16 December 2014

The Kiawah Half Marathon {Part Two}

It was finally here - race day.

The day we signed up for nearly 11 months before.

The day we had been training for over the last four months.

The day and the race that we had been continuously talking about to pretty much anyone who would listen. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate every single person who listened to me ramble on about a training run, who cheered me on at my races this fall, and who wished me good luck this weekend. My favorite cheerleaders out of that group were either running with me or were biking around the course to cheer as I ran by.

Patrick even made me a sign!


Back to the race though. Selfies were a necessity. I ran into a sorority sister before the race and we took a quick one.


Hannah, Jessie, & I needed one too once we were lined up at the start.


& we were off!


We lined up between the 2 hour finish time pace group and the 2:15 hour finish time pace group in the hopes to land somewhere between those times at the end. That put us between a 9:10/mile and a 10:18/mile pace which is what we had been running at for the last few months.

I was really excited to see my mom, my dad, and Patrick shortly after we started.



The first mile was easy. We spent most of it weaving in and out of people trying to find good places for three people to run. Do you know how difficult that is? We conquered the "hill" and headed on towards mile 2. Somewhere around mile 2 is where I was finally able to feel my fingers again {it was just above freezing at the start time!} and somewhere around mile 3 was when it started to click that there was a loooong way yet to go.

We were all still good heading into miles 4 and 5. One of my parents' friends was standing on the course shortly after mile 5, so I snagged a high five from him.

That's about when things started to fall apart a little bit.

Once we began heading out on the part of the course towards the Ocean Course, we saw the runners who had already completed the out & back portion of the half. They were hauling it. I mean... sprinting. Easily running twice as fast as I was.

I don't like out & backs for that reason. I don't particularly care to see the people who are soundly kicking my butt in the race, especially when they're about four miles ahead of me.

When we hit the turn around point, they took us off the road and put us on the bike path.

Um, ok.

The bike path is about 6 feet wide maybe? That's not a lot of room for thousands of runners to run on. It was crowded and claustrophobic. It's where I started to lose Hannah and Jessie. It's where I stopped thinking about just running to the next mile marker and started thinking more "Oh hey, I've finished eight miles, I only have five to go!!"

Mistake.

Miles 10 - 13.1 were hands down the hardest of the entire race. My head was telling me that it was only 3.1 miles and I could run that. My legs were telling me I was out of my mind and that it was time to stop. It was a continuous series of arguments between my head and my legs and the only reason I didn't stop is because I knew that my cheering section was coming up around mile 11. There might have also been a Shake It Off dance party consisting of just me.

Don't let these pictures fool you. I was very happy to see my mom, dad, and Patrick, but I wanted nothing more than to collapse at this point.


That thumbs up? Such a lie.


Do you see my out of control hair? It has a mind of its own when I'm running.


But you know what? There was nothing left to do but run to the finish line at that point and I was not going to stop. I didn't care how slow I had to run, I wasn't going to quit until I stepped across the finish line.


I wasn't the only one in agony. Jessie ran on a knee that she's having surgery on in 11 days and Hannah ran on a foot that she hurt the week of the race. They may have looked happy when they ran by my parents, but they, like me, dropped the act as soon as they ran by.

When I turned off of Kiawah Island Parkway and saw the sign for mile 13, y'all, I started crying. It got worse when I saw my dad standing right where we made the final turn to the finish line. I can't wait to see my finish line picture because I was a mess crossing it. I was exhilarated and exhausted. Smiling and crying.


Oh, lucky me! The Kiawah Marathon Facebook page has this gorgeous picture posted. I told y'all, I was a mess at the finish line. I wasn't kidding.




I crossed the finish line, stopped my GPS watch, and was handed my medal from a cute little kid.

Then I saw my momma.

I call this my "I just ran 13.1 miles for the first time in my entire life and I've never been more proud of myself or more physically exhausted and I don't think that my legs can support me for much longer and I just want to sit down and cry and ohhh there's my mommy!" look. So glad Patrick got that one on camera.


Yup. She cried, too.


Who knew running a half marathon could be so emotional? Tears, hugs, and high fives all around.


Official Results
Chip Time - 2:14:53
Pace - 10:18/mile
Overall Finish - 1,499/2,715 
Gender - 832/1,758
Age Group -117/219

4 comments:

  1. WOW! Congrats, girlie! SO wonderful YOU DID IT!!!! I want to run one, someday!

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  2. Great job girl!!!! Running a half marathon is definitely such an accomplishment and something to be so proud of!! It IS emotional for sure!! I kinda want to do Kiawah next year bc I heard it is flat...but now I don't know bc of what you said about the out and back situation--I don't want to see the crazy fast people passing me!! Are you ready to do a full marathon now?! ;)

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  3. Oh wow! What a challenge...and you totally conquered it! You'll be so glad you wrote this when the memory was fresh because before too long, you won't even remember the pain it took to get through the full 13.1 miles! Great job, girl!

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  4. i don't think i have ever been more emotional than when i crossed the finish line to my first half! heck, any of the races i do i get all emotional. so sorry to hear all of you had a hard time, but thats excellent you all kept going!! your face at the end of the race is pretty much my face as well!

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