I did it! I actually did it! Yesterday I ran my first half marathon, and what an amazing experience it was! I was SO nervous in the days leading up to the race. The thought of running a half marathon, 13.1 miles, felt so incredibly daunting, and I kept second guessing myself, and my ability to do it. I have been training for almost three months for this moment, but in order to run this race I had to up my training by shaving six weeks off of my plan. Yet once the gun went off, and I crossed the starting line all of those worries melted away and I immediately settled into my run. It was freezing, but the sun was shining and felt so good, and running along the river relaxed me and allowed me to enjoy the experience.
Dave, Ashlee and Braydon were there to cheer Monica and I on, and would be meeting us along the way, so I was looking forward to seeing them at mile 2.5 and again at the turn around at mile 7. Usually when Monica and I run there isn’t anyone else with us, so this was such a nice change, and gave me motivation to keep going. I definitely couldn’t give up knowing that they were there watching and waiting for me.
The first half of the run was great! I picked my person to follow and kept a nice even pace. I had no goals as far as finishing time or pace for this run, I just wanted to finish strong. I knew that since the majority of my training had to be done in the treadmill that the impact would play a factor, but I was prepared for the challenge.
Mile 7 brought familiar smiling faces, a boost of confidence, and the turnaround point that made me realize “oh shit, now I have to run all the way back!” but this is what I’ve been training for, and there was no stopping now! By mile 10 I was ready to die! My achilles were screaming, and my knees were not a fan of the impact, and I kept telling myself “just one more mile, you can do this!” If I could make it out of the mile was in I could will myself across the finish line. Then the most amazing thing happened… my Garmin vibrated, letting me know I had made it to mile 12!!! What an awesome feeling, but what was even more amazing was seeing Dave, Ashlee, Braydon, my mom and dad, nephew, my sister Emma and my cousin Morgan there cheering me on! They were exactly what I needed to dig deep and find the strength to keep going.
In that last mile I was overwhelmed with emotions. I had done it! I was in the homestretch, and was about to check a huge goal off of my bucket list! I was exhausted, and ready to be done. I was excited to cross the finish line! But most of all I was incredibly proud of myself! It’s only been seven months since I finished Couch to 5K, and nine months since I decided I would attempt running. In those nine months I have discovered just how strong I am, and that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought.
And finally after two and a half hours I crossed the finish line! There were a few tears shed because I never would have dreamed that I could have done this! But this is what happens when you stop doubting yourself, start believing that you are capable of anything, and set goals that scare the shit out of you.
I never would have been able to do this without the incredible support of my family who sacrificed their time so that I could run; my husband who never for a second doubted me, my kids for managing to get along while I spent countless hours on the treadmill, my aunt for being the best running partner anyone could ever ask for, my sister for watching the kids do I could run this race, my parents, sister nephew and cousin for knowing how much this means to me and showing up to support me, my cousin Mallory who reminded me that I can do it and that the worst that could happen would be stopping to walk part of it, and my amazing friend Dawn who would listen to me talk running and fret about my long runs, all the while encouraging me. This was a collective effort, and I am so lucky to have such an amazing support system.
One of my favorite moments from the race was waiting for my aunt after I finished, and watching my cousin join her for the last .75 miles. I was so proud of Monica, and to see Morgan with her made me a little emotional. This wasn’t just a huge accomplishment for the two of us, it was just as huge for our family. 💕
So now it’s time to set my sights on the next big thing. 26.2 I’m coming for you! October 29th I will be running my first marathon, and I can’t even wrap my head around that, but I have picked a training plan, picked my race, and am incredibly excited to push myself further than I ever dreamed possible. My mom has even agreed to ride next to me the whole way! Hopefully of I pass out she can throw me over her handle bars and ride me across the finish line.