WOOSAH. I finally have a few moments to put together my thoughts on an emotional (and AWESOME!) day – The Trenton Half.
Last month’s Runner’s World debacle of a race put a lot of my thoughts on running into perspective and readied me mentally for the Trenton Half. I registered for the 10K which seemed completely do-able at the time and of course I had the support of my BLACK GIRLS RUN chapter who have proven to be invaluable to my training efforts and a few have become my “sister friends” IRL.
The course brought me back near my old stomping grounds and Trenton is indeed beautiful.
I admit that after the Runner’s World race, I felt defeated. Yes, I completed it but I had gotten sick on the course and ran slower than I thought I would. However, Saturday’s Trenton Half re-invigorated me on why I started running and why I love (and love to hate) it. Here is what I learned and how I’m moving forward:
1. Preparation is key.
The day before the race, I ate a sensible race-friendly dinner of pasta with marinara sauce ad veggies, did not imbibe, and got in a solid 6 hours of sleep despite a 5am wake-up. I had never ran in sub 40 degree weather but I felt prepared (layers!). I stopped en route and had coffee, a plain bagel, and a banana. At this point of the game I am already winning and the race hadn’t even started! Preparation is indeed key. Unfortunately I would not have my family at the finish line but they were ever present in my mind. My boys are the reason I run!
2. I need MUSIC to
At the Runner’s World race, I was like a deer in headlights. I was completely out of my element amidst seasoned runners and without one of my important training variables–my music. I took the advisement of the race website and did not listen to music so I would be alert to my surroundings. However, I am a runner that needs music and it was frustrating to see a few runners getting their music on while I had nary a headphone. I love music and that’s why I love Zumba, spin, and yoga. All integrate music into the experience and I thrive on that.
For the Trenton Half, I made a killer playlist with songs like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”, Diana Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and Whitney Houston’s “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” and some ratchet-ness from DJ Khaled and Bobby Smurda that made me get through a few moments when I just wanted to walk-it-out. Music helped me immensely.
3. Support is EVERYTHING.
The spirit of the Trenton Half was off the chain. BLACK GIRLS RUN! had over 700 runners in attendance. It was INCREDIBLE to be a part of such a movement. Some have questioned why I run with Black Girls RUN! and why there is such a need for such an organization (70 running groups, 65,000 members across the country combating obesity in the African-American community and how black women are prone to different diseases in terms of obesity). It was PHENOMENAL to run (walk and jog!) with women of all races and ethnicities under BGR. I teared up several times seeing so many women of all backgrounds running and cheering. It is much bigger than just running, it is changing women’s lives to live longer, be healthier women/mothers/wives/grandmothers/great-grandmothers, and stop the cycle of obesity.
Here’s a quick read to let you know more and I hope other women join so we can be “sisters in sole”!
One of the best moments of the race (and yes, it was towards the end!) was when my sisterfriend Rhonda and fellow BGRer–who had already finished–cheered me at the last tenth of a mile, left the other fans and finishers and ran the rest with me hand in hand and then right before the finish line said “This is YOUR moment” and let go of my hand. I crossed the finish and they announced my name, stomped on the finish line (there is video to prove it) and a few tears dropped. I never thought I would be a runner and here I am. I was humbled, thankful, and overcome with emotion.
4. I AM A RUNNER.
I went into the Runner’s World race thinking I’m not a runner and question why I had bothered to register. Going into the Trenton Half, I had a bit more self worth and felt like I belonged. Before the race it was like a family reunion meeting other members of BGR, other race runners, and volunteers. The race was seamless except for a delayed beginning. The facilities were awesome as to be expected. Some of my best memories are at the Trenton Thunder stadium including a game I took my three younger sisters to and my son’s 8th birthday party. The post-race Philly pretzels, Clif bars, and bananas were yummy too. Even though I purchased a VIP package, I didn’t use much of it other than the start line parking which was convenient.
I am still learning, training, and I won’t give up. I even signed up for the St. Luke’s Half Marathon. Crazy, right? With proper training and positivity, I know I will finish and it will be my best race yet!
I am still glad that Runner’s World was my first race as it readied me for the Trenton Half race. Here’s to the next and thank YOU for your love, support, and kind words during my running journey!