Well after much worrying about the decision to sign up, dealing with the IT injury, weekly visits to the PT, and analyzing each and every run as a motivator or deflator, I COMPLETED A HALF-MARATHON! And boy did it feel SUPER. Official race time of 2 hours 15 min and 8 seconds. .
Tina and I left for Emmetsburg at about 2:15 on Friday while our friend Carrie (our super cheerleader) met us up there at about 7:00pm. The drive to Emmetsburg was long and uneventful with the race day excitement keeping the smile on our faces. We promptly picked up our race packets :-) with the coolest green shirts and the race numbers #1 for me and #10 for Tina. I thought the numbers were slightly ironic for some reason and very fitting that Tina got a #10 and was running her 10K. We then checked into our hotel room and got semi-settled in and I opened the most wonderful gift that made me cry. We waited for Carrie to arrive and then decided to drive our race routes to see what it was like. We had a quick Subway sandwich and went to bed fairly early--10ish. :-)
The alarm promptly woke us up about 6 and Tina and I calmly showered and got race ready. Putting on some make-up! Some may think that's a bit vain, but I know I am not going to take a great picture after the race, so I might as well look half-way decent for the pre-race ones. We arrive at the Iowa Lakes Wellness Center and take our last 2 potty breaks before the race start.
I ran down a couple of blocks to the start of the half-and felt surprisingly calm. Only a bit nervous, but nothing too bad. I talked with a couple of girls waiting and asked them if this was their first. It wasn't and they were hoping to break the 2:00 mark. I guess I wouldn't be keeping pace with them. :-(
The race started off fairly relaxed and I kept watching my GPS to make sure that I wasn't starting off too quickly. My legs felt SO relaxed and I didn't have any of the hip tenderness or calf tightening that sometimes happens until my body relaxes into the run. There was a slight fog in the air with the air temp running at 30 or a little cooler. It didn't take long for most of the runners to stretch out and get some distance between them.
I followed two friends talking, yellow shirt guy, and black jacket lady for the longest time. At about 3 miles I walked at the first water stop for I'm guessing 20 seconds or so and was trying to decide whether to carry my water or toss it. (unfortunately tossed the half-full bottle) Between miles 3-6, I pass the friends talking.
At mile 6 the girl just ahead of me snagged the last water (which kinda irritated me cause she had a gatorade stashed less than a mile up the road) and I was wishing I had decided to carry my water from mile 3. Shortly after that the yellow shirt guy started to walk more often and I was able to pass him. I did notice at this point there was a different guy not too far behind me. He must have continued to lose pace, because he wasn't in my shadow for over a couple of miles.
Miles 7-9 were on gravel, which wasn't all that terrible to run on. It was easier on the legs than the pavement actually. I was trying to decide if I should eat one of my gels (with no water), but was worried it could upset my stomach and having passed the porto potty at mile 6, I was slightly worried. I decided I would hold off as long as I could, but kept worrying about whether I would get water at the next stop. I kept trying to relax and was getting kind of emotional out running by myself knowing that I was over half-way there. I tried not to look at my garmin too much.
9-10 Yeah for water! I walked to swallow a gel and some yummy water. Now realizing that I am on the home stretch with basically a 5k left to run. I kept thinking about Tina at the finish line and wanting to see her reaction to her husband driving 3 hours just to watch her cross the finish line. At this point the wind is blowing a bit, and is kind of chilly. It wasn't exactly a head wind, but not at my back either. It definitely didn't help me go faster.
Miles 11-13 I tried to put the miles into perspective of things I could relate to. I know 2 miles is up to Poyner and back, so I could definitely do that. Also interestingly enough, there were stamped numbers on the highway that kept me focused on knocking down the miles. Getting slightly emotional at this point, but trying to keep my mind on the run.
Miles 12.6--MY FAVORITE MOMENT! I am coming close to the end and see Tina on the side of the road and I literally break into a sobbing mess! I was so happy to see her and at that moment, I had realized how far I had come and how wonderful this journey is. She ran the last few tenths with me until I noticed on my GPS how close I was to 2:15 and sprinted to the finish line.
After crossing the finish line, I was SO happy and elated. It was so emotional and so unbelievable that I actually completed the half and made my goal. My friend Carrie and my brother Jon were there to share my joy. Hugging my brother at the end, and knowing how proud he was made me feel really special. I don't care how many people were behind me or how many people were ahead of me, this was my journey and I did it.
This truly was a GREAT race day! I was so happy to be there for Tina and share in her wonderful accomplishment in completing her first 10K completed in 1hr 4min :-). She did an amazing job and I was very proud to share in her joy. I hope she always knows how special she is to me and how proud I am of everything that she has accomplished. Such an amazingly perfect day and I am so happy we were all able to share it together. --steph