I did it. I finished. I ran a full MFin’ 13.1 miles. And I did it in less than my goal time of 2:30. (I did it in roughly 2:28:30, although I’m still awaiting final final results.) Go me. Seriously. (And no, the chick at left is not anything close to what I look like, but it was how I felt at the finish line.)
Even though I had to wait a week after last weekend’s un-spring like weather (snow in the end of March—wtf?!), it was so worth it. The extra week allowed me to get another long run in, and it gave me a week to breathe, focus and get even more excited for the big day, if that was possible.
The race started at 7 a.m., and although it was 39 degrees and really windy—sustained 20 to 30 mph gusts— the sunrise was gorgeous, and before I knew it, I was four miles in. The race featured “pacers,” these uber runners who lead a group and keep them on pace for reaching a goal time. I settled myself nicely between the 2:25 and 2:30 group. I figured that if I could stay there, I’d be good. I was right.
I felt great through mile 5. After that point, I got into some hills, barely had anyone in front or behind me, and started to feel, I’ll admit, a bit lonely. Darn my husband’s knees for not being able to endure the training! (He tried really hard.) Almost as if the running gods felt my pain, they sent me a gift: Jessica. Jessica was a lovely, upbeat gal who asked if she could join me and my pace. She had run the race last year, so we had plenty to chat about. Before I knew it, we were passing mile 7, and I spotted my cheering crew: my mom, a family friend, my husband and our pup. It was awesome.
Before I knew it, we were at the 9-mile marker. Jessica and I made a point to “woo-woo” at each mile marker from there on out. Mile 10 elicited a loud and dramatic “woo-woo.” Mile 11 was still strong yet a bit quieter. Mile 12 sounded more like “Oh, thank God.” I picked up my pace slightly at mile 12, which felt good until the wind was no longer at my back, and I was going uphill. That’s when I saw my family again, plus two of my good friends who braved the cold, and my super-fit triathlete neighbor who was volunteering at the event. I LOVED THEM FOR THAT. It totally got me through that last 1.1 miles. By the end I was exhausted, but I pushed through, crossing the finish line with a big ol’ grin (and a bright red, sweaty face).
After the race, I downed water like it was my full-time job and managed to eat a yogurt and some fruit. And beer. Lots of celebratory beer. It was, by far, the most I’ve ever pushed myself fitness-wise, and it felt great.
Now, it’s a few days later, and even though I’m still a bit sore and in recovery mode, I’m so happy I did it. I’m so happy I trained for it and did the hard work. I’m so happy that I finished, even surprising myself with my time. If you need a big, audacious goal to get you moving and feeling proud of yourself, I highly recommend a half marathon. It’s sane enough that you can do it in three months, but it’s still a BFD.
So, what’s next for me? REST. Lots of rest and time off from running. I’m giving myself a full week and will only do yoga and easy weight lifting, if I feel like it. After that, I’ve got my eye on a four-miler that I think I can do it less than 35 minutes. Now that I’ve conquered distance, I have my eye on speed. With that said, I can definitely see myself doing another half…maybe even this year. We’ll just have to see.
And on a personal note, I know I’ve gushed about my love of you guys before, but it bears repeating: YOU GUYS ROCK. I could not have done this without your love and support. It means more than you know! —Jenn