Well. We did it! We not only made it to the starting line of our first half marathon but we finished the entire thing and crossed the finish line still on our feet, smiles on our faces, holding hands Going into this race I had no idea what to expect. I had a lot of goals I wanted to achieve but wanted to approach it without pressure so I never voiced them. I just went out there, gave it my all and whatdoyaknow. I did it! And 12 minutes faster than my reach goal too!
Our alarms were set for 4am. After a 2am wakeup to snuggle and feed Jack I didn’t think I’d be able to get back to sleep. But I did. At 3:40am my eyes opened and I was wide awake. I turned over and kissed Bry and cuddled him “are you readddddddddddy?!” We got up, got dressed (thankfully we set everything out the night before so we could dress very quietly as to not disturb the baby). However, he sensed something was happened and when I passed his crib he opened his eyes, smiled at me and started kicking his legs in excitement. Poor baby thought it was morning. I kissed him on his forehead, gave him a bottle and painfully walked away to make breakfast. It was the hardest part of the morning.
We had our usual pre-run breakfast of powered up oatmeal. It was really hard to choke it down. A mixture of it being way too early in the morning and pre-race jitters probably. But I managed it. We left the house at about 4:30am. At the last minute the night before we decided to drive instead of metro to the race. I am so glad we did!
My favorite song came on the radio as soon as we turned on the car and I knew it was going to be a good day. It took us 30 minutes to drive the 10 miles to the garage I found near the race start. DC is a constantly moving city with never ending traffic. But at night, the city sleeps. Bry has never seen this part of the beautiful, historic city that is our Nation’s Capital and I was excited to show him why I love it so darn much. The monuments, White House and Capital are lit up and all is quiet in the city streets. I think he fell in love with it that morning He finally got to see my favorite part of living here, while we are here (which certainly won’t be forever). We parked by 5:15am and sat in the car talking.
At 6am we decided to head to our corral, walk a bit and hopefully catch the sunrise. We walked 6 blocked back and forth, used the port-a-potty and just people watched and talked. It was really nice but pretty darn cold. I was glad I brought my big mammoth heater with me You could see the Washington Monument from our corral and as the sun began to rise the sky took on a beautiful shade of blue. It made me so grateful for the ability to run in such a beautiful place.
At 7:30am the race officially began but since we were in corral 26 and there were 30,000 runners our corral didn’t begin until close to 8:30am. It was hard waiting that long and slowwwwwwwly making our way to the start line.
Once we were counted down, the gun went off and we ran. It was really frustrating in the beginning because there were a lot of runners and most were much slower than we were. We had to dodge people left and right. Somehow Bry and I never lost one another. He’d go one way, I’d go the other and we’d meet in the middle We ended up dodging and passing people the entire race but in the beginning it was the most difficult because everyone was so packed together.
At mile 2 I had to pee and it wasn’t going away so we pulled over and I waited for 10 minutes in a long line. Bry took the opportunity to stretch out his back and grab some water. 10 minutes later, we were back on the road and itching to pass the 2:45 pacer that ran past as we were detouring.
We passed him right before the 3 mile marker and by mile 4 we’d passed the 2:30 pacer as well. We never did find the 2:20 or 2:15 pacer.
We had trained running intervals (1 mile run, 4 minute walk, repeat) for all of our runs except 2-3 3 milers that we ran consistently for. For the race we had planned to race like we trained. Maybe it was the excitement in the air or the race jitters, but clearly that didn’t happen. We ran along, mile 1 ticked by, then mile 2. At mile 4 Bry asked what I was doing and I said “I dunno, I feel strong and don’t wanna stop” and he said “me too”. We agreed to speak up if one or the other of us needed a break.
By mile 6 I was still feeling extremely fresh and thought “maybe we’ll actually RUN the whole thing!” It’s amazing how much easier it is to run sans baby + baby accessories. There was a massive hill right after the 6 mile marker but we didn’t even walk on that! I just kept thinking “you’ve done bigger hills WITH 75+lbs of baby and accessories. You’ve got this!! It helped to have Bry right by my side. We ground it out together and made it to the top.
I took a Shot Blok at miles 4, 6 and 8 (before I felt I needed them and I think that helped a lot too—I had the energy all ready workin’ before I was past the point of needing it) and drank propel enhanced water from a water bottle I brought with me along the way (especially at the beginning of every hill and when I couldn’t find a water station). I took water at every water station but the first one (since I was too busy tinkling). I bypassed the Gaterade and GUs they were handing out along the course though in fear they’d ruin my sensitive tummy.
By mile 8 I was determined to make it to the finish without stopping. 5 miles?! I got this! There were sooo many amazing spectators that really helped pump us up. There were hilarious signs and tons of great energy. I loved running a Rock N Roll race because there was music every 2 or so miles. Neither Bry nor I run with music so it was fun to get to a new stage and hear some music as we passed. At the end of the race though the spectators thinned and the music disappeared. It contributed to making the last few miles a bit harder.
Miles 11 and 12 were soooooooooo slow. There was no music along this part of the course, no water and very little spectators. My knee was dying by mile 12 but there was no way we were stopping. I’d never run more than 11 miles in my life and mentally, I felt the wall come as soon as we passed the 11 mile marker. But I ignored it and kept on keeping on.
We passed mile 12 and mile 12.5 on my Garmin. Then we turned a corner and another huge hill awaited us. We kept going along and along and there were all these lines in the road. We couldn’t figure out which was was the END. My Garmin was already at 13.2 miles and I was ready to be done. Finally, we saw the finish line, grabbed each other’s hands, gave each other a big kiss and went off. Bry said “go as fast as you want” and so we did.
Just as quickly as it started, before we knew it, we were crossing the finish line of our very first half marathon having run the whole thing! Talk about a huge achievement. As soon as we stopped running my body decided to tell me just what it thought about my spur of the moment decision. It wasn’t happy. But I was Just very very sore. Honestly I can’t even remember most of the course. It feels like a blur. We just got into a groove and autopiloted.
I have to say that I couldn’t have done any of it without my husband. He’s seriously the best friend and training partner a girl could ask for. We started the race with a kiss, running side by side. We ran the entire 13.4 miles (.3 extra for passing people according to my Garmin) side by side, laughing, smiling and smacking each other’s bootays as encouragement. And 2:13:26 later, we finished holding hands. We even got our official splits and they’re IDENTICAL. How’s that for sticking together
I honestly wouldn’t have changed a thing about our training or the run we had. We kicked arse!
We crossed the finish line in 2:16:31 (our time for 13.1 miles was 2:13:26)
I redefined my impossible. I realized once again that I am stronger than I think. I pushed my body beyond my mental limits and succeeded! I couldn’t be happier! The best part? Sharing the amazing experience with my incredible husband. He’s been my partner in every walk of life from the very beginning of our relationship. I didn’t think it was possible to love that man any more but after experiencing something like running a half marathon together, when it’d be so easy to get into fights about an acceptable pace, injuries, pain, etc., I love him even more. We never argued, we never fought, we were happy and just enjoyed the entire thing. Like in most things in our relationship, we just fell in sync, worked together and became stronger for it. I motivated him when he was hurting and he gave me the extra pushes when he knew I needed them (like on that gigantic hill at mile 6). He’s one of my biggest motivators and I know today wouldn’t have happened without him <3