One week ago I tackled the longest distance yet, the spectacular 13.1! I have been on a runner’s high all week and I’m ready to relive it all again in this (lengthy) blog post! On Saturday I picked up my race tee and my number. I met Monica from Insert Witty Running Pun Here at Rhode Runner. She is so sweet and she introduced me to the race director Eric. He was great to talk to as he told us how there are some serious hills just before mile marker 2 and again at the end for mile 12. Mile 12 he explained was killer but once we were at the top of it the race was practically over. I was glad I had the advantage to know what I was to expect in the course. He said 10 water stops; including Gatorade at 9 of them and GU at mile 7. I was happy I could plan on bringing my hand held water bottle instead of wearing my belt. I was VERY disappointed leaving Rhode Runner with a size L shirt. I registered for this race back in December and I felt as if I was a L then. When I saw the size L they handed me, I was sad. It was HUGE. I really wanted to be able to wear my first half marathon shirt but they could not switch or exchange sizes. Oh bummer. I bought some Nuun, Sport Beans, and a 13.1 sticker while I was there then I headed home.
My mom picked me up at the dark hour of 5:15am. I was up for a while. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t get much sleep. I had done super hydration the day before so once I woke up at midnight to pee, I had broken sleep until my alarm went off at 4:40. I was super nervous but I had put everything I needed out the night before so I knew I wasn’t going to be missing anything. I had made overnight oats for breakfast. I really did NOT feel like eating so I brought it in the car with me on the way to the race. I slipped out without waking my family and hot the road with my mom. I managed to eat some of the oats while we chatted. The highway was clear so we flew up there in great time. It was only 40 minutes away. Once we got there, you could see where the race began and ended. This race was really cool cause the finish had a victory lap around the track at the stadium. I decided to use the bathroom before the lines got out of control and was just enjoying the excitement of the crowd. It wasn’t long before I saw my friend, Heather. I was happy she was easy to find. She was rocking her super cute new running skirt! Loved it!
Before I knew it, it was time to head to the starting line. I snapped a quick selfie at the start. I was feeling so pumped and ready! Heather was so great as she reminded me that I tend to get caught up and go out fast and that wouldn’t be a great idea since we were trying to keep a steady pace to finish. I really didn’t want to get locked on a finish time, I had set my goal to simply finish. (I secretly wanted a finish time of 2:40.) My mom waited to see us off and snapped a pic. She was going on a mission to try and exchange the shirt since registration was now closed. She is one convincing lady so I had faith that she’d be successful. We snapped a quick pre-race selfie and we were off! I was so happy! It really was super exciting!
We followed the pack for the first mile and soon enough we were approaching the hill the race director had told me about. It was like a wedding cake. A three-tiered wedding cake, LOL. Heather and I were able to crush that (endless) hill and once we made it to the top, we felt great. Nice and flat and we had great conversation 🙂 We were somewhere around mile 4 when we saw some of the first finishers lapping their way back around! Seeing that always impresses me. This is when I decided to have my PLOW ON energy gum. I love the way PLOW ON gives me the boost in my running. I like taking it around mile 4 in my long runs. The course continued into a quiet neighborhood for the turn around. These houses were on the water and they were stunningly beautiful. This is where Heather and I noticed the mile markers were slightly off, mile 6. We had passed the 3rd band I believe and Heather stopped for a bathroom break and I snapped a selfie and walked til she caught up.
I quickly looked at my phone and I saw text messages from my trainers/friends, Ryan & Danielle, and my friend, Rebecca. It touched my heart that the were cheering me on and it was exactly what I needed to see! 🙂 Thanks guys! ❤
We continued on and soon enough we were on the course that included the East Bay Bike Path. This path was gorgeous and flat. Not too much shaded parts, but it was nice. We were feeling great and staying happy and hydrated. I had some sport beans. Heather snapped a cute pic at the mile 8 marker. 🙂
Now this is where you have a little bit of a mind f—. You see, yes, I was feeling good 8 miles in, yet I STILL HAD 5 MORE TO GO!!! Argh! I tried to not dwell on it too long and followed the advice to run the mile you are in and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Soon enough were were running past the lighthouse on the race shirt and finishers medal; it was the Pomham Lighthouse. It sure was beautiful!
Soon we had reached mile 10.5 and this is where I began to struggle. Heather was great and kept talking me through it. I was hot, tired, and wanting it to end soon. We reasoned that we had less than a 5k left, WE CAN DO IT!! So along we went before I knew it we were at mile 11 the longest I had ever gone, and we were on a downhill to mile 12. YUP, the dreaded mile 12 hill? I was trying not to notice the massive decline I was running down cause soon enough I had to go up it. AAHHH!!! It was so steep! There were cones so we tackled this by run to next cone, walk to next cone plan. Eventually, we were at the stop and police were there stopping traffic to let us cross the street into the final stretch! I stopped to text my husband to tell him to look for me, I was close. I saw the cones leading us into the stadium! We ran into the stadium and saw we just needed to lap around to the finish! I saw them once I entered. I waved like crazy and Mark spotted me 🙂 I was getting closer to them and I had to stop. I saw my dad and stepmother, I was getting so overwhelmed with emotions. I gathered myself and made a strong finish across the timing mat. I DID IT! I finished! I couldn’t believe how happy I was to have accomplished something so big and how truly far I have come. I DID IT. I was officially a half marathoner! I hugged Heather and and expressed my gratitude towards her for doing this with me. I was thrilled! We snapped a few pics and headed out since Mark said the kids were getting antsy from waiting for me.
We had a little walk to the car since there was no close parking when my family had gotten there. It was good to keep moving after the race, but I really didn’t like walking that far to the car. Silly, huh? haha… I told Mark I really wanted a iced coffee from Dunkin. He honored my request and we drove to directly there! It was good and I was on such a high. It was so AMAZING to have my family there. My kids kept telling me how proud they were of me, even my son who is 4 was able to understand it was a big deal. I was just amazing. I got the text from my mom that the shirt exchange was a success!! She was able to trade the L for a SM! Woot! Woot! 🙂
Once I got home, I took a shower and had a snack. I was silly enough to think I would take a nap, but I was too pumped up to even think about sleeping. I did just lay on my bed and relax with my kids. I enjoyed seeing how many people were happy for me on FB. I had received sooooo many messages of love, encouragement and support leading up to race day, it truly brought me to tears. I will never forget it. I certainly have the largest squad of cheerleaders ❤
After my resting and relaxing, we decided to stay local and get a burger and beer at Rathskeller Tavern. Before I left, I had to do one more thing…MY 13.1 STICKER!! I proudly put it on my car and had Mark get another pic. I was happily wearing my size small race shirt, my medal to dinner! Hope, my daughter, asked if I was bragging by wearing it. I told her this was probably that only time I could ever wear it again and that its called being proud, not bragging, haha. When we got to the restaurant, Hope wanted cheese fries, who was I to stop that request?! LOL, I ate some too! GUILT FREE! 🙂 I had 3 ice cold beers, cheese fries, and a Mushroom cheeseburger. Couldn’t finish the burger, but finished the beer 😉 No room for dessert, never much of a dessert person, so not much of a change for me.
Overall, this was one of the greatest days of my life. Dramatic? perhaps, but in my heart, I NEVER dreamed I’d see this day. I heard of people doing half and full marathons, I never in my life thought I’d be one of them. I made it happen. I have been asked if I’ll go the distance for a full. I don’t know. I have learned to NEVER SAY NEVER. I have learned that life’s greatest accomplishments are achieved through hard work and perseverance and dedication, not by wishing. What I do know is that I want to do it again. So Sunday November 2nd, I will run my next 13.1 🙂
Finally, I celebrated this life achievement by getting ink. It seemed appropriate for me. When I lost 75 lbs, I got my Refuse to Sink tattoo. I did not do one at my 100 lb loss, but decided that I would for this. I went with Believe…because I believe I can do anything I want if I am willing to put in the work. I loved this tattoo cause it incorporated the believe and the 13.1 in it. I am thrilled with how it came out.
Today I will plan out my next training schedule for November 2nd’s Half. It’s going to be here before I know it and I’m ready for it on my roads and cooler weather. Oh yes! BRING IT!