Started out from home for my 3.5 hour drive to Champaign, IL bright and early.  OK…those who know me…NOT so bright, and NOT so early:P  LOL!  I got a bit of a late start, and rolled into Champaign around 11:30.  Which as it turned out was just in time to meet several friends for lunch/coffee at nice little cafe(Cafe Kopi) on Walnut Street, just a short distance from my hotel.  Some of these friends included Michael Scholtz and Greg Hottinger, who are the authors of Coach Yourself Thin, and owners of NOVO Wellness(www.novowellness.com) which I suggest anyone with weight issues check out.  Also were some friends that I had met in the past, Jen and Renee(who are also IN the book) and Sue(who I feel like I have known forever from Biggest Loser Club:), and got to finally meet Carol, who lives in Champaign and not only was it a GREAT pleasure to meet her, but she did a wonderful job of playing hostess all weekend and her story is exceptionally inspiring.

From there, I went to my hotel to check in and change clothes, because I knew I would not have time again before the 5k that night, and headed to the Champaign Public Library for a wonderful session with Greg and Michael, where we met up with the rest of the Novo Group.   As always, very informative and and we had some great discussions both during and after.

Then we were off to the 5k.  I wasn’t sure up until the start if I was walking, running, or a bit of both.  I ended up lining up and running it with my friend Renea’s hubby Randy!  It was his first 5k race.  We had a blast!  I kept pushing, and we finished with a nice respectable 32:17.  I was grateful for the company and the push.  My year of being riddled with injuries has kinda stunk, and I was not sure exactly where my efforts were going to lie for this race weekend.  After everyone finished, we went for a nice dinner at Houghlihan’s.  YUM!

That brings us to Saturday morning!  RACE DAY! This would be my 4th Half-Marathon.  I got up and ready and headed out the door a good hour and 15 minutes before the race was to start.  My hotel was about 8 mins from the parking lot.  TRAFFIC JAM!  EEK!  I got parked as the elites in the first corral took off.  Thank goodness they switched to a wave start this year, because being a “back of the packer”, I had plenty of time to hit a porta potty and get to my corral.  Also less time to stand in the cold and wind, so it all really worked out for me.  But I missed seeing everyone before hand:(  Getting that pre-race encouragement maybe would have pushed me a littl more.  The first couple miles went by pretty easily.  I used the Galloway run(4:15)/walk(0:45) for most of the race, and I actually felt pretty good.  Just as my hip kinda started “talking” to me, a girl from the Quad Cities who was struggling came up along side of me, and seeing that I had on a Garmin, asked what pace we were going.  I started talking to her and we slowed just enough to give it a breather.  Then I helped pace her, since she was struggling even more than I was, for about the next 3 miles.  Finally, around mile 10, she told me to go ahead, that she was hitting the wall hard.  I made sure she was OK, and since it was just lack of training, and not an injury or anything, I went ahead and ran MY race.  I don’t know how much I helped her in those 3 miles, but she made a HUGE difference for me.  The last 5k went pretty well.  I slowed a bit here and there, but sticking with the Galloway Method was working for me.  With only .4 miles to go, I decided to GO FOR IT!  I sped up and with a goal of 2:30, I finished in 2:25:30.  So I was pretty happy with that.

I may not be fast, but I am DOING IT!  That was kind of my epiphany of the weekend.  I worry so much about trying to be the best.  The best WHAT?!?!  All I can do is be the Best Me I can be.  And you know what I figured out???  I am OK with that:)  I am a LONG way from where I was 4 years ago, and I LOVE my life now.  I hope to continue to grow my knowledge in health and fitness so that I can help as many people as possible find their way to a healthier lifestyle.

Back to the story:)…..

At the  finish line, I saw many of the HRRWC members and stopped to chat and visit for a few minutes, but being drenched in sweat, the wind got VERY cold VERY fast!  So I headed out to meet up with the Novo group for one last lunch before several of them had to head out. Then it was back to the hotel for a soak in the tub and a nap.

Later that night, I went out with two very inspiring ladies.  We talked about EVERYTHING for hours.  Had a GREAT time!  Made me think about a lot.  And I get to help one of them work on an ST plan:)  Many of you know that is my PASSION, so I can’t wait to get to work on it this weekend!

We wrapped up the weekend with the remaining 4 of us going out for a wonderful brunch, and then it was time to say our final good-byes and head for home.  It was a long ride, as sitting for too long is still the only thing that really agitates my hip.  But the experiences of this weekend were WELL worth it:)

Thanks to all of you who made it a wonderful weekend:)  My only regret was not getting to see my HRRWC family a bit more, but we have next year:)  C-U There!

Now to get ready for Bridge the Gap in 9 days!  EEK!:)