I have officially survived my first half marathon!
Overall, it was a wonderful experience that really pushed me out of my comfort zones. I ran cross country back in high school and enjoyed it and I've always had in the back of my mind that I would like to do a half marathon. But in the midst of pregnancies, nursing, and babies it was never a time commitment I could justify. This was the first year I really had the opportunity to go for it, and I almost decided not to. But my good friend Kathy issued me a challenge one night back in December and within an hour I had signed up. ;o) I realized at that point what was holding me back was I didn't want to work at something . . . and that didn't sit well with me. For the most part I really enjoyed crossing a run off my little chart, and the challenge of the Saturday long runs. I have a greater appreciation for my husband and the great support he is, always encouraging me, surprising me on some long runs by figuring out where I would be and meeting me with water, and escorting me by houses in the country where the dogs would chase me. Not to mention keeping the kids intact when I was gone for those long runs! I truly couldn't have accomplished this without him.
Me at about 5:45 a.m. on the morning of the race (which Josh claims is way to early to be this perky), flexing my awesome arm muscles for all the world to see. (Yes, I realize there are no arm muscles, but you all just smile and nod, okay?)
I was rather nervous at the start of the race. And I majorly would have liked to use some restroom facilities before starting but kind of got turned around as to where everything was located. Let's just say I started a wee bit worried . . . In spite of that the first half of the race felt awesome! I loved the atmosphere and loved seeing people along the way that I knew. It was truly a huge pick-me-up every time I recognized a familiar face in the crowd.
Favorite crowd sign? "Worst Parade Ever"
I also loved all the live music--so much fun!
Somewhere in the 6-7 mile range I began to feel a bit of fatigue. Part of this was do to the fact I was running some faster splits than I usually do--I thought I had gotten myself in a 9 minute a mile group, but in retrospect I should have found an actual pacer.
(Josh and the kids found me in three different areas along the route--it made me so happy to see my little cheering fan club!)
When we turned up the hill at mile 9 I was definitely starting to get fatigued, and it was there that the 1:55 pacer group passed me. I kept them in my sights for awhile, but at mile 10 I saw a port-a-potty door fling open and I quickly hopped in (FINALLY!!). I probably lost about a minute there, but I'm not going to regret that . . . ;o)
Those final three miles were a killer. I know my pace slowed dramatically (maybe I could have walked faster??). I just kept praying for strength that last part, one foot in front of the other. I was much less aware of the crowds and much more inwardly focused on "just keep running." And I did, I ran that whole thing! I was so very relieved to cross that finish line!
And I was utterly elated to know I had beat my ultimate goal of running it in two hours.
Just barely, but still. ;o)
Final thoughts . . .
~A half marathon is very, very, much like being in labor. The first part you're all excited and think, "This isn't so bad!" The second part you're all, "This is starting to hurt." And then there's the third where you're like,"I can't do this anymore, make it stop!!!" And when you cross that finish line (or deliver!) all that matters is that it's done, hallelujah! ;o)
~While in high school I was faster (not crazy fast, just faster) and in better shape, but I'm not sure I could have been successful at a half marathon. I firmly believe that the mental toughness I needed to accomplish 13 miles was honed through the years I've spent being a mother. I say that as an encouragement to anybody who has thought about doing something like this but hasn't gotten around to it yet--don't discount what you're doing right now as part of your training! Some day you can add the running and you'll be all set. ;o)
~It's good to get out of your comfort zones. I think for a long time I've kept my world kind of safe--there wasn't a whole lot I was doing that made me nervous. It's good to get nervous every now and then . . . It's good to push yourself beyond what you think you can do. And it really fun to chase a goal down and accomplish it! If you keep your life safe you don't get to see what God can do!!
~And finally, yes, I'm sore. Like every-muscle-between-my-knees-and-top-of-the-rear-sore. *ahem* I hobble up and down stairs. When I drop something I stop and ponder if it is worth picking up. I cringe sitting down. No, I've never, ever been this sore before. But yes, I think it was worth it. ;o)