Welp, I did it, and it was great! On Saturday morning, the family got up and headed out the door for St. Charles, MO. We stopped at Denny’s and I indulged with pancakes and hashbrowns. Yum. We ran a few errands, and I tried to find some compression pants in a smaller size, but with no luck.
We went to the Expo where I received an excellent stretch and a looooong, much needed massage from a young man named Ramone. I told him I wanted to marry him. He thought I was joking. I picked up my shirt and car sticker and a few coupons. One coupon was for free socks, so we visited that store, since it was basically in the same plaza as our hotel. They were out of the free ones, so they gave me an even better pair of Saucony dri-fit compression socks. Score! And in talking with the young lady behind the counter, I found out her grandparents live in the same community as me and I’ve done several training runs by their home. Small world.
We ate at a cheap Italian place. We were tired, and the restaurant was next door. I ordered lasagna. It was frozen! I was so tired that I didn’t even complain. I just ate around the solid parts and we went back to the hotel. We watched a bit of Harry Potter, and we had the lights out by 9pm. I think I fell asleep by 9:30 and slept well all night–which is uncommon for me.
I woke at 5 and had all my race gear in the bathroom, so I could dress without waking the family. I was still pretty out of it, so when I turned around in the bathroom with my clothes in my hand, I dropped my socks. In the toilet! I’m soooo glad I had gotten that extra pair the day before! To run 13.1 miles in uncomfortably thin cotton socks would have been a nightmare!
I scarfed a granola bar and a fruit bar and woke the fam. They all bounced up and were ready within 15 minutes. We hit the breakfast downstairs. I had coffee, and the kids had muffins and yogurt. There were other runners there, but they were pretty obnoxious. They really seemed to just want to hear themselves talk. They were having a conversation, but each person’s was one sided. Just a bunch of declarative statements, really.
We arrived at the public parking lot. It was dark and cold. We waited in the car for a bit, but then I decided to head to the start line at 6:40. The race stared at 7:30. I used that time to stand in the super long port-o-potty lines and meet up with my friend who was running too. She and her husband lined up at the back of the 10 minute mile line. I lined up with them so that I would have company while we waited for the start. After a mile or so, when the crowd thinned, I slowed my pace to a 12ish minute mile pace.
After the start, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was a big deal for me, having weighed almost 300 pounds in 2013. I realized how hard I had worked and how far I had come, and that I was realizing a goal I had set for myself and trained religiously for for months! It was all I could to to not ugly cry. The feeling passed, and I ran a great race. For the first half of the race, every time I would pass a mile marker, I would think, Wow! Really? Already?
There weren’t as many spectators as I thought there would be, but the High-Five Zone at mile 5 was pretty cool. The only negatives were that I had over-hydrated, so I had to stop at several port-o-pottys, and halfway through, I started having tummy trouble, again…having to stop at every port-o-potty. 😦 I thought it was because I had drank more Gatorade than I’m used to, but that night, my daughter got sick too. Figures that I would have a stomach bug on my first big race!
Even with the frequent bathroom breaks, I hit both of my half marathon goals:
1. Finish in under 3 hours (My finish time was 2:48 flat)
2. Run the whole course without walking (I allowed for bathroom breaks…just didn’t know I would be taking so many!)
At mile 10, the flat course became a hilly course. Ouch. Bad place to add some hills if you ask me. I was still feeling okay, and had plenty of energy. At one point, as I was passing everyone who was walking up the hill, a woman yelled, “You run that hill!” I loved that encouragement.
Mile 11 was the longest mile in history. I don’t think I ever saw the mile 12 sign. I must have missed it. During the final miles, my hips were hurting, and I had to stop and stretch them and my quads, but other than that, I felt great. Others around me were miserable. Someone with knee pain was telling her husband it was worse than giving birth. Some were limping. Some were sitting on the curb. Some were basically crawling. I was so proud of what I was accomplishing and how well I had trained for it. My body was not giving out. My mind was not giving in. My heart was not giving up.
Finally, people started shouting that the finish was just down the hill and around the corner. I was thinking:
A. OMG…If I was running a marathon, I’d only be HALFWAY!
B. OMG…I’m going to finish a half marathon! 13.1 miles!
And then I saw the finish. I saw the clock. I saw that I was going to beat my goal by more than 10 minutes. I crossed the line. I jogged a little farther and began walking toward a gate to get some good stretches in.
My hubby came over and hugged me. A big bear hug. He was so proud. The kids were proud too. I celebrated (even with my bad tummy) by getting my free beer and some delicious blueberry bread.
We walked around for a bit and then went to the car. We stopped by the mall, so I could return some items, we shopped a little, and then we stopped for lunch. After this, I was beat. We got home, I took a shower, and I hit my bed and stayed there watching tv all evening. Heck, I deserved it. 🙂
It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to do it again! I’ll be working on speed now that I have some miles under my belt.
Now the question is…to marathon, or not to marathon…