Sunday, April 20, 2014

My First Half-Marathon

It is finally spring break, so the blog update can now officially commence! I know some grandparents that are going to be very happy about this :) Let's travel back to February, shall we?

Ever since January of 2013, I have been running. At first, it was just for exercise and to stay healthy, but along the way, I found myself thinking crazy thoughts like "Maybe I CAN run a half marathon...",  "I have a whole year to train...", "It's totally doable now that I know how to run..." Josh was all for it and Angela (my friend/neighbor/running partner) was, too. We trained our hardest all year! In December of 2013 we all traveled to Memphis, TN to run the St. Jude Half-Marathon. We were all set to go but the night before the race, it was canceled due to bad weather. HUGE BUMMER! Thankfully, the nice people at St. Jude gave all the runners the option of transferring their registration fee to another race. Josh and I  immediately signed up for the Rock-n-Roll Half-Marathon in New Orleans. Angela signed up for it too, but ended up not being able to go at the last minute. I hated that we spent an entire year training for this and she didn't get to run, but we're definitely going to sign up for another half marathon together! 

The race was Sunday morning, the day of the Super Bowl, so Josh and I made the drive to New Orleans Saturday. We got there just in time to pick up our race day packets with our bib numbers and shirts. After we completed our registration, it was time to carb load for the race the next day. We ended up at Copeland's and both ate some very yummy pasta! After supper, it was back to the hotel where we laid out our race day gear and headed to bed. We were going to have to be up early the next morning for the 7 AM start time, which meant we were going to have to leave our hotel around 5:30 to make sure we had a parking spot and got to the race on time. Yawn!!

5:30 AM came WAY too quickly, but soon enough we found ourselves in downtown New Orleans waiting for our half marathon to begin. There were people everywhere! I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I knew that I was fully trained and ready to go, but I was nervous all the same!

We found the corral we were in and joined all the other eager runners. It was a very drizzly and cloudy day, but that made for great running conditions. It wasn't hot or humid at all, which in Louisiana is very rare!

Josh had warned me beforehand that I was probably going to start off faster than I had ever run before and he was right. Normally, I run anywhere from a 10:00 min mile to a 10:30 min mile. Because of my adrenaline rush, I was running around a 9:00 min mile at the beginning. I quickly slowed that to my normal pace once we started to increase our distance. Josh was extremely nice and stayed with me the whole time. He runs much faster than I do, but he was the good husband and stayed by his little wifey the whole time. 

I've never been one of those people to find that "runner's high" they talk about, but around mile 5 I hit my groove. I felt great :) Once I got past mile 10, I started getting very excited. I couldn't really feel my feet anymore, but I was happy because that was the farthest I had ever gone when I trained. Once I got past that mile marker, I knew that the next 3 miles were definitely possible. I pushed on towards the end and finally finished just around the 2:30 hour mark. My average pace was around 10:30 min mile which was very consistent to what I had been running during training. I was so HAPPY when we crossed that finish line! I had actually done it! I had run 13.1 miles without stopping at all. It was such a HUGE accomplishment for me!

I do have to say that one of my favorite parts of the entire day was right after the finish line. All these volunteers were passing out food to the runners as they crossed the finish line. I was so happy and started grabbing things left and right. I had a banana, chocolate milk, Gatorade, popcorn, chips, energy bars, and so much more. It was great! I especially loved my finisher's medal :)

It was my first half-marathon and definitely not my last. I truly enjoyed being able to work towards my goal and see it come to fruition. It was such a wonderful little item to check off my bucket list. I'm especially happy that I was able to run it with Josh. We already have our sights set on the St. Jude marathon again this December. I'm determined that that will be one half-marathon I do every year. And no worries about me running a full marathon just yet...I'm only half crazy :)

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