I did it. I really, really did it.
I finished a half-marathon. My very first one.
It was incredible. The weather was cool, overcast, and a bit windy. There were somewhere around 1200-1300 runners. I started in the very back of the pack, because, well, I'm not stupid. I didn't want to get trampled first thing. Let the speed demons get ahead first.
I started off walking, and caught up with a group of 4 walkers - two husband/wife combos. I started chatting with one of the wives and found out that they were walking in memory of her neice, who passed away one year ago tomorrow. They had on matching shirts with "In Memory of Emily" on the back. It was beautiful.
Then I went a bit faster, and stayed by myself for several miles. I saw areas of Wichita that I didn't know existed. I want to go back with my camera and get some pictures at some point.
Then around Mile 9 I started walking/jogging with another girl who was about my age. We chatted and paced each other for quite a while. As we chatted, things started to fall into place - turns out that we knew each other! Way back when, when I was doing case managment, she was one of the providers that I spoke to on the phone all the time. We had just never met face-to-face before. Talk about a small world!
She encouraged me to go faster because she was starting to lose some steam, so around Mile 12 I started really pushing myself. I felt so good because at that point I knew that it would have to take something catastrophic to keep me from finishing.
I wasn't prepared for the wave of emotions that hit me as soon as I crossed the finish line.
I'll admit that I cried. Yep, like a big ol' baby.... but only for a few seconds before I pulled myself together. And in among the feelings of happiness and being proud of myself, I will also admit that there was a little bit of a "Take THAT!!!" directed at all of the doubters - all of the people in my life who have ever called me fat, or lazy, or who have flat-out said that I couldn't do it. Guess what? I did it. But I didn't do it for them - I did it for me.
And it feels really freakin' good.