I did it!!
I completed my first HALF-MARATHON!!
Here’s the play-by-play:
I woke up at the butt-crack of before dawn, and went to pick up my running bestie, Sarah (who ran her SECOND Half today!). We got up to Akron early because 1. We didn’t know exactly where we were going and 2. We wanted to beat the crowd because there were over 7000 (!!!) runners running the Akron Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Relay.
I was a bundle of nerves when I woke up and was having MAJOR heart palpitations…but by the time we got to the starting line, I was pretty calm.
On my way to pick up Sarah, I had to give myself a little pep talk in the car. I told myself that it doesn’t matter how fast I go. Today I was going to accomplish one of my dreams and my time didn’t matter. I also had to remind myself to not get caught up in the hype of the starting line and try to pace myself with anyone. The last time I did that at the Hall of Fame City Challenge 10k, I ended up sabotaging myself by mile 2 and it nearly killed me. I told myself that I wasn’t doing this for anyone else, but myself and I was the only person that I needed to worry about.
That seemed to work because when they let our corral (C) go, I just turned up my music and just told myself that I was going on another run. It totally helped. I just let myself run and I didn’t worry about anyone else around me. I just did my thing and it felt great.
I kept up with my running intervals pretty well through out the race. I even PR’d my 5k and 10k times by a full minute each! I ran up and down every hill and made sure I took the water and powerade at every single stop and I even tried GU for the first time (vanilla flavored…wasn’t too shabby). Then right between mile 8 and 9 I hit a wall. My ankles were screaming at me and my was hurting pretty bad too. I had been keeping pretty good time for me (about a 12:30 pace) and then I had to start walking more. I walked most of miles 10-12 killing my pace time, but I had to keep trucking along because my time didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to finish. I just wanted my damn medal! (and to sit down!)
I did have a great moment between mile 11 and 12 when I was crossing over the “Y” bridge (if you were from Akron, you’d know where I was talking about). I was coming down one side, while the racers on mile 12 were coming back up the other side. I knew my running bestie, Sarah, was probably about a 1 to 1.25 miles ahead of me. I looked up and across the bridge and I saw her running towards me. And as we passed each other, we gave each other a high five. That really gave me the motivation to keep going. She texted me throughout the entire race to help me keep pushing through. I don’t know if I would have made it without her.
It was so awesome to see all the spectators throughout the course, holding up signs and cheering everyone on. I have never been apart of such a big race and yes, there have been spectators, but never this many. I was really blown away by all the people that were in Canal Stadium cheering the racers on as the crossed the finish line.
What really helped me through were some of the songs I put on my playlist. I picked a few songs that made me think of important people in my life and how they would help me through this race.
I picked the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles because it makes me think of my mom because of her, I choose to be brave and do the things I do between taking care of my son, furthering my education to get my nursing degree, and to be brave enough to start running and complete something so great as my first half-marathon.
Another song I picked was “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy. This song always makes me think of Sarah because we dance to it in Zumba and it’s one of my (and I think hers too) favorite dances we do. And Sarah is also one of my big inspirations when I run. She has come so far from when she started and I am so proud of her and I hope to be as great as she is some day.
One song I picked, may sound odd, but it really helped me keep going (and also almost made me cry during the race). “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. I picked this song for my Grandma who passed away when I was 15 years old. It was her favorite song and it is so special to me and it seem to come on my iPod at the EXACT time I needed to hear it. It made me think that she was looking down on me today during the race and I know she would have been proud of me today.
I picked “You’ll Be in My Heart” by Phil Collins because that is my son dedicated to my 6 (almost 7) year old son, Antonio. I used to sing it to him all the time when he was a baby and a toddler. It started playing right before mile 13 and it nearly brought tears to my eyes because he is one of my main inspirations as I run.
This journey to complete my first half marathon has been a very fulfilling one for me. At the beginning of the year when I decided to start running again, I never thought I would be completing a half-marathon. That was always a thought I had in the back of my mind for way down the road. I didn’t think I would be able to do it this year, but I did. And it feels great (other than my aching back and ankles).
I am so glad that I made the decision back in May to sign up for this race. It has been the best thing I have ever done. It was hard, but it was so worth it. I cannot wait until I do another one…though it’s going to be a little while before that happens. I am signed up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half-Marathon in April of next year…that will probably be my next one. Until then, I have a few more races (a few 5ks and a 10k). And I plan on stepping up my game on my training. There are few things that I need to work on that I didn’t do for this one (like strengthening my ankles more).
What a great day!!
Now I need to go ice my feet 😉
I’m a Half-Marathoner!!