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My 1st half marathon!

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In July 2008 (six months ago) I began training for a half marathon scheduled for January 2009. Woodlandsfit is part of an organization called USAfit, which is nationwide, and even in Canada. Upon joining, I was nervous, intimidated, and plain scared. Nervous because I wasn't sure what to expect from myself or the group, or what they expected from me. Intimidated because several people at our first meeting were not only experienced runners and walkers, but several have ran/walked several marathons and even ultra marathons (which are 100 miles plus)!!! And scared because I wasn't sure if I was setting myself up for failure. However, I have always felt that failure isn't an option when I set my mind to something. So, I slowly began conversations with a few people. And yes, the first person I spoke with was the training head coach. I began to tell him my story about how I haven’t been fit for well over ten years, and that I have NEVER been a runner, much less a walker - and that I would be surprised to see what I could accomplish during the next six months. He asked me, "why are you doing this?" and I answered to him that "I was doing this for ME. I am determined to take time out for myself and have made a commitment that I intend to keep with myself". And he replied, " you will be amazed with what you will accomplish in January, you will go farther than you ever have gone, I know you will". And guess what? I have and I did.

I must give credit to my lapband. I know that exercising was and is always part of staying fit, but eating smaller portions in 2-3 hour increments is a huge plus. Because as I trained, I listened to my body's signals. I would drink water, propel, or vitamin water more than ever. I even began buying them by the cases at Sams club. I continued my morning protein shakes from Optifast, ate more steamed veggies, and added more salmon to my diet. In between snacking is rare, and when I got the urge, I would drink chocolate milk. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is the best drink within 30 minutes after a work out. I learned that it contains the perfect balance or protein and carbs for your body to replenish energy and make muscle. For me it stopped the carb cravings and kept me full. My band has helped me pick foods that are better for me, especially while training. I figured out that I can eat foods I love, without all the fat and extra calories and in small portions.

My training schedule wasn't overwhelming, or exaggerated. It kept me on pace and I came to look forward to the 6am morning "long" walks. (and I am NOT a morning person at ALL) I made new friends, I learned so much, and RE-learned even more. I missed a couple of Saturdays due to vacation or my children's activities -but I wasn’t "punished or made feel bad" about it. My coach said, "just continue with the schedule and don't beat yourself up about it, see you next week". WOW, I was so used to kicking myself for eating the wrong thing, or missing a work out- that to brush it off and move on was new to me. It felt good to NOT feel guilt, pressure, or anything but ACCEPTED.

It is said that when training for an event, DONT EXPECT TO LOSE WEIGHT. Because an athlete must eat more, to gain energy and make muscle, than normally. When the nutritionist announced this at one of our weekly Saturday seminars, I couldn't believe it. I thought to myself, well what's the point? The point is you are conditioning your INTERNAL body, which in turn will help tone and maintain your EXTERNAL attributes. You know the saying, "beauty comes within" well it does. Not only in attitude, personality, but organs, muscle, blood, etc...all count for internal beauty. I did lose weight and I have improved my internal beauty.

On Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 7:05am, I began walking my first half marathon EVER!!! First of all, a half marathon is 13.1 miles, while a full marathon is 26.2 and an ultra marathon is 100 miles (or more). I started well and met Carolyn from Louisiana, she was walking just for fun while her daughter was running the half marathon for Boston qualification. She and I walked together the majority of the time. The hardest part of beginning a long walk is finding your pace so that you don't tire yourself out before the end. So, Carolyn who is TWICE my age was a great walking partner because I told myself, "if you can keep up with her, then you can do this". At mile 5, she took a restroom break and I continued walking which put me ahead of her by 5 minutes. At mile 6.5 which is half way finishing mark, she caught up to me. By mile 8 I was tiring and she and I talked about our children and other things. I drank an energizing drink and swallowed a packet of energizing jelly beans, while she drank water and swallowed an energizing gel. We walked hard. Harder than I ever walked in my life, not because I was trying to win or beat her, but because I wanted to finish. I told myself that I would NEVER do this again. At mile 10, I began to fall behind her and felt like I wasn't going to finish. She noticed and reassured me that I was doing great and that I could do this. I told her she was awesome, she answered that God was carrying her. I could feel my eyes fill to the brim with tears. I swallowed hard. Then, she held my hand for the next mile and we walked in sync and in silence. I will never forget those moments. There was another rest stop at mile 11.5, and she asked me if I wanted to take a break and I said "if I stop, it will be permanent because I wont be able to pick up momentum again". So we continued together. There was an uphill at mile 12, my legs felt like they were numb, my back was aching, and my right shoulder was hurting. I fell behind Carolyn, but I couldn’t hold her back again. She continued on ahead, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Every step of the way, I kept reminding myself of my family, of picturing myself finishing the line, of anything and everything that made me happy, and that if people in handicapped situations can this - then I can TOO. I finally saw mile 13 coming up and suddenly felt a burst of energy, an overwhelming joy and more tears. I didn't cry at as I crossed the finish line. I think because I was in "shock and awe" or because I was so numb with overwhelming emotions that I didn’t know whether to laugh, scream, cry or what! I had amazed myself, I had finished.

Inaugural USA FIT Marathon and Half Marathon

1/11/2009 - Houston, TX (Katy @ Terry Hershey Park)

Half marathon 13.1 miles

Completed in 227 minutes or 3 hours and 47 minutes

which breaks down to 17.32 minutes per mile

Start time: 7:05 am and end time : 10:52 am

The weather was FREEZING! 42 degrees, with the wind at 8-10 mph and felt like 32 degrees and high winds

4 am is the time I crawled out of bed

4 pm crawled back into bed

My head coach and walking coach treated me to a wonderful brunch and we talked about the next upcoming events. I WILL do another half marathon sometime this year. I just hope that I will be someone's angel as Carolyn was mine that day.

Thanks for taking the time out to read this and "listen" to my story.

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Congrats on your accomplishment! That's stinkin' awesome!!!

My brother and his wife are very into triathlons, marathons, etc. I have always wanted to try a sprint triathlon, which is shorter than a regular one. In the past year or two, I have jogged in 5Ks. I was just banded in December, and I just finished the 3 week liquid phase. I 've been wanting to start training again for a 5K in April, but I'm afraid I might jar something loose. I've sent an email to the OCC, but haven't heard back yet.

Keep in touch. You're inspiring! vbranstetter@hotmail.com


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crazycoolbutterfly ~ you are AWESOME! Thank you so much for your inspiring story ~ I LOVE it! What a truly inspring adventure you went through. I often thought of doing a walk marathon, just never pursue it and I definitely didn't want to do it alone. Like you, failure is not an option when I set my mind to any issues. With your testimonial of your expereince, I just may act on it. I will have to start off slowly and progress.

I was in awe, all the way through your experience and you experience deep my girl! I felt your pressure to keep going, Carolyn cheering you on, etc. You did it babe...you REALLY did it! I AM SOOOO PROUD OF YOU! This is the excitement and encouragment I need.

WTG Babe and congrats on your accomplishment! This is a HUGE, major NSV!


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That truly was a wonderful story and so inspirational. Thank you for sharing it with us. Yes life is pretty cool sometimes huh. Sounds like you might have gotten some extra help near the end of the walk also. =D>

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Great inspirational story!!!!

In the past, marathons have always been for "those people" never for an obese person llike me. In the last few months I have started to get the itch to do something that I have never imagined I could because of the weight. I would like to do something only "those people" do. Heck, what a great story!!!! I truly think you got me going on an idea here. Thanks for being one of "those people". =D>

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You are awesome.... :rolleyes: I have wanting to do a marathon for ever and now that I have lost all this weight it has been in the back of my mine, but I guess I am to scared not to be able to finish. You have inspired me and I think I'm really going to do it. Thank you for sharing.... and one again CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! ><' =D>

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That is awesome! I hope to do a 5K once I get in shape. Congrats that is a huge accomplishment!

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THANKS everyone!!! Your words of praise and encouragement is wonderful! Thank you!!! I will be walking a 5K on Sunday with my twin teenage boys here in Houston. They will be running it most likely, MAYBE I 'll try to keep up with them - I can dream, huh? I hope that this weekend isn't as freezing as last!

And trust me, if I can do this YOU can too!!!

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