Running for Rhinos.

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When I was 21 years old I ran what I thought would be my very last half marathon. But that all changed yesterday…in a big way. Yesterday, I ran the San Diego Safari Park Half Marathon and got bit by the bug again.

For the last four months, I have been increasing my mileage and pushing myself to the limit with my running and trying my hardest to keep on track. In spite of all the random road blocks, I did it. With the motivation of the Boyfriend and the Monkey I ran 13.1 miles yesterday and only about 3 of those miles truly sucked ass. At the 10K point I felt wicked in control of my own running destiny. My timing was good. My pace as phenomenal. And then, I hit this…

THE HILL OF DOOM!! (insert dramatic music here) After training for eight weeks with the Jeff Calloway system which allows the runner to run/walk for intervals throughout the running period, it was this hill that made my stomach turn and my heart flip flop. Runners around me stopped to take photos of the view from below and the view from at the very tippy top. Most of us jogged, then walked and then a lot of us laughed at how horribly unprepared we all were for this giant hill. It fooled us with the promise of ending then BAM!

Praise all that is holy that the other side was a nice downgrade.

A pack of us formed after the hill. A group of solidarity. Knowing we had conquered that jack ass of hill we all maintained pace down and then up the next hill. I ran my butt off. I kept thinking about the Monkey and showing him my medal when I was done. My heart pounded in my brain and while I had a few moments of disbelief – I climbed and pushed and followed my training. I felt my toes pulse in the toebox of my shoes. A blister from a previous training session began to throb below my right foot and I could feel my sock pressing on the tension there. Mile 11 was just ahead of me. Up one more tragic hill and then the Boyfriend’s Bro was at the top of the last hill with friends, cheering me on. With the Boyfriend long done, all I could think about was Monkey and how I have always told him to finish what he starts and never give up. Quitting was not an option. The discomfort fueled me. Pushed me forward.

Then there was this guy…

I crushed it. I owned that race in spite of that stupid hill. I will come back next year. I will do better than this time. At the end of the line there was the Boyfriend. Cheering me on. There to hug me and congratulate me on finishing. One of my two biggest fans. I am a lucky girl. There are two men in my life who believe I can do anything I put my mind to. The Monkey and the Boyfriend always have faith in me. It is inspiring.

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Post-run Lion visit! #safaripark

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After the race we waded through the San Diego Safari Park and took in some of the sights. Enjoyed a beer at the finish line festival. Sat down and people watched. Chattered about the damn hill that neither of us was expecting and bonded over doing something amazing together. The Boyfriend and I share in each others successes and misery, just like any other couple does. But, for me this is the first time in a relationship that I’ve truly been supported by someone to crush something looming over my head with such ferver. Together we can do anything.

This race meant more to me than just finishing a race. It was proving to myself that even though I’m almost 35 years old that anything is possible. I will do this race again because it was beautiful and challenging and truly worth all the hard work.

Now which race to conquer next…

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