Complete a Half Marathon? Check!

I did it. We did it. Thank goodness gracious it’s over.

The B.A.A. 14th Annual Half Marathon was four days ago so I feel I can now give you an appropriate recap!

But, before I get there, let’s back track to last Friday. Kristen and I attended the final training clinic before the race for a few tips from elite running coach Terrence Mahon. He had really great and motivational things to say about the race which I found very helpful. As a surprise, they brought in Lelisa Desisa, Molly Huddle, and Stephen Sambu, all elite runners with impressive accomplishments behind them (Desisa won the 2013 Boston Marathon). I was totally starstruck.

Running is an interesting competitve sport because it is really the only one where Average Joe runners like myself, get to run with the top runners in the world. When you think about it, it’s pretty much endlessly cool that I was running the same race as Lelisa Desisa on Sunday.

I, of course, never saw him…..

Race day started out quite chilly. We got to the race pretty early – before the sun was covering most of the field at Franklin Park – and a large group of us migrated over to a hill where the sun was shining. So, that should give you a decent idea of how cold it was. SUN! HI!!!!!

This was the biggest race Bobby and I have taken part in to date and it felt pretty darn large. But, that’s what was so exciting! There were just over 6,000 runners, all with varying goals in mind, but the overarching goal of finishing the half and the energy around there was contagious.

The race started out downhill which was great and all, but we all knew that – since this was an out and back course – we would be fighting our way UP the hill later. By mile 2, I had tossed my sweatshirt, the blood was finally flowing through my limbs and things were starting to heat up, thank goodness!

Sidenote: This race introduced to me to the “out and back” layout. An “out and back” course means that at some point along the race, you turn around and head back the way you were coming in so as you are running towards the turn around checkpoint, the people that are faster than you are coming up next to you going the opposite direction. I reeeeeeeeally disliked it. I found it discouraging to see so many people that are at a further point in the race than you go by.

Miles 1-3 were great, usually the 5k portion of a race is tough – the miles just don’t seem to go by very fast, but this time around they flew by. Miles 4-5 were a little tougher, and by 5, I was experiencing some pretty serious pain in my left knee.

WTF is happening!? How is this happening!? I have trained for this. I ran 10 miles just two weeks ago and felt FAB O LOUS. WHYYYYYYYY!!!?!??

That was what was going through my mind, followed by a string of expletives.

I knew that sometimes you just have bad races, I had read about this, I had been told this, I was FREAKIN’ AWARE, but I had had nothing but great races so far and this was the most important one and how could I be hurting so much at MILE FIVE.

I am sure that it is beneficial to have your friends with you during a good race, but during a bad race? It becomes a necessity.

THANK THE HEAVENS ABOVE for Kristen. This girl has 5 marathons under her belt, and countless other races. She knew exactly what to say and when to make sure I kept going.

I could easily get emotional recounting this now, but I am going to try not to. It just meant so much to me to have someone right next to me saying “You are doing an amazing job, just keep going, you are going to feel so fantastic once you are done.”

By mile 8, I was feeling a little better. In fact, when I saw the 8 mile marker, I said, out loud, Okay! Alright! I can do this. Then at mile 9, I saw my family. What an amazingly motivating thing. Hearing your parents and sister cheer their asses off for you is just the best. You could hear my Mom shouting my name from 500 feet away.

Miles 9-11. I am going to affectionately refer to these miles as the Jesus-Christ-Are-You-Fing-Kidding-Me miles. They were an out and back into one part of Franklin Park. Meaning, one mile on a slight uphill, and one mile back on a slight downhill. By this point, running felt much like what I assumed lifting concrete blocks would feel like. Each one of my feet felt like they weighed a ton and lifting them to produce ‘running’ was becoming quite the feat. Downhills hurt just as much, if not more, as uphills.

Mile 12 was through the Franklin Park Zoo. I saw Emus and Zebras. No, they didn’t make me feel better or distract me like I hoped they would. Perhaps, if there were gorillas, this would be a different story.

Get this…the finish line and the starting line are not the same thing. They were not in the same place. The finish line was about .5 miles from the start and they make you RUN THROUGH THE START LINE to get to the finish. MEAN. SO SO MEAN.

The last 1/4 of a mile was run on the track, and that was probably my favorite part of the race. Not for the obvious, thank-god-this-is-over reason though. As I was running it, I realized, I am about to finish a half marathon. I went from not running at all 5 months ago, to completing a half marathon. And, I got to do so with one of my closest friends by my side and my family and Bobby waiting for me at the finish.

Oh, yeah, that’s right. Bobby KILLED THE HALF. He ran it in 1:49 because he is a running beast. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little jealous of his great run, but I am so proud of him.

So, yeah, maybe this was a bad race day for me, but I did something I never thought I would be able to do and that feels amazing.

I am going to take a week or two off before I start my marathon training…….OYE.

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