Well, I fell down 6 times, and have gotten up 7.
We went to the expo on Friday night with the plan of getting our stuff, then heading to the Hotel. My sister told me to buy the "I did it" or finisher t-shirt and just own it and KNOW I was going to finish. I was going to, however, they didn't have one to buy. The only thing I'm sad about is that I didn't buy a t-shirt, and we didn't get one with our registration.
While we were at the Expo, we signed up for the RNR Savannah in November. I knew I
HAD to finish on Saturday.
We got up on Saturday and got ready to go to the race. It started in Savannah's historic Forsyth Square. On the way to the start line, I took a picture of the finish line and posted it on my Facebook page with the caption "See you in about 4 hours". There was a 4 hour time limit for the race, and I was planning to walk the majority of the race. I started using my RunKeeper app, and following the 30 second run/30 second walk intervals. I figured I'd stick with those until I just couldn't stand it anymore and then I would walk.
To my surprise, at mile 6, I was still feeling pretty dang good. about mile 6.5 I was a bit crampy and decided to eat the banana I had in my skirt pocket. I missed a few running intervals while I was eating my banana. I threw my peel away and got right back to my intervals. The miles were clicking by fairly quickly (I know, I'm slower than slow, but for me, it seemed fast)
I just kept plugging along and running/walking whenever my running app told me to. I did see the "sag wagon" following the last 3 ladies when I was between miles 7 & 8. The last ladies were just after mile 6, as this was the part of the course where we went up and back and around the same park about 6 different ways. I was a good bit ahead of them, but felt my anxiety starting to creep up. As soon as it started I told myself, "no, run 30 seconds...walk 30 seconds....that is ALL that matters right now!"
I absolutely REFUSED to let anything negative enter my mind. I had met with my running coach only once, but he told me that running is the most mental sport. I told him that I have no faith in my ability to be a runner, or have any success athletically. My sister is the athlete. She is the one that everyone just knows will be good at things. Anything she decides to do, if it's a sport, she's gonna kill it, or die trying. I've always been the girly girl. No one expects me to be athletic. I want to be an athlete, but I just don't have any faith in my ability to be successful.
I refused to let anything negative get to me this time. I started thinking at mile 8, "OMG, I still have 5 more miles to go? How can I do this?" So then I turned it around mentally and said, "You've finished 8 miles and the only time you didn't do your run intervals was when you were eating, KEEP IT UP!"
I hit the historic square before mile 9 (I had seen the mile 9 sign before I turned right to run around the square so I knew I was close). Not long after that my sister called to see where I was. The cool thing is, even when I was talking on the phone, my running app would notify me of the upcoming interval. So even while on the phone with my sister, my mom, my kids, my husband, I kept doing my intervals. When I talked o my sister at mile 9, she said, "oh, so you'll be here in about an hour." I asked her what time it was, and she said, "9:35". I almost passed out!!
That meant that I had done between 8 and 9 miles in 2 hours...averaging about 15 minute miles....and I was at mile 9. Unheard of for me. I was shocked, in a good way, and just kept plugging along.
I got past mile 10, then mile 11.....now, mile 11 was brutal. Why? Not physically, no....but I was getting hungry...and someone between miles 11 & 12, somewhere, was cooking fried chicken. I could smell it. If I had known who it was, I would likely have busted through their door to steal a piece. It smelled AMAZING!!! I wanted a piece of that dang fried chicken.
I got to mile 12....almost the furthest I have ever been. (remember at the Battleship Half I made it to mile 12.5). Around the end of mile 11 my hamstrings would no longer let me run my 30 second intervals. Kara called me again somewhere during mile 12. I told her that I was somewhere in mile 12 and would be finishing soon. About that time, I passed two of Savannah's finest, and asked them where I was, they said mile 12-1/2. I told Kara that I couldn't run anymore, so it'd probably be like about 10-15 minutes. Not too long after that, I turned a corner and I could see the fountain in Forsyth Park. I started to cry...I knew I was going to make it. I didn't give a CRAP about the time. I was going to finish a half marathon!
I kept going, and a lady near me saw that I was crying and asked why. I explained I had never finished a half marathon but had attempted it MANY times. She slowed her pace a bit to stay with me, and encourage me through the last quarter mile or so.
Before I knew it, there was a guy telling us, "Congratulations...you're in the finisher's chute!!" I was in shock. There were people sitting on the park benches around the fountain, like spectators at a horse race. I saw the mile 13 marker, and I wanted to run some intervals to finish. I made myself run a bit. I kept putting one foot in front of another. I looked up at the finish line and could see the clock, which showed 3:27 something. This is huge, because all Run Disney races, and most half marathons have a cap time of 3:30. I was going to not only finish, but I was going to finish in under 3:30. This is HUGE!!
Here are my split times, from RunKeeper, the third column has to do with change in elevation in each mile
Then I looked up and saw my sister, standing there waiting for me. She had my medal, and she was going to put my medal on. I crossed that finish line....and I cried, A LOT! My sister hugged me and we cried together. She was there to put my medal on me. We took a finisher's photos, and I couldn't be more proud.
I am moving forward and will continue to run and work hard. My next race is the Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half Marathon in July. I do have a running coach, who will help me to get to reach all of my goals. I'm hoping to train and get a bit faster, and see if I can't finish that race in under 3 hours...even 2:59:59 would work. I know I can.
Thank you to everyone who has been so amazing and supportive of me and my goals over the years. You all help me continue to chase my dreams, rather than giving up on them.