This weekend I traveled to Columbia, SC to run the Palmetto Half Marathon. Jessica has been trying to talk me into running a half with her for a good while now, and I continued to politely decline (I don’t have time to train right now…..my legs can’t take it…..I’m too busy these next few months…..I don’t want to…..etc). However, after watching Kyle run his first half marathon last April I felt inspired and decided that at some point in my life I needed to go ahead and try one.
So at some point over Christmas, Jessica convinced me. My parents’ church puts on this half marathon and 5k to raise money for organizations in the community. This year proceeds supported Daybreak Crisis Pregnancy Center and Work in Progress. Very cool. My dad is a big runner and decided to run this too since we were doing it. He promised to stay with me the whole way!
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it was easy. Because in fact by the end, I wanted to die. Literally. I thought that dying would be easier than finishing the race. True. Story.
Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts mile by mile:
Pre-Race: Nervous, but excited. At 5:15am I had my half a bagel with peanut butter. Arrived to the race, watched everyone warm up. (I didn’t feel a big need to do this. Isn’t that what mile 1 is for?) Excitement in the atmosphere. At this point the biggest discussion was long sleeves (it was FREEZING) vs short sleeves.
Mile 1: Feeling GREAT! Over a thousand people taking off at the start line. Everyone cheering you on, laughing, joking. Awesome.
Mile 2: Still great. You can actually feel everyone’s excitement around you. It hasn’t been long enough for people to space out yet so you’re still running in a crowd, passing people, and it feels good.
Mile 3: Obviously, still great. My mom was a race marshal so we saw her at this mile marker and she snapped a pic.
See, there’s me in the pink shorts. Jessica’s in the purple shorts. My dad is behind us.
All smiles. Feeling good.
Mile 4: Starting to feel the burn, but still falling in a great pace. We’re seeing people we know along the way. Cheering us on. Yes. At this point, we were glad we decided on short sleeves.
Mile 5: Still heading out on the race course, and we see the first wave of people returning (on mile 8). What are these people on? How on earth do they run that fast??
Mile 6: Still feeling good. Keeping a good pace and steadily improving on time. (Jessica’s Garmin watch let us know how we were doing! Kyle, I might need one.)
Mile 7: We see my mom again. Getting a little more tired, but still making it. Halfway there and making the trek back to the finish line!
Mile 8: This is where I start to lose it. This is no longer fun. This is no longer a good idea. Why did I sign up for this again? Oh right, to run up a steadily inclining hill and want to quit. This is where we lose Jessica. I could no longer keep her pace. I had to slow down to keep from passing out.
Mile 9: Better than mile 8, but not great. Wondering how far away we are from mile 10. At this water station the lady looked at me and said “You need to drink some water.” Thanks, I know.
Mile 10: There it is!!! Praise the Lord! 3 miles left. My dad kept saying “Ok, just a 5K til the finish!” Eternity.
Mile 11: Here we see my mom again (she was all over the place!) and Kaitlin was there this time too! As you can see my health is steadily declining.
Here we come finishing mile 11. Rude lady wanted to pass me and said “Excuse me” quite rudely. You can see the shocked look on my face. We still beat her in the end.
Why, yes. I would like to quit right now. Give me a ride to the finish line?
Mile 12: Yes, I think I’m going to die. Dying would be easier than finishing. At this point my calves were cramping up so bad I really thought I was going to have to walk the whole way in. But after a quick stretch we were back on track. One more water station and a MASSIVE hill to climb. Who puts the big hill at mile 12 and 13??
Mile 13: I’m not going to lie to you and say I ran up the massive hill. Because I didn’t. I walked up it. There was nothing in me that even wanted to try to run up that hill. NOTHING. Even still, when we got to the top I wanted to vomit. But people were looking at me so I felt like that would be awkward. Instead I started running again. Probably a good alternative with just over a half a mile to go.
Now, when I saw this (pictured below) it was the best feeling. All I could think was the faster I run, the faster I finish, and the faster I can sit down…..awesome.
There it is!!!!
(ok, so we’re not actually pictured here. Kaitlin couldn’t get a snapshot of us ACTUALLY crossing the finish line. But we’ll get a look at the professional shots later!)
Yes, all I want to do right now is go home and lay in bed the rest of the day.
But, yes, it felt AWESOME to finish.
What’s amazing is that no matter how many times I thought in the middle of the race I’m never doing this again, and no matter how sore I felt afterwards (literally felt like I couldn’t move anything from my lower back to my toes without pain after the race), and no matter that we burned 1400 calories (holy crap)….the farther away from the actual race it gets, in my mind it was easier and easier.
Jessica’s already trying to talk me into the Rock’n'Roll Half Marathon in Savannah in November.
I told her to give me a week to think about it!