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My first half marathon is over.
I’ve been thinking about how I would write this post since before I even ran my half. I still don’t know how to write it.
Here’s the thing: I need to put my blogger hat away a little bit on this post. I need to just be a person.
I need to talk about a Big Awful Thing that’s happening right now without ever telling you what that Big Awful Thing is, and I need you to understand because you’re a person too, and maybe also a blogger too, and you know that everything that happens in your life isn’t always something you can share on your blog or talk about with everyone. Some things are too hard or too close or not your story to tell and that’s ok.
So please understand: there are some parts of this post that refer to the Big Awful Thing. I’m sorry it’s obnoxious that I’m not telling you what’s happening. But please understand, because I don't know how to write this post pretending everything was perfect. I don't know how to not tell that part of the story.
If you don't read any of the rest of this, please read the last paragraph!
All that being said, I’d love to share with you how my half marathon went.
Friday morning, after an emotional night with little sleep, I drove home to my parents’ house, which is about 30 minutes outside of Springfield, where my half marathon was. I hung out with my mom, took a nap, and then chilled at home until my little sister Anna got out of school. My mom, Anna and I went into town and went to the race expo, of which I have no pictures.
Basically it was several tents in a parking lot where you could pick up your registration or buy discounted (but still expensive) running gear. I got my shirt and my race number and timing chip and it all felt a little bit like this race was actually going to happen.
Friday night I went to the mall with my mom and Anna and then hung out at home. We had pasta and garlic bread and I tried to control myself so I wouldn't have stomach issues the next day, even though those are pretty much my favorite foods. I went upstairs to bed around 10:00 and actually went to sleep about 45 minutes later.
Saturday morning, I woke up early – I think around five. I showered to wake up a little bit then ate peanut butter on toast and most of a banana. I drank about half of my 750ml water bottle. I should have used the bathroom again before my race but I forgot.
I pinned my race bib on. It started to feel real.
My dad and I drove to the race. I posed in front of the Go Girl backdrop and cried when he hugged me before the start. I tracked down Layne. And then we were running.
Here’s the thing, guys – I don’t remember a whole lot of the race. Some miles I was so there, thinking about my pacing and about my training and taking in the gorgeous weather and the awesomeness of 850 women all running a half marathon. Other miles I was thinking about the Big Awful Thing. Here’s what I can tell you:
One. Layne and I ran together for about 5.5 miles and then she pulled ahead. It was really nice to have someone to run with. We talked some and listened to our headphones some.
Two. I went into the race really concerned about my pacing. I planned to run the first half at 10:30-10:40 and then see how I was feeling. That did not happen. While Layne and I were running together, our miles ranged from 9:56 to 10:33. Even knowing my pace was faster than I'd planned, I decided not to rein it in at all. My reasoning was that I wasn’t short of breath or unable to hold a conversation – we were talking regularly without much difficulty. So I felt pretty comfortable with my pace. I kept my pace pretty steady for the two miles after Layne and I split off and then it later slowed.
Three. Early on in the race, a Ke$ha song came on in my playlist and I told Layne I liked running in a big group, but I didn't like that it meant I couldn't sing. A lady running near us told me I should sing! I laughed.
Four. There were some really great signs. I wish I could remember them all. Two that I do remember: "Smile if you're not wearing underwear!" and "Run like Ryan Gosling is at the finish with wine and cupcakes!" to which Layne said, "The wine and cupcakes are the best part!" There were lots of kids out cheering for their moms, men out sitting in lawn chairs cheering for wives and girlfriends. The atmosphere was really great, and I think that's partly because it was a women-only run. Less pressure, more funny/cute supportive boys and men, and lots of "You go girl!"-ing.
Five. I saw my parents for the first time between miles 7 and 8, I think, and that was really great. My mom ran over and high fived me and my dad yelled a lot. :)
Six. Shortly after seeing my parents, I walked for the first time. I had planned to walk some – I walked during all my training runs at least a little bit – but I kept it short and started running again.
Seven. I started to really, really need a bathroom. And all the port-o-potties, which had been at every aid station on miles 1-6, disappeared.
Eight. I saw my parents again between 10 and 11, maybe? I yelled at them about how badly I had to pee, and they managed to take this picture while I was yelling.
Nine. After seeing my parents I passed a port-o-potty, but I only had the 2.11 left and thought I could push through. I maybe should have stopped, but if I had, I might not have finished the race. But the last few miles were pretty miserable.
Ten. I walked a LOT in the last 2.11, and even in the last mile. That’s what I’m most disappointed in. I should have been able to pull the motivation from somewhere, been able to power through. But I just didn’t have it in me. I was tired. I was overly emotional.
Eleven. During another walking break, I pulled my phone out of my armband and read through the texts and tweets from you all. Because of your encouragement, because I knew my friends and parents were at the finish line, and because I knew there were bathrooms at the finish line, I was able to finish the race.
I finished at 2:22:11, a 10:52 mile pace. My secret time goal was 2:24, an 11 minute mile pace, so I just barely made my goal, but I did it. I’d had secret dreams of blowing that goal out of the water, but considering all the emotions, the lack of sleep, and not having Pat there to cheer me on – I really think I did the best I could do. I missed being in the top half of the competitors by six people and placed 36/52 in my age group.
Mostly, I'm disappointed not with my time, but with how much I walked. It could have been my early, fast pace -- but honestly, I think I was physically able, just not mentally and emotionally able to run the rest or the race. I think my next goal is to run a half with no walk breaks, or with only walking through the aid stations, which was what I was hoping to do at this one.
At the finish, I got my medal and my wine (aka my I’m drinking everything from this for the next year) glass. I grabbed Layne at the finish and cried for a bit. I couldn’t talk at all for a few minutes and she helped me open my water bottle.
I felt dizzy and had to go sit down. I drank a slushy/smoothie they were passing out and thanked Meleah and her husband for coming and thanked my parents and Layne and everyone who got close enough. I took a picture near the start line and called it a day. I went home and reread all your lovely encouragement and took a nap.
Even not remembering all of the race, I know that it was a good run. The weather was beautiful, the women were encouraging, the spectators were awesome. My mom was so stinking proud of me and she kept saying so, which is always nice to hear. I felt so loved by you all and by my friends who were at the race. And I finally did it. After fifteen weeks and over 178 miles of training runs, I did it. I ran my half marathon.