I’m about a month late in writing this, but oh well! That’s life! 🙂
Back when I was pregnant with James, Cody ran a 25k (about 15.5 miles) up in the mountains of Wyoming. After watching him finish, I expressed to him that I wanted to do a half marathon in the next couple years. I had always wanted to do a half marathon, but this was the first time I had said it out loud and really decided to pursue it.
Fast forward to January 2017. I called up my mom and asked if she would train for and run the Star Valley Half Marathon with me. She agreed, I nervously/excitedly signed up, and tried to start training. (Tried being the operative word here.)
By the end of February, I was feeling fed up with not knowing how to train. So I turned to Cody, who has a degree in Human Movement Science, and asked him (okay, begged him) to make a training schedule for me. I started keeping to the schedule and things were going fairly well. I don’t know how I would have survived without Cody. He was my unofficial coach and did an awesome job. If 8:00pm was approaching and I hadn’t gone running yet, he’d remind me that I needed to get going, which was so helpful and motivating.
One thing that repeated through my head on the hard days was my motivation for doing the half. First was my dad. He’s had multiple sclerosis for 24 years and every day is a marathon for him. I’d think of him and repeat to myself: “No excuses.” In fact, I had “For Dad” printed on my shirt I wore for the half so I’d be reminded of my #1 motivation during the really hard parts of the race. Second was all the people who looked at me during my pregnancy and told me to “say goodbye to my body” and that “things will never be the same again.” To that I said, “Watch me.” I wanted to prove every single one of them wrong. My body would be more in shape that ever before and capable of so much. (Not only did I run 13.1 miles straight, but I also got abs that you could actually see. That was FUN. Take that, nay-sayers!)
Throughout the training process, I did a pretty good job of sticking to my schedule. Other than a week and a half in May… Oops! But I kicked my act into gear and got going again.
I always did my long runs on Saturday mornings. I’d be up and going by about 7:30am-ish. (It was 8:00 some days…I like my sleep!) I loved my Saturday mornings. My favorite part was running on the 3-mile trail near our apartment that runs along a river. I’d always run there during the hardest part of my route so that I’d forget how hard it was. The trees and plants on either side of the trail were so GREEN. That, plus the sounds of the river and almost no other runners on the trail, made it so relaxing and peaceful. I decided that behind being with my husband and kid, that running on that trail on a Saturday morning was “my happy place.”
On July 8th, I got up bright and early (5am to be exact) and went to Thayne Elementary. My mom and I hopped on one of the buses and we headed up to the start line. We started off at 8am and I had a blast! I was definitely slower than a lot of the other runners, but I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t doing the half to set any records and it was just for me.
The first 11 miles went really well. I felt good and kept up my pace. At the 6.5 mile aid station, they had bananas. Let me tell you…that was the BEST banana I’ve ever had! Haha!
The last 2.1 miles were a little slower than those first 11. There were two super nice ladies who said I could tag along with them to the finish line. We chatted for those last couple miles and it made it seem a lot faster than it would have without them. I’ll be forever grateful to them.
Despite my slower finish, I still achieved my goal!!! I wanted to finish in 2:50:00 and my final time was 2:49:35, which was a 12:57/mile average. (I never said I was fast!)
Cody and James were right there at the finish line and it was so fun to have James squeal and run towards me. After getting my medal, I went straight to the food tent! I was ready for that chocolate milk/protein drink! I had earned it! 🙂 I also laid down on the grass for a really long time. I was very tired.
We then cheered my mom on as she crossed the finish line. James actually ran right up to her and she grabbed his hand and they crossed the finish line together. It was adorable! And so fun to watch James finish his first race. 😉
It was so rewarding and such an amazing experience. To go from not exercising at all to running a half marathon in 4.5 months proved to me that I am capable of anything I put my mind to and I’m stronger than I ever realized. I will definitely be doing a lot more half marathons in the future. I wanted to do one at the end of the August, but I got a stress fracture, so that won’t be happening anytime soon. OOPS. But it was worth it!