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I still can’t believe I actually did it, or that I can now say “I’ve run a half marathon”! For real though…. this mom is a FINISHER!!

Half

And look! I didn’t even pass out! It’s amazing, really.

Oh, and guess what…. I’m pretty sure I still hate running.

I hated every mile of training, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that I’d plunked down the cash back in January, I’m sure I wouldn’t have trained for longer than a month before giving up. Of course, I knew my running “history”, which is why I did just plunk the cash down before thinking too much. I laughed hysterically when around mile 10 I saw a lady sitting by the side of the course with a sign that read “This sounded like a good idea 4 months ago”!

True that, lady. True that.

I do want to share some of my race experience though, and feel like I should get it typed out before all of the soreness is gone, so here we go…. (All photos are cell phone pictures)

half pre race

This is my friend and neighbor Melissa and me, before the Rock the Parkway half marathon. While I have lots of friends who are into running half marathons, and have tried to half-heartedly (ha!) to talk me into doing one, Melissa is the one that finally got me to crack and just do it. She’s plenty faster than me, but was willing to do a few training runs with me, and humored me when I’d need to walk. I “need” to walk a lot. Again, that kinda circles back to the whole “I hate running” thing. I was so grateful to her for her patience and encouragement!

half start

7:30am finally rolled around, and I worked my way to the wave I had signed up for – you can see the starting line waaaay down there! Wave A started right at 7:30, but my wave (Wave F) didn’t get to start until closer to 7:45. Takes a while to funnel 7,000 people through that narrow starting line!

Once we finally started, I kept telling myself “don’t go too fast, don’t go too fast” and just watched people zip by. No worries, Helen…. slow and steady, slow and steady!

At Mile 2 my cell phone buzzed, and I glanced down to see a “You can do it!” text from my friend Brenda, in California! Such a fun little boost to my already racing adrenaline!

At Mile 4 my FitBit buzzed. Yep. 10K steps at only mile 4!

At Mile 6 I thought “man, I’m doing awesome!”. The only time I’d walked was through the water stations. I am not coordinated enough to drink water while running. I make a huge, slobbery looking mess when I try, and I also might gag a bit as I choke. Yeah, I’m awesome!

Mile 8 had one of the bigger hills of the course (I think). I made it half way up before thinking “eh, screw it. I’m walking.” WOW! I made it just over 8 miles before taking a walking break! You guys – you don’t understand how huge that is! During all of my training runs, I think the furthest I made it before a short walking break was 5 miles. I made it 8 on Saturday!

Mile 9 is where my friend Stephanie caught me, which was fun! I’ve admired Stephanie and her running for a few years now. We chatted while running, and then I watched her take off, ready to set her own PR (Personal Record).

Mile 10 I Hit. The. Wall.

My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My stomach had actually rumbled (what the heck?! who gets hungry in the middle of a Half?!). Mentally I was done.

half mile 11

When I saw this sign, I knew I needed to snap a picture as I ran by. I was not enjoying myself at all, but I knew it was only 2 more miles to go, and something about taking that picture, and posting it to Instagram while running was a little boost to my moral.

Shortly after that, I passed a lady holding a sign that read “Never Fear! 13 is near!

I choked up reading that sign. Seriously – I had to actually hold back tears! I wish I’d given that lady a big, sweaty hug. Her sign refocused me.

I took a lot of walking breaks between miles 10 and 12, but then tried to run as much of 12 as possible. By the time I could see the finish line, I could not wipe the big grin off my face!

half finisher

Melissa snapped that one of me, right after I got my medal. Seriously – who’d of guessed a person could smile so much when she wants to just collapse from exhaustion?!

I wasn’t the fastest person out there – I finished in 2 hours and 51 minutes, but I FINISHED.

I FINISHED A HALF MARATHON!!!

Sorry – I’m a little excited!

half 2

That’s my friend Stephanie there on the left – I had been so tempted to take a running selfie when she caught me on the course, but I knew it wouldn’t be pretty, so decided I’d count on us finding each other at the finish line.

half 3

And Melissa and I post-race! She also had a PR – woohoo!

The race was amazing! The feeling of accomplishment was awesome. The awe of watching the leaders cruising up to Mile 10 when I was only at 3 was insane. The random people lining the course with cow bells, cheers, and hilarious signs made the experience so enjoyable! And the weather – the weather on Saturday could not have been more perfect!

half medal

And there it is – my bling! It’s heavy, and huge, and my kids think I should wear it all the time! Don’t judge me if you run into me at the grocery store and it’s around my neck. I finished a half marathon people, and I’m proud of that!

p.s. I loathed the training so much, that I’m betting this is not only my first but also last half marathon. Who knows though – I may forget how crummy the training was, and remember only how awesome the race part was. Kinda like how we forget how miserable the sleepless nights with a newborn are and suddenly find ourselves wanting another baby. That was strictly for illustration though – this kitchen is closed! 

  • April 14, 2015 - 1:34 pm

    Shelly Cunningham - You ran for almost three hours straight. That is straight up AMAZING!!! I am beyond impressed! You go girl!ReplyCancel

    • April 14, 2015 - 5:51 pm

      Helen - Ha! Oh goodness – I hadn’t looked at it that way yet! Whew! Thank you, Shelly!ReplyCancel

Back in early January I succumbed to that odd resolution-making phenomenon that strikes so many of us. I wasn’t content to make a normal resolution though, you know, like the one I’ve made for each of the last 7 years – I’m going to lose the baby weight this year! ALL of it!

Yeah. Still hasn’t worked out for me! I’m closer than ever before (now within 5 pounds of what I weighed when I found myself pregnant with 3), but it’s been a battle.

So what did I do this year? I thought to myself, self, if you had an awesome fitness goal maybe that weight thing would happen on it’s own. You know what would be a great idea? Sign up for a half marathon! 

And I listened to myself. Idiot. I should have resolved to do something awesome like “try 15 new flavors of ice cream”.

I’ve got lots of runner friends, and friends who’ve aspired to be runners, trained and completed a half, and then realized they hated running. I’ve never once been jealous of their training runs, but lets face it, even 5Ks are pretty fun to do! The atmosphere, the free food… it’s good stuff! Know what they give you at the end of a half? BLING! I want bling! Plus, I’m one of those “I just want to say I’ve ____” kind of people.

So on January 4th I signed up for a half marathon, that was scheduled to happen a little over 4 months later.

Part of me regrets it, and part of me is glad I put the money down and committed to it.

I’m really not a runner. I’ve done the Couch to 5K program so many times, because I’ll complete it, run a race, tell myself I hate running, go back to sitting on the couch, 8 months later find myself too sloth-like, and re-start the C25K program. Again.

I have running issues.

I’ve done pretty well with this training, especially with the early on shorter runs, but I still don’t love running, in fact, I don’t even really “like” it much. I hate feeling winded, and tired, and honestly, I’d rather sit on the couch, drinking coffee in my quiet house, than go for a run after dropping the kids off at school.

On the plus side, I’ve worked out far more often this winter than I would have had I not signed up for this race. I’ve also discovered that my body is stronger than I give it credit for. This morning my legs felt thinner! I know that was a result of some tightness from yesterday’s 7 miles, but it still felt awesome this morning!

So here I sit – just under 4 weeks until my very first half marathon. I haven’t done as many of the “long” runs as I should have by now, which makes me a little nervous, but it is what it is. I’m determined to finish, so that I can take a selfie with my bling, and indulge in post-race goodies, and most importantly (to me anyway) to be able to say “I’ve done that!”. Oh, and to prove Nick wrong. When I told him I signed up, he scoffed and said he didn’t think I could do it. I suspect he’s running some reverse psychology on me, which isn’t fair because that’s supposed to be reserved for the kids!

Who knows, maybe I’ll find the race so intoxicating that I’ll be crazy enough to do another one, but at this point I’d say “I doubt it”.

  • March 18, 2015 - 8:25 pm

    Angela - First of all, I’m excited to see that you are blogging again! I love reading about your sweet, hilarious family. I hadn’t checked you in months because you were so sparse about posting, so today was a treat getting to catch up!

    As for the working out, I know exactly what you mean. If I have no goal except exercise for exercise sake I’m much less enthused about it. But if I know I have an event to train for, then I take training much more seriously. Right now I’m training to fight in a tournament, which sounded much more fun three months ago than it does now that it’s three weeks away. BUT it has made me take my diet seriously and made me not miss as many workouts, so even if I get the crap beat out of me, it will have been worth it. I hope.ReplyCancel