Well, thank you running gods, karma, God, immune system, the academy and anyone else – I did not get sick. My summer goal is officially met – I completed my first half marathon. And wow, triathlons are much harder than half marathons. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
We woke up at 5:30 and I was instantly awake and excited. Isn’t it easier to get up early for a race than for work? I was really excited and got to work eating and drinking the things I had planned. We wanted to leave at 6 a.m. Since Derek was running the 5K portion with Riley in the jogging stroller, we’d have to wake the man up a full hour before he normally rises. Cringe. NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY. But I did. And he was happy to greet the day a little earlier than normal, and I am not surprised.
I fed him a quick breakfast and we were off. I almost made a last minute decision to don my pants instead of the running skirt I was wearing – it was 46 degrees! However, I stuck with my original plan to wear my running skirt, and by mile 1, I was glad I had (that rhymed). We picked up our timing chips and made our way to the starting line. I said goodbye to the fam and took my spot in line, amongst the other 10-minute milers. Man, it was nippy while waiting for the starting gun. But it finally sounded, and we were off.
We got out onto the country road and some guy next to me was like, “A rooster!” and sure enough, there was a rooster running along side all of us. We were definitely in the country. The 5K started a few minutes after us and, since Riley knows what sound a rooster makes, he cockadoodledooed while riding in the stroller. I wish I had been there.
But I was up ahead with the half marathoners. I was feeling really good. Didn’t even notice my shin splints. It was around mile 3 that I started feeling a blister forming on my right instep. I couldn’t believe it. I did all my training without getting a blister, and here on race day, I have a blister forming with 10 miles left to go. I decided to go the denial route and pretend I didn’t feel it. So I kept going.
By mile 6 it was really bothering me. I went to a water station and asked if they had any Band-Aids. The guy doling out water was like, “Band-Aids….yeah, I’ve got Band-Aids. They’re in my car, I have to run and get them.”
At this point, I was really in a good groove and the thought of standing there waiting for this guy to go to his car and get me a Band-Aid while the clock was ticking, I just couldn’t do it. I said, “Are there any first aid stations coming up?” and he’s like, “Well you’re half way done.” Apparently there were no first aid stations along the course, which is weird. I assumed there would be. So I said, “Forget it, I can wait.” And I kept going.
A few miles later I seriously felt like I was running on bloody stumps. However, I am no wimp, so I again, ignored it and kept going.
Around 9 miles, it dawned on me that I had taken no walk breaks at all. In my training runs, I’d always stop a few times to walk. But I had done 9 miles without slowing down. I was so surprised. When I saw the mile 10 sign, I said out loud, “Oh my God.” I couldn’t believe I had made it that far – the farthest I had ever run – without walking at all. At that time, I knew what I would do. There would be no walking today.
At mile 11, I felt victorious, at mile 12, I felt happy. But then things started to get hard. It ended with a big ole hill. But then. I saw the finish line. And heard the cheer of the crowd. And I just kept going.
Thanks to my new Half Marathon Playlist, Chris Brown’s Forever was on. You know that song from that You Tube wedding video, and the parody on the Office’s episode where Jim and Pam get married? Well it was perfect for me at that time and I kicked it into high gear.
Coming down the chute I instantly saw my mom, Riley in his stroller, and Derek, who stretched out his hand for a high five while yelling, “Woooooo!” It was awesome. They announced my name as I crossed the finish line.
More than the fact that I finished it, or the fact that I kept up a 10:22 mile the whole time, the fact that I didn’t stop running the whole time makes me really proud. I didn’t have many expectations about this race, I just wanted to finish it. I reached my goal and more.
And judging how many other people in the race were huffing and puffing as I ran past them, I think I can push myself more next time. I can push myself much more. And yes, there will be a next time.
And this picture is way too awesome for words. My husband, accomplishing a big thing – running a 5K. While pushing our little man (who is looking right at the camera – ha!) all bundled and perfect. I love them so much.