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Thursday, July 18, 2013

My first 13.1 -- Race Recap

So, I turned 35... and ran a half marathon.  Nuts, right?

Finisher medal for Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. I wore it for 2 days!

Let me start with the weather on Friday night.  It was foggy as all get out!  From where we were staying, you couldn't even see Lake Superior across the highway.

Lake Superior is past those trees!!

Big deal about the fog?  I've never really had to try and fall asleep with the sound of fog horns bellowing!! Ugh!!!  So as I tried to sleep in a less than comfortable hotel bed, nerves running (haha!) rampant, I also had to listen to fog horns.

My alarm was set for 4:15 am, but I was already up before that.  I was aiming to get on the shuttle bus by 5:00am.  Start time for the half marathon was 6:45am with the marathon starting at 7:45am.  After a bumpy ride I got off the bus and waited for my friend Myra to start the race together.  As I made my sweat drop, I ran into my friend Molly and we stood and talked for a few mins.  Myra and I stopped at the port-a-potties with everyone else, and lined up towards the back.  I threw in my earbuds and tried to shake off my nerves and get pumped to run.

The race started, and according to my chip time it took me almost 6 mins before I crossed the start.  Myra and I kept together for about the first 2 miles.  My left hip ached already.  At each mile marker there were these huge yellow balloons for the marathon and then .10 mile after was a huge blue balloon marking ours for the half marathon.

At the first mile, my split time was pretty fast and my first mile is usually the worst one for me!  I don't remember much about the first couple miles except for fog and there was a woman dressed in black who asked if she could run with us.  Somewhere after mile 2 (or maybe 3) Myra ran up ahead of me, and I also eventually got ahead of the woman who tried to run with us.  I knew Myra would be able to run faster than me and I was glad that she didn't stay with me if she didn't need to.

My 5K split time was ok... it was 42 mins something.  But finally my left hip stopped aching and I felt like I could pick up the pace a bit more.  By this point I started to notice the people around me and who I was able to keep pace with.  There were quite a few people and a lot more behind me.  I don't know about other runners, but I hate the idea of finishing last, even though I have in races before.

Up until Mile 9, much of the race was uneventful.  The people cheering at the sidelines were amazing and they really helped keep up my spirits.  When I reached Mile 9, this part of the course went past the hotel we were staying at.  Suddenly I heard my name and when I finally spotted them, it was my husband and boys calling and cheering for me!  I didn't expect them there!!  It felt so good to see them and have their support.

Shortly after that my friend Angie met up with me and she ran along side me as I finished the race.  After the 10 Mile mark was brutal.  I beat my 10 mile time from last October, but I was really starting to drag.  Running through downtown Duluth I heard my friend Molly yell my name and that helped too!  And then as I headed into the last mile, I caught the wind coming off of Lake Superior which was also no fun.  The last few twists and turns toward the finish was confusing because I knew I was so close!

And then I got emotional.  I saw a sign that said: "I don't know you, but I'm so proud of you."  I still get choked up thinking about it.  It hit me as I was coming in closer that I was about to finish my first half marathon.  Something that I wasn't ever sure that I would ever do and something that people thought I was crazy for wanting to do.  Something that people STILL don't understand having the desire to accomplish.  So as I got lapped by the winner of the marathon, I also crossed the finish line.  And no one can take that feeling from me.

My friend Myra found me and gave me a hug and I'm so glad that I saw her!  We got a finisher picture and eventually found our loved ones.  My husband and boys missed me crossing, but were standing at the finish.  I think it was probably because of all the excitement in seeing who won the marathon.

And yes, I wore my medal for two whole days.  I still want to wear it! LOL!

Since the half, we went on vacation and I've done the Run For Your Lives 5K obstacle course and The Color Run.  Just this past weekend in fact.  I entered the lottery for the Twin Cities 10 Miler again.  I've also been doing a lot of thinking about running for the rest of this year.  But that's for another post. ;)