This morning my alarm went off a little after 5:00. It was very dark, and I was very tired, but very excited! I was about to run my third half marathon. As with everything, I feel that I understand how to run the half a little better more after having run 2 previous ones. I know I will learn a little each time, so I was excited to get out there and enjoy the experience. My “plan” was to start off at a decent pace and see how I felt. If I felt good, I would push my pace a little and just run. But, I had already decided if something started hurting (like my nagging hip injury) or my back, ankles, etc. I would slow down. it’s not worth it to me when my ultimate goal is the full marathon in Disney. This was just a glorified training run, right?

I had put all my stuff out the night before so I wouldn’t be fumbling around in the dark and risk forgetting something.

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Bobby was less than thrilled to be up this early!

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The bags under my eyes say I am not awake either!

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The race was set to start at 7 am. We only live 7-10 minutes away, so we decided to leave at 6 am. When we made the turn at the intersection we ran into this.

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I know it’s blurry, but you get the idea. Lots of cars waiting to park, lots of cones (I later learned they had 1500 cones out!) Later I would be running down the street in between these cones in the picture right before the finish!

I decided NOT to run with my camera. I knew this would be a boring course with nothing exciting to take pictures of, so I just took some prerace pictures with my cell phone, so sorry for the quality!

Waiting in line for the potty. (This was my ONLY complaint of the race other than the hills! They only had 10 potties for about 800 people at the start line!)

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They gave away the car, which we did not win, sang the Star Spangled Banner, said a prayer, and we were told to line up!

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I turned around and took this of the people behind me

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Not sure who that lady is or why she is smiling in my picture haha. Also, check it out, someone had a Disney half shirt on! I have that shirt! (Undoubtedly later she was regretting wearing long sleeves!)

The temperature at the start was right at about 60, and it was low 80’s when I finished the race. I was chilly at the start, but I remembered I stood and waited to start the Disney half in 23 degrees and sleet so I could handle this in a tank top for a few minutes!

I wasn’t really nervous, I just kind of realized I had not mentally prepared for this! I hadn’t rested or tapered, (I ran 12 miles a week ago today!) so I was just going to take it easy and go with the flow. I am going to give you a play by play of the miles as much as I can remember, so here we go!

Miles 1-3

I started off well but forced myself to not start off too fast. This is a fault of mine, and it’s so hard for me to slow down with everyone passing me! I tried to maintain about a 10 min. mile, and went over some and under some. We hit our first hill a mile in, and I laughed at how the race advertised a “relatively” flat course. Folks, relatively means they are trying to hide something!

2 and 3 were a breeze, I kept the same pace. Also, I found a guy in a bright gold shirt running 10 minute miles, so I hung out behind him. I hit the 5k mark at just over 30 minutes, which was pretty comical because this is not far off from my 5k PR from last season.

Mile 4

We made a turn past some houses and went down a hill, and I took it too fast and got an AWFUL cramp in my right side. It felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife. I got SO frustrated! I hydrated SO WELL yesterday, and it was way to early in the race for this to happen. I had to stop and walk about 2 minutes, and I kept praying it would go away, and it finally did, just in time to go up another hill! I took a GU about this time, hoping it would give me a boost.

 

Mile 5-8

I was feeling really good these miles, and maintained a very low 10:00 min per mile pace, and I was very happy with this. We turned onto the main road we would run most of the miles on. basically, it is a 4 lane service road with a big median in the middle, but with NOTHING on the sides of the road. They went ahead and put it in for future development, but guys…it’s just woods on one side, and the interstate in the distance on the other. BOR-ING! Nevertheless, I was still around a lot of people, and feeling good. The race had all of these cheer teams who had set up tents along the way, had signs, etc so that was fun. About mile six I felt a blister forming on the inside of my arch of my left foot, from that point on, every step was painful, but I was too happy at that point to let it bother me! This was a looped course so about mile 7.5 is when the leaders started coming back the other way. The sun started beating down, the temps rose, and with no clouds and trees I was starting to get hot. About mile 8 I started looking for Bobby, because I was about a mile from the turn around and I figured he was around somewhere. Sure enough, within a couple minutes I passed him, and I yelled out that I loved him and kept on my way. I wanted him to see me smiling and having a good time even though my blister was starting to kill!

Mile 9

I hit the turnaround, and told myself now I just have to get back to the car and I am done haha! I was headed in the direction of the finish which always makes me feel better! They were handing out GU’s here, so I took one and felt a little bit better. I powered though, still hitting 10 min miles, but I was starting to chafe under my arms, I could feel my blister with every step, and my legs were starting to ache. But, no worries, I was on pace to run a 2:15, so I was happy!

Mile 10-12

This is where it all fell apart! All of the sudden, it felt like my butt was going to fall off onto the pavement. My legs were screaming at me to stop, and my nose was all clogged so I couldn’t get a deep breath. I was very aware of every pain, every step, I was mentally losing it. By this point in the race, it had thinned out a lot, and I was literally by myself. No one for a good 300 yards ahead of me, and no one right behind me or passing me. I was alone. In the brutal sun. With my own thoughts. No one to motivate me, encourage me, tell me to keep going. I could walk, and no one would even know, right? SEVERAL times tears welled up in my eyes and I had to fight them back. I refused to be that girl who let it get to her. I could do this….No, I can’t, I need to stop…no, I can’t stop, I may not start again. Crap, my pace has slowed to 12:00…but I can’t go any faster.

I. was. crushed. I was angry. My body had betrayed me. It was giving up, and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I wanted to be done, I wanted to stop, I wanted to cry. These three miles were the most mentally tough thing I have ever gone through in my life. I knew I had blown the chance of running a 2:15, but I could still PR if I pushed it. Pushed what? I had nothing left. I tried not to think about it, but I kept checking my Garmin…it was going so slow! I started thinking about how running is SUCH a mental sport! I KNEW if I told my legs to run, they would, one would keep going in front of the other. But convincing my brain of that was a different story. Then, I remembered that this course was long. over 2 tenths of a mile to be exact. Crap. So when I “should” be done, I really won’t. This did not help matters.  I just kept praying that I could finish the race, and that it would be over and I would survive! I finally made it to mile 12, and turned a corner to the straightaway and saw it. A hill. CRAP! I was having a hard enough time running on flat ground let alone a hill! I ran walked it, and made it to the busiest intersection in town. Remember, I am all by myself. They had cops telling cars when to go, turn, etc. and I saw up ahead the cop was telling cars to turn left across in front of me. When he saw me coming, he told them to stop. Well…this one woman blaring he rap music with her windows down obviously didn’t care about running me down, so she kept going. The cop starts yelling LADY STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING! and running towards me. I stop dead in my tracks, and YELL through her window WHAT ARE YOU DOING WOMAN!!! LOL! I was so tired, angry, and frustrated. I started up again thinking I am going to get run over in this intersection!

Mile 13 to end

My garmin beeped saying I hit mile 13, but the mile  marker was a ways away. UG! I turned the corner, hit the mile marker and could see the finish line. I thought to myself, “the faster you run the sooner you can stop!” So I started sprinting as hard as I could, giving it everything I had. I saw Bobby cheering for me, I kicked it into high gear. Where was this a mile ago when I thought I would die? I saw the clock and that I was going to PR. I was so happy! I crossed the line, was given water, a cold cloth, and my medal, and Bobby came over and I could barely stand up. I had to settle down and drink some water before I could go get anything to eat. I had run a 2:24:57 half, and Bobby PR’ed too, he ran a 2:02! He apparently almost threw up when he finished, so I didn’t feel so bad about how awful I felt. I came in 19th in my division and 144th overall (about 550 people ran the half I think) We sat for a minute in some shade behind a car, and then got a free smoothie sample, some Powerade, Honey Milk, a banana, and they had Chic-Fil-A sandwiches!

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They had the results up really quick, I was really impressed with the whole end of the race experience for our little hometown!

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Where they had some of the ffooddd

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We sat for a few minutes, just hanging out watching people, then decided it was time to go! I felt SO BAD for the people running the full marathon, they had to go back and do the same loop again, and it was starting to get REALLY hot out. Oh, by the way, only a few minutes after I finished, the first full marathoner finished. Ya….

Here are some pics I took of us trying to get out of the parking lot!

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They had guys riding bikes all along the course making sure everyone was safe

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I told Bobby today is the day to rob a bank, all the cops were out! They even had some soldiers in full uniform at some of the turns helping direct traffic.

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We did it!

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Looking at my medal.

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We made it home and took more pictures with no annoying sun on our faces.

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In addition to the tech shirts we got at packet pickup, we got these cute finisher t shirts for free!

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We got home, and while I was busy unpacking everything, Bobby did this.

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While Bobby was uh….recovering, I decided to assess the damage. HUGE blister and chafing on the inside of my heel

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I had bloody toes on both feet, like in my 2nd to smallest toe. (I know I need to repaint them, but I think some may fall off!)

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Chafing under both arms. Weird, on one arm it was on the front side of my underarm, and one on the back side!

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We took showers and naps. I could only sleep about 15 minutes, but Bobby slept 3 hours before I woke him up! He probably would have slept longer!

I feel ok right now except the outside of my right knee kills! I am just glad it didn’t hurt during the race. I am sure we will hurt tomorrow!

I know this was really long, thanks for following along. Since this race was SO hard for me, I am that much more proud of myself and my husband! We rocked it!

 

QOTD: Have you ever had to be mentally tough to get through something?

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