Sorry to be so late with this post.
My computer is having some technical issues. :(
So, I'm behind.
I can't believe it's already been a week since I ran my first half-marathon.
And it's still even harder to believe that I've actually run a half-marathon.
So, here's a little recap of the big day!
I got up at 4:00 am on race day. I had no intentions of waking up that early (more like 4:45 am), but I think nerves and the thought of sleeping through my alarm just kept me up.
I woke up the hubs at 5:30 am. Poor thing. He had gotten home from work about 1:00 am. So, he was running on fumes. But, he was a trooper throughout the whole day!
We made it out the door by 6:05 am and off to downtown we went!
By the time we parked and I checked my after race bag in, it was almost time for the pre-race meeting with my running group.
Star, our running coach, gave us an encouraging speech...and honestly, I almost started crying then. But I thought I'd better save the tears for the end of the race.
Anywho, after our meeting my pace group made our way to our corral, and there we waited....and waited...for what seemed liked forever!
The race started at 8am, but our corral didn't make it up to the starting line until around 8:23 am.
The energy was so amazing at the starting line! Everyone was cheering, and it really helped to ease my nerves and turn my attention to being excited for what was about to happen.
And then we were off!!
It was warm that day....and I think that really threw a lot of people off. I gotta admit, I'd much rather run in 50 degree weather any day of the week. But, that's the hand we were dealt...and boy did I sweat.
I tried to remember everything that Star had told us in the pre-race meeting the Thursday before the race.
"Don't start out too fast." "Don't speed up on Riverside Drive." "Try not to use the bathroom if at all possible." "Have your water bottle ready to go at the water stations." "Fuel every 45 minutes." "Pay attention to your pace band."
But the tip that helped me more than anything..."Take advantage of the downhill."
Even when I was in pain, I sped up on every downhill. And I honestly think that's what helped me reach my goal.
Right before the race, the hubs text me and told me he was going to be around mile 3 on top of the staircase at Peabody Place. He was able to nab a pretty cool pic of me. And it was so nice to see his smiling face!
Right before mile 5, we made the turn to go into the St. Jude campus. And I saw Star and her husband Keith cheering us on. It was so encouraging!
Entering the campus was very emotional. I started to cry as I ran by all the amazing patients, their families, volunteers, and St. Jude employees that were there cheering us on. Someone told me the day before the race that I was brave for running that long of a distance. I am in no way brave. The kids at St. Jude are the brave ones. They are my heroes!
I kept the names of 13 patients in my hand and read a name aloud at every mile. Those names reminded me every time I felt pain to keep going. Those patients feel pain everyday that I can't even begin to imagine or understand. My pain was temporary.
I also kept my mom in mind...who can't run. Whose poor body is keeps throwing her curve balls that keep her in a wheelchair right now.
I also had my power word "nieces" on my race pace band. Every time I looked at my pace band, I saw them in my head cheering me on.
Around miles 7 and 8 my left hip really started to bother me. I did walk a few times...30 seconds at a time to give my hip some relief. And, I had been running ahead of my pace, so I knew I had the wiggle room to do that.
Around mile 10, I knew I could take advantage of the hills on Poplar Avenue. Even though I was hurting, I gave it all I had on the down hills. It was becoming apparent that I was going to make my race goal, so I wanted to shave off as much time as I could.
Right after mile 12, you split off from the full marathoners. I remember Star telling us to cheer them on because they know they have a long way to go. There were 2 full marathoners that split off from me, so I made sure to tell them how awesome they were!!
I knew the next mile or so was downhill. And boy was I grateful!
When I saw the 13 mile marker, I started to cry. And it almost sent me into a panic attack...my emotions all started to bubble over....and my breathing started to get all outta whack. But, I just kept going!
And then, somehow, I heard the hubs yelling my name as I went down into the stadium...I looked up and there he was!! I was so happy to see him!!
I made the turn and gave everything I had crossing the finish line.
And then I started to bawl.
I had done it. And I beat my race time goal by almost 5 minutes. That may not seem like a lot. But a few weeks ago, I wasn't so sure that I could actually make my race goal.
My first half-marathon time: 2 hours, 54 minutes, 12 seconds. Not the fastest time in the world. But that's okay. Because I did it. Annnndd I beat the goal set for me by Star which was 3 hours.
After the race, I went back to congratulate others in my running group and wait for the hubs.
It seemed to take him forever to get there...and I was beginning to think he was lost. Little did I know that he had a plan up his sleeve.
After seeing me, he encouraged me to go get in the food and drink line.
So, off I went, and as I made my way through, I saw my brother...and then my nieces...and then my sister in law. And I just lost it. What a beautiful and wonderful surprise! They had made these amazing signs, and I just couldn't believe my eyes! I had no idea that they were coming...the hubs and my sister in law had been planning behind my back!
My aunt and uncle also showed up at the end to congratulate me...I was so happy to see everyone!
It was the perfect ending!
After chugging some chocolate milk, we all decided to go to Aldo's Pizza on Main Street.
You'd think that after all that running I'd be starving and chomping at the bit to eat.
NO SIR REE.
I barely ate 2 pieces of pizza. I felt so sick...and my stomach (TMI) was really messed up. I think it was the combination of nerves and well...exhaustion.
I really didn't even eat that much later in the evening at the hub's birthday celebration (post to come later!).
So, that's it.
I've gone from laughing at the thought of running for 2 minutes...to running a half-marathon in little over a year.
It was an amazing experience. I am so grateful to my family, friends, and everyone who has offered me an encouraging word along this journey. I am especially grateful to my husband...whose constant support has kept me feeling uplifted. I am also forever grateful to Star Ritchey and her training program. She is an amazing running coach and I thoroughly recommend her training services to everyone. Her constant motivation and knowledge about running is amazing.
Also, thank you to my sweet family for being there at the end of the race for me. It meant more to me than you'll ever know. Seeing my sweet nieces faces was truly one of the best moments of my life. They are the lights of my life and kept me going throughout this process when I wanted to give up. When I wanted to throw in the towel, I would think of their beautiful faces cheering me on, and I would just keep going.
And finally, a big thank you to the big guy upstairs. I prayed every week for strength...and to remain injury free. He provided me with both of those things. And for that, I'm forever grateful.
I took this week off from running.
And honestly, I haven't known what to do with myself.
I feel sort of lost not having a running agenda.
But Monday starts a new training program for me.
I think I'm going to run the Germantown Half-Marathon in March!
I've got to have a goal to keep me going.
Unfortunately, I can't run with Star Runners this time around.
So, I'm a little intimidated by the thought of training of my own.
But, now I know I can do it.
I just have to set my mind to it.
(Yes, that's cheesy. Don't judge me!)
Here's a pic recap from the day:
|Awesome shoe charm my sweet running buddy got for me :) Definitely ran on faith!|
|The night before.|
|Still dark outside. Pre-race pic in front of the gorgeous tree at Auto Zone Park!|
|Hubs captured this of me at Mile 3 :)|
|Seeing my family for the first time. I lost it!|
|Still crying...hugging my sweet niece Hannah :)|
|Saying Hi to my other sweet niece Heather :)|
|They made me these amazing signs!!|
|Lights of my life!!|
|With my beautiful sister in law :)|
|My brother thought I smelled bad. Hey, I did.|
|So happy he was there!|
|My awesome uncle and aunt!|
|Post race pic is a little sweatier than pre-race pic. Love this man!!|
|Holding my awesome signs!|
|I bought a cheesy bumper sticker/magnet for the car at the race expo. I like cheese, okay?!|
|A few of my official race photos. The one to the right is me crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, I did not succeed in my goal of not having an ugly cry face finish line pic. Oh well.|
"Don't run with your legs. Run with your heart." Dean Karnazes
Much love, :)