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I ran my first half marathon!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I wrote this on 11-10-12. Today was the half marathon! I am pretty tired right now (partially from getting up at 4am) but I wanted to write this while it was all fresh in my mind. It was a day I will never forget, and I think I am more proud of myself for accomplishing this than I am for anything I've ever done. Part of that is because it's a culmination of all my efforts--not just during the training for this, which I did for months--but of the last 2 years and losing almost 150 pounds. Running isn't something I thought I'd ever do in a million years, but now it's a part of my life. It takes a lot of discipline to run long distances (or at all!), and I am proud I stuck with it! It's weird to think back to when I first started couch to 5k and I thought I'd never be able to run 3 miles, but I did it, and I just kept on adding distance.

Anyway, here is my day. This will probably get long! :)

Am I colorful enough?

I set my alarm for 4:15, but woke up at 4, so I just got up and showered, ate, drank my water and finished getting ready. Jeff took today off so he could come with me and we wanted to get down there early and get a place to park. We finally found one and made our way over to the starting area. It was so cold this morning, in the 30s, so I brought his big coat to wear and then I was just going to hand it to him when it was time to get in my wave. I found a porto potty and peed (I was really hoping I wouldn't have to pee during the race because it would ruin my time) and then got in my wave. He got a few pictures of me warming up and waiting for my wave to move ahead. He waited at the start and got a picture of me after I crossed it. I always feel SO anxious the day before and morning of the race, and then once I start to run, it just goes away. I think that is why I like running so much, because it helps me focus in a way that nothing else does. I don't care what anyone thinks, what they say or what happens around me. I just run.

The start of the race!

The first couple miles were a little annoying. When it's really cold, my toes and feet start to feel numb and it takes 2-3 miles for them to warm up, so it's awkward running at first. I started out slow and did the first mile in 11 minutes. That is an easy pace for me and I figured if I could keep it (or close to it) most of the race, I'd finish in a good time. Since this was my first half marathon I wanted to enjoy it and not feel pressured to get a certain time. I was hoping I could do it in 2.5 hours though, so that was sort of my time goal.

Along the way they have bands and everyone cheers for you and people even call out your name, and I kept forgetting my name was on my bib and for a second I would be confused at how they knew me, and then I was like, "DUH!" LOL It's really awesome though to read the signs people put out and to hear them tell you you're doing a great job. They take time to cheer for people they don't even know and it's a happy feeling.

The first 6 miles seemed really easy, well, as easy as running can be. I wasn't breathing too hard and my plan was to take it easy the first half so I wouldn't be exhausted later on. The course is pretty flat with a few hills, so it seems so much easier to me because I am used to running in my neighborhood which is up and down hills. Once we got to Bryan Park (which happens to be one of my favorite places ever) I started to feel a little tired. It's a bit hilly there, so that slows me down. It was so pretty running through there with all the trees in their fall foliage.

In my training I have always noticed at mile 8 or 9 I start to feel really tired and my legs just want to stop. I felt that way today and by mile 11, which was the furthest I'd ever done in training, I was so ready to finish. I was feeling tired and sluggish, but I refused to let myself walk. It's not that I feel anything is wrong with walking, but I knew my need to walk was more mental than physical, and if I pushed myself I could make it the whole way without walking, which is what I'd hoped to do. I just slowed down a little if I felt too tired. I also find that on runs where I stop and walk, it's harder for me to run again.

Once I got to mile 12 and realized the end was near, I felt emotional, like I was going to cry. I had seen a person who was on a stretcher with a bunch of EMTs around, so I don't know if they collapsed or what. That would be so terrible to have that happen right near the end. Whoever they were, I hope they are ok. I had worked so hard to train for this. I got up at 5 am all summer and followed my training program. There were times it felt hard and I wouldn't want to do it, but I sucked it up and did it anyway. The last part is downhill and it felt SO good. At the very last stretch I ran as hard as I could and I crossed the finish line realizing I'd done way better than I expected. I finished in 2:23:33. Jeff got a text alert when I was done. He'd hoped to get a photo of me finishing, but I had told him around what time I thought I'd finish and I ended up doing better than I expected. He'd seen me walking after the finish (they have you keep walking and hand you water and your medal) and I just stood in one area hoping he'd see me. I was talking to a lady and asked to use her phone (I didn't bring anything with me) right as he walked up.

I needed to get food even though I didn't really feel like eating. I got a banana and a bagel and as soon as I ate I felt better because I had been shaking. We spent some time looking out over the river and sitting by the canal and relaxing. I ate my bagel and banana (and Jeff sent me through the line to get him a piece of pizza) and it was just a beautiful day! It warmed up by that time and was really nice to be outside.

Proud of my medal!

A guy offered to take our picture

My Pookie!

relaxing for a few down by the canal

downtown Richmond

We finally decided to walk to the car and then we headed to pick up the kids from Jeff's parents. We all went to Casa Grande for lunch (thanks Ron and Marcie) and I ate a billion tortilla chips. Well, not that many, but it was a lot. Then we went and looked around in Hallmark and I drooled over the stuff in there. I love Hallmark. I was pooped, so we headed home and I came home to this surprise.

Abby trying to take my balloons!

My best friend, Diane, who I have known since we were about 14, came by and did that early this morning. She doesn't even live near me (about 35 mins away), but got up early and went and got all this and left it for me to see when I got home. There was a card taped there too, and it was just a really nice surprise, and very thoughtful!

I called her to thank her and we talked on the phone for a long time. Then I realized another friend had called me and left a message on the house phone, so I talked to her for a bit. Jeff went and got me one of my favorite things to eat for dinner, Broccoil Cheddar Soup from Panera. It was so good. He is the best husband ever! He got up early to come with me to the race and waited for me all that time and then took care of the kids while I was on the phone and then got me dinner. He even tidied up his room (man cave). I love him. :)

I am now sitting my rump on the couch and relaxing, and writing this (duh). Diane is going to come over tomorrow and we're going for a walk in the park. I am sure my legs will need the loosening up. I am taking a week off of running to let my body repair itself and I'll do some easier forms of exercise this week. Lately my exercise has mostly all been running with some strength stuff in there for good measure, so I want to do the bike and more weights and stuff at the gym.

Today is over, and I feel great. I am relieved to be done with training and I met my goal, which is awesome. I want to enter a 5k soon and try to do it in under 30 minutes. We'll see!
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