Monday, October 17, 2011

I DID IT!!!!! My first half marathon...

Me at the expo!
 I did it!!!!!  What an amazing feeling it is!  My family came into town to support me and I also had some amazing friends come to the run to support me.  It was an amazing experience mainly because of my people who were there supporting me! 

Saturday afternoon my family started arriving.  My cousin Mike(he ran the race with me), my cousin Trish and my parents came into town.  We hung out for a bit, made some signs with the kids, had a pasta dinner and just relaxed.  I got my stuff all ready and headed to bed.  I was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as I was for my first 5k.  Odd right???   The morning came early at 5:00.  It was race day!!!  Finally the day to put all my hard months of training to work and prove to myself that I can do this.

For breakfast, some coffee and a bagel.  Here we are before leaving for the race.

The weather had called for clouds, showers and wind.  We were thrilled to get there and see...sun? And it was about 50 degrees.  Perfect!  We found the porta potties and then it was time for the full marathon to start.  We watched them take off then got in position for the half marathoners to start.  The gun sounded and off we went.  Mike wished me luck and we parted ways.  His pace is much faster than mine.  The first three miles was pretty unevenful once we left the start.  The course brought us on the closed highway and onto a parkway along the lake which was also closed.  So there were no spectators along this part of the course.  My pace was steady around 11:15 min/mile.  Thats comfy for me.  At three miles they brought us off the parkway and into the park to run along the lake where I saw the first spectators.  Yaay!  Then I realized it was my friend Karen and her family.  Here's the sign she was holding.  It made me chuckle.

After I passed her there were more spectators.  Not much further along I could hear my family and friends in the distance screaming for me!  They looked like they were having a tailgate party!  They were clapping and cheering as I came around the bend.  I could hear whistling and noisemakers.  My reaction totally took me off guard.  As soon as I saw them all I got all choked up!  Literally.  I was in tears.!  Not the best for my breathing!  I tried to hold them back but that was worse and made me choke.  But I was so touched that I couldnt help but cry.  I am in tears right now just thinking about it.  Here are some pics from around mile 3 ish.

I had the best support there!!!!

Tailgate party with coffee and donuts I heard!

homemade my girls!

homemade shirts too!

You can barely see me in the back behind the girls with the white shirt.

behind the girl with the green.  My sneaks are orange :)
Okay...clearly not the best picture of me, but hey...we are keeping it real right? Fupa and all...

Then we ran the whole rest of the length of the lake and turned around at the 6.55 point.  I was doing well and holding a steady pace.  I had planned to take Gu every 3 miles but seemed to hit a wall at mile 5 so I took it  a little early.  It worked out fine because I took it every three miles after that to carry me through.  I liked the out and back course because it helps me mentally to know I am on my way back and more than halfway there!  Around mile 10 I started getting tired but I knew I would be coming up on my fan club soon, and that I could take more Gu at mile 11.  To my surprise my awesome friend Laura was there to meet me before I reached them!  She gave me a pep talk and ran with me until we got to our peeps!  It was just what I needed at that time.  Here are some pics!
Waiting for me!

Here I come with my pep talking Laura!
Hi guys!  Sooooo happy to see you!!! (10 miles ish in)

Seeing them along with the high fives and pep talk boosted my morale.  Where they were standing was perfect because 1) I got tired at mile 10 where they were and 2) after I left them it was back out of the park and onto the parkway and highway where there were no spectators.  There was however, at mile 12, an aid station with some volunteers.  They were great and reminded me that there was only a mile left! There were plenty of cheers and supportive words from them and even some music whcih was nice.  Somewhere around mile 11.5 it dawned on me that "I AM DOING THIS!".  It was perfect timing  for this epiphany because just before this at mile 11 I was talking to myself (literally outloud) saying "You can do this Jen.  Keep going."  No one was close enough to hear me.  I was struggling to keep it in the 12 min/mile range. After the aid station I started having some grumbling in my stomach.  Perhaps some downward movement.  Oh boy, please not now is all I was thinking.  I dont usually have this problem when running.  I was talking to God saying please let me get through this!  I had heard of people having "accidents" while running and didnt want to be one of them.  Luckily I was fine (until today). 

At mile 12.75 I knew in my head it was almost the end but still no sign of the finish line in site, and not that many spectators either.  Hmmm...  Then I turned the bend and saw it in the distance.  I kept going and my watch said 13.1 but I still wasnt at the finish line.  Whatever.  There it was.  I could see it.  I was sure up to this point I didnt have much left in me but once I got to the cheering spectators and my family and friends on the home stretch I gave it all I had.  I was all smiles as the people were clapping and yelling motivating things.  I looked down at my watch and it said I was at an 8ish min/mile!  I dont know where the burst of energy came from but I loved it!  I finished at 2:38:23.  I did it!!!!!  Here are some more pics.
See me in my pink shirt back there next to the sidewalk?

Home stretch!

Still smiling!  So happy to see the finish line!

Hi guys!  I am almost done!!!!

All done!  Me with my medal!!

Me and my cousin Mike who ran too!

Me and the hubs :)

The crew...
And at the end of the day here is what I have!

I am still on cloud nine today.  I am in awe that I put my mind to this, completed the training schedule and achieved my goal!  And to think that I used to not be able to run for even 30 seconds!  I was one of the bigger girls there but that just made me more proud. 

I am super sore today and having some stomach issues which apparently is normal the day after(??????-Shelley?????).  But it is all worth it!


Shelley said...

Oh my gosh, I have CHILLS reading this!!! You did it, Jennifer!!! I remember when you started talking about running a half - and look at you, girl - you RAN A HALF MARATHON!!!

I am so proud of you. What an accomplishment! What a lovely medal. What a fantastic smile on your face, all through the race. You are a true runner!!!

Shelley said...

Oh, and I almost always had stomach issues after long runs. I finally started taking Immodium.

Christine said...

AMAZING!!! Way to go, so proud of you and totally inspired by this.


Cyn said...

you are sooooo inspirational & totally rock! so stoked for you and your amazing accomplishment!

Sarah G said...


Kelly said...

Jennifer, you look beautiful, like a rock star! I love the photos, and I am so proud of you!

debkhershberger said...

Oh My Gosh!! How very exciting!! So proud of you!! I cant wait til I can do that! Youre an amazing inspirtation!

jamie@sweatyhugs said...

Congratulations! I'm over-the-moon happy for you!

Anonymous said...

You did it!!! Congrats!!!!!


Anonymous said...

You did it!!! Congrats!!!!!


♫ Drazil ♪ said...

I hung on every word of this. And for real - this blog post makes me think I can do this thank you for that.


Anonymous said...

Yayyyyyya! I am SO SUPER proud of you! You did it!!! Your "other" family had such a great time cheering for you and ALL the other runners out there while stuffing our faces with donuts! You amaze me! (and you were not NEARLY the curviest girl out there, and not even CLOSE to being last...just sayin')

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Super amazing and cool! LOVE the pictures. You are a rockstar girl!!!


Marcyne said...

I am so impressed!!! I have never even thought about running in races or half-marathons or anything like that. However, after reading your blog, I am so inspired to want to take something like this on. The thought that I might be able to accomplish something like this is exciting. How long did you have to train to prepare for this half-marathon?

Marcyne said...

I am so impressed!!! I have never even thought about running in races or half-marathons or anything like that. However, after reading your blog, I am so inspired to want to take something like this on. The thought that I might be able to accomplish something like this is exciting. How long did you have to train to prepare for this half-marathon?

Jennifer said...

Marcyne-the training schedule is about 12 weeks long. Its on Hal Higdons web page. I used the novice training schedule. I didnt start training for a half until after I did a few 5k's but it didnt take me long at all to train for a 5k. A few weeks maybe? This coming from a girl who never ran before :) I think if you set your mind to it you can definitely do it!! I never would have dreamed I would have ever done a 5K let along a half marathon!!!!! Now its an accomplishment I will always have :)

Jessica said...

YOU are Awesome! For some crazy reason, you don't show up in my blog roll. So I feel like I am always behind in reading about your accomplishments :)