I am writing to you as an official finisher of my first ever HALF MARATHON!
I can hardly believe it, but WE DID IT!
It's funny, because leading up to this run I kept telling people that I had 4 hours to finish the run and as long as I finished by 3:59 I would be a happy camper.
Well . . . I am thrilled to say that we finished in 2 hours and 41 minutes!
This run was a challenge for me in so many ways and as I sit here reflecting on the whole weekend, all I feel is proud. Proud of myself, proud of Taylor and proud of all of the people who set out to challenge themselves and reach for something greater than they may have thought was possible.
To be honest with you, I didn't think I was capable of running a half marathon. Not because I wasn't in shape, or because I hated running - quite the opposite actually. I actually really love running. I ran in middle and high school and even throughout college (not competitively), but the point is that I like to run.
Well - a few years ago I went on a run and about a mile into it, I was doubled over in pain in my lower abdomen.
I remember getting home, laying on the bed and trying to recover from whatever pain this was and thinking to myself how strange this all was. Other than normal side cramps, I've never had any pain when I run.
After a couple more attempts at running I decided to go and see a doctor, because the pain wasn't going away and other symptoms began to show.
So after several doctors appointments, I was diagnosed with PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrom and for the most part this explained the pain I was having when I ran.
After getting the diagnosis I decided to stop running all together and instead focus on other forms of working out and cardio.
Over the next two years I would occasionally try and go out for a small run and see if I still got the pain and no doubt, every time the pain was still there.
. . . .
Now fast forward to 6 or so months ago when I saw that Magnolia was putting on marathon, half marathon and 5k and not only that, but they were doing it to raise money for rare cancer research and in support of Gabriele (Gabe) Grunewald, a young girl fighting a rare form of cancer.
I remember seeing the marathon post for the first time and going to Taylor, saying "Magnolia is putting on a marathon and I want to run it!" and not surprisingly (and probably rightly so) he responded with, "Em . . . I don't think so"
His response wasn't because he didn't think I was capable of it, but simply because he was 100% worried about my health and he didn't want me to push myself too hard where I would end up getting hurt. So after much convincing on both of our ends, we decided together that we would do the half marathon and even that was more than I think Taylor was comfortable with - especially seeing that at this point I still couldn't even run a mile without getting severe pain and yet here we were about to sign up to run THIRTEEN.
But as I sat there considering the idea of running a half marathon, I read Gabe's story and thought to myself, if Gabe, this young girl who is fighting cancer, can run this thing than I can surely do it too.
From the get go this race was about challenging yourself and setting out to do something bigger and greater than you ever thought possible, and with that thought in mind, we signed up and never looked back.
I told myself early on that it didn't matter if I ran it all, walked it all or did half/half, all I wanted to do was finish.
So together Taylor and I began training and we started off real slow - the goal was just to get me running without pain, even if it was for .02 miles.
Taylor worked with me and over 5 or so months, we ran a little bit more each day and for the first time in two years I began running more than a mile without any pain at all.
To mine (and Taylor's) disbelief, just a couple of weeks before the half marathon, Taylor and I ran our longest run yet at that point - 7 miles, and I ran the entire time without once ounce of pain.
Honestly as I sit here and write this, I am still in awe that the marathon is over and that I finished it.
Side by side Taylor and I ran this half marathon and for 13. 1 miles I had no pain - I don't know why or how, but somehow and truly through the grace of God, I finished that run with only walking for 1 0r 2 minutes every mile and without any pain at all.
So thank you Magnolia, Chip and Gabe for inspiring me and challenging me to do this run - without it I would probably still be sitting here thinking that running was simply out of the cards for me, but instead I sit here as a finisher of a half marathon with plans to run again.
Earlier I said that this run was a challenge for me, and it most certainly was, but it is one of my favorite challenges to date.
This weekend is one I won't soon forget and today I'm recapping our whole marathon weekend, so friends - sit back, relax and get inspired because next year you're running with ME!
Waco bound with my baby sister and her hubby in tow!
As soon as we pulled into Waco we headed straight to the convention center where we picked up our goodie bags
And off to the Silos we went!
I LOVED this sign.
Magnolia never falls short in the inspiration category.
Before we knew it, it was 4:30 am on Sunday morning and we were up and ready to run this thing!
My sweet family came from Colorado to watch us run and we loved seeing them at different places throughout the course - they were the perfect dose of inspiration that we needed to keep us going!
They caught up with us at the 5 mile mark, 10 mile mark and the finish line.
And y'all before I knew it, we were crossing that 13.1 mile finish line!!!
Fresh after running - feeling hot, sweaty, tired and PROUD.
Don't worry - we got cupcakes to ease the post race pain.
Each run had a designated " team captain" and Clint Harp was the half marathon team captain so of course when we ran into him, we had to snag a picture!
Also - speaking of snagging pictures with people . . .
Y'ALL! I don't even have words - this happened and I'm pretty sure I could have died happy in that moment. ;)
And finally - I had to include a close up picture of the medal, because y'all it was seriously cool and I'm not just saying that.
Taylor has run several half marathons and marathons and even he said that this might be the coolest medal he's seen with the DisneyWorld Marathon coming in at a close second.
I owe so many people a 'thank you' simply for supporting me, inspiring me and believing in me, but more so than anybody, my sweet husband Taylor deserves the biggest thank you.
Taylor - thank you doesn't even begin to cover it. I came to you with a very big and bold dream that seemed far out of reach and yet you said yes and from the start you encouraged me, loved me, pushed me, worked with me, prayed for me and ran far slower than what you normally do just so that you could run by my side. I wouldn't have made it to this point without you, so thank you. I love you.
And I love all of you.
To read Chip's blog about why he decided to do this marathon and to hear Gabe's story, click here.
Dream big, friends!
I'm Emilee. 26. Homebody. Believer in a simple + intentional life. Daughter of the King. Living in Austin with my hubs.
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