We did it! I can’t tell you how great it feels to have accomplished it and how thankful I am to have gotten through it all. While I didn’t reach my goal time of 2:10, I did run the entire race! Which was my number one goal in the first place. My second goal was missed by FOUR stinking minutes. Annoying. Yep, my official time was 2:14:27. Let me just tell you though, I went through every single emotional possible while running those thirteen miles. I’ll explain myself, while giving details about the race.
NERVOUS: At the starting line, my nerves were going crazy. I was excited that the day had finally approached, but I was so nervous of multiple disasters capable of happening. I was worried I wouldn’t beat my goal time (which I didn’t, but who cares). I was worried I’d suffer a major injury during the race (which I didn’t, whew!). I also worried I would need to stop and walk (which I didn’t! YAY!). But all in all, I had no reason to be nervous. I did what I originally went to do…and that was to finish the race.
ANNOYED: At mile 3.5 I got the beloved cramp in my side. Up until this point, all the friends I started the race with had stayed together. Once the cramp hit, I knew I needed to drop back a little and let the pain down before I pushed too hard and needed to stop. I was glad I did, because at about mile 4, it went away! The annoyance passed.
MOTIVATED: At mile 4, I was feeling pretty strong. I was keeping right on track with my 10 minute mile pace and I was very motivated at this point to even try and pick it up a little. I actually felt this way until mile 7, when we entered Churchill Downs. Dun dun dun…
FRUSTRATED: As we entered the race track right after mile 7, I was feeling good. But as soon as we had to go through two separate tunnels (entrance and exit) that were extremely narrow, I was very frustrated. It didn’t bother me when we were out on the open road that people stopped to walk. But if you’re going to walk through the most narrow part of the coarse, look out for those still running and MOVE OVER. At one point I felt like I was jogging in place, because people were acting like they were out for their Sunday stroll. Eventually, I made it out of there and I was able to focus back on my time again and get away from people.
CONTENT: I was feeling really content from about mile 8 or 9 until close to 10.5 or so (you get kind of lost with mileage after so long). But again, I was keeping on track with my 10 minute miles. Once I reach close to mile 11, I could definetly tell I was slowing down to more of a 10:10 mile or somewhere around there. But I just kept telling myself it was almost over; I was almost done.
ANGRY: As I approached the final few miles, (I thought) up ahead I could see the finish line banner. It was a straight shot to what I saw, but I knew it was still kind of a ways off. I could tell it was a huge banner, and really, why would anyone else have a banner up on the race coarse? Well, it wasn’t the finish line, guys. It was a stupid beer banner. What the heck? After I passed that banner, I could see the mile marker for mile TWELVE. One more mile to go…
UPSET: Somewhere after I passed the mile twelve marker, I looked at my watch and knew that I was too far off from the finish line to beat my goal time of 2:10. I wanted to push harder so bad, but I felt like if I did, I would keel over and die. All these thoughts just rushed through my head like, “why didn’t I stay with my friends?”, “why did I get in that mess at the last water station and let it slow me down?”, “why can’t I pick up my pace right now?” I seriously thought if I didn’t see the finish line in a couple minutes, tears were going to stream down my face. I just wanted to be done.
EXCITED: And there it was! I turned a corner and I saw the finish line. I was only 3 minutes passed my goal time at this point, so I went into an all-out, full-out sprint (it probably didn’t look this way to bystanders, but it sure felt like a sprint – and I was definitely moving faster). My knees, my thighs, and my calves hurt so bad, but I didn’t care, I was just excited to see the finish line so close! After I crossed the finish line I heard my friend yell, “Jill! You did it! And Kristina just got engaged!” I had finished the half-marathon I spent the last 5 months training for and on top of THAT one of my best friends got engaged as she crossed the finish line. Her and her fiance ran the race with us too. It was quite an exciting moment for everyone.
RELIEF: It felt so good to be done. I was proud of myself for finishing and not walking at all. It really was an incredible feeling. The Lord gave me all the strength I needed to get through it and I am so thankful for that. I’m blessed to have had my husband there cheering me on and great friends to encourage me before and after the race.
But let me just put this out there now…as proud as I am, as good as it felt, and as much as I liked it (at moments), it will be my one and only half-marathon. I’m saying it now, so that if I ever get the idea of doing another one, you will smack me silly. This girl is a one hit wonder kinda runner.
Next up: Bowling Green Triathlon in August. Who’s with me?