Thank you for hanging out with me! From day to day you never know what life will throw at you. And it will often be this way in my blog as well :) But lest RUN WILD and LIVE FREE in this amazing adventure together!
I have had to take a lot of time off this year from running compared to 2015. So decided to look back on my write up I did on my personal facebook page about my first Half Marathon in 2015 and wanted to share it with you all! And Gazelle girl....I am coming for your in 2017!
It took me until the day after my first Half Marathon, the Gazelle Girl, for it to really sink in that I ran a half marathon! It was a long journey getting to this point. I stared out in late fall of 2014 with the goal of doing the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in April 2015. I chose a 20 week beginner friendly training plan as I had already been running for about a year and a half and had completed several 5Ks but had never been able to get myself past the 4 mile point in my training. So I began the plan! It took me longer than the 20 weeks and several time I talked about just not going any further. But once I got to the 10 week point I felt like I had already committed so much time and effort to the program I didn’t want to give up. Set backs during the 20 weeks such as an injury in November and getting the flu in February made me wonder if I would even complete the training let alone on time for the race in April. But I stuck with it and altered a few of the week’s plans. Once I ran 10 miles I felt it was a reality to try for the race. My personality makes it that I need to run the actual distance once before I register for a race. Just to know I can do it. Well of course I chose a route that was very hilly and by the time I was done with the 13.1 miles I swore to myself I would NEVER do that again. After a few days rest…..I registered for the Gazelle girl run! Pain is only temporary whereas the feeling of accomplishment lasts forever. I also ran another 10 mile run before race day to test out my fueling ideas and water break ideas and it went very well so that helped boost my confidence. Still leading up to race day there were several times I felt like I was going to throw up just thinking about the race. I pondered in my head what my strategy for the day would be and how I would run the race and even up to the time of the start I still hadn’t decided.
I was very nervous until the day before the race when we went to Grand Rapids to do packet pick up and check out the Expo. For some reason that settled my nerves and made me excited for the following morning and race day! I even was able to sleep well that night which has not happened the night before even a 5K in a very long time.
Going in to race morning I was rested, had my game plan with my husband on where he would meet me on course with my sport jelly beans and knew the course was fairly flat. Thankfully we got there in time for me to wait in line for 15 minutes for the bathroom and still have time to get to the start line with the other 2000 runners and feel ready. I lined up right around the 11 min a mile pacer and knew with my run/walk method of doing the race that I would actually end up near the 13 min mile pacer but figured I didn’t need to start there and try to fight my way through the crowd as I had decided to run the full first mile. The full first mile was one of the best paces I have had for a mile in a race before. And I felt good. I almost felt too good at that point as I wanted to keep running but knew if I did I would regret it later so made myself settle into my run/walk plan as that is how I had trained for this race and knew it would work well. The race was set up very well and they had bathroom stations along with water/aid stations ever 2-2.5 miles. The first 3 miles were wonderful. After the race my parents asked me if I ever get a runners high and at the time I was so tired I said “no”. Looking back on things I think I can take that back. I felt so good the first 5K of the race and even the second 5K. I started to think “what did I get into” once I got past mile 6 but then realized by mile 7 that I had completed more of the race than I had left to run and we truly were “on our way back” to the finish. That was a very exciting and proud moment for me. Running through the riverside park was probably my favorite part of the race. Such wonderful scenery and great spirit stations. Crossing the 10 mile mark was so wonderful as well. To think all that was left was a 5K. And I had done so many 5K’s in the past I for sure could finish this race. AT this point I was starting to get very hungry and pretty tired. But I had come so far and I was NOT going to stop. I would cross that finish line no matter what! At this point I was still doing well with my run/walk method. At mile 12 I hit what I call a “wall”. I think a lot of that wall was actually caused by the large hill that was at mile 12! What a “wonderful” place for a hill to be….the last mile! LOL. I chose to walk up that hill and even a bit further than I had planned at that point. With ¼ of a mile left I knew I had to dig in and run! The cheers from the people I don’t even know on the side walk on the road cheering me on and saying things like “WAY TO GO” “YOU GO GIRL YOU ARE FINISHING STRONG” and “WE ARE PROUD OF YOU RUN HARD TO THE FINISH” were incredibly inspiring and so helpful to me at that point in the race. It really brought a smile to my face that complete strangers were cheering like this for me. How awesome is that!? Coming through the finish line was so wonderful. To run through the finish line was my goal. To finish the race was my ultimate goal and to finish in 3 hours was my final goal. My official time was 2:59:33 (and that included one bathroom stop). So I achieved all my goals for my first half marathon.
I am so inspired by accomplishing this race. I could not have done this without the support from my husband and family along with how fun it was to see my parents throughout the race as well cheering me on. My husband was there for me exactly where I needed him and when. At the two aid stations we had chosen ahead of time along with riding his bike ahead in the race to exchange my water bottle out for me. I could not have done this first one without him!
I am excited and nervous to say that I don’t think this will be my last half marathon either. I want to get better at this distance and have seen how it has helped build my confidence in running 5Ks through my training for a half. It has shown me I can truly do anything I put my mind to as well! And I love wearing my Gazelle Girl Half Marathon charm on my necklace and know I earned it and wear it proudly!