Way back during the summer Adrian and I talked about running our first half marathon. I was barely able to run a full mile, but we were still contemplating the idea. For several weeks we talked about it and began to look at training plans. Our good friend, Josh, was also thinking about running one as well. The three of us decided that there was no time like the present and so we picked a plan and signed up for a race!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! That was exactly what I felt like once I signed up. I could not believe it. I was so excited, so nervous. I just wanted to throw up in my shoe. Adrian said not to because they were pretty new shoes 🙂 Adrian and I had a date night and did nothing but adding training days to our calendar. It was so much fun to plan something like this with my husband. We set our digital calendars to remind us of what type of training we had on each day of the week. We even had a reminder for rest days-because we have heard that as rookies it would be easy to want to train 24/7 and not rest well.
I really wish I would have started my blog then. I would love to look back on some of my training runs with y’all. Two of my training runs really stick out to me. The night before we were going to do our first 10 miles run we were both so anxious. We had never done this many miles and the number just seemed daunting. I wore my pink Team Sparkle skirt for the run to help give me that little extra ump! Crazy as it sounds stuff like that really does work for me. Those ten miles were some of the most precious miles I have run to date. My mentor Liz had encouraged me to focus on worshiping God through nature that day and to praise him for his creation. I tried to really take the day in. To notice people, to pray for them as I overheard their conversations, and to just enjoy the run. Mile 8 was really my sweet spot during my training. It was usually my fastest mile. Once I made it to mile 8 I knew I could finish out my run. I finished my 10 miles so happy and full of joy that day! Adrian and I both had really great strong runs. We knew that doing 10 meant that we could do 13.1 and we were so excited.
The other really memorable run was earlier in my training cycle. The weather had been yucky all week in Nola. Saturday was going to be no different. In an effort to beat out the rain we got up extra early to run. When we arrived at the park there was hardly anyone there. While we were stretching we noticed a group of roller derby ladies. One of them came over and began to talk to us. We told her that we have a friend that does roller derby on the West Coast. She asked me if I would be interested in working out with them that day and maybe trying out for the team. How cool is that ? I thanked her for her invitation-but I knew I had miles to log before the bottom dropped out of the sky. 6 miles was the goal for that day. An easy 6. Boy, have I waited a long time to say something like that. The run we really fun, but a little on the boring side because no on was really out and so I was just doing my laps. About mile 4.5 it began to sprinkle. By this time Adrian was done running and texting me to see how much I had left. With only 1.5 left I really did want to finish. With each half mile the rain got harder. By the end of my run I could not see Adrian I could only hear him. It was so much fun! Oh my goodness I felt so hardcore! Here I was a runner! I ran in the rain! I got asked to try out for roller derby! I felt like such a rockstar! We were soaking wet. We celebrated by stopping in at the Whole Foods on Magazine and getting sandwiches. Running that day really cemented for me that I was a runner.
So, now to the half marathon. Well as you can see training went well and was really fun. We were grateful to reach race day uninjured and ready to roll. Josh, Adrian, and I all rode together on race morning. We parked and headed over to the start line. You may remember about my not so friendly encounter I had trying to get to the potty. Adrian and I headed for the start line and talked with other runners. Everyone around us was really friendly and super pumped we were running our first half! Before we knew it we were off. This race does not start in corrals. So you just go-as a group. Adrian started with me but parted ways about .50 into the race. I was just so excited to be there.
The first few miles I feel like I was just smiling and waving at people. I saw my friends Pie & April and wished them well on their race. On the other side of the road Josh was passing me and I just cheered and cheered for him. It was so fun to see friends and to be happy for everyone getting to run the race. One good thing about racing in our city is that we were able to train on parts of the course. When we hit St. Charles I knew at what point I would get to each mile. This was before I had my fancy Garmin to tell me all these details. I was running with my Nike + app, but it was strapped to my arm. Just before I ran into Audubon Park (where all of my long training runs took place) I saw my sweet friend Marlena and she cheered for me. Running through Audubon made me happy and nostalgic. This was where we ran the day we bought our shoes. This is where mile 10 happened. It just made me happy to be on my loop in a race.
Random-Mid Race thoughts:
Also during the first few miles I got passed by Heather from Heather’s Looking Glass. I have never been so excited to get passed by somebody in my whole life. I knew she was running the race. But I did not expect to see her. We don’t know each other in real life. But her blog was one of the first running blogs I read. I was not sure if I should try and introduce myself or not. Emily Post doesn’t mention mid-race etiquette in her book-so I just let her pass me. Still, it was pretty exciting!
THE SWEETEST FRIENDS-Melissa & Ellen came to cheer for us. They made posters and literally yelled from the moment they saw us until they could not see us anymore. Four different times I saw them. Each time Ellen would run with me for a few feet and just bless my heart with encouragement. Melissa is one of my all time favorite people and seriously blessed with the ability to make your day! This dynamic duo was a huge part in making my race a success. I even had people ask me if they came to all my races. Grateful for buddies who stand in the cold and wind to get you through 13.1
I had to pee for the time we got to the race. I went to the “wall of potties” when we first go t to the race and ran to the first one open only to have some man yell at me that the line was on the other side of the road. Why would you not stand closer to the potties so that you could use them faster? Anyways, I digress. At that point it was time to go to the start. Adrian assured me that there would be a potty at mile 3 so just to wait. That seemed like a good plan and so I waited. Mile 3 came and there was in fact a (singular) potty with a line attached. The next few miles were the same story-one potty-7 runners waiting. By the time I had made it to mile 7 I just decided to hold it and wait until the race was over.
Back to the Race. Once I left my loop at Audubon I just began to laugh. I mean dying out laughing. I was listening to Carly Rae Jepsen on repeat and fist pumping and having the time of my life. Here I was at mile 8 having a blast and getting ready to finish this race feeling strong. I saw Melissa & Ellen one more time at mile 11 and knew it was my time to shine. About this time I began to talk to a lady who had been running near me. She was struggling with her calf cramping and getting discouraged. I tried to encourage her. Also it was here I noticed that she was wearing SPARKLY SOUL headband. She sang its praises. I knew getting one of these headbands before the next race was imperative. I was wearing a plastic black headband. It was working okay. But who doesn’t want to sparkle? We visited for a mile or so and then she told me how close we were to the end. I (thinking she was confused) thanked her for the encouragement. And continued on my way. Y’all true story-we were really close to the end. I (the one who was really confused) thought we still had to round the block to get to the finish line. Nope. Just a few short blocks and I was in the chute. I could see Adrian, Josh, his wife Beth, and our friends JB & Jeremy all there cheering for me! I began to wave my hands in the air and danced my way to the finish line. Look at me. My first half marathon in the books and all in less than 3 hours. 2:51:12 was my chip time. I received my bling and found my husband. He was so happy for me. After hugging all of our friends-the three of us-Adrian, Josh, and I took pictures to celebrate!
Side note: This race only had a limited number of medals. I was so worried I would not finish in time to get a medal. I had my nails painted in a sparkly rainbow glitter to remind me to “Get my Bling” at the race. This really helped and so I did it for my last race as well.
I would totally run this race again. I would order at least 2 sizes larger in the race shirt next year. My poor shirt-it was so little. Luckily, someone traded me for a larger size. It was freezing the morning of the race. Like literally-burrito! The day before it was 70 and sunny and race morning it was like 50 something. I did not have any cool long sleeve running stuff at this time. For Christmas I asked for running pullovers and half zips so I could be better prepared next time. I would beg the race committee to have more potties. I think one of my neighborhood friends may run this race with me next year and that makes me supper happy. I will always love this race and this course. I told Adrian after the race that if people knew how much fun it was to run, to have people cheer for you, and to reach your goals-everyone would do it! I am so grateful for my husband who dreams up wild new adventures for us-like training for a half marathon. Who knows what will be next- a full marathon, team relays, etc. Either way I am just glad that we are able to do them together.
Have you ever ran a half marathon? Which one did you run? What was your favorite memory?
go and be a light,