Number 19: Run a half marathon

This item almost didn’t make on the list since I already had a running list item. When I participated in the GO! Relay I took a huge step by participating in an organized run and actually beginning to run outside. This was a new thing for me, running never seemed like anything I would want to get involved in. However, after the GO! I thought I might be able to push myself to run a half marathon. Plus I was really getting to enjoy running and the benefits that came along with it i.e. noticeable weight loss while pretty much eating what I wanted.

As I pondered this new idea friends began to mention to me that the Rock N Roll Half Marathon was coming to St. Louis in October. This would be the first time the city hosted this event. I took this as a sign that I should sign up and big apart of the inaugural race. So I signed up….and then immediately panicked. Was I crazy? I could barely run a full mile and now I had signed up to run 13.1!!!

Luckily I heard about a training team that was starting up to train for the Rock N Roll. I knew I was going to need more than my will power to train for this event. When I showed up at the first long run (July 17) I thought I would quickly find some first timers like me. Nope. Everyone on the team had run at least one half already. Oh and did I mention that it was almost 100 degrees for the first run. But I told myself that the only way to prepare would be to put one foot in front of the other.

As the weeks went by and the weather sizzled I forced myself to get up every Sunday at 6am (or sometimes earlier) to do my long run with the team and to run during the week either outside or at the Y. There were times as I watched everyone pass me by that I felt like giving up but I knew I had the support of so many family and friends behind me that giving up would not be an option. As the weeks went by I could feel my endurance getting stronger and began to notice that I could run longer before having to walk. This gave my confidence a huge boost, progress always helps!

When I began training back in July, October seemed so far away! But October was here before I knew it! As race day loomed closer and closer my nerves took over. I was constantly questioning if I would be able to finish the race or if I would be the last one to cross the finish line or would I get lost. Yes, I was worried about straying from the course and being lost in a city I have lived in for 29 years. Running may have improved my health but it didn’t take the worry wart out of me.

Pre-race meal- gotta get those carbs!
Race day arrived and it was the most beautiful day to run. It was a nice cool day with no rain and no extreme heat. As the race began I felt really good, I was able to get a good pace going — and there were people behind me. I wasn’t last! It was fun to see all the people who came out to cheer the runners on. One of my favorite signs said “I don’t know you but I am proud of you”. There was a mix of signs with inspirational quotes and sayings and some that were just funny like “It wasn’t easy for me to get up and watch you run either”. The energy was amazing and really kept me going. At one point the course splits and the half marathoners go one way and the full go the way other then the course meets back up towards the finish. I was running my hardest to finish 13.1 and there were several people on the marathon side right next to me that were on their way to finishing 26.2. Yikes!

I crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours 49 minute. My goal going in was to finish in less than 3 hours. It was an amazing feeling crossing that line knowing the early mornings, the sweat and the achy legs were all worth. I was able to take those doubts I started with and crush them. This was truly a major accomplishment in my life but I don’t think I have another half in me. Yes, I do enjoy running but 13.1 is just a little too much running. I think I will stick to the 5K’s and generally just running to stay fit. I am also glad I choose to do the Rock N Rock event, I truly felt like a Rock Star throughout the whole weekend from packet pick up to the finish line.

Me and my medal!
An action shot – thanks Alice!

Keep an eye out for me you might see me running on a street or trail near you! Now I am moving my feet right along to number 18………………………………

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