I don’t even know how to begin writing this! Crossing the finish line Saturday will definitely go down in the top 10 greatest moments of my life. The whole event was magical and I could not have been more proud of myself.
I started the morning at 5:30 AM, half an hour before my alarm went off. I slept horrible the night before due to unsettling dreams about alarm clock malfunctions and missing the race. When I woke up and saw it was 5:30, I figured I should just get up and get ready. I ate 3/4 of an Apple Pie Lara Bar and a few pretzel sticks (purely for the salt). I also drank about 10 oz. of water. (FYI, this is what I ate before all my long runs during training). I had laid out my clothes and shoes the night before so my outfit was a no brainer. All I had to do was brush my teeth, put my hair in a pony tail, and get dressed. I’m glad I didn’t have to do much thinking because at this point I was SUPER nervous.
I left the hotel around 6:15 and walked over to the starting line. Once I got to the race I found the porta potties and then went over to the gear check area to drop off my stuff. At 6:30 I participated in the pre-race stretch and warm up hosted by Lulu Lemon. We did some jumping jacks and butt kicks followed by lots of stretching. We did a few more jumping jacks before heading over to the starting line.
At this point I was a ball of nerves and just wanted to start running. This was a fairly small race so they didn’t organize us into pace groups. We were given no direction as to where to stand so I just headed for the middle of the pack. There was no announcement or gunshot to start the race, I just saw the people ahead of me start running so I started running too!
After the first 1/2 mile my nerves were calmed and I got into a good rhythm. It was right around the first mile marker when I became really emotional. I kept thinking about how amazing this all was. Growing up I was the slightly overweight girl who was afraid to do athletic activities for fear of failure. Now, after having two kids, I was RUNNING a half marathon. It was a lot to take in and I was tearing up quite a bit. I looked ahead and saw this first steep incline of the race was not too far ahead. It is hard to run and cry at the same time so I told myself to get it together and prepare for the hill.
The hill at mile 2 is where we separated the men from the boys. This incline was no joke. It was really steep and most the people around me were walking it. My goal going into the race was to run the whole way. I ran up that first big hill and I was tired but determined not to stop. I slowed my pace quite a bit because the first 6 miles were mostly uphill and I had a long way to go. I was still pretty amped up with adrenalin so I powered up, turned on my music and settled in to a slow jogging pace for the next 6 miles. Before I knew it I saw the 7 mile marker and was excited because the course would get easier after that.
I was feeling great and still had quite a bit of energy left. I took a GU and picked up the pace a bit. At this point I started passing people. I cannot describe how great it felt to be able to pass someone. I have always thought of myself as a slow runner so to have enough energy to pass others made me feel fast and strong. I was determined not to let anyone pass me from this point on.
At mile 10 I saw Kelly and the boys and I was EXSTATIC! I don’t think the kids even noticed I was there until I was right in their faces. I ran over and gave Dax a quick hi-5 and I was off again.
Seeing my family and the 10 mile marker gave me a huge burst of energy and I was ready to kick some butt and finish this thing! I picked up my pace again. A few minutes after this is when things started to get painful. I was tired and my hamstrings were starting to hurt. I wasn’t sure if I could keep my pace but I didn’t want to give up so I pushed. I passed 11 miles and then 12. 1 mile to go and I was more determined than ever to finish strong. My legs wanted to slow down but I wouldn’t let them.
When I rounded that last corner and saw the finish line I started to tear up but I couldn’t break down yet. I held back my tears and ran as fast as I possibly could. I sprinted and threw my arms in the air as I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes! I did it, I ran a Half Marathon! The volunteer put the medal around my neck and I felt incredible. There was a combination of feelings of accomplishment, strength, and pride coupled with extreme fatigue and joint pain. It was an indescribable moment that I will remember forever.