I ran a half marathon.
Yup. 13.1 miles. No, I did not "run" the whole thing, but pretty much damn near all of it!
This past October (I think it was October), two of my gym buddies and I decided to add in the Couch to 5K program into our routine. Now understand, I've done the C25K program before and I'd even ran a few 5K's, but I set my sight on a half marathon and was determined to do it (with a little motivation from my friend Erin). Before we were even done with the C25K program, I signed up for the Paducah Iron Mom Half Marathon. That gave me 7 months. 7 months to go from "running only when being chased", to running 13.1 miles because I WANTED to.
Misery love company so I convinced two of my cousins to do it too! (Side note: One cousin, Kelly, is a single mom who works 2 jobs. My other cousin, Emily, is a mom of triplet boys, age 6, and works a full time job. I don't want to hear ANY excuses about how you don't have "time" to train for a half marathon or "time" to workout. Call it what it is... an EXCUSE... [end rant]).
I can't even tell you how important it is to have a support group for something like this. We would text each other and follow each other on Nike Running+ and just keep each other motivated, even though we lived hours apart. The last part of my training, my friend Allie started running with me. Allie is a beast. She and her husband completed a dang IRON MAN FOR GOSH SAKES. I'm one of the world's slowest runners, but she stuck with me during the training and wow... What a difference that makes.
When I first signed up for the half, I said that my goal was to finish in 3 hours. Well after some shin splints and falling behind on some of my long runs, I changed my goal to "just finish and not come in last." A couple of days before the race, Allie emailed me my split times for finishing in 3 hours and told me numerous times that she really thought I could do it.
I didn't believe her. I just shook my head and smiled, thinking, "you're nuts!"
Fast forward to race weekend. My cousins came into town, along with my aunt, and Friday night we carb loaded... the best part about running. :)
|Grilled chicken, baked potato, green beans, rice, salad, and rolls|
Saturday morning rolled around and my alarm went off at 4am. No, I didn't get any sleep. I was too nervous!
After eating a big ol' breakfast I had some time to spare so I decided to do what Allie said and I taped my split times onto my water bottle. I still didn't believe I could do it in 3 hours. She said to start my watch at the start line and then when I got to each mile marker, look at my sheet and that would be the time I'd need to be at. Having it with me couldn't hurt, right?
We got to Paducah and we were ready to go. Of course, we had to snap a few pictures beforehand.
|My aunt with her mascot. Couldn't miss it!|
|Emily, me, Erin, and Kelly|
|Waiting at the start line... in the BACK of the herd. :)|
|Emily and I had been running around the same pace during our trainings, so we thought we'd stay together until we needed to split. Gosh I need a tan.|
At 6:30am, we were off.
Mile 1: 12:30 something. Holy crap I'm ahead of my split time on my water bottle. That's just a fluke. Surely I couldn't keep that up.
Mile 2: Holy crap I'm still ahead of my split time.
Mile 3: OMG. STILL ahead of my split time.
Emily and I ran the entire first hour. Yes, we ran for an HOUR. Holy crapola.
[I realize I am saying "holy crap" a lot, but seriously, when you are trying to do 13.1 miles, what else is there to say?]
Emily and I were going along when I saw a sign way ahead that read "Smile if you're not wearing underwear." I made a comment about that being the best sign I had seen so far. We get a little closer, and from behind that sign the person pulls out another sign that says, "GO KIM GO!" ... hey ... that's my name ... HEY! THAT'S ALLIE AND SCOTT! And not only did we see them once, but we saw them like FOUR TIMES on the course! I can't even tell you how motivating that was- Allie with her signs and just SCREAMING and Scott with his BONGO DRUM! So amazing. What friends wake up at the butt crack of dawn, and drive 45 minutes just to cheer someone on? Amazing friends, that's who. I'm kind of tearing up just thinking about it right now. So. Awesome.
I didn't get a good picture of them at each spot (trying to run and hold my phone at the same time and all), but you get the idea. One sign said "That's not sweat, it's your fat crying" and another said "Your feet hurt because you're kicking butt!" I think there was another one in there too, but I can't remember exactly what it said. But I assure you, they were funny and totally noticeable.
Around mile 7 or 8, Emily and I split off from each other. I was determined now to finish in 3 hours. I actually thought I MIGHT be able to do it! My plan was to run until I couldn't run anymore, then run to the next mile marker. At each mile marker after that point, I walked for about 1.5-2 minutes and then ran until I got to the next mile marker, then walked for a couple of minutes and ran again. I just kept doing this and it seriously felt like the miles were getting shorter and shorter!
One thing Allie told me that she did in every race she's done is thank all of the volunteers. She said that it puts you in a positive mind set, and she was so right. You can't thank someone without smiling, and there were a ton of volunteers so I just kept smiling! And let me tell you, some of those cops and fire fighters... HELLO! I wouldn't mind running after a couple of THEM. :)
Finally, I saw it. Mile 13... Then the finish line.
Obviously you can see from my face, yes, I was excited. When you neared the finish line, they announced your name, so as I was coming in, I saw SO many people I love and care about. Erin and her family, our friends Katie and Sam, Allie and Scott, my aunt and cousin Kelly, and 2 of my coworkers who also ran that day.
I did it.
2 hours, 58 minutes, and 7 seconds.
I crossed the line and actually teared up! It was seriously a feeling I have never felt before. Not to get all mushy and crap, but its amazing to know I did it!
|Just a little sweaty.|
|Best cheerleader EVER.|
You put that 13.1 sticker on your car that you so proudly earned...
Then you get pedicures...
Then you go to Patti's Settlement and order the best dinner ever...
along with dessert...
Because hell... you earned it.
... And then you begin training for the next one.
Second half marathon: October 13th in Pensacola, FL.
Bring. It. On.