|American flags at the start of the 5K. |
These two gentleman ran with them the whole way.
Since this was my first Half Marathon, I decided to skip the 5K and instead just cheer on my friends, who are, indeed, nuts! After the 5K we had dinner, then headed back to the hotel.
While I normally don't sleep well the night before races, it was even worse this time. I didn't fall asleep until well after midnight, then kept waking up due to loud neighbors and the loud sounds of traffic outside our hotel room. I finally gave up a bit before 5 and just got up.
Around 6, Michelle and I headed to the race. It was about a mile and a half walk, but when we saw the traffic backing up, we knew we were right to walk. Plus, warm up! :-)
I decided to line up behind the 2:40 pacer, even though I wasn't quite sure what pace I'd end up running. Since I was going to be doing a run/walk, I didn't want to be in anyone's way, so I figured starting in the back would be a good idea.
|Spoiler alert: I did not finish in 2:40:00|
At the last minute, I found out that a girl I know wanted to run with me. She'd been recovering from surgery as well as shin splints, so she thought run/walking sounded like a good plan. I was nervous about running with anyone, since this was my first half, and I really wanted to do MY thing, but I figured I couldn't say no. Plus, seeing a gorgeous hot air balloon float over our heads kind of filled my heart with hope.
|Floated right over the start line, then off to who knows where.|
It turns out, running with Erin was great. The miles seemed to fly by. We were both feeling good, the weather was perfect, and the course was amazing. I really loved that the residents of Frederick were so enthusiastic about the race. People cheered us on, played inspirational music, offered up bathrooms, blew bubbles, and when we ran past a church, there was even a man of God outside blessing the pack. It was amazing.
I started to get tired around mile 8 but was still feeling pretty good. When we hit mile 12, I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I was about to finish a half marathon that I teared up a few times.
After a bit of a hill (which I did NOT enjoy), we came to the race track, where the finish line was. We had to go about 3/4 of the way around. I really wanted to walk, I was so tired, but Erin told me to "dig deep." I laughed and said "I don't have a deep!" I told her I had to at least slow down, so when we hit the last straight away, she went on ahead. I was left all alone for the last few hundred feet. There was no one in front of me or next to me and it was such a surreal feeling after having run with Erin and a whole pack of other runners for 13 miles.
It was kind of fitting, though. In the end, I was the one who had to "dig deep" and finish strong. My legs, my heart, my drive. As much as everyone supported me and cheered for me these past weeks, it was up to ME to actually do it. And I did. :-)
Oh, and that 2:40 pacer? Yeah. I finished ahead of her. Official time for my first half marathon - 2:37:54. Couldn't be happier.