First off, it was not 13.1. It was 13.33 according to my little gps lady who lovingly keeps me on pace with her mile updates. Maybe I should make a bumper sticker that says 13.33? ;) Oh, trust me that 13.1 sticker is in my very near future! I have worked HARD for that one!
Where do I even begin? Let’s mostly just focus on today which began at 2:30 for me. (My amazing long run running girlfriends and I picked up our packets last night at the Palmetto Half Marathon Expo and then headed out to eat! Unfortunately, between getting ready to run my first half marathon and a horrific tragedy that happened to dear friends of ours yesterday my tummy was not happy. Let’s just suffice it to say that I don’t think that pasta I ate last night was still with me this morning as I set out to run 13 miles.)
Finally, 5am came and I got dressed and ready to head out to meet my running girls to carpool to the race. Y’all I was crying before I walked out the door! I was either raising a hand in praise singing or crying the entire drive to meet them. So many emotions…
We got there with about 30 minutes to spare and hit the potties, bag check and found our spot in the pack of runners.
Just a couple things about the start of the race:
1. I didn’t realize the race began a couple of years ago as a 5K for a local church and had quickly turned into a 5K and Half Marathon with a good showing of runners. 1800 I think.
2. The pastor prayed the best prayer before the start! He was praying for our bodies to be strong but, most importantly, that our souls be filled with Jesus Christ. (Yes, I was in tears again.)
And we were off!!!
Mile 1: Comfortable. It usually takes me at least 2 miles to find my groove but we were running strong.
Miles 2-6: Felt too easy and I was running about 30-45 seconds faster than my projected 10:00 mile pace. I would have a brief moment of “feeling” the run but just as soon as I did I was immediately lightened and the run seemed easier. I am certain that those are the moments many of you were praying and that angels ran beside me. I also spent most of these miles praying specifically for others that I knew I wanted to dedicate several miles to.
Mile 7: Up to this point, I had not taken any fuel (sport beans/chomps) or water/gatorade. I decided to take 3 beans just because I had never run this far without a little something (safe measure, I guess). I ran most of this mile praying over the people that lived in the big, beautiful homes we were running past…specifically that their home be filled first and foremost with Christ. This mile also was the loop around back to the finish. (It was an out and back course.)
Mile 8: Still hanging in there and feeling strong. I was enjoying the fantastic community support… there was this precious older man in a wheelchair with a huge cow balloon cheering for everyone. I didn’t get a great look but I believe he was an amputee. It was inspiring to see him. There were lots of residents out in their yards and signs…one that I loved said “Will God be at the Finish Line in your life?” :) (Holding my baby girl, I’m sure!)
Mile 9: My foot began to kill me. I have had some right arch issues for the past three weeks or more. Our 12 mile training run had me extremely uncomfortable for 3 days and I usually feel fine within hours of a long run. The Bridge Run had my foot hurting very badly, too. I started praying for my foot and within seconds I didn’t feel any pain at all. I kept pushing forward.
Miles 10-12: Tough! I walked up one huge hill at the end of a neighborhood as I was drinking gatorade (this was the only time I took it). My foot started to hurt again as I walked so I got back to running as quickly as I could. Much better!
Mile 13: I could see the area where we were finishing in the distance. I was holding steady until a girl came flying past me with about 1/2 a mile to go. I decided that moment to kick it up a bit and push myself hard to the finish. I quoted Hebrews 12:1 & 2 over and over to myself…”Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and running the race with perseverence…keeping my eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfector of my faith…” I had a burst of energy and the most amazing feeling come over me when I made my way to the finish. I was trying so hard not to cry (ever tried running a half marathon and crying…FYI- you can’t breathe!). But, I just had this incredible feeling come over me. I heard people calling my name. I saw my husband and my boys cheering for me. And the Finish Line was huge…lined with balloons and someone announcing my name as I crossed as though they were waiting for me. It was my time. Y’all, I couldn’t help but think that that moment was the closest thing that I’ll ever experience on Earth that is remotely close to what our Homegoing in Heaven will be like. It’s overwhelming. And Heaven will be at least 1000x more amazing…one glorious day!
I was immediately greeted at the finish with my medal and a cup of gatorade. Within minutes, friends and hugs and congratulations were all over the place. It’s pretty incredible!
I know I’ll have more to share over time as I process this day…never imagining that I’d actually ever run a Half Marathon. But, I did. And I loved almost every single step of it! To GOD be the glory!
Oh…and my foot still doesn’t hurt at all! :)
And for those of y’all even interested my time, I finished in 2:15 according to the race stats and 2:13 according to my GPS lady (deducting the two minutes that I completely forgot to cut her off while I was celebrating past the finish line!) Being that this was my first half, I just wanted to finish under 2:30. So, I was very happy with my time! (Couch to Half Marathon in 7 months, anyone???)
Above: Seeing my boys as I got close to the finish!
Below: The Most AMAZING Running Girlfriends anyone could ever have! (Jennifer (preggo with #3!!!)Robin, Erin, me & Lea)
My only request of my dear hubby…Diet Coke at the finish! :)
Mike, me and Luke…He and his beautiful wife (below) have long been inspirations of mine in the running department. He runs to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defects in memory of his second son, Hudson. It was an honor to run yet another race with him. He also ran the 10K on Annabelle’s Birthday.
Malynda, below, ran this Half last year but just had the sweetest baby girl two weeks ago so she was cheering us on! I am blessed with her friendship!
My love and me! Absolutely none of this would even be possible without his complete support. I love this man more than words could ever describe!
After we loaded up and went back to pick up my van, Scott led the way home…or so I thought. He’s my backroads guy so it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to not take the interstate. But, I knew exactly where he was heading when he made a left onto Old Bush River Rd. I pulled up behind him and he stepped out with the camera and said “let’s celebrate here, too”. I melted into his arms as soon as we got to her little spot. The boys ran around and played with bubbles for a few minutes while Scott and I just held each other and wept. We prayed and blew our kisses to Heaven…knowing without a doubt that she had been given a special seat all morning long to join us in an amazing day.