Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My First Half Marathon!!

My motivation for running, these two handsome men. My family! 
On October 31, 2012, my life was blessed with a sweet little baby boy! I had started running in my second trimester about 1-2 miles each day. It really helped me with all the aches and pains that come along with pregnancy. I had some friends concerned about running while pregnant but my response always was "It's not like I'm preparing for a marathon!" But now I actually am preparing for a marathon!

Who would have thought that I would be training for a marathon? Not me! When Jacob was a month old, I started running again. By January, I was doing distance and signed up for a 10K (6.25 miles).  I had only been running long distance for six weeks at the time of my first race. After crossing the finish line, I couldn't imagine doing a half marathon. Double of what I just finished! No way!

After my race, I felt so accomplished that I started taking it a little too easy. I didn't have any motivation to get out and run distance. I would run, but without motivation it was hard. Then I heard someone say, "You need to always have a goal to be working towards when running." So, I signed up for a half marathon in September.
That should motivate me! But it was only February and the race was in September. Seven months away! Ahh not motivating enough! September was so far away!
I needed another goal...
In April, I set a goal to run 100 miles for the month. Which was really motivating since it was already the middle of the month. That meant, I needed to get movin'!
I hit my goal at 101 miles. Rain, snow, sleet, nothing would stop me now! Then my husband had a crazy idea! He suggested I switch from doing the half marathon to the full. What?! He crazy. Did he realize that was 26.2 miles?!

So what did I do?

I registered for my first full marathon... Yikes! Did I just do that? No turning back now. ( No refunds allowed.) Akron Marathon here I come! 

I was itching to run another race. I started looking for a half marathon to run some time in the summer that coincided with our traveling. I came up with--- nothing! Then as we were planning a completely spur of the moment family reunion to Branson, Missouri, my little eyes spotted something. (Okay my husband pointed it out.)

A half marathon only eight miles from where we would be staying!

As an added bonus, a Baptist church was putting the race on to raise money for their youth group to take a missions trip. And as a double bonus, I called to ask if they gave missionaries a discount on their race, and she graciously gave me the price for the 5K instead of the half. (Thank you, Dave Ramsey!)

*Week of the Race*

The week of the taper was upon me. My favorite week! ( Tapering is a week of rest and easy runs. It helps to rebuild muscle tissue so your body is ready to be pushed on race day.) I had run the distance of a half once and done a couple 11 mile days so I felt pretty good about the distance! I was hoping to run in 2:08 minutes.

Friday came, and I got everything ready, clothes, shoes, water pack, fig newtons and a pack of peanut butter crackers. (Crackers to settle my stomach before the race and fig newtons for energy. My stomach can't handle the GU chews or other energy packs.) I pillowed my head and hoped for a good nights sleep (pending on my son sleeping through the night.)

Off went my alarm at 5:30am, and up I went...at 6:00am!

I hopped in the shower and yes, did my makeup. James was confused why I would shower before the race and do my makeup. Pretty smelling girls run faster, it's a fact. My brother and his wife had gotten up to wish me good luck. I felt so special they would get up just for me!  (And by "up" I mean lying on the couch barely moving! But still so sweet! )
The race started at 7am at the Table Rock Lake. Everyone was starting at the same start point at the race. There was a 5K and a kids one mile fun run. I was a little skeptical of everyone starting at the same point and then running into the trail all at once but it worked out just fine.
We all lined up at the start, and the Pastor came and prayed with us.
And finally the count down started and we were off!
Ready to go! 

The kids were running with all their might! Sprinting towards the trail. And about a quarter mile in, they started panting and trying hard to catch their breath.
Hehee- cute kids.

I was working on pacing myself so I wouldn't tire out too soon and then I would be able to push myself at the end. We had to do 3 loops of 4.37 miles. At the half mile marker for the kids run I noticed I had forgotten to turn on my GPS. Oops!
On went my GPS. I thought to myself, since I won't know exactly how far I've gone that will be good to help me to keep my mind on running and not miles.

Then a little rain drop fell from the sky. It didn't take long for that little drop to be followed by a down pour of rain!  I'm running in the rain, I'm running in the rain, what a glorious feeling...
I was really energized by the rain and was ready to finish the next 12 miles in it!
Then after about five minutes, the rain completely stopped. Not a single drop. We were all completely drenched! (Guess James was right, no need to shower before the race!)

During my training, I had practiced running distance with taking a small walk break to refuel. However, at the pace I was going, I didn't want to stop too soon. I told myself I would stop at about the halfway point. But halfway turned into 8.5 miles and I forced myself to walk. My body felt like it was ready to shut down and I didn't want that, so off I went with only a thirty second break. At the turn around for the second loop, James was there with Jacob and he high fived me as I was running and cheered me on! Talk about sweet motivation! It was great to see his smiling face!
My family making it just in time to see me finish! 

My favorite part was the spirit of all the runners during the race. The other runners would cheer you on as they passed you (going the opposite direction) and say "Good job!" "Looking good!" So I decided to join in and cheer on the other runners as I passed them. Towards the end, the smile and encouraging word turned into more of a head nod and eye brow raise. We were all trying to conserve what was left of our energy! I also liked the face there were no mile markers, so mentally you could concentrate on finishing.

At ten miles, I starting to feel a little tired and thought of my twin sister. My heart hurt as I thought she was the only member of my family not going to be at the finish line. I began to pray for her and choke back tears. I decided to run that mile for her. She became my motivation at that point.

At the 11th mile, I walked for a minute and stretched along the way preparing to push myself for the last couple of miles!
Off I went!
Only two miles left to go.
As I came close to the finish line, I saw the time was at 1:59 and counting! I sprinted across the finish line in just under two hours!! And there was all of my family, standing there and cheering for me! ( I later found out they had all just pulled in minutes before I crossed. Ha! Nothing like last minute. :)

I made it! 

Finishing Time 1:59!!! Second in my age group

I later found out I took second in my age group 25-30. And placed about 31 out of 100 runners. Oh and did I mention I did it all in a skirt?! I know you're impressed!

What about you?! How's your running going? Are you working towards any goals? Get out there and run just one mile! Build a base and work your way up! And if you're already running keep it up! Stay tuned for my next post on My Two Cents on the 5K Color Runs!

What a great looking bunch of people!
(This is my whole family minus my twin sister. Mom is on the far left, my sister, Heather next to her hubby, Chet who's holding their cute son Noah. Then James holding Jacob, My dad behind him, My brother, David next to me with his beautiful wife, Charity on my right. And their awesome kids in front. Davey (left) Gracie, Anna, & Jon!