Put it on a Post It! 3M Half Marathon is done!
Written by: Sam Jimenez
Melissa was excited for the half marathon, because it meant earning the fourth piece of the puzzle and eating more breakfast tacos.
Sonja was looking forward to Melissa and Bonnie improving their times and showing the progress that they made since the last race.
Melissa: I felt great before the race. During the race, Melissa could not help but notice the humidity, but knew she would finish and kept moving. After the race, all she could think to herself was “I finished”.
Before the race, Sonja was worried they would never get their turn with the Port-A-Potties as the lines were so long but thankfully they were able to get our business done in a timely manner which is the most important part of any race. The first six miles of the race started well and then the humidity began to take its toll on Melissa. She started slowing down and if Sonja slowed to run next to her, she slowed even more. Sonja decided to change tactics since running beside her wasn’t working so she stopped slowing down, and Melissa would be behind her for a bit and then Melissa would catch up to Sonja again. Around mile 9 Sonja started getting tired of talking to her to keep her moving.
Sonja kept moving forward and knew Melissa was following behind her by a few people and would look back to keep an eye on her. When she looked back another time, Sonja couldn’t see her. It turns out, Melissa had gained a burst of speed and had passed Sonja without either of them realizing it. Sonja ran behind her for a while before she turned and found her again. When they were in the tenth mile, their mutual friend, Natasha, ran onto the course to tell Melissa how great she was doing, that really seemed to motivate her, and she started running again.
Their goal was to beat the 3:00:00 time and they were very close to accomplishing this goal. If there was not so much humidity, they may have done it too. When they finished Sonja was happy that Melissa PRd and then she looked up the hill and questioned why anybody would end a race in the middle of a hill. It was difficult for them to walk up the hill out of the finish corral to the top where everything was.
Melissa’s goals were to beat her time from the Decker Challenge and to keep moving throughout the whole race.
Sonja’s goal was for Melissa and Bonnie, the two athletes with special needs completing the Distance Challenge this year, to see that with hard work and support dreams can become reality. She wants them to realize that they are stronger than they thought they were and that they can adventure out from Special Olympics into other events that they once believed were not for them.
Melissa’s most memorable moment during the race was at the ten-mile-mark when her friend, Natasha, cheered for her to keeping pushing and to push through the pain.
For Sonja, the most memorable event was asking one of the police officers at an intersection on the UT Campus to cheer Melissa on, because she was struggling from the humidity, as were many people who had to stop running the race. So many runners were walking at this part of the race, but Sonja and Melissa were already so close to the finish. Melissa looked very surprised when the police officer yelled, “Go Melissa, you can do this!” She started moving forward again (who wouldn’t be motivated by a police officer cheering them on?), and Sonja kept moving with a smile on her face.Melissa’s parents are coming to her next race, and she is excited to have them waiting for her when she crosses the finish line. Her puzzle piece will finally be complete which means she will be able to frame it and add it to her running wall. She is also looking forward to getting her reward snacks and breakfast taco.
Sonja is hoping that Melissa’s parents are able to come out and cheer her on, since this has been something Melissa has wanted since they met her this past summer: for them to watch her finish a half marathon. Her parents live in San Antonio and Horseshoe Bay and have supported her from a distance in her running events, but as any runner knows it is great to have your family at the finish line when you accomplish a big event for the first time, and the half marathon will be the final piece that allows Melissa to complete the Distance Challenge for the first time. Bonnie has had her Dad at the last two races and really enjoyed having him cheering for her and filming her as she crossed the finish line. He will be recovering from surgery and will be able to make this last race.
Melissa will be training for the next race by continuing to do basketball on Tuesday afternoons. She will also continue working with Kayleigh’s Club and doing track on Sunday afternoons.
Sonja has started working more in her classroom then she would like to, but it had to be done so she has not gotten to work out as much as she would like. They were both going once or twice a week to Rogue Core Class in December and January when they were offering them free to the public. That was hardwork, but they both enjoyed it. Sonja injured one of her shoulders, so she has started doing the Body Blade workouts to help get it back into shape which was recommended by Run Lab. Sonja has been able to do some Saturday runs with the Ship of Fools downtown. She has, in addition, been doing the drills with her after school running club twice a week to keep moving. She is currently helping coach Kayleigh’s Club on Sunday afternoon to help keep the athletes moving. She misses being able to run with her friends at the Ship of Fools, who have been my inspiration for getting back into running. She has seen many of them become pace leaders in large races and events, and although she is not the fastest runner, yet, she loves being able to help pace another person and help move them forward the way she has watched others motivate each other.