Saturday we woke up for some FaceTiming with sweet Harper Lily. She felt the need to show us her crackers in her mouth. She has so much personality and oh so cute. We got dressed and went out for a quick walk in the neighborhood behind her apartment.
We ran some errands, picked up our race bibs and then went back to the apartment to get ready while watching football in order to go to the Greek Festival. It was a smaller festival focused mainly on food and the food was so good. They made a gravy to put over the rice. It was my favorite out of everything and so I asked the lady who was serving on how to make it. She was pretty vague but I found some recipes on the Internet that I think are what she was trying to explain.
Naps, water and carbs were in the picture the rest of the evening. At BJ's Brewhouse we had the "pleasure" of sitting next to a guy who was from Louisiana but cheered for Alabama. He said "Roll Tide" a minimum of a million times while we there. We couldn't take it anymore so we left to watch the rest of the game at home. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to sleep but I had a really good nights sleep. Start time for the half was 8:00am. We wanted to leave by 6:45 to give us plenty of time. I was a ball of nerves not knowing if I had trained properly, how my body would handle it all, etc. We got there with plenty of time. We stretched, drank some water, talked with some other runners and of course a selfie.
They introduced a guy who had just started running the beginning of the year and had lost like 50+ lbs. They surprised him by getting his mom here from Aberdeen, Scotland. It was the sweetest thing. They hugged and they cried. I may have teared up as well. We learned a little more of their story because we ran a bit in the middle of the race with his mom. She had arthritis and was carrying 60 extra lbs. So two years ago she started running. They were the sweetest people. Unfortunately for her son his knee gave out and we passed him walking at the 8 or 9 mile mark. When he had passed us before we got to the turn around, he was very encouraging to us as we're a lot of the other runners. I love the atmosphere of a race and the way everyone pushes each other along. Some of my best runs are at busier parks because I race other runners there even though they don't know I'm racing them. I guess it's the competiveness in me no matter what I'm doing.
Having support from friends and family throughout the weekend helped as well. My phone went off several times throughout the race and we were happy and motivated to push through because of all of those cheering us on from different places across the country.
Before we knew it was time to line up. There weren't any corrals because it wasn't that huge of a race. The countdown began and we were off.
I knew I had to pull my pace back from where I was in my training runs cause I didn't want to gas out at the end. We started a little faster with all the other runners and then pulled back. We kept a nice pace through out, walked for the few seconds at the water stations and had fun when there were guys to take pictures.
The first half we felt good and after the first and second mile my legs were on auto pilot. Once we were close to the turn around I felt a little tired but not too bad. A couple shot blocks and I was good. I made sure to alternate Gatorade and water at the stations. They also had orange slices and bananas which helped cause I started to get hungry at points even though I had eaten breakfast. I just kept telling myself there are fajitas and beer at the end. I really felt good through the whole thing and when the finish line was in sight I pushed the turbo button and took off. We finished at 2 hours and 51 minutes and very proud of ourselves. We sat on a curb, drank some water, watched as other runners came through and still in shock that we had done it.
The race was very well organized and it was the perfect race to be our first half. The race had very few hills and was flat with lots to look at through out the course. The finishers medal was a belt buckle which I thought was a neat change from a regular medal. (I've only got a medal from one other race so it's not like I have tons) I'm ready to start training for our next race, which we plan to do in February. Most people finished around the 2 and a half mark and so my goal for the next race is obviously to beat this race's time but also get as close to 2:30:00 mark as I can.
Running for me is not all rainbows, skittles and cotton candy. There are days I hate it. There are days I love it. My body is getting use to it. I had aches, tightness and pain Sunday evening and on Monday but again not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The mini massage at the race expo afterwards probably helped. I still can't believe I did it and smile or get this feeling when I see the sticker on the back of my car. When I started running at the beginning of the year the most I thought I would do was a 10K. A 5K felt like an acheiment to finish and now three miles is a walk in the park. I don't have a desire to do a marathon...for now. I'm just going to focus on my goal of two half marathons for next year. Anyone can be a runner because it's just you and the road. You don't need fancy equipment. You just need the desire. It truly is mind over body and once you figure that out, it's not that daunting.