It is really indescribable to attempt to convey how life-changing running a half-marathon really is. I can still recall the day I signed up, and looking back, this journey has been truly transformative.
But, I think this photo does a little justice.
I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.
After Bridget (my running partner in crime) finished her LSAT, we set out for packet pickup and a seriously disappointing fitness expo. We grabbed our packets and our race shirts that look like they were created for pre-pubescent children. Perhaps I was a little eager with my projected weight loss when I signed up, but in no world of mine does this constitute a medium.
It is quite a shame because I really like the shirts and they are made of nice material. But no one, I repeat NO ONE, needs to see my stomach when I am running. After the expo we explored Albany a bit (which is gorgeous!), went to Fleet Feet for an important purchase (to be revealed later), and stopped in at a local grocery store that had a mecca of pumpkin goodies.
This mother of a pumpkin was sitting outside for customer’s to guess its weight. The winner receives a gift card. Based on my pumpkin expertise, I estimated its weight at 142.2 lbs and entered the raffle on behalf of Bridget. (You’re so welcome).
From there we returned home. I’m sure Bridget was beyond drained (she took the LSAT Saturday morning!) and so we kept the evening low-key by stretching, watching Elf (the greatest film of all time), and carbo-loading. God bless her sweet family for allowing me to cook myself dinner in her kitchen. It was so relaxing.
(Dinner: 1 cup whole wheat pasta, 1/4 cup white pasta, 1.5 heads of locally grown broccoli !!, mushrooms, tomato, 1 tbsp butter, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.)
This may not look like a lot of food, but I assure you I ate well this weekend. Saturday alone, I nearly finished off an entire loaf of pumpkin bread. It was mouth-wateringly delicious.
(Pre-race fuel: 2 large cups of coffee, 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, cinnamon, 1 large scoop of peanut butter, and a banana)
From there, Bridget and I each did our usual pre-run routine which called for lots of stretching, 2 glasses of water, and making sure I had everything for the race. Then, we were off.
(Don’t let that smile fool you, I was scared and freezing.)
I peed no less than 3 times in 30 minutes out of sheer nerves . Really, we just had to keep moving because our joints were stiffening in the morning chill. But before I could even think to complain about the cold it was go time!!I was glad to get moving so I could warm up. The following is my Beast’s record of my mile splits.
Let’ me break it down. When I started running, my toes were numb. By the end of the second mile, I shook off the cold and settled into a comfortable (albeit a bit fast) pace. I was eager to get the first few miles under my belt. Mile 5 was my pride and joy. I had no idea I was going that fast (I assume I zoned out to Hotel California) and I believe there was a downhill portion at this point. Regardless, it is under a 10 min/mile! Around the end of mile 6 I started to feel my hips tightening up. It was not an unfamiliar feeling, as I had experienced similar discomfort throughout training, so I knew I was not injured. As you can see, my mile splits began to slow a bit, but I pushed on. Until mile 10, the only time I walked was to take a shot block. I even ran through the water stops! At mile 10, people around me started walking. I did not. I knew I had it in me to keep going. It became mind over matter. I was in pain and my hips felt as if I was screwing nails into them, but I kept telling myself the only was to stop was to finish the race. I eased up on myself pace wise. It was all about pressing on, regardless of my time or speed.
A little before mile 13, I saw Bridget’s dad. That was when I pretty much lost it. I took out my headphones to listen to people cheering me on and I started crying. It just became overwhelming. I knew I was going to finish. Not only that, I was going to finish well under my (secret) goal time of 2hrs and 30 mins. I got a second wind when I saw her dad. I knew it was almost over and that I had one last sprint in me. So I went for it and ran around an 8 minute mile for the last 0.20 miles. I forgot to stop my Beast at the finish line, so my official time is somewhere around 2 hours and 21 mins. That puts me comfortably under an 11 min/mile.
The first person I saw upon crossing the finish line was my Smutha Mutha. She flew all the way from Arkansas to surprise me and show her support. If you thought I had lost it before, well lets just say I really lost it at that point. Not only was she there, but my former roommate and best friend at school also drove up to watch me cross the finish line. She also took the LSAT the day before, and I knew she was exhausted, so it meant the world to me that she made the trip.
Smutha Mutha, Bridget, and my roomie Jen are the 3 people who truly understand what I put into reaching that moment. The fact that they were all there for me was really one of the most touching things ever. I do not even know how to convey how thankful I am to have them in my life. That kind of unwavering support is rare and a true gift. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
The rest of the day was spent relishing in the accomplishment of such a feat. I neglected to capture nearly all of my post race fuel (which is probably a good thing because I ate a lot!), but I did manage to snag a picture of the one thing I truly wanted after the race. (Post-race meal #1 of 1000: greasy, greasy, greasy cheese pizza.)
I had planned on attending a blogger lunch meet-up with Jen (who also ran in an incredible time of just over 2 hrs!), but I needed time to re-bond with my Smutha Mutha. I’m sad we didn’t run into each other at some point during the day, but I am really proud of my bloggy friend!!
When we arrived back at Bridget’s, I did something I have been waiting to do for a long time. Since I remain carless for the next 2 months, I put my 13.1 sticker when I know people will see it…on my Macbook! Now that was a good feeling.
After a shower, a bagel, and a gallon of water, I said goodbye to Bridget and her parents and headed back to school. Smutha Mutha and I stopped no less than 4 times so I could pee and eat. I consumed an unpictured veggie egg white sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts out of sheer desperation.
Despite exhaustion quickly setting in, I knew I needed to keep moving so my legs didn’t stiffen up. So clearly our first stop was Wegman’s. Walking around the store actually helped negate a lot of soreness and I was able to stock up on groceries for the week. I even grabbed lunch for today from the hot bar.
(Panko crusted salmon, cinnamon acorn squash, mixed vegetables, and yellow rice.)
But if you know me at all, you know that my meal never made past 10PM.
After a very sad goodbye with Smutha Mutha (she is off to visit my sis!), I took a glorious hot shower and curled into bed with the new issue of Runner’s World. I read all of 3 pages before falling asleep with a huge smile on my face.
I just wanted to say thank you to every single person who commented, tweeted, called, emailed, and facebooked me well wishes. Your words of encouragement and support made this possible. I am truly grateful to have all of you in my life.
Until next time,