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OC Half Marathon Recap

I ran a half marathon, y’all.

Holy. Moly.

I have no tips or tricks to offer you. To be honest, I was not as prepared as I would have liked. I wish I would have ran more. Trained more. Maybe I could have had a faster finishing time.

Whatever. Can’t change any of that now. And I am not disappointed in the least.

I freaking ran a half marathon for the first time ever at the age of 40.

Hell. Yeah.

I have done a couple of 5K’s and 10K’s back in the day. I ran cross country my freshman and sophomore years in high school. But I had not participated in any race event in years, other than the fun little 5K my small group put on during the pandemic.

Which turned into having my dear friend try to convince me over and over again that we should sign up for a marathon.

I finally gave in, but only for the half. Ha! I have no plans to run a full. I am not that hard core.

Preparing for this run, the biggest run of my life, I obviously have some thoughts.

After my run, a few of my takeaways:

Your mind will call it quits long before your body will. I can't even tell you how many times I tried to talk myself out of running this half. I paid the entry fee. I trained, although that was challenging. Yet, my mind still kept telling itself that it was crazy for even doing this.

I knew that at 40 years old, my body just won't recover the same way it did at the age of 15 and 16, when I ran cross country in high school. It definitely wouldn't recover the same when I was in my late twenties, early thirties, when I was working out 5-6 days a week and doing HIIT workouts regularly. I am not afraid of aging, in fact I love that I am getting older, but that didn't mean that I was blind to the fact that my body is different than it used to be.

So my mind kept trying to convince itself that this wasn't a very good idea. However, the more I ran, the further I attempted in distance, the more my mind came around and said "Hey, we got this. No biggie."

Next: Having your people who support you is crucial. I cannot tell you how many group text messages I received regarding this race. (Thanks Eileen! Hahaha!) Eileen and I signed up to do this together. I am so glad I did. Finding your people was important.

Bill was another huge support for me during training, and my gosh the day of the race. I did not expect him to wake up at 4:00am and take me to the shuttles for race day. Nor did I expect him to show up at different points on the route and cheer me on, run alongside me taking video and pictures, and then being there at the finish line. It meant the absolute world to me to have him there, more than I think he will ever truly realize.

I received text messages day of the race encouraging me and pushing me forward. Even at work, my co-workers were excited for me and encouraged me.

My BIL, Jeremy, even loaned me his fanny pack so that I would be stashed with snacks and anything else I would need during the race.

I could have done this on my own, sure. But more and more I realize just how important community and connection with our people is. Not just important. VITAl for living. Life happens with others. I am so grateful to God for sending me the others. I need them.

Lastly, the journey is worth it. The view is spectacular. The risk, the training, the hard work, the uncertainty, the nervousness. Worth it. I am not one who cries very often. Unfortunately, that is a learned response, but on Sunday I found myself teary eyed through several different points on the course.

All of the evenings spent at the gym or on the trail, either running or cross training. All of the time I had to utilize and figure out in order to finish what I started. To follow through on what I committed to.

Every mile marker I hit was a reflection of the work it took to get there. To the starting line and onward to the finish line. Indescribable in how emotional I felt over the course of three hours.

When I hit Mile 11, I knew. I was close to finishing. Seeing that marker gave me another boost of energy and I ran a bit of a faster pace, knowing I was that much closer to the end.

Closer to celebration. To victory. To proving to myself that I could do this. I talk a lot about new beginnings and rebuilding. I have had to work hard in order to rebuild what was lost.

But running a half marathon for the first time had very little to do with overcoming any past hardships.

It was about running toward a future. Seeing things from a brand new perspective. Recognizing that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought and that I have an incredible life, right now, that I get to enjoy.

It was about running this glorious race in the present day and working toward the future that I see so clearly. It truly is magnificent. What I have always dreamed of and prayed for is literally within my grasp. I can visualize it. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

My legs and body were tired at the end. Sitting down and getting up was a bit of a challenge. However, the pain was worth it.

Telling myself to just do it and commit to running was worth it.

Plus, I got an awesome medal. A FABULOUS massage. And hard pineapple cider for a job well done. Oh and I was fed. Wooo hoooo!

Am I going to do another one? More than likely, yes. The energy and adrenaline you experience from an event like the OC marathon was magnetic and contagious. I want more of that. My friend is trying to convince me to do the full, but I am just not there yet in interest level. Haha.

But who knows? I may have found a new thing that fills my soul. I’ll take it.

Tiffany Rhea

P.S. Bill took a lot of the photos you see in this post. He is my very own paparazzi and I love it! And he is really handsome. I’ll keep him. 😉

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