I’m A Finisher!

This weekend I did something I never thought I’d do. A few years ago, I never would have been capable of this. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to try. Eff that shit! I’m a half-marathon runner now! How things change!

My sisters and I decided in November to run the 2016 Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. This race is huge, like 30,000 people. If you haven’t read my updates from before, I suffered a stress fracture at the end of February. It derailed my training until the first week of April. I went into this half feeling nervous, unprepared, and afraid of the hills.

We arrived on Friday night, and my sisters and I hung out and talked, and tried to calm our nerves. We ate a huge carby meal of spaghetti with meatballs then went to bed. When we woke up in the morning, we discovered the rain threat we were worried about the day before was gone. All our weather apps said it was cloudy with 0% chance of rain.

So how come there was rain when we arrived at the race?

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I have a tendency to make my eyes huge and crazy when I smile big for pictures!

I wasn’t so nervous at this point. It also helped that I kept getting texts saying the race was delayed because of “weather conditions.” I never heard the thunder, but apparently it was in the vicinity. So, we all waited.

And then we made our way to our corrals. When we got to the drop off point for my sisters, corral 25, Allison started crying. She was so emotional. There were like 30,000 people, and the first few corrals had already started by the time we arrived to ours. Plus, before you run a half your heart is beating fast and your stomach is in your throat. You have about a million emotions coursing through you. Kelsey, Allison and I hugged. I’m so happy I decided to do this with my sisters. It has brought us so much closer over the last year. What an amazing accomplishment to achieve together. I’ll remember this moment for the rest of my life.

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Then I walked my butt back to the 2:50 time at corral 35. I’d decided to start further back, because I was worried about my foot. And at the corral, I met a lovely girl to run with part of the time. And hung out with 20,000ish people.

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We slowly made our way forward to the start line. My heart beat fast. I was scared, but also psyched, because I knew that after a few hours of running I’d be a half-marathon runner, and it would be over. Plus there were tacos and beer after the finish line, and then an awesome party at Paige’s house. I wanted to run for the beer! (We ate at Mas Tacos afterwards — if you’re in Nashville check it out. Delish!)

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My corral is next!

Then the run started. And let me tell you. It was HARD. Hills for days. And Montgomery doesn’t have many hills or hills so high and long. My parents parked at almost mile 3 and then coming back they were at almost mile 8. And when I saw them the first time the thing that flew out of my mouth was, “This is so hard!” My mom worried about me after that. But I kept going. The hardest part seemed to be finding my stride. There were so many people, I had to weave around a lot, and my breathing was off because of the humidity that set in after the rain started. I did okay for the first 6 miles, keeping my min/miles below 12, but after 6 I had to start walk/running a lot. At mile 7, I stopped and hugged my dad and told him my hip hurt, and that it was hard, and I felt like crying. But his hug gave me energy, and I took off for a few more minutes, until the next hill showed up.

The worst part of the whole race was the hill at mile 12.5. I mean, who does that? But I snapped this great picture of one of the signs The signs were hilarious! There was one that said WTF (Where’s the Finish?). And the Trump signs too: Run Like Trump is President and If Trump Can Run, Then So Can You! (I wish I’d snapped pictures of those!)

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Even the marathon runners hated THAT hill. On the hill, my friend of a lifetime, Andrea sat with her husband, so I pushed up and past her and then yelled back to her, “I had to run past you, but now I’m going to walk!” And we both laughed.

Then coming to mile 13, we had a downhill, and all I could think about was the beer I’d get to drink in just a few minutes and why there had to be a stupid .1 tacked onto a half-marathon. I thought I’d cry going over the finish line, but I didn’t. I felt euphoric. And the runner’s high didn’t wear off all day. I finished in 2:50:34 according to their clocks. (That included a potty break that Runkeeper timed as 1.5 minutes). And Runkeeper stated I ran 13.82 miles in 2:48. This is because I didn’t run the tangents, and the weaving adds mileage to your run, so no 13.1 is actually 13.1 unless you’re a pro at running tangents. In this race it would have been impossible, with all the walkers and the runners. It was so crowded.

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My proudest achievement

Overall, this was a great experience. And the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. To run a half-marathon you have to have perseverance and fortitude. And for me, it helped that I had my sisters and my parents support along the way. I couldn’t wait to have my beer, hug my sisters, and tell them how proud I was of them! What an amazing achievement. If you’re thinking of running a half, go for it! Maybe start with a flatter half, but the Nashville half was super fun and I’d recommend it!

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My sisters and I enjoying a beer after the run

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