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!!
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)
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!