I did it! I finished the half marathon! I feel like I’ve been talking non-stop about this race since I signed up, so I’ll try not to give you all of the gory details, but just share my experience.
Before I begin talking about the race, the best part of my weekend wasn’t crossing the finish line–it occurred Friday night. My parents told me they wanted to come up for the weekend to watch my race. I was waiting for them to arrive so we could go out to eat and carb-up. A few minutes after they arrived, I heard a knock at my door. I open it and there was my boyfriend J. I couldn’t believe it. There he was in my doorway, grinning from ear to ear. I was so confused, then screamed and jumped in his arms. I hadn’t seen him since August and I was so excited. Apparently he rode up with my parents (seven hours in the car with them!) and they had been planning this surprise for months. He said he just had to see me run. It was the sweetest thing ever.
But anyway… the race:
Well, the first five miles were absolutely terrible. My mind got the better of me. I tried to pace myself in the beginning and not use all of my energy, but that meant that runner after runner kept passing me. At first that was fine, but then after three miles I started to get discouraged. My coworker (the only other person I knew running the half), caught up with me during that mile and we reached Mile Four together. He said, “Yay! Only nine more left!” Only nine more left?! I didn’t feel like rejoicing.
He eventually joined the others and zoomed passed me. Soon after that, I reached a huge, enormous hill. I thought about crying–not because I was so tired, but because I was so discouraged. Why didn’t I train harder? I paid money to be in this misery? There’s no way that I can ever finish this. I saw some people walking and thought that would at least look better than my pathetic jog. And it was. I had a good walking pace and would find landmarks to start and stop running. It is probably what saved me.
It rained most of the race. It wasn’t hard, heavy rain, but a cool refreshing drizzle that gave me energy. I reached a lake at mile seven, I think, and it was there that I found my stride. I started running my normal pace and just kept going. There were a few times I stopped for water, but my legs hurt more to walk so I just kept running. And running. And running. People were along the sidelines cheering and I was inspired by their signs that said things like “Pain is temporary, the glory of finishing is forever!” The crowds on the sideline started to get thicker and I could see the mile 11 marker ahead. Then the 12 marker.
When I had one more mile to go, I booked it. I don’t even know my legs had it in them but I ran faster and faster, passing a girl that I remember seeing at Mile One. I ran through Camden Yards and I saw the finish line. I heard my mom screaming for me and ran as hard as I could. It was the most amazing feeling crossing that line.
I got my participation medal and limped around trying to find my cheerleaders. I finally found them and J lifted me up in the air and my parents told me how proud they were of me. We drove home, I showered, and then ate like there was no tomorrow.
It was one of the greatest weekends of my life and I cannot believe that I did it. I know this sounds silly after months of training, but for the first time ever, I actually feel like a runner. It feels amazing.
Oh, and I spent absolutely nothing from Friday to today. ;)