Monday, November 28, 2011

The Big Day!

Well it is 4am on a Sunday.  It is dark and I hate getting out of bed.  But today is the day I have worked so hard for and nothing will make me miss it.  I dress in my running clothes that I had laid out the night before and force myself to eat something.  I walk out to the car and I am pleasantly surprised to see it is not as cold as I had imagined it would be.  Yay!
I drive to the hotel to pick up Barb, who is waiting for me in the lobby.  We are both excited and can't get there fast enough.
Parking is no problem and it is right near the finish line.  Yay again!  We get out of the car, and head to the bus that will take us back to Jamestown to the start of the race.  It is going to be 4.2 miles back to Newport and 2 of those miles are over the Newport Bridge with a crazy hill.  Barb is a seasoned runner and has just completed her fourth marathon two weeks before this.  I only started running in August and only did one little 5k.  She is fast and likes it.  I am slow and, well, I like that too.
The bus ride is fun.  We snap a few pictures and talk to people all around us.  The excitement is awesome.  There are people who love to run and even first timers.  This race may be a once in a lifetime and it brought out all kinds of people.
As we approach the start line, I see the very long line to the port-a-potty's.  Panic sets in as I am sure I won't make it and the race will start without me.  We get in line and immediately make friends.  The music is great and the line moves quicker than I thought it would.  We get in and out with 4 minutes to spare, but unfortunately some are still in line when the gun goes off.
We are towards the back and it takes a minute to cross the start.  We are off!  It is a beautiful morning and we are running into the rising sun.  I am dressed too warm and after only a few minutes have to take off my sweat jacket.
I think Barb is a little surprised at how slow I am but she is doing her best not to get to far from me.  She never stops smiling.  Once we get through the tolls, the hill starts.  Barb yells back to me, "you are doing great" and gives me a thumbs up.  Thanks Barb!
I am now realizing that I am not ready for the hill.  I am sure I will never be ready for this hill and I am getting very angry at myself.  All this work, and I can't even run.  At this moment, when I am saying not so nice words to myself, Barb turns around and yells to me, "It is so beautiful!"
Wow! That was like a giant wake up call.  Yes, silly, it is beautiful and you are missing it.  So what that you can't run up the hill, just walk and take it all in.  You may never get to do this again.  With that, I realize people are walking, running, and stopping to take pictures.  Time is not really an issue, at least not for the people around me and this is great.  I take in the beautiful sun, rising in front of me.  The Narragansett Bay that we are running over, the lighthouses and Newport off in the distance.  At the top of the hill and helicopter flies over us taking pictures and Barb is still smiling and telling me how great I am doing.  I love her!
Once I make it to the top, I start to run.  It is glorious!  I am still behind Barb, but I don't care, I am not last. I am surprised when I see the finish ahead and Barb turns around to run in with me.  Crossing the finish line with her is the best part of the morning and I hope we get a chance to run together again.
I finish in 50 minutes.  It is not record breaking but I don't care.  I ran with one of my best friends on one of the most beautiful mornings I have ever seen and I will never forget it!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why I Am Running the Newport Bridge

My name is Nicole. I am 39 years old and I am NOT a runner.  

About 12 weeks ago, I saw an ad to run over the Newport Bridge.  Wow! I thought.  I would love to do that.  Having never run before, I did not know where to start, but lucky me, I have surrounded myself with girlfriends who are all runners.  I discovered the Couch to 5k program and read it over.  I read ahead to week five and panicked when I saw I would need to run for 20 minutes.  OK, calm down and just do week one day one tomorrow.  So I did.  I had to run 1 minute 8 different times in 20 minutes and I found it hard.  Should I give up now?  NO!  

Skip ahead to week 4 and I am hooked.  I am loving this running thing.  So I look at the Facebook page of the Newport Bridge run.  I sent them a message asking if they thought this would be a good first run for a beginner.  They replied, "Hi Nicole! We are seeing runners of all skill levels registering for this unique event. We suggest that you may want to participate in at least one 5K prior to this race as running with 3,000 people is much different than going for a training run!"  So I signed up for the Amica 5K.

Meanwhile I continue training and each week gets better.  I find most of my support from my girlfriends especially Barbara, from Ohio.  She encourages me everyday and then she signed up for the Bridge race because she wants to run with me.  OMG. This is real now, can I run 4 miles and part of it up hill?  I mean have you seen that hill?!

So I did what any good friend would do and I registered.  Yeah! It is official.  (breathing hard).
I discovered a few things about myself while running.  I was alone.  I heard my own thoughts and not the demands of a 5 and 3 year old.  I was doing something good for myself.  And really, that it  was good for my family.  It started to become Mommy time and it felf great.  It showed as soon as I would come in from a run.  I can do anything and my family benefitted from that.  I want my children to see that they can do anything they want to even if they think the can't.  I want to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle and hope that it carries with them when they have families of their own.  I want my husband to know that I do this for him too so we can live a long and happy life together in the most beautiful place in this country.  I do it for my girlfriends because running with them is extra girl time, and that I really love.  And of course, for me.  It makes me happy because I can think for 4 miles and solve some of the worlds problems and plan dinner.

So now it is time for the Amica 5k.  It was fun to see all the runners and the excitment that they brought to the race.  I was with some of my best girlfriends who ran with me the entire time and I finished.  I ran the whole thing in 35:35.  I felt on top of the world.  I know I can rock that bridge!

I can not wait to see Barb when she flies in to Rhode Island from Ohio.  But I can't wait to wake up at four in the morning on a cold November day to run with her across one of the prettiest views in our beautiful state.

So, maybe, I am a runner.  I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend and I run for all those reasons.