The week before the half marathon was good. We had a great 6 mile run on Saturday, and I had managed to get in three good runs during the week, each one ranging from 2.5 to 3 miles. I was still nervous, but I was feeling better about it. We had packet pick up, and then I really started to get excited. Paula wasn't with us, but we managed to get a group picture anyway.
|Me, Paula (on the phone) and Kelly|
The day before, I followed Coach Ric's nutrition plan as closely as I could, and before I knew it, it was time to go to sleep and get ready for race morning.
Paula picked us up, and we drove to Galveston. The weather was all ready better than last year. Last year was freezing, raining, and the winds were over 20 mph. This year was a cool 60 degrees with clouds promising to keep the sun away.
We met up with our fellow Road Runners before the start, and I stretched as best I could with all the excitement in the air. My IT band was making its presence known, but it wasn't any worse than it's been in the past, so I knew it wouldn't be a problem. At least I hoped it wouldn't.
The gun went off, and we were on our way. We made our way to the sea wall, and I honestly don't know if there could have been a more perfect day to go for a run. The temperature was great, the breeze coming off of the gulf was heavenly, and the sun was starting to make it presence known. We were hitting mile 2 when the lead runner was on his way back and at mile 4. It's always amazing to see the elite , and it's a benefit of being a slow runner-we are always still on the track forward when they've already made the loop. =)
When we made the loop and came back to the seawall, we were really having fun. We started singing and laughing and just took in the view. Kelly was feeling really good, and we starting ribbing her about lacing her Gatorade chews with something. I had Skittles and M & M's in my pack, and Paula had Gatorade chews, but they weren't having the same effect on us as Kelly's were.
|Mile 4. Pictures don't do the scene justice.|
|Our awesome Road Runner family!|
|Me at mile 7!|
So, I told Kelly and Paula I would run ahead to one of the potties as to not slow us down. So I did. I ran ahead. And I ran. And I ran. And there were no potties!! WTH?? It wasn't until about mile 9.5 or 10 that we found one! And by then, I knew that stopping was going to mess with my rhythm. But, what are you gonna do?
So, we keep going. Paula's foot was starting to bother her, but she still looked strong. It was around this time that we noticed two ladies. We had been around each other all throughout the race, but they caught up to us when I had to stop for the potty. One of them seemed to be struggling. Kelly worried about her, and she decided that if we caught up to them again, she would offer them a Gatorade chew. The sun was trying its best to peek through the clouds, and I could feel the first beads of sweat getting into my eyes.
At mile 11, we saw our pit crew again. They truly gave us the extra bounce that we needed! They had ice towels and ice water for us. As I grabbed an ice towel and draped it over my head, I swear the Angels starting singing!
As we continued on, we kept encouraging each other. We stayed as steady as we could. We passed our last water stop, and before we knew it, we only had one mile to go. We made our last turn, and in the far distance, you could see the finish line.
We were on a walking interval when the pain in my knee started shooting like fireworks into my upper thigh. I couldn't continue to walk, or I wouldn't make it. I had had visions of us crossing that finish line with our hands joined and our arms raised in victory. But I could no longer do the intervals.
I makes no sense to me that I can run with less pain than walking, but that's the way it was. I ran, and I reached those girls that Kelly was worried about. When I reached them the first time, I saw one of them look toward me and she said, "Let's go!" They started running, and within seconds they started to walk again.
So I passed them up. And I heard one of them say, "Well, it's only one of them."
I didn't have time to really process that, and I just kept running. When we got within a couple of blocks from the finish line, I heard them coming from behind me. We were side by side running toward the finish line, and all I could think was that she was going to be in my pictures and ruin them.
You could hear the crowd, and I heard someone say, "You have 30 seconds!"
Well I don't know what was going to happen in 30 seconds, but I knew I had to step it up and finish in 30 seconds. So I gave it my all and ran as fast as I could. And I saw that girl look toward me and then she stepped it up and ran faster. As she waved to her friends cheering her on, she fell back a bit. But then she realized I was ahead of her and she ran faster to beat me. And she did. And she is in all of my finish line pictures.
Although I am smiling in my finish line pictures, I wouldn't have been. I was so focused on finishing that I didn't even really hear my friends calling out my name. But then I heard someone screaming, "Smile! There are cameras! Smile!" So I started smiling for my pictures, although I didn't look up. And there is a random girl beside me.
I thought it was funny. In no way did I ever think I would be someones competition. That we, Half Marathon Group A, would be a threat to someone in a race. Gotta love that twist!
I saw my husband right away, and my little one ran up to me and gave me a hug. I turned around quickly because I heard Kelly's name being called out as she was about to cross the finish line. Paula was right behind, and they gave Kelly the medal to put around her neck.
We did it! Our amazing friends were there to congratulate us. And then, again, going above and beyond, they had chocolate milk, nice and cold and ready for us. I wish I could express how much it meant to us that they were there.
Kelly and I and our families were going to head back to the sea wall for lunch, but we opted for a spot on The Strand, right by the post-race party. It was a beautiful day, and we had much to celebrate.
And celebrate we did!
I was disappointed that we didn't beat last year's time. In fact, my time was 50 seconds slower. But I really can't complain. Other than my pain in my leg, I felt pretty good. Maybe not like I could have keep running, but definitely like there is another half in my future.