have every opportunity to tell it to stop. Tell it to keep going. Tell it to finally shut up because no matter what you’re running this race! Guess what the mind does? It shuts up! It gets quiet! It now knows who’s in control. I’m running this race no matter what!

finish line

The Finish Line

It’s game time, the race has started. It’s time to get laser-focused. I mentally mapped out the run for bathroom breaks, and rest breaks to refuel. In addition, I mirrored everything based on my training since I’ve never ran this course before. 

For example, I broke up my runs into segments 5 miles I ran a specific length and would mentally clock it once I hit this marker while on the race. Then I knew what was next. Once I passed mile 8, that was another mental marker because I knew where my body would need more energy, refuel again, and pay close attention to my breathing.

Furthermore, during my training, I did something different and started a layering effect using my iwatch. Every mile that I would run my watch would let me know. Next, I would make an effort to look down and see the number on the screen.  In addition, to doing this I would tell myself a short encouraging word or phrase every single time. Mile 1- Nice job! Mile 3- Woo hoo! Mile 5- Excellent work!... 

Not only did I map out what my feet were going to do, but I also mapped out what my mind was going to do. That’s the one thing that sets people apart from others. You can have the best plan in the world but if you don’t prepare mentally for the road ahead, you’ll fall on your face! Splat!

The finish line was getting closer and closer, I could taste it!

Beeline

Mile 11 - are you kidding me?!

During my last long run mile, 11 & 12 were the hardest. You’ve come so far and really need to dig deep, and yet you’re so close almost to the point of touching the finish line. This is when sh*t gets real.

Looking around I saw other runners dropping like flies. There were some that have kept their composure, others have sprinted off burning the last bit of energy they have. Running is a lonely place to be, you have your body, and lost in your mind with random thoughts going in and out. It’s definitely a time to self-reflect.

Luckily, there were these two girls in turquoise shirts that I kept seeing throughout. I noticed them mostly once there was a mile marker, they would both stop and take a funny picture. By the time we hit mile 8 I really started to pay attention to them because they helped me keep pace. The closer the finish line came, the closer I watched them and my breathing.

group cheering

There’s so much of me that I brought to this race, and so much more that I left on that path. I shed so much weight, negativity, and what feels like my old self. I set out on this journey as a new challenge for myself and the second that I crossed that finish line I felt my mind, body, and inner self connect like it’s never done before. I felt accomplished! 

Refuel to Recover

Hydrate with the Ocean

Water

Electrolytes

Beef Broth

Pizza by the Ocean

Pizza was for dinner AND for breakfast!

Smash Your Grape

The only lines I cared about were my smile lines because I looked like I had a hanger in my mouth grinning from ear to ear while running. The finish line because of the gift I gave to myself. I completed a challenge I set out on and pushed myself to try something I'd never tried before. And a bee-line to my husband and my handsome son. They both gave me the biggest hugs and smiles! My son even wanted to wear my medal! 

I made sure to look around and see all the cheering bystanders, strangers, and other runners with pure excitement. I even found the two women wearing the turquoise shirts and thanked them for helping me keep pace.

What a year this has already been?! If you haven’t run a half marathon yet, I highly recommend it. Add it to your bucket list because the training, and experience are unlike anything else.

~Rachel
Have A Grapefull Day!

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