Sunday, November 24, 2013

{Pine Knot Turkey Trot Half Marathon}

Yesterday I completed my FIRST half-marathon, and while it wasn't any sort of record-breaking finish, the Finisher's Medal was hard earned for this novice runner. 

Friday, the day before the race, I made sure to hydrate well and carb up (on lasagna from the Everett's). The forecast for Saturday was looking a little bleak, so I decided I needed to get a new pair of wool socks that I normally run in are really a summer sock. While at the sporting goods store, I ran across a hydration belt...I had planned to just wing this part of the race, relying on my family on the course and water stations, but hubby suggested I go ahead and get the belt now :) Score! I went to bed a little early, but I was so excited and nervous that sleep was hard to come by.

Saturday morning I woke up early and took a warm bath to wake my body up. I had a light breakfast of  a boiled egg, toast, peanut butter, and a bottle of water with Spark...I knew from my training run that my bladder just couldn't hang on for 13 miles, so I wanted to give as much distance between my water consumption and race time as possible.

I checked the weather...this might have been a It was 38 degrees and projected to hover around 39-40 degrees for the duration of the race with winds out of the NNE at 10-25 mph. I won't lie...this freaked me out and I considered bailing. Instead, I layered up as much as humanly possible without hindering my movement. I'm sure the seasoned veterans would have laughed at me if they truly knew how many layers I had on! (if they read this, they can laugh now). I put on my sports bra, compression tank, loose tank, dri fit long sleeve shirt and a jacket on top! And wore TWO pair of compression pants, my wool socks, and Mizuno's on the bottom. Add my ear muffs and a gator that the Whetsel's loaned me and my iPod loaded with music, and I was set! (told you it was alot of layers).

I got to registration early and got my bib (#767), shoe tags,  t-shirt, and goody bag. I was ready!

Mile 1: Music pumping and feeling really good. I reminded myself to conserve energy and not get freaked out about McDaniel the end of the first mile, I shed the jacket :)

Mile 2: Staying on track with my walk/jog intervals...saw my family for the first time that came out to cheer me on...feeling pretty empowered at this point.

Mile 3: Grab a sip of water. I'm at my normal 5K pace of 13:30 and that kind of freaks me out a bit. I know I should be going a little slower, but I'm feeling good so I just keep plugging along.

{me & Judy in the lead...Marlena & a fellow runner are behind us making sure we're doing ok}

Mile 4: The top of my left foot starts hurting and I realize I tied my shoe incorrectly when I slipped my shoe tag on...luckily, there's a porta-potty here and I make use of it while I adjust my shoe and GU up.

Mile 5: I realize that I've never raced this far before. I've slowed my pace a bit to around 14:30. I still feel strong, but I'm trying to conserve for the end of the race. I keep reminding myself that I want to finish strong and not to use all my energy up in the beginning.

Mile 6: My family and friends are amazing! They keep showing up along the course with signs of encouragement and shout outs to keep it up. I was so blessed to have so many come out (I think 12 people) and support my first race and it truly made a huge difference. 

{one of the chalk signs my mom & sister left along the way}

Mile 7: My muscles are definitely feeling the burn and I hear the first hint of mind is toying with me and I wonder if I'll be able to go 6 more miles.

Mile 8: I decide I'd better use the last porta-potty on the course...knowing my bladder, it won't make it the duration otherwise. My family is here at this stop and they seem as excited as I am. I GU up again and check my time. I'm at 1:30:00! Really??!! Wow...I might be able to make it in 3:00:00. Confidence renewed!

Mile 9: I start getting emotional thinking about the fact that I'm actually running in a half-marathon....every muscle in my body is aching at this point. My knees feel like they might foot is still hurting and my hips are dying, but I keep going. I'm running a freaking half marathon!!

{me & Marlena coming into my nephews giving us water and shouts of praise}

Mile 10: My calves start cramping up...I try the pickle juice, it doesn't help. I stretch a bit and it eases up, but every time I try to run, the cramp immediately returns. Frankie & Steve show up on their bikes (they've already finished running and are coming back to encourage the ones still on the course) and I start crying again. I know I can do this...I just have to convince my body. I walk most of mile 10.

Mile 11: THE WALL! I've heard of this, but it is serious! I wanted to quit. Everything on me was hurting and my emotions were all over the place. My mind was shouting, "what were you thinking entering this race? There's no way you're going to finish this. You're too fat...too slow...not good enough!" Then there was my will that was fighting, "you've come too far to give up now!" "You got this!" Marlena was huge in getting me through this part of the race. I felt bad that she had sacrificed her own time to stay behind with me, but I was so incredibly glad that she did! She kept encouraging me and kept me focused. I seen my family again at mile 11.5 and completely lost it. I had been walking into the cold, bitter wind for the last 15 minutes and was just fighting to stay in this thing...when I seen my family, I lost it. I just started bawling....from the pain, from the humility. It was just overwhelming. I stopped to stretch out my cramping legs again and to try and regain my composure. 

Mile 12: One more mile to go. I'm exhausted ...physically and emotionally ...but I know the end is in sight. I was not prepared for such an emotional ride. The rescue squad member that was following us (keeping us safe on the road) was wonderful during this stretch of the race. He got out of his truck several times to check on me and let me stretch against the truck. He never made me feel like I was holding him up or an inconvenience.

Mile 13: This is it. You're going to finish! I looked at my watch and knew that I wasn't going to make my goal time of 3:15:00 and perhaps I wasn't even going to make 3:30:00, which was the absolute bottom number I wanted to see. The guy in the rescue squad truck got on his mega phone and started cheering me on...the tears start again. I can see my family and friends and my running family. Some of them come to meet me on the course and run me in. I cross the finish line at friend Leah was there to give me a hug and I was overwhelmed with emotion. The tears just wouldn't stop. I had just completed a half-marathon....something I never dreamed I would be able to do.

{Judy and David joining Marlena to run me in the last leg of the course}

{crossing the finish line}


{overcome with emotion...this was also Leah's first half-marathon and she finished about fifteen minutes ahead of me}

{I'm a Half-Marathoner!}

Check out my Facebook page for more pictures.

I know this post is long, but there are some people that deserve a HUGE thank you;

My husband, Quentin: He has been hugely supportive of this running journey, encouraging me, following me on long runs to make sure I stayed safe, and even giving up opening day of duck season to watch me compete my first Half. It's been a long year for us, but I felt loved beyond measure this weekend and I'm so grateful for you!

Matt, Mallorye, & Olivia: You guys have helped me train all year. You braved the cold and had the most amazing signs for me along the course. My personal fave was, "You're not dead yet!" I love you guys! You rock!

Blake: Even though you weren't there physically, you've went on runs with me, pushed me to get out the door when I didn't want to, and questioned my poor eating habits. LOL. Thanks for believing in me!

Mom, Tiff, Daniel, & Caleb: I loved the chalk signs! You guys enthusiasm was contagious...the other runners even noticed :) Although, I did want to throw rocks when you said "almost there" at Mile 9...LOL. Just the fact that you took time out of your Saturday to spend 4 hours watching me run was incredible. I am so blessed to have you guys in my life.

Aunt Liz: Thank you for letting me introduce you to the crazy world of running! You've always been one of my biggest supporters and I'm so glad you were here to see me finish this thing.

Alicia: Thank you for believing in me...for reminding me to walk off the run (I'm sure I would have regretted not doing that!) and for taking my shoe tags off when I was too exhausted to bend over and do it myself. I love you friend!

Pat & Joann: Thank you for praying with me before the race! That meant the world to me...just the fact that you were there when I took off and there when I came guys are awesome! I love you both and can't imagine not having you in my life.

Leah: Thanks for letting me talk you into coming along for the ride! You rocked it girl! So blessed to get to experience our first Half-Marathon together! Something I'm sure I will remember for the rest of my life.

Marlena: I couldn't have finished without you! You quoted scripture and encouraged me every step of the way...when I thought I couldn't continue, you reminded me that I can do all things through Christ! You kept me focused, slowed me down when I needed, and insisted I stretch....and you made me a really cool sticker for my car! You are amazing and I'm so glad that God brought you into my life.

Brandi: You introduced me to this crazy world of running, so I blame you for my obsession! LOL. I love it and I would've been sad if you hadn't been there to see me accomplish my first Half! I always look forward to hearing you prod me on at the end of the race and yesterday was no different. I love you dearly!

To the CRACies: Thank you for never making me feel less and welcoming me into your group. You guys are the best!

To the Agape House girls: Thanks for manning the water stations in less than ideal conditions and for smiling even at the last runner and cheering me on :)

To the Rescue Squad: Again, thank you for keeping us safe and cheering on this novice runner with a dream!

This was an amazing experience! I am so glad that I got to experience my first Half-Marathon in my hometown with people I know and love. I hope to go on to run many other races, but this one will always be my fave!

I'm a Half-Marathoner!!!!

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