Friday, November 1, 2013

Stronger Than I Think I Am

The Holland House: Run for the Water

This past Sunday morning Hank and I ran the 10 mile Run for the Water, the largest fundraising event benefitting the Gazelle Foundation. I know I've mentioned how much we love our running coach and group- Gilbert Tuhabonye and The Gazelles. Gilbert is from Burundi, a country where the life expectancy is only 59 years, and two of the leading causes of death are from waterborne illness. It is Gilbert's mission to give back to his country by providing clean water systems. Each $25 donation to the foundation helps to provide clean water for one person, for life. If you click on the Foundation link above, you can view a  video of the amazing work that is being done.

This post isn't really about that though. It's about what the run meant for me on Sunday. I'll be honest in saying that I really haven't been training. I knew it was coming up, and I knew that I should be working to prepare for it. But my longest run (in a year) has been just 6 miles. I was not the least bit ready, and I had a really bad attitude going into it. Yes- I wanted to be a part of the event, but I just wasn't sure how my body was going to handle 10 hilly miles.

To make matters worse, I spent all day Saturday standing in the kitchen working on my niece's cake. I wouldn't trade that time for the world, but it's not necessarily what you want to be doing all day before a run. I didn't drink enough water, and I didn't eat the right foods either. I was digging myself into an even bigger hole, and started finding ways to talk myself out of running. But Hank kept supporting me, and my running partner Nikki had such a great attitude. I just kept telling myself to get out there and do what I could do.

We woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to rain and lightning. I secretly hoped that the race would be called off, but I knew how disappointed Gilbert and all those who worked so hard to put it together would be. So we got dressed and took off for downtown. After a short delay, the race start was on. Before I knew it, we were running. It was humid, but not too hot. Overall conditions really weren't so bad for a Sunday morning run.

The Holland House: Run for the Water

Our plan was to start off at an 11:00 minute per mile pace, and warm up for the first couple of miles. We would take it easy over the hills, and stop for a fuel break at mile 6. From there- we would just see how we felt. The hills weren't easy by any means, but at mile 6 I wasn't feeling nearly as spent as I thought I would. So we kept going.

Miles 8 and 9 flattened out and ended up being our fastest times- averaging a pace of 9:55-10:05 minute miles. Holy was that happening?! I had to dig deep for mile 10, as I was starting to form a blister on my left foot. But we ran slow through the last water stop, and then hit it hard for the rest of the race. Before we knew it, we rounded the corner and saw Gilbert cheering everyone on, and then saw the Burundi drummers right before we crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces.

The Holland House: Gilbert Tuhabonye

The Holland House: Burundi Drummers
 It was a great feeling finishing that run, knowing that my body somehow pulled through and pulled out a decent average time of 10:41 minute miles. After being so down on myself lately, beating myself up for getting out of shape and not doing enough about it, there was a glimmer of hope that I'm not too far off from making some real progress. At the end of it all, I kept telling myself "I'm stronger than I think I am", and trying to use that motivation to keep going and improving on my fitness.

Overall it was a great day from start to finish. I'm so glad that I was able to get out of my funk and enjoy the run for what it was- the Austin community coming together to support Gilbert and a cause that we believe in. He always says it's a blessing to run in the rain! Even though the skies cleared up, it truly was a blessing to participate in this event, and I can't wait to do it again next year.


  1. That is sooo cool!!! What an amazing race to do :)

  2. Wow! I'm going to have to put this on my list to do!


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