Although I began this website after we’d moved to Hawaii, I feel like it’s important to tell you about our past adventures too.  I actually posted about this on my health blog, so if you want the story from a weight-loss/health perspective, check over there!

Just about a year ago, James was settling into his deployment in Afghanistan, and we were trying to find ways to keep the excitement in our marriage.  I saw an advertisement for Indy’s OneAmerica 500 Festival 2013 Mini Marathon and we decided to go for it.

Now I should make this clear.  I’m no runner.  James was on the track team for all of our high school years, and the cross country team before that.  I tried out for the track team in middle school and quit two days in.  Clearly, my life has not been leading up to a half marathon.

However, since our family started getting healthy in 2010, it seemed like the logical next step.  And James was set to arrive home for R&R on May 3, 2013.  The half marathon was the next morning.  Seemed like fate to us!

So we trained together – James on a treadmill near his office on base, me on my new one at home.  I was slower than a snail, but I managed to eke out a 12 miler as my longest training run.  James had time constraints with his long hours, so his longest stretch was about 9.5 miles.

And I posted periodic updates to my health FB page.

When we signed up for the race online, there was a little area that you could tell your story.  And between our weight loss (combined, we lost about 165 pounds in 2010/2011) and training together via the internet, the local news decided we were worth highlighting.  It was all pretty exciting!  (You can read my post on that here.)

And here is our little video of the feature:

Between training from February to May and our adrenaline, we both felt like we’d be able to handle the race just fine.  And when James arrived home for R&R, we ran downtown to pick up our race packets.  This was really happening!  Aidan is in the background being obviously thrilled about the whole thing.

We visited family that day, and then left the kids with my dad and stepmom for the night.  And although we had planned to drive (and park forever away), my dad thankfully offered to wake up at the crack of dawn, swing by our house, and drop us off near the start line.  Yeeeeeeeees, please!

So after very little sleep, we got up, grabbed some food and water, and donned our race shirts.  How awesome is James to wear a shirt bearing my blog’s name?  Great guy.

I was so totally nervous on our way downtown – thankfully the drive was short and we were standing out in the cold before we knew it. When registering, we ended up in corral V, because we knew we were gonna be super duper slow.

Like many others, James ended up dropping that jacket off on the sidelines shortly after the race began.  Apparently they’re collected and donated!

The wait took forever – or at least it felt that way.  People were volleying huge beach balls, and I spent a lot of time people watching.  I loved that it was such a diverse group of people – a wide range of ages, sizes, and races.  We were just all there to have a great, active day.  Because we were so far back in the pack, there was no sense of competition.  We weren’t there to race anyone else.  It was just about finishing.

Roughly 25 minutes after the official start of the race, we crossed the start line.  I of course DVR’ed the whole thing and caught us on TV!

I quickly realized that the race was 96x better than any of the training runs.  First, James and I were doing it together.  Second, the excitement was palpable.  I loved that there were people on the sidelines cheering for all of us.

Halfway through the race, we reached the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I tried to get a picture for my race-car loving son, but it didn’t turn out so well.

And because it’s a big deal, I snapped a picture of our feet jogging on the track.

This image is right before we crossed over the Yard of Bricks.  J bent down and touched it.  Being the total non-racing fan that I am, I just passed it right by.  Lots of people stop to kiss it like they do after the auto races.  Yuck.

The track was really difficult to run on.  Because it’s sloped, it never quite felt right, and my knees started to hurt.  Unfortunately, James struggled with his knees nearly the whole run, so that certainly didn’t help.  But I had this mission to jog the entire thing.  It didn’t matter if I was jogging as slowly as James could quickly walk – I needed to jog.

The second half of the race was definitely a challenge.  I was feeling pretty good, but I had done a 12 miler with only water during training.  James was needing some sustenance, so he started grabbing Gatorade at the stops instead of only water.  That seemed to make a difference.

But as we were coming through the final stretch, I was full of emotion.  I was excited, proud, and hoping I could finish it without walking.  I knew my dad and stepmom were going to be there with the kids in tow, so we were frantically scanning the sidelines for a familiar face.

But when we couldn’t find them, all of my emotions started to pour out and I began doing this ugly cry thing.  J thought I was struggling to breathe, but it wasn’t that at all.  It’s just that every time I went to suck in air, I made a squeaking noise as I cried.  It was really just attractive all the way around.

Just about a 100 feet from the finish line, we finally spotted them.  We started waving wildly and I completely became overwhelmed with my emotions.  Such a great feeling.

And then just seconds later, we were past the finish line.  Together!

We did it!
We grabbed the food that was offered in a sort of assembly line, and then we headed back to find our babies.

Beyond how we were feeling, it was awesome hearing how proud my dad and stepmom were.  Just a few years ago, we were so terribly unhealthy.  This wasn’t even in the realm of possibility.  And then we did it!

And since you can’t easily see them in the images above, here are the shirts our kids wore to cheer us on!

We went home and basically slept on and off the entire day while sort of watching movies with the kids.  It was a perfect day.  And when I wrote my original blog post about the race, I alluded to a possible full marathon in our future.  Well, as it turns out, I really meant that!
We are registered for the Honolulu Marathon in December 2014.  We have just about 10 months to train for it.  Considering I can only jog about three miles right now, I think I’m gonna need it.
So go ahead and expect an update on that later this year!
Aiea Loop Trail
Makapuu Beach Park