We started this journey a little over a year ago with the Couch to 5k program. John has always been a runner and was able to jump in a little easier than me. We ran our first 5k together on Jan 1. That was the first time I had ever run 3 miles without stopping, and man, I thought that was big news. After watching Matt and Ruth run the Half/Full in Nashville in March, I knew I wanted to run it. John immediately signed us up for Savannah in Nov. It was ON like donkey kong.
Our training began and I can't lie and say there weren't multiple "No way I can do this" moments. It was tough, very tough. Having never been a runner before, every step was new, different and harder than the one previous. I had knee and IT Band issues which mentally and physically wore me down. John ran in law school so he was our super cheerleader and a "been there before runner". Thank God for that man.
Soon we ran a 10k in August, and were deep in our final 12 weeks ramping up to race day. Our final long run, 11 miles, was a doozy...but we did it and we knew we were ready for the half. We are so thankful for good friends and neighbors and family who often drank their morning coffee with our kids. No way we could have done this without them.
Savannah arrived and we were in a constant state of tummy flurries and excitement and a little "what the HELL are we doing!?" moments. The expo was great, got swag, bibs and just breathed in the awesomeness that is race weekend. Some friends of ours were running the race (also first time half marathoners) so we got to chat out our nervous energy the night before!
Finally race morning. Not much sleep was had but we were ready! Geared up and walking to the start with our friends was exciting as runners came out from every shadow and doorway making their way to the start. We were in corral 17 and surprisingly we got to the start line only about 26 min after the first gun blast went off.
For me, the first 6-7 miles were great. Bands, cheers from spectators and excitement from the runners around us carried us through. I was a couple paces ahead of John for those miles but then I hit a wall. Right after mile 7. I couldn't believe it, I still had SIX more miles to go and I was hurting. My hips were screaming at me but thankfully my knee was holding up. John and I were pacing each other then and thank God for the lady holding the "You are an inspiration for your kids" sign because that carried me for the next couple miles.
|Left: Happy! Right: Not so happy.|
At some point we hit mile 11 and I was done. With a capital D. I was hurting, I was sweating, breathing hard and just ready to be finished. Looking back at my Nike +, I never slowed down more than about 10 seconds per mile, which was quite surprising. We never walked during the water stations either, for some reason, just knew that would be harder for me to stop/start.
Finally, John turns back to me and says, "Take your headphones out baby, we are almost done. Take it in!". I finally looked around and realized I could see the 13 mile kick turn to the finish. We were almost done. Tears started down my cheeks, we did it. We were about to cross that finish line. With a raise of our arms, we had the finish in our sights.
After the above picture was taken, I broke down sobbing. Some from pain but mostly from joy. From personal accomplishment. From pride in myself. I did it. We did it. WE RAN A HALF MARATHON.
And you know what? We're going to do it again. Looking at you Gasparilla in Tampa, or you Tom King in Nashville and already going to take you on Sprint Triathalon in Mexico Beach.
We've changed our lives and it is awesome.