June 5, 2011 – 1st Half Marathon = COMPLETE = 2:29:08

I am lucky enough to have such an awesome support system. My mom, sister, friend and niece-dog all dragged their butts out of bed at 4AM as I made my way to the starting line. What made it easier is that my sister knew another gal that was also running the race, so I had a friend to go through the pre-race steps with me! I’ll just jump right into the race…’lessons learned’ and ‘what worked and didn’t work for me’ posts will follow shortly…

This is what I was staring at for the 20 minutes my friend and I were loitering in the corral for…

And here is what my mom looked at while she waited around for me…

I’m thinking she had the better view.

Yes, she got shots of other people starting and running…I’m just not in any of them.

Phrase of the weekend…

As much as I LOVED thinking ahead and getting to the starting line with time to spare, I absolutely LOATHED waiting! I was just anxious and ready to go- plus, it was super cold and it was impossible to stay warm. This just made me even more anxious and even more nervous than I already was. My heart was racing and seeing all of these super ‘intense’ runners around me was both inspiring and intimidating at the same time.

My friend and I lined up with the third wave that aimed at finishing at around 2:15-2:30 for the half.

*REMINDER: I’m not an elite athlete. Therefore, most of you mofos that are reading this are probably faster runners than me. Don’t worry – I WILL GET THERE ONE DAY.

Miles 1-3

Anyways, I will sadly admit that those first 3 miles were HORRENDOUS. I blame it on standing and waiting in the ‘cold’ 57 degree weather for too long. My hips were super tight, my left shin was pounding and I felt like everyone around me was super speedy because they all kept passing my tail up. It was extremely discouraging to say the least. No joke – at around 3.5 miles, I honestly played with the idea of just quitting. When I first read the course map, I was stoked to see that any ‘hills’ were in the first 4 miles. But when I was in the moment, I was cursing it so bad. Every possible phrase laced with all sorts of profanities were racing through my mind. Don’t worry, there is a light in the middle of this tunnel.

Miles 4-6

As I approached mile 4, one of my favorite Cold War Kids songs came on and I started to get into my rhythm. And all of a sudden, I started to remember why I loved running so darn much. The sun was starting to come up, but I didn’t care. The next couple of miles FLEW by and the next thing I knew, I was turning just past mile 6 and saw my sister and friend cheering like a bunch of hooligans on the corner. Seriously, they were reading the names off of random peoples’ bibs and high fiving everyone. I can’t say this enough, but seeing familiar faces cheering you on the sidelines helps me out more than I ever describe.

Miles 7-10

These three miles were by far the worst. Those first three may have been horrendous, but at least I kept a pretty decent pace. However, these three were straight up torturous. I didn’t think I would ever describe running on the boardwalk next to sand with the ocean in sight, but I am right now. The breeze was almost non existent, I was running on hard pavement (not asphalt) and the sun was beating hard (and I opted out of wearing a hat). I knew it wasn’t only me because this is when I saw a lot of people hit their wall and start to slow down/walk. Oh yah, I also had to stop and pee at mile 8. At this point, I threw the idea of a new PR out the freaking window.

What kept me going? Seeing this old dude trucking along. There was NO WAY IN HELL this grandpa was going to keep running and leave me in his dust. I’m pretty sure these miles were the slowest part of my race.

Miles 11-13.1

These were a freaking breeze!!! During torturous miles, I kept telling myself ‘Just get to 10…and its only 3 miles!!!’ And ya know what- it worked. Once I approached the mile ten marker, I knew exactly what to expect. I knew where the slight hill was, I knew the streets I was going to pass and a super accurate gage on how much longer I had left. This happens when you race in a city you used to live in. But what made these miles so darn enjoyable was easily the people. The boardwalk was surrounded by soft sand, meaning that not a lot of people trucked themselves out there to watch. The home stretch was on a major street and was lined with bands, families and the surrounding apartments’ balconies were cheering too!  I realized that my legs weren’t exactly filled with energy, but they definitely weren’t dead tired. Therefore, I picked up the pace – big time. It was also a freaking miracle that all of my favorite running songs came on my shuffle too.

I lost my friend almost immediately at the beginning of the race, but I saw her at mile 12 and we got to run that last mile together. And it was amaaaaazing!!! I loved the ‘almost there’ signs and knowing that the finish was just around the corner. I stopped my music for the last half mile to just take it all in – great decision for sure. It also helped that the last .10 of a mile was on a downhill slope. And let me tell you…nothing is better than sprinting towards the finish line!!!!!

Apparently, I still had enough energy to be yelling.

 

Celebrating…Zoey was really tired.

I have an awesome friend. She suffered from some MAJOR runner’s envy the whole time.

 

 

Afterwards, I happily welcomes beer back into my life…these two crazies joined me.

 

 

Yes, it’s not the most drastic drop in time – but I was terrified for this race. I felt so unprepared.

Oct. 9, 2011 – 2nd Half Marathon = COMPLETE = 2:27:25


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