13.1 DONE

I started to write this post in my head as I ran along those 13.1 miles. If only I had remember all those clever things I wanted to write....

Let's start at race packet pick up which was Friday afternoon at the St. Paul River Center. I took my lunch hour  to drive to St. Paul and pick up my race bib, finishers' jacket (which I think is pretty funny since I hand't stepped foot on the course and already owned the finisher's gear) and looked around the expo. As I entered the expo area to my left I saw a huge banner, stretching across the better part or the wall. As I neared it, I saw that on it was an alphabetical listing of all the 14,000 runners who would be participating that next day. I did a little searching and found both my name and that of my sister in-law Delayne. Originally, Delayne had encouraged me to sign up for the race because she was going to run it with me. Well, she didn't end up physically running it, but I put her timing chip on my shoe so she would at least get her a finishing time. After that, I head back to work to end the day and mentally prepare for the next morning!

Saturday started with me waking up around 5am to have some coffee, eat a small breakfast and get everyone packed and bundle up to head out in the chilly morning. Kevin was a trooper and agreed to bring both boys to the run even though he knew two hours of entertaining on such a cold morning outside could get interesting.  We loaded the van and were on the road by 7:15am. Surprisingly I wasn't feeling anxious at all, I figured that even if traffic got heavy or it took longer than anticipated to get the the start, my start time wouldn't begin until I crossed the starting line. We got about 2 miles from home and Cooper decided he need to use the bathroom, again. Once everyone had used the bathroom we were on our way again.

The nearer we got to the drop off site, the slower we went- there were SO many vehicles lined up to either drop off runners or find parking. Luckily we were headed away from most of the traffic and I was dropped off near the starting gate area around 8:15. I joined everyone else in line at the port-o-pottys. I overheard one runner say they had dropped one glove in the toilet....bad way to start yor run on such a cold morning.

Finally, I made my way to the starting gate area. In training I had consistenly been running between a 8 and 8:30 minute mile on long runs so I found the 8:30 pacer (person who holds the pace for you so you can maintain it while running) and tried to find what music I'd listen to during the run.

Before I knew it the national anthem was being sung and we were all slowly stepping towards the starting line. I'm not sure if it was the excitement of those around me, the crazy idea that 14,000 people decided that getting dressed up in a costume and running a "few" miles was a good idea or that I was actually standing there moments away from running my first half marathon, but I kind of choked up! Keep in mind, not too many things in life make me cry. It's usually only the "real" stuff that gets me. But I found myself in a sea of monster masks, 80's neon tights and big hair, a down or more supermen look-a-likes and a huge variety of other creative (or not so creative like mine) costumes and feeling an overwheling since of accomplishment for just getting there. I had envisioned this morning for months, all those EARLY morning runs when I would have liked to have stayed in my warm bed were now culminating to this- I was really doing it!

BAM! The race gun was shot and off we went, well kind of. With so many people it takes a while to actually get across the starting line. Soon enough we were all finding out pace and heading out down beautiful Summit Avenue. As racers passed me or I passed racers, I saw a mirad of interesting costumes, I tried to take pictures of some of them.  One pair that I missed was two guys wearing next to nothing- just swim shorts and swim caps. As they ran by one said, "Just keep telling yourself those pants would be way too hot!" They then both laughed as their teeth chattered.

Mile after mile we went, passing little kids with their arms outstretched hoping to catch a hig-five from a runner (which I obliged them with whenever I saw a little hand sticking out of the crowd), lots of dads with strollers and coffees, signs reading GO (ENTER NAME) GO! or Worst Parade Ever! Both the people and their signs kept me entertained the entire way.

Speaking of signs..... my friend Mindi earned herself the title of best friend ever twice in October. The first was coming to stay with us to help with Cooper's party but the second was sincerely a thoughtful, very awesome thing to do.

As a ran along the roads ot St. Paul I carried my cell phone with me to provide my music distraction. Right around mile 3 or so I heard a *PING*, I had a text message. I knew instantly that it was Mindi. I didn't bother to check though, thinking I'd lose my stride if I did.

Not long after, there is was again *PING*! Ok, what is she up to? So I finally looked and these pictures are what kept popping up.

Like I said- AWESOME!

At mile 8 I started thinking to myself, I've only ever run 9 miles, not 10 or 11 or 12, just 9- so... how are those last miles going to treat me? Well, I guess I'll have to keep running and find out. I also decided that I couldn't complain about it being ahrd until mile 9 either since I had proven that I could run that successfully.

At mile 8 my phone just quit. So there I was, no more music, no more encouragement from Mindi in her living room and no way of calling Kevin to let him know when I got close to the finish.  Darn it.

It's erie when you are out running with so many people and you get to the parts in the race when there aren't any "fans" along side the route. Suddenly its just runners and lots of feet pounding on the pavement and lots of heavy breathing.

Mile 9! Ok- phone is working again and another picture from Mindi!

Mile 10- we split off from the 10 mile runners- they go left to their finish and we stay right. A volunteer in the middle of our two routes shouts out, "Just a 5k left runners!" Just-A-5k-Left......just????

3 miles to go
3 miles to go
3 miles to go

I've got this

Mile 11 "hill"

Mile 11- are you kidding me?!! There's a HILL?!

Mile 12- I can run a mile in 8 minutes, run faster, run faster- you're almost here. Just 8 minutes left!

I'm pretty sure that between mile 12.5 and 13.1 my legs were moving, but I'm not sure who was moving them :) I gave Kevin a call, told him where I was in relation to the finish and started looking for them on the sidelines. Soon I spotted my two adorable boys and Kevin along with Delayne, my brother Mike and nephew Alex. I high-fived them all before glaning at my watch and pushing myself those last few yards.

I had made it.

I crossed the finish line and was greeted by a flurry of volunteers placing medals around our necks. My legs were now feeling more like jello then legs. I tried to keep walking to avoid my muscles cramping and grabbed my phone to call Mindi to let her know I survived.

I quickly found my family and welcomed their cold-cheeked hugs and congratulatory smiles. I felt so great- I LOVED running that half marathon. I loved every bit of it- the atmosphere of being surrounded by so many people who were also out there in the cold challenging themselves, the comratary of encouraging runners who at mile 11 had started to walk, and mostly I loved the feeling of accomplishment. It scared me to sign up for the run- I didn't feel like it was ever something I could do. I proved myself wrong. I not only finished, but met my goal of running it in under 2 hours- 1:47 to be exact.

On our way home Kevin looked over and asks, "What's your next conquest going to be?"

Good question....


Popular posts from this blog

KARE 11, Are You Hiring?

Girl Next Door

Living Like...