I ran my first half marathon! This was a bucket list type thing for me and I decided I wasn't getting any younger so I signed up...last MARCH. I knew I had to sign up early so that I would train for it. Running is NOT something that comes easy to me. I actually hate it. Or at least I did. I would literally cry when it was time to do the dreaded mile run in school. I'm just not a natural born runner. It's hard for me.
So anyway, I decided to do this and when I decide to do something it usually gets done. I'm pretty stubborn.
I started with the Couch to 5k running program. I had done that the previous year and I feel like it's a great way to ease into running. I quickly abandoned it this time though because I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had to eventually run thirteen MILES and it was hard, starting out at least, to run thirteen MINUTES. So I just kind of ran and did what I could and gradually increased the running and decreased the walking. I honestly didn't stick to a rigid training schedule. I only ran a max of three days a week. This last couple months I usually only ran twice a week - one long run and a shorter run. I do however like Hal Higdon's training plans and when I do the next one I'll try to follow his training schedule a little closer.
The most I ran before the race was 10 miles. It was a good run too but the last couple miles were hard so I was pretty nervous coming up around 8 miles on race day. I hadn't walked...at all...at that point though and so I decided that if I had made it that far I could make it the rest of the way. Running is, for me at least, more of a mental game than a physical one. It's about THINKING you can do something.
I started to wear out around mile eleven. It was uphill back into downtown and it took me awhile to settle down my breathing. Then about mile twelve we saw a runner passed out cold on the side of the road. Emergency services hadn't even got there yet, it had just happened. It was so scary. You could tell she passed out while running and she fell and hit her head on the pavement. I'm so praying she is alright.
That last mile was H.A.R.D. I was out of energy and just trying to power through. I had to focus everything I had on running and continuing forward momentum. Jeremy was giving me so much encouragement and telling me I was doing a great job every couple minutes. At one point I told him to stop because I couldn't reply since I was so out of energy and conserving every drop and was feeling bad that he was encouraging me but I couldn't say anything back. I'd regret that later...
I seriously wish they had every 10th marked on the last mile. I NEEDED to know where I was at and unfortunately I forgot to start my Garmin at the start line and didn't remember until about six tenths of a mile into the race. This was probably due to the fact that I was having trouble with my music and spent the first half mile running and trying to figure out why my music wouldn't play. Likely the result of a new phone AND headphones the week of the race. But eventually all my "gear" was working and my panic attack ended - ha!
So I ran out of music about mile 12. I decided not to bother restarting and just focus on the crowd and my surroundings. Let's talk for a second about the signs people had. People are so creative!
Run like you stole something!
Run now. Poop later. Never trust a fart.
Smile if you're not wearing underwear.
This parade sucks! Where's the candy?
Where are you all going?
The person who finishes this race is not
the same person who started it.
the same person who started it.
I don't know you but I'm proud of you.
(This one seriously made me tear up)
I loved all the signs. I loved all the people with cow bells - love me some cow bell! I loved all the kids (and adults) who gave me high fives. Seriously, high fives are the best. I loved seeing my friends as we were going into Waterworks park and they were coming out. I loved talking with strangers around us as we ran. I loved that there was freaking Red Bull...while we were running. I loved all the music and bands along the way. I loved running along side my husband and spending two and a half hours of time together, just the two of us. I loved how he kept telling me he was having so much fun. I loved that I *didn't* throw up...it was touch and go for awhile before I started. I loved that there were so many older runners around us. I'm slow so we were definitely with the older crowd but one lady was celebrating her 53rd birthday...running a freaking half MARATHON! I want to be her.
So basically, I loved this race and I think I'll do it again. I can't believe I'm saying that. Six weeks ago I said, out loud, that after this race I was never running again in my life. Then my long runs clicked. And eight miles felt good! And now I'm a runner I guess. A runner that runs like a herd of turtles through peanut butter...but a runner nonetheless.
As we crossed the finish line (at a 6:22 pace - what?!) the lady who finished right behind us had to tell Jeremy thank you for encouraging me. She knew he was talking to me and helping me through the last mile but it really helped her keep going too. And then I felt like a tool. Seriously, that Jeremy's a keeper. I don't deserve him but I'll hang on tooth and nail and hope he doesn't find that out.
My goal was truly to finish but I was sort of hoping for a 2:30 finish time. I finished in 2:38:49. I was dissapointed for about 3 seconds until I remember I just ran THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE miles and I NEVER walked. Now I have something to work towards!
A huge congratulations to my BFF Kelly and her husband Steve who PR'd and finished in 1:58:57. Also to my friend Matt who ran the FULL marathon and beat his goal time be a freaking half HOUR! Who does that?! Props to Audrey, Greg (who was one of those crazy pacers - how the heck to they hold those signs the whole time?!), and Dena who are all amazing, inspirational runners. And congratulations to EVERYONE who finished!