SO, after an insanely crazy Saturday but still getting everything done on my to do list, I woke up Sunday at 5 am to get ready for the half marathon. Woke Bri and Christopher up, then the rest of the kids, then Chris who decided to go even though he’s as far opposite of “morning person” as you can possibly get.
It was about 35* and forecasted to get to about 50* by the time we left, so everyone was bundled up with thier hot chocolate. When we got there I searched everywhere for Charlie, caught a glimpse of him once but lost him. Did the port-a-potty thing and felt the nervous anxiety of starting a race.
I haven’t signed up for a half in two years. I run 12 miles every week for my long run, but just haven’t done a race. In the past I’ve averaged 2:02-2:11. I knew I had gotten faster in the last couple years by quite a bit. My goal was to break the 2 hour mark but my FANTASY was to run a 1:45. Charlie and his posse were on board and nowhere to be found. The race began and I figured I’d just do my thing to the best of my ability. I knew some friends were volunteering at the aid station at 2 miles (and 11 miles on the way back) so it was nice to see them and my pace was great. I was finding my groove. Just after passing through, I spotted Charlie and crew up ahead. I was so excited!! I figured even if I didn’t catch up, I could maintain my pace just behind. But a quarter of a mile later, I was with the group.
I’ve paced before. It’s very rewarding. You go slow for your own pace so it’s an “easy” run, but you get to offer encouragement and really push the person to their goal. Like a badass cheerleader!! I’ve never had a pacer though. I wondered if I’d want to hang out with them the entire time. If I’d do better alone like I’m so used to. Unfounded concerns. Charlie and crew were fantastic. Not a ton of chatting but just pleasant to be with them.
I’m adamant about saying thank you to every volunteer, police officer, etc.. because it’s so unselfish of them to give thier time so we can run the event. Charlie takes that and raises it. He knew freaking everyone I swear and those he didn’t know he thanked and then said, “Give me some skin!!” and high fived everyone. I giggled a lot from mile 2-6 with them. At mile 3.5 we saw the first of the marathoners coming towards us (who started half an hour before we did). I tried to figure the guys time out but my head exploded so we all decided it was freaky fast. Then we got to yell “good job!” to every marathon runner who passed us on their way home. Can you say overdose of positive energy??
At mile six our “team” fell behind. Charlie had to decide to hang back and get them or push me. He decided to push me even though I let him know I’d be OK, but his pacing promise is to run at a certain speed and encourage everyone. So it’s up to us to stick with him and push it. At mile 7 we got Gu, water and I used a port-a-potty which I usually don’t need to do but hey, when ya’ gotta’ go, ya’ gotta’ go.
It was beautiful out, there were about 2500 participants in the races, the aid stations, potty breaks and people were amazing. Very, very well run and marked, fairly flat and extremely fun. We kept on keeping on and at mile ten I hit the wall. I hate that damn wall. I read somewhere that when you hit a wall remember there’s a door. WHERE IS IT???!!! It might be locked. IDK. A little while later when Charlie was encouraging me to keep it up I told him that he could run his race and finish strong and I’d see him at the finish. He said, “I didn’t think you were a quitter. After being pregnant 7 times and your husband and kids waiting for you with their cow bells and signs, I really thought you’d give it all you’ve got.” NICE….. “I’m not a quitter. They are waiting. I want this so badly.” “OK, he said. Then lets keep moving at this pace. That’s all you have to do is keep this pace. Stay at my shoulder.” Okie Dokie.
At mile 11 we passed the aid station where I had friends and I wanted to look strong for them. I looked at my Garmin and realized I was on target to finish at 1:47. HOLY CRAP!!!! I hadn’t really been paying attention. Can you say STOKED??!! Mile 12 I realized it’s the first time in 2 years I’ve run this far. Sure a 12 mile run every week is awesome, but I just busted past it. My family was waiting in a mile to cheer me on. I saw someone I knew on the sidelines (finally instead of Charlie and all his freinds!) and waved and said hello. Charlie looked at me and said, “OK, no more talking. Just focus on this last mile. We’re going to pick up the pace and finish strong past your family.”
That’s when I got emotional. That’s when it hit me what a pacer does for you. That’s when the thought of seeing all my kids screaming me in and waving their signs made me want to sob. That’s when the first thing I wanted to feel was my husbands arms around me and to hear him tell me how proud he is of me. So we turned it on!!
I finished at exactly 1:47. 9th in my age division, 161 overall. SWEET!!!!! Then Charlie was off to find everyone else he was supporting but not before I hugged him and told him I couldn’t have finished strong those last 3 miles without him. How do you thank someone for THAT??!! And my family (who got two pictures in the paper because they’re so freaking cute AND amazing) who were waiting for me – how do you thank them for THAT??!! Well, you say thank you and know it’s just not enough.