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On a scale of 1-10 I’m a 13.1

Howdy friends! So, one week and one day ago as a family we participated in the Hogeye Marathon in Springdale, AR — it’s kind of a pig deal.. maybe you’ve heard of it? Anyways this race was SUPER important because it was my first half and my sister Grayson’s as well. I didn’t want to rush writing this post because I wanted to take a week and really reflect on how it felt to accomplish the task of 13.1 miles. So let’s begin.

I previously have written about my struggle with injury while training for big events, but I knew that I was going to accomplish this no matter what — so I did. My training started off strong and steady with just a few speed bumps along the way, but that’s life. It wasn’t until about 2 weeks before that the stress of the race really set in I had come down with some kind of plague like sickness (okay maybe not that bad) and we had a death in the family. I wasn’t going to let this stop me, so I decided I would listen to my body but still do one longer-ish run leading up to race day. I wasn’t feeling entirely confident but good enough.

Moving onto race week. It’s the day before the race and we have packet pickup and a nice little race expo to attend, but of course nothing is ever that easy. I am a television news producer so when duty calls there is no escaping it. Just about 3:30pm that afternoon we started getting some severe weather in the area, but then things really took a turn — we had 11 tornadoes total across the state of Arkansas. Which means I’m stuck in the production booth making sure we are keeping people informed. So, I finally am able to leave work and make it to the race expo with minutes to spare. (leaving me feeling incredibly stressed about the big day just hours away!)

RACE DAY! The big day had finally arrived and I was a basket case.. literally running around stressing out about the weirdest things. It ended up being a cold and very windy day, but I knew what I came there for and some wind wasn’t going to stop me. We were standing at the starting line and I was almost in tears thinking I couldn’t do it, but mom got me together. The gun fired and we were off and it felt like a herd of cattle I was just following the pack of people not even really worrying about my usual running pace and before I knew it the miles literally started flying by — the best advice I can give to any of you that my mom gave to me is to take it one mile at a time. There were times along my 13.1 mile journey that I sure felt like it would never end but all I could think about was how sweet that finish was going to taste. The wind was brutal and entirely too cold but I think that just made the finish even better. When I made my last turn and saw the 13 mile marker I felt like a million bucks.. like literally nothing could stop me. But then I could hear the music and crowd at the finish and I couldn’t control my emotions I was flooded with so many thoughts and feelings. I saw my family at the corner and my dad ran with me the last .1 of mile and I was crying the entire way across the finish. I wasn’t crying because I was in pain, but I was crying because I have never felt so accomplished. Yes, graduating college was amazing but this was different and almost indescribable.

I think that if there is one thing that I want all of you to takeaway from this extremely long post about my feelings is that if you haven’t done a half marathon then I am challenging you to complete one in the near future. It’s the most rewarding experience and really helps structure your life with the regimented training schedule. So get to running and tag us in your training pictures!

Until the next run,

Ashton Nicole

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