As most of you already know, last month I completed my first half marathon. (Hollaaaa!!) The only reason I hadn't mentioned it on the blog was because I've been a horrible blogger and haven't mentioned much of anything. But I feel like this accomplishment deserves a little blog love. :)
After a few months of joining our local Moms Run This Town chapter, being fairly consistent with getting out for some group runs and meeting my friends/neighbors, Kate, Hazel and Alexa, for some early morning weekday runs I thought it might be time to sign up for a race.
When I was running in Israel and ran the Tel Aviv Nike Night Run 10K, I swore I'd never ever run more than a 10K. I had absolutely no desire. But after seeing a friend's Facebook post with her half marathon training schedule, I thought to myself "that doesn't seem so bad". And a few weeks later, I was signed up for the Divas Half Marathon in Leesburg, VA.
I was quite proud of my commitment to the training and rarely missed a run. I was determined to prove to myself (and maybe my husband) that I could do this. During our road trip to Miami, after waking up at 3am and being in the car for about 14 hours, as soon as we got to our hotel in GA, I hit the treadmill to get in my scheduled 5 miles. I regularly woke up at 5:15am to run before Ron had to go to work and actually learned to enjoy the early morning hours...even on Saturdays! Meeting friends and looking forward to our talks definitely helped!
|The larger group during one of our early Saturday runs.|
|We usually break off into smaller groups like this.|
|My first 10-miler with Kate, Hazel and Alexa.|
As my 12-week training program came to an end, I was nervous. I had completed two 10-mile training runs, and knew I'd be able to squeeze another 3.1 out during the race, but I was still nervous about what to eat the night before and the morning of. What should I wear? Would there be enough water? What if I had tummy troubles? I had heard the course was pretty hilly and I hadn't really trained much for hills, so that was also on my mind. I didn't want to set a real goal for finishing in a certain time, but I was hoping for a finish close to 2:30...although, I think I was prepared to finish closer to 3:00. I suppose my main goal was to just finish.
On Saturday, September 26, I drove myself and 6 other amazing ladies to Tarara Winery where the race started and finished. Because of the logistics of the race and all the road closures, we had to be there and parked an hour before the race even started. Ugh!
We gathered at the start line around 7:30am and the guy emceeing the event announced that the biggest hill was at mile 3 and from then on it would be nice and smooth. Spoiler alert: he is a liar!!
|These are members of the various NOVA chapters of Moms Run This Town.|
|Thanks to Hazel for taking the "before" group selfie.|
The race, overall, was great! I felt good most of the way, walked when I needed and picked up the pace when I got a burst of energy (thanks to my energy bloks). There were lots of hills. Long, steep hills. They kicked my butt, but I managed to jog up a few of them. I loved that the course took us up and back down several streets because that meant I got to cheer on my friends that were ahead of me as we passed each other going in opposite directions.
With the early road closings and very few ways in/out, that also meant that any spectators (i.e., my family) would have to be at the race site early, as well. We decided to not put the kids through the torture of an early morning ride to farm country and let them stay back in the neighborhood with friends. Ron was going to do his best to drive as close as he could to the course then bike the rest of the way in. He was able to track me from his phone, but I had no idea where he'd be or if he'd be able to get to the course at all. I was thrilled to see him at mile 8. As I approached the turn, there he was cheering me on. It made my day and definitely gave me a burst of energy! And I'm super thankful that he brought the camera to take some pictures.
With each mile I completed, the more emotional I got. When I got to mile 11 I thought, "I've never run this far before! Hooray for me!" and I got choked up. Then when I got to mile 12, and knew I had just over a mile to go, I got choked up realizing I was going to reach my goal and actually complete a half marathon. Then to my surprise, I saw Ron again. I had assumed that I'd only see him once on the course and mile 8 was it. He managed to bike into the winery and see me near the end of the race. That made me even more teary! I had to talk myself out of an ugly cry because I knew it would mess with my breathing.
Ron then booked it to the finish line and got to see me finish the race. Woohoo! I was full of emotions and was so happy that he was there to congratulate me at the finish line.
As if I wasn't already emotional, as I crossed the finish line, I saw this and tears started flowing:
See me there on the left, photo bombing their precious moment? Haha! Turns out, they were actually already married, but he had flubbed the first proposal so he wanted to propose again in grand fashion. Cute nonetheless.
Because this was a "Divas" race geared towards women, everything was pink, they handed out boas and tiaras during the final stretch and shirtless "firefighters" gave us our medals. So sexist and annoying, but still fun, I guess.
|I'm SOOOO happy he was there!|
Celebrating at the finish line with the best running friends!!
When we got back to the car, Kate surprised us with mimosas. A great way to toast to an early morning accomplishment!
After we dropped everyone else off, Kate, Hazel and I went out for a burgers and beers lunch. Soon after, I felt like death and went to bed to rest my tired and weary body! I was surprised with how quickly I recovered and by Sunday afternoon, I felt pretty good.
For the record, I really, seriously have no desire to run a full marathon. There may be another half in my future, but I'm thinking 10-mile races may be the way to go! Ron and I are signed up for a Thanksgiving day 10k. Stay tuned for that recap next month!