Finally the day I've been training for, over the last two months was here. I couldn't believe it was all coming together and I was really going to be doing this. I had my moments during training were I didn't think I was going to be able to complete the race but I kept going. And I'm so so thankful that I did because I'm not one to quit or throw in the towel.
Up at 5am this morning to eat a yummy breakfast, get dress, make sure my hair was pulled back nice and tight. Everything else I got together and ready the night before so I was set to go. I'm not a morning person at all, but once I'm up I'm good to go. It's just that initial getting up that sucks.
I met up with Kelly at 6:15am at her house and we headed down town it was time to face the starting line. Was this really happening, are we really here today. It's not a dream, its really happening. All of these emotions kept going through my head, I wasn't sure what to expect with this being my first big race. There was going to be a ton of people, I didn't want to be left in the dust at the end the last one to cross the finish line. What if no one talked to me or if I choked and got nervous, I was feeling a bit over whelmed but I put a smile on and made my way to the start line.
Ready or not this is really happening, I'm about to run my first ever (but not last Half Marathon). Yesterday at Packet Pick Up, I signed up to run with a Pacer. (If you don't know what a pacer is here's a quick example, bc I didn't know before this past week. Race's have pacer's to help runners meet their goal time. Example: if you want to run a marathon in 3 hours you sign up to run with the pacer that runs at that mile a minute pace, if you want to run a marathon in 5 hours you sign up with that mile a minute pacer. I highly recommend this for first time half / full marathon runners) I had a goal time that I really wanted to meet. So I signed up with the pacer that best fit my goal time. Knowing that if I ran with them or ahead of them, never letting that pacer or other runners in that pacing group pass me then I'd make my goal time. It made perfect sense.
Kelly and I before she decided she needed to go wait in the 10 minute long potty line umm......7 minutes before the race was suppose to start. I went ahead and met up with my pacer, this way I could put a face with the people I'd be running with.
The race started and I was feeling good about things, it was a little chilly but I knew it would warm up as soon as I got going. At first I was nervous about running by myself (not with K) for say but I really think it help me alot. I was able to focus on myself and stay in the zone. I knew the route of the last 5 miles but the first half of the race I didn't. I think knowing some and not knowing helped me in different ways. I was able to stay with the pacer through out the first 5 1/2 - 6 miles, I never let them pass me. There was 4 other runners running with her as well, they were all running the full marathon though. There was water and first aide stations at every mile marker which was really nice. I only grabbed water three times out of the 13 miles. I'm used to running with out water so I didn't need it so much. I'm sure on hotter days it will be more welcomed but I did fine with my Gu pack. A good amount of the time I stayed a few feet ahead of the pacer or just right behind her. As we would reach a water station I would hear her tell the other runners that they could walk through this one and take a break. Are you kidding me......no way I'm not walking, I'm not stopping. I kept going and when I would grab water I would get it from the last person handing it out. Everyone seems to go to the first person they see, which causes a mass cluster and I've learned in race's that I tend to go to the last person.
When we passed about mile 5 1/2 -6 I found myself a good few blocks ahead of the group. I'd picked up my pace a little and just kept going. I wasn't going to slow down to wait for them. As long as they DIDN'T pass me I was golden and had nothing to worry about. I had a goal and that's all that mattered, if I came in under FABULOUS but if I came in at my goal time I'd be just as stoked.
I paced through mile 7, 8, 9, 10 all by myself, I never stopped, never let up and never looked back. Passing mile 10 there was a few people cheering that it was just a 5k left. Hey a 5k, I've done plenty of these I've got this. (speaking of people out cheering, they were EVERY WERE through out the city, the different neighborhoods and along the streets cheering us on. The support from the community was outstanding) I came up on mile 11 and I recognized some of the voices coming up from behind me. It was the pacer and the other runners I'd ran with the first few miles. Are you kidding I though I lost you people. One of the guys (I'll will call him N) said to me "alright your about to smoke us out of here and fly away" I replied laughing "I though I already did that". Then came a awful hill, the largest one of the course, I pushed through it as hard as I could but I seriously though I was going to die.
But I DIDN'T stop. "NEVER STOP ON A HILL", I just kept repeating that to myself.
As we reached the top of the hill N kept encouraging me along the way and telling me the next few turns before I reached the finish line. He was a great supporter and I can not thank him enough for pushing me that last mile and half. We rounded the last corner and you could see a large crowd of people in the distance about 3/4 of a mile down. N knew my goal time and told me if I didn't slow down there would be no doubt that I'd make it and be really happy with myself. I asked him what the time was and then quickly said NO NO don't tell me, I wanted to be surprise. (even though I had my watch on me I hadn't looked at it) He told me to sprint it out the last 100 yards and push out everything I had in me. I said my good byes to them and wished them good luck as they were about to start on their 2nd loop around and the really left them in my dust. I pushed it out and ran my little heart out as fast as I could.
(the picture below was taken after I crossed the finish line)
All of a sudden I hear to my right some people yelling my name and I look over and its Kelly her husband and one of their friends. I looked over at them with a big smile and waved as I kept going, I was ALMOST THERE. My husband was waiting for me at the finish line some were and I wanted him to see my finish strong.
I DID IT!!!!
I'm a Half Marathon Runner and I finished UNDER my goal time!!!
I was so freaking stoked!!!!
My Goal time to finish was 2:30:00
My final finish time was 2:27:03
That's right 3 minutes under my goal time. Sure its not much but its under and I'll take that any day!!!! With that being said and seeing that I can do it, I know I can push myself that much more next time. I've already set a new goal time for my next Half Marathon!!!
(no, there's not a race planned yet, looking for one though. )
My Love and I after I finished. He is the best husband, supporter ever. I can't even begin to Thank him enough for always supporting my love for running and encouraging me to follow through with my dreams and goals. Having him there at the finished line made it that much more sweeter. While I was running knowing he was going to be waiting for me only made me want to push through that much stronger.
side note: out of all the races I've ran he's only been able to attend one of them because of the army, so this was a big deal.
Kelly and I after I finished. She is definitely a rock star, with out her it would have taken me a lot longer to train up and get ready to run a half. When we first talked about doing it and signed up for it I though no way will I be ready in two months. Let me tell you about a month and a half into training I was ready. At that point I had the confidence that I could do it!!! I impressed myself more and more every day with training, running and working out leading up to today.
After today I have more confidence in myself that I can do a FULL MARATHON. I've always had a goal to run a Full before I'm 30, it's on my 30 before 30 list. (thankfully I have a few years till then lol.) Prior to running the half I told myself, the hubbs and Kelly that I wasn't at all going to try and push myself to do one this year. I didn't think it was possible at all. However I believe I can do it this year and I may just take on the challenge if I come across good race and location.
Seriously one of my most favorite people I have here in the South!!! Love Love her!!! I'm so glad that I've finally found someone who I love hanging out with and spending time with. We can joke around, be goofy and crazy and have a great time doing just about anything. She's def. made my time here in the South more enjoyable.
Half Marathon Finisher!!!!! Metal!!!!
I had so much fun running the half, the course was great the weather was perfect the support from the community was amazing and I can't wait to do this race again next year.
All the tears, blisters, shoe issues, sore leg and every ounce of pain was totally worth it. I'd do it all over again and can't wait to!!!!
I'm taking the week off from running to let my leg fully heal from a injury I've been nursing and then its back at it full force hitting the streets. Thanks again for following along and supporting me through this journey. Stick around because its not over!!!!!