The morning of the half, I woke up a bundle of nerves. I seriously stressed about everything! I was worried about what to wear, how many layers to put on, how I was going to carry my GU, what I was going to eat and mostly how the hell I was going to finish the race. On the surface I looked calm but underneath I was a whole big mess. In the end, I wore a a short sleeved tek shirt, my favorite running pants, and a half-zip,-long sleeved -fleece lined tek shirt. I carried the GU in my spi-belt (actually Adam ran with the spi-belt in his hand the whole race since it was so full and it was driving me nuts). And- I ate this:
Half of a multigrain bagel with low fat cream cheese and a small coffee from Starbucks. I was really hoping that had almond of peanut butter since I forgot to pack mine, but they didn’t. I also forgot my allergy medicine which turned out to be a very bad thing considering our race was through a park the entire way. What I didn’t forget was my vitamins that I proceed to take before I ate and as a result I got nauseous. Once I ate I felt better.
Adam and I hopped in a cab around 8:30 and headed to Flushing Meadow’s Queens to to start-line. I was chilly, but knew it was going to get warmer and I would end up being hot by the end of the race. At the start-line while waiting to start I was a bundle of nerves. I was petrified, I am not going to lie. I was looking around at the other people gathered at the start line who looked so excited and ready to go. Deep, deep down I felt that too, but I just could not get past my fear. My eyes filled with tears. Luckily, I was wearing a hat and my few tears that streamed down my face were my own secret from everyone including Adam (until now!).
When the horn went off, I told myself to put on my big girl pants, suck it up and move my legs. That is exactly what I did! The first 3 miles I felt amazing. It was the best I had felt in a 5k in almost a year, despite the fact that I had a lot of snot going on due to allergies. Luckily, it is a unwritten rule for runners that snot rockets are 100% acceptable during races. I produces a lot of them over the course of the 13.1 miles.
Miles 5-7 were okay, nothing to write home about on either end. Adam and I made a rule that we would run most of the way, only stopping to walk a little bit during the water stops. This seemed to be working for me. Each miles was a challenge, but not something I couldn’t handle. The stretch between the water stop at mile 6 and the next before mile 8 wore me out. I needed badly to walk and catch my breathe, but wanted to stick to my goals. Just when I was going to tell Adam we were going to walk he turned to me and said, “You are being a total rockstar right now!” The truth is, he was right,. I had picked up speed and was pushing through to the next water stop. When we arrived I yelled, “Praise God!” and spilled water for a few steps.
Mile 9 presented many challenges, I was starting to really tire. Let me explain by telling you that I have not run more than 7 miles in the past 11 months. On top of that, the 7 miles I ran had far more and longer walking periods than did the 9 I had run so far in the race. I was pushing myself to the limits and my body was starting to push back. I was facing a conundrum, when I stopped to walk my legs were stiffening up and causing soreness, however, my lungs were struggling and I needed to walk. Mile 9 also included an incline that completely wiped me out! At the bottom of the hill, I started to cry out of frustration. I wanted to make it so bad, but my body felt like it was beginning to fight me every step of the way. Adam gave me the pep talk of my life, I can’t recall exactly what he said, but it worked. That man is truly my rock and I am so grateful to have him as a running and life partner! I begin at this point to realize that for the next 4 miles, my body was going to challenge me and the only thing that would get me through the rest of the race would be grit! I would have to dig deep until I had nothing left to give mentally and then somehow give a little more.I also need to add that I was having, um bathroom issues the whole 13.1 miles. I had to stop and use the porta-potties 3 times, the nerves were killing my stomach and causing me to have bathroom issues if you catch my drift.
Miles 10-13.1 were extremely difficult. I don’t know how to explain how I got though them, I just pushed through. I learned even more about myself as a runner and a person than I have from any other running experience thus far. When I saw the mile 12 marker I somehow mustered up the energy to jump up and high five it. I have one more mile left and I knew if I have to run my feet off, I was going to cross that finish line! At this point Adam and I stated making up little “one mile left songs”. For example:
- One mile left, I can’t wait to feel that metal around my neck
- One mile left, even my freaking eyes hurt
- One mile left, I think my hamstring just fell out
- One mile left, can’t want for my victory beer
- One mile left, I am a rockstar
Once the finish was in sight I was excited because I was afraid I couldn’t actually dig any deeper! There was an unexpected loop that meant the finish line was further away than it appeared. But, I just kept a smile on my face and powered through. I crossed my second 13.1 finish holding my husband’s hand just like I did on my first one! As I crossed, I heard FFF Mom and FFF Dad cheering for us. My parents knew it was going to be a huge challenge for me and they were so happy for me!
Crossing that finish was even more emotional than it was for me after my first half marathon finish! It was a different feeling and a different emotion.
Here we are just after our finish!
In the end, I am glad I pushed through and did the race. It was hard, really hard, but I did it. In the process I learned a lot about my ability to push through, to muster up the grit, to be resilient and to just get the job done. I was proud of my accomplishments and think it was just what I needed to get myself back in love with running (to read about my recent difficulties with running, click here). There was something about peeling back the layers of myself during that race down to that runner that is in there and pulling her out again. I can say, I want to run again! I am excited about my next half which is in 8 weeks. I don’t know how else to describe it besides, it was like therapy!
As far as the actual 13.1 NYC race, here are the things I loves about it:
- Scenic Route
- Clocks at every mile
- Plenty of water stops
- Awesome race shirts (I will post a picture soon)
- Nice metals
- Live music along the route (so awesome!)
- and drum roll please…….
HEAT SHEETS! I have had a goal of mine to earn a heat sheet. I don’t know what my obsession with the heat sheet is all about by man, oh man I was psyched!
Well, there you have it…my half marathon recap. Oh wait- I almost forgot! We finished in 2:34:00- not bad for not running more than 7 miles in the past 11 months, huh?
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford