I can’t stop thinking about it. At random times, it just crosses my mind, “I ran 13 miles.”
I ran 13 miles. I ran 13 miles. I ran 13 miles.
I kind of can’t believe it. I was nervous before the race, but carbo-loaded in the days before like my life depended on it. Yes indeed, I would love an extra slice of bread with dinner! Shawn’s a big fan of any carb-based meal, so he was happy to support me in fueling for the race.
The night before I carefully set out everything I would need and made at least three lists. I organized, I rested, I ate a peanut butter sandwich, and I went to bed at ten thirty. I woke up at five-thirty on Saturday morning, had a peanut butter bagel and some coffee, and started the forty-five minute drive to the race.
I got to the race in plenty of time to park, use the restroom, eat some more, and mentally psych myself up for what was ahead. A lot of the other runners had family and friends with them, so I found myself in my own little world – a content observer of my surroundings.
Because I had to leave so early, Shawn stayed home with the boys. When they woke up and had breakfast, Shawn packed ’em in the SUV and headed out to come see me. As I milled around the starting corral at eight, listening to the countdown, I received the most encouraging text from Shawn. He told me that he was proud of me, proud to be my husband, and knew that I’d be able to do it. Then he continued to text me encouragement throughout the entire race.
Husband of the year? Yes, I think so.
So the goal that I told people I had was to complete the entire 13 miles, and to finish in 3 hours or less. My secret goals were to run the entire thing without needing to stop to walk, and to finish in 2.5 hrs or less.
I spent the first two miles with my headphones on, but nothing playing. I was thoroughly enjoying running on pure adrenaline, taking in the race atmosphere, and listening to fellow runners chatting and the sound of so many footfalls. For the next eight miles I listened to a podcast, sipped on Gatorade every mile, and chewed a Gu Chomp every four miles or so. At mile ten I switched to music and since I was feeling good, stepped up my speed a little. It was pretty fun to steadily pass people who had started out too fast and were slowing down at the end! When I got to mile twelve, I turned off the music and enjoyed the sounds of the race again.
Because he arrived later, Shawn had to park a couple of miles from the finish line and had to push the double stroller through the race course to the finish. Once I got to mile twelve, I actually passed them. I slowed for just a second to say “hi” to the boys, and seeing those sweet faces was just the motivator I needed to finish strong!
The last quarter-mile was all uphill, and I cranked it. Running across that finish line was three years in the making, and I feel like every moment of my hard work flashed through my mind as I approached the finish. When I looked up and saw in the time clock that I could actually finish in 2.5 hours, I picked up my pace even more and finished in….
Shawn and the boys were still making their way to the finish, so I weaved my way through the crowd and found a curb to sit on while I caught my breath. I’m sure I looked ridiculous with how big I was smiling, and in that moment I could’ve sworn that I was the most awesome human being on the face of the planet. Blame it on a runner’s high.
So did I mention that it was cold that day? I think the high was around 45, and that morning the temp was about 35 and the wind was pretty fierce. The poor boys apparently got pretty beaten down by the wind on their walk from the car to the finish. Neither boy was very happy about the situation, nor were they impressed that their Mom just realized she was the most awesome human being on the face of the planet.
As it turns out, C. Bear actually had a double ear infection and J. Bug a pretty bad cold, so…
I guess their crankiness makes sense.
Also, the wind did something weird to my bangs up there. I don’t know. Each finisher had their photo taken as they crossed the finish line, so I’m sure my weird floofy hair will be all sorts of pretty. That’s okay though, I’m too hardcore of a runner to care about frivolities like a bangs helmet.
Oh yeah, and I got a medal. Just between you and me, everyone who finished got a medal. But if you ask me about it, I’ll leave that part out.
“Oh, this old thing? Gosh, I completely forgot I was wearing it! I mean, ever since I got it for that half marathon I ran recently, I just keep forgetting to take it off!”