I got the fire to sign up for my first half marathon a few months ago, 3 months ago to be exact. I wasn't entirely sure what this would entail other than long runs on Saturdays and some pain along the way. Boy was I right. I trained each Saturday (sometimes Sunday) with my awesome group of running girlfriends, including the fabulous Nicole, and sometimes I ran those long miles alone. I skipped out on and ran out of time for my short week day tempo runs so I pretty much was banking on these long runs getting me through the race. Probably not the best idea
The final weekend before I was supposed to clock 10 miles but could only do 7 as re-injury to my foot set in and so did the mental angst. With 9 miles as my longest training run, it was now or never when Thursday morning rolled around and I suited up to run.
The girls and I decided to hit up Big Peach Running Company for some of their signature 'RunATL' shirts for the race. In addition to my 'RunATL' shirt, I donned my trusty fuel belt, race number, iPod shuffle and favorite Lululemon tights. I laced up my slightly worn out K.Swiss kicks and was ready to go. It was a bit chilly but by mile 3 the gloves and ear warmers were safely tucked away as I cruised the streets of Atlanta with the finish line in my thoughts. My sweet hubby kept pace and ran with me the whole way. It was such a motivator to have someone to talk to, keep pace with and remind me when it's time to eat since I usually forget! Miles 1-8 seemed to breeze by and I was feeling great. Mile 9-11 were another story! I hit my mental block and knew that post mile 9 was uncharted territory for me and my legs. I hunkered down, gave myself a pep talk and kept pushing. My plan of run 4, walk 1 slowly went to run 1 walk 3. I knew my plan of finishing in 2:45 was on the horizon but as mile 11 approached and my pace was still slower than before, my hope of finishing in that time dwindled and I then just knew I had to do it in under 3 hours. I pushed through mile 11 thanks to some awesome tunes and then through mile 12. I crested the hill and could see the finish around the bend.
Tears filled my eyes and my pace increased as I trotted towards that finish line, clock reading under 3 hours...2:56 to be exact. I felt like collapsing after finishing but happily put my medal around my neck and smiled for pictures. I was so thankful to be done and so beyond proud of myself for my accomplishment!
I can't express my thanks enough to all my friends and family who encouraged me the whole way from signing up to watching me cross the finish.
So, who's running the next one with me?!