The link above is like a fun game of I-Spy or Where's Waldo. Can you see me? That's me at about 15 seconds in crossing the finish line... you'll know it's me when you see the person looking around all crazy like "WHERE THE HECK IS THE WATER?!"
The days leading up to the race were full of nerves and excitement. I was very nervous about the dreaded hills everyone kept talking about. Cassandra and I went down the day before to the expo to pick up our packet, meet up with some Team Libby folks and carb up before the big race. I hardly slept Friday night because I kept thinking I would miss my alarm. Then I thought about all the time I ran and wanted to stop...how I couldn't force myself to keep going sometimes...hoping this didn't happen on Saturday.
I woke up bright and early on Saturday and was accompanied downtown by my husband David, Mom, and Sister. Temperatures were chilly as they dropped me off near the start line with Cassandra. When it finally came time for our wave to begin we got going. It was exciting! With over 31,000 runners and surely over 70,000 spectators, the roads were full!! There were people EVERYWHERE!! People I have never met in my life were giving me high fives, yelling for me and cheering me on. When we got into the residential areas there were residents who were kind enough to be handing out strawberries, bananas and oranges they had bought for us. Some were even spraying their hose pipes to keep us cool. It was so amazing to see the thousands and thousands of people who supported all of the runners on this special day.
I had been training for about two months but not nearly as hard as I should have been. My last half marathon was finished in 2:16 on completely flat terrain. This half marathon was rather hilly and I was not in as good of shape, so my goal was 2:30. I ran in downtown Murfreesboro a few weeks ago to gauge my time and did it in 2:30, but was completely exhausted. I kept telling David that I didn't think my GPS was working and that I had run way over 15 miles....I felt like I had run farther and I really thought my time would be a little better....I am convinced that I really ran about 15 miles that day!
All the cheering and excitement made the race so much fun! About 4 miles into the race I looked down at my GPS ( A NEW one- different from the one I used a couple weeks ago.) and I was on a good 9:50 mile pace. I was feeling great! I had decided I would stop at 7 miles- a little over half way. When 7 miles got there I still felt great and thought, "why stop if I don't have to." So... I kept going....about 9 miles in I realized I was still on a good 9:55 pace and could shred my 2:30 goal by nearly 20 minutes if I kept up the pace. I decided then and there I WAS NOT going to stop running until I crossed the finish line...no breaks, nothing! I was really starting to regret this decision by about mile 11, but MADE myself stick with it. I wanted to finish around 2:10 and I wanted to be able to say I had finished without stopping once. I rounded the corner at about mile 13 to see my sweet family yelling and cheering! I crossed the finish line right as the 2:10:10 time struck. I was ECSTATIC! In that moment I could not have been more proud of myself. I even started to tear up a little bit because I was so happy...those tears quickly faded and these thoughts took their place...."WHERE THE HECK IS THE WATER?!?!" I got my metal and walked around the corner to the water station where everyone was. I reached down....so thirty and sooooo excited for water....only to find that it was not water, but towels!! I could have killed someone in this moment....but I kept walking and finally got some water.
It was a beautiful day. I was so excited and so proud. Thanks Cassandra and Team Libby for inspiring and encouraging me to do this! I am still reveling in excitement! :)
The title of this post was inspired by this guy who was rounding out mile 12 with me. There were security guards/medical personnel/police everywhere monitoring the spectators. Apparently this guy decided he was going to run, but he wasn't going to pay $118 to do so. Somehow he made it the whole way until almost the end when he was coming up on 13 miles and a guard saw him and noticed he didn't have a registered bib. The guard yells, "Get off the coarse!!!!" The runner attempts to run around the cop and finish his race. The cop yells "GETTTTTT OOOOOFFFF TTTTHHHE COURSE NOW!!!" and tackles the guy. NOT a joke. Very funny. :)