1451568_10152067617233874_401953173_nSuper excited to say, I completed my second half marathon this year!!! This race was amazing and an unforgettable experience. I was a little nervous on race day because the whole week leading up to Saturday I was sick with a weird upper respiratory infection. I was very congested with a constant cough with a fever of 104.  My nose was so stuffy I couldn’t even taste what I was eating! It all had started on Thanksgiving, and 2 days post race….still sick.

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To add a notch to the level of excitement to this race, I was approached by the local newspaper to be featured in the sports section! It was an honor to have an article in the paper and being highlighted as the Scoliosis runner defying all odds!

 To make matters worse my back pain started to flare up and get in my way. I was only able to get in a quick 8 miles run almost 2 weeks before the race. I was a little nervous that this race was going to go bad. I tend to eat on the healthy side so I made sure to eat foods rich in protein and antioxidants to strengthen my muscles. I hydrated well and mentally prepared for this half marathon.The night before the race, I had Alpha tape up my back with my KT Tape to make sure my back doesn’t get worse.

20131206_205129The tape helps keeps the pain from flaring up which was my worry during the race. Once we woke up in the morning, I ate an oatmeal with a banana and started to do some stretching and foam rolling. Since I hadn’t run in so long my muscle were VERY cold and using the foam roller on them wakes them up a bit and I wanted to prepare my muscles for the 13.1 battle was going to put them through.

On our way, I was getting very excited to meet everyone from the Refuel with Chocolate milk team! We had all planned to meet before the race and talk a bit. I met everyone and I was happy to be on such a GREAT team. Everyone was so supportive of me and what I was doing. Brittny, the one in charge of our team, was probably the coolest, best team leader I’ve had! I would definitely run for Team Refuel again because of her. As we got ready to leave, she asked me “What time will you finish because we have a little surprise for you at the finish?” Since the last half I ran it in 3:13 I figured this time might be the same so I told Brittny 3 hours, boy was that going to bite me in the butt. We took some pictures and as usual I headed off to the bathroom. Once the line that seemed like 4 hours long moved we headed to the starting line.

Refuel with Chocolate Milk Team
Refuel with Chocolate Milk Team

Here we go, I thought. I couldn’t believe I was running another half marathon in the same year. As usual before each race I take a little moment of silence and talk to my aunt and princess Bella up in the heavens…I asked them to keep an eye on me, help me reach that 3 hour goal I had just set for myself. I kissed Alpha as the gun went off and we took off! I kept a slow but steady pace up until about the 10K mark. I was starting to get tired and felt weak. It was a constant cough and I had tons of trouble breathing. This race was hard but I had to finish. I don’t give up.

We were winding through some beautiful streets near downtown Orlando. I am very grateful for the local police officers and volunteers along the course that made this race possible. Each group that we passed we would say thank you or give them a high-five. I was happy there was many hydration stops along the course, but I would skip the Gatorade and go straight for the water. I had my sports beans at around mile 5 and felt tired. I knew I had a while to go and kept going.

There was great music along the course but I was listening to a variety of music off my phone. The music keeps my pace steady and keeps my mind off the pains that kept making themselves known. I was going and going and I started to run into trouble again at the same spot as my last half, at mile 8. Orlando_Half_map

 

 

I was quite I didn’t talk to Alpha nor joke around. I was hurting and couldn’t breath right. He knew it, he tried to distract me from what I was going through and not let the same thing happen again. I ignored everything I was feeling and kept running…it all went away =) I was running ok and was on target for my 3 hour goal.

 

At 10 miles my legs were weak, my calves were screaming in soreness but I kept going. I skipped a few of the water stops because I was starting to feel full with the energy gels I was eating and all the water stops I had too much.

At 11 miles I couldn’t handle it anymore, I started to walk a lot. I was getting frustrated with myself because I needed to succeed in this race. I knew I had it in me, sick and in pain and all, I knew I could do it. I wanted to….I had to.

 

Towards the last half of the race the running surface got tough. All cobblestone for the rest of the race!! We were all notified about this part of the race but didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was for me. It made it tougher for me to fight but I had to continue.I had a little pep talk with myself and dug REAL deep and found that tiny bit I had left. I ran all the way to the finish line with an official time of 3:06:33. Not only had I reached my goal, but I beat my previous half time!

As I am approaching the finish line, I felt my right calf give out. I got a sudden intense pain in my calf and knew exactly what it was. I was reaching muscle failure and didn’t think I was going to make it to the finish line. Suddenly, just a few feet from the end, Alpha says to me “Do you see Brittny?” I said no, as I look for her, I see her standing there with balloons and a cow with a sign cheering me on!

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Waiting for me as I crossed the finish line a few feet before I get my medal

I have never had anyone wait for me at the finish line before! What an amazing feeling it was to have her waiting for me there with the team mascot will mean more to me than she will ever know! And finally I did it! I had successfully ran my second half marathon beating my previous team being sick and in pain! I knew I could do it! Once I got my chocolate milk and my medal and went back to our Refuel with Chocolate Milk tent. I was a little dizzy, and sore and then it happened as I sat in the chair….the worse most CRAZY painful Charley horse EVER!!!!! Oh my gosh I freaked out! It wouldn’t stop for maybe a minute that felt like an hour! Once it did I went over to the ice tent and got my ice on my calf and back.

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AAhh…boy do I love some ice! I was starting to feel better, had drank my infamous recovery drink, CHOCOLATE MILK and was able to get up and walk around. That is why I love drinking chocolate milk post race. It has EVERYTHING runners need to restore muscles and feed your body the nutrients it lost while running. Chocolate milk has always been my recovery drink of choice and that is why!

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Thank you Florida Dairy Farmers for the opportunity to run in the OUC Half Marathon! It was an experience I will never forget! The course was amazing THANK YOU TRACK SHACK! The atmosphere was full of awesomeness, and the runners were all super stars. Truly honored to have ran this race for Florida Dairy Farmers! I was so grateful to run this, what I call epic race, with my Alpha along side of me. He really is my rock and what keeps me moving forward. He knows what to say to keep me focused on my goal, and makes sure I enjoy each race. He is a blessing to have by my side, and my true hero.

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Thank you Track Shack, and all the sponsors for the OUC Half Marathon, all the volunteers and everyone involved to make this race such a success and an amazing experience for all runners! It was an unforgettable race I will always talk about!

I started off this year running my first half marathon, and glad that this was my last 2013 race. I plan on returning next year better prepared and a greater goal in mind. Thank you all again

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-cheetah g

 

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