We did it! We are officially half-marathoners. I can't believe it...we signed up for this race back in September I believe, and have trained our booties off since then for this race. I totaled up my mileage from when my training officially began in November and realized I've run nearly 300 miles in preparation for this race! I'm so thankful the Lord has seen us through without any injuries. There were times when all I wanted to do was throw in the towel, because let's face it, it's a lot easier to quit than to push through the discomfort. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." It is only because He has created our bodies so unique and beautifully that we are able to do things like run for 13 miles straight.
The party started yesterday, when I forced bottle after bottle of water down Billy's and my throats. I was so full of water I hardly had room to eat the spaghetti dinner we had at our friends David and Rachael's house along with our Pastor Kevin, who was also a first time runner. We attended a "carbo load" party, complete with spaghetti, garlic bread, and my own maple sweet potatoes. I told Billy it was pretty funny that people are always talking about cutting out carbs and going on low-carb diets, and there we were headed to a carb fest!
After dinner, I got in bed by 10:15 but wasn't able to fall asleep until close to 10:45 due to nerves and excitement. My alarm went off at an hour that should never be seen by anyone on a clock: 4:20. I anticipated hitting the snooze button a million times, but rather shot out of bed and made a breakfast of a small bagel with PB and a banana on top, as well as a cup of coffee. Around 5 I woke Billy up (he stayed in our guest room due to the early morning), and we were out the door before 6. It took us a good half hour before we parked--traffic was already piling up and roads were closing. The race was due to start at 7, so we lined up by the bathrooms to go one last time along with everyone else in the world. As I was opening the door of my port-a-potty to come out, I see a girl, about my age, run full speed smack into my opened door. She had been running (either to warm up or just to get to the start of the race) right in front of the line of port-a-potties, and my door happened to open just as she happened to be sprinting by. I was in absolute shock as I watched her fall to the ground off the curb. I just stood there with my hands over my mouth, feeling so confused and so horrible. The girl started sobbing crying, which made me feel better because at least she wasn't knocked out, and her mom or whoever was with her rushed her off to the medics. I tried to talk to the girl or her mom, trying to apologize or be of some help, but they completely ignored me (not that I blamed them; the girl's head was a little more important here) and walked off. I should mention that as they were walking off, they still walked in front of the line of port-a-potties and the girl almost walked into another opening door and had to dodge out of the way. Had she been running, she would have for sure hit it again. Lesson learned: be mindful of any opening doors, whether it be a port-a-potty, a car, or what have you. Billy came out to find me crying and really upset, but honestly there was nothing we could do. I can't feel guilty because it wasn't my fault; it's unfortunate that she got hurt and I pray to God she's okay.
After that rocky start, we finally started our run. Man was it crowded! It took us a good 10 minutes almost to get across the start line, and then from there to weave around people until we found a good pace. The pace we held was comfortably hard. Miles 1 through 7 flew by and I have no recollection of any of my thoughts, other than I can't believe we're doing this and I can't believe it actually feels pretty darn easy! Unfortunately, around miles 7 to 9, Billy was plagued with a horrible cramp that wouldn't subside. I know he was really frustrated and did not want to stop, but he was in pain and I made us pull off to the side for a while to walk and for him to stretch it out. We really slowed our pace for those 2 miles, and they were not very fun. I couldn't enjoy the run knowing that he was hurting. He started feeling a little better around mile 9, so we picked it up to a moderate pace for miles 9 through 12, stopping at a few Gatorade stops (God bless em, the Gatorade was like cups of heaven). It was so great to have the entire run lined with people cheering us on. Around mile 9 to the end I spotted my dear friend and ex-boss Jennifer on her bike; she's a runner but decided to not run this year in order to cheer on her friends! She cheered like crazy and took tons of pics; hopefully she'll send them to me and I can post them here. Towards the end of the race, around mile 12, I told Billy I was going to just take off and see what happened. I sprinted so hard that I swear I've never put so much physical or mental effort into anything till I hit the end. My body felt numb; my lungs were burning; I was grunting and huffing and puffing and crying out of happiness, pain, and sheer overwhelment (is that even a word?). Nothing felt better than crossing the finish line! I quickly turned around and scanned the crowds for my friends and Billy, who crossed the line a mere 2 minutes after me, cramp and everything. After reuniting, we tried to get into the crowds to look for our friends, but were shuffled off to the massive heated tent on the beach, where we got a quick snack and then had to walk a few blocks down the beach till we were allowed to exit onto the boardwalk. We searched up and down, but couldn't find any of our friends! After a while we decided to give up and head home; I found out later that all our friends were in the same spots we had been, looking for us. I'm so super bummed we missed each other, but want to thank all of my lovely friends for taking the time out and waking up early on a weekend to come cheer us on. It means more than I can say!
My official end time was 2:17:46, and Billy's was 2:19:47. Currently, it hurts to move at all. I definitely strained a little something in my right achilles tendon, and my left anterior tib feels wrongly sore. Yikes! We immediately hopped in the hot tub, then I napped for a good long while. Oh, and been slowly eating throughout the day to make up for the over 1,300 calorie deficit.
I plan on resting until my body feels back to normal. I hope to get back into yoga like I was a few weeks ago; I could use a good stretch. Then, it's back to training for my next half on April 18th! I can hardly wait:)
Thank you to everyone for your support, prayers, and encouragement. We love you!