The Riverbank Run and I have a history. I trained for the Riverbank Run 5 years ago, and was unable to run it because of my hearing loss. I had woken up 1 week prior to race day with constant ringing in both ears. I was on a large amount of steroids to try to bring my hearing back. Because of those steroids, my immune system was very compromised and my ENT told me not to run...ugh. I had trained over 300 miles and was told to sit it out.
Since then I just didn't have it in me to try again, and if I'm being completely honest, part of me was afraid my hearing loss would get worse than it already was. I know there is no reason whatsoever for me to think that, but I thought it none-the-less.
I decided that this year was my year to try again. I roped my friend Megan into running with me, and in December the training began. We trained hard and ran a lot of miles, and today was the big day!
Last night I got my outfit picked out, my bib pinned on and my playlist ready. I loaded up on carbs and went to bed at a reasonable time. This morning I headed downtown and promptly realized I had forgotten breakfast <face slap>. Luckily a nice stranger gave me a banana. Megan & I lined up WAY in the back because our goal was not speed, it was finishing.
The gun went off and we started our journey. I felt pretty good through mile 8...which is when the hills began. My stomach started cramping (perhaps it was because I ate so little). Needless to say, it was going to be a LONG 2nd half of the race.
I ended up walking partially up many of the hills. God bless Megan for sticking with me because I was certainly the weak link in our pair. Miles 8-12 were a bit of a blur filled with stomach cramps, aching legs and sore feet.
Once we got back into downtown we rounded by the zoo. I very vividly remember a guy on a microphone saying, "less than 2 miles to go." I almost wept. Then we ran into Megan's family on the course and I got all choked up again. The emotions running through me when we got into downtown were all over the place. Pain, exhaustion, pain, excitement, pain and pride.
When we were about 1/2 mile away from the finish line, we found my family. I gave my husband a hug and almost started crying right there. My son decided to run the next stretch with me...seriously, I think he is who pulled me through...it was beyond awesome.
Then we saw the finish line, it was SO close!!! We grabbed hands, raised them in the air, and crossed together. All day we had been sporting our orange Fellow Flowers, which stand for "Fiercly United". I absolutely needed to be united today, because I don't know if I could've finished without Megan. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you Megan :)
So in the end, we didn't reach any of our goals other than surviving, but I'm ok with that. If I do it again next year, I will have lots of things to improve on. As it stands, I am pretty dang proud of what I did, and what we accomplished.