Three months of training culminated in the half marathon I ran this morning. Spoiler Alert: Consistent training pays off.

Up at 4:45. Out the door by 6. Downtown parking garage by 6:30. Massive line for the porta-potties by 6:45. At the Starting Line by 7:15. (This is all thanks to my husband, King of Logistics! It was soooo wonderful of him to agree to be my driver, photographer, and cheerleader for the day. He’s the best.)

I successfully met up with Fast Willy C prior to the start (what did we do before cell phones?). The gun went off at 7:30, and 7 minutes later, Fast Willy and I finally crossed the Starting Line (we were in the last corral due to our (my) projected finish time).

As any runner can attest, the first mile or two is among the worst: Your body screams out – What are you doing to me? I don’t like this! Cut it out! – and then relaxes a bit after a few miles.

Today that was no different, though the first few miles weren’t nearly as difficult as the last few miles, but we’ll get to that in a bit…

About 3 minutes in, it started to rain. Just a light sprinkle at first, and then an all out RAIN. After a mile or two, it switched back and forth – Sprinkle – Rain – Sprinkle – Rain – for the rest of the race. At first it felt good, cooling off the surprisingly hot (and muggy!) morning. Then it was just annoying: Wet feet, wet clothes, water in your eyes. But as Fast Willy pointed out, there was nothing to do but just keep running!

I was feeling good for quite a while. Not great – I don’t want to pretend that any of it was EASY – but it was a good challenge. One that I had prepared for.

It was Mile 8 when things started to get very difficult. When we first reached the marker, I was excited – 8 miles! – and then I did the math: FIVE MILES LEFT. Oy.

It just got worse from there: My legs started cramping up. It felt like I was getting a blister on my right foot (I didn’t!). I had to go to the bathroom.

I kept going though, mostly because of Fast Willy C. I really wanted to walk. I mean, I didn’t want to, but I wanted to, you know?

When we got to Mile 11, it occurred to me that every new step would be the furthest I had ever run. That was very helpful mentally. Of course, I still had the physical pain. Even so, it was at this point that I told Fast Willy that I knew I would finish.

But I didn’t really know that. It was so hard. I had to keep slowing my pace – the last 2 miles were probably my slowest of the entire race.

At about 12.5, it was clear that Fast Willy still had a lot of energy left, whereas I had none. I told him he should run off to the Finish Line on his own and I would meet him there. He said “We didn’t run this far together not to finish together! We’re going to cross that Finish Line at the same time, arms raised in triumph!”

And that’s exactly what we did. (Photo not taken at the exact moment our arms were in the air, but I promise you, they were up there!)

It felt so good to finish. Right after we crossed, though, we hit a big traffic jam of people going through the chute waiting for their mylar blankets and medals and bananas and bagels etc etc. That part was insanity. And going from running 13.1 miles (!) to standing was very difficult on my body. I cramped up. I felt dizzy. I felt a little sick. Of course, I probably would have felt those things even if I was able to walk at the end, but who knows how badly.

My wonderful husband was there at the Finish Line. I heard him yell my name as I crossed, which was awesome. When we finally met up, he led me to the car – a miserable 10-block walk – and drove me home. And then made me lunch. And then let me take a nap. And is about to take me out to The Melting Pot for dinner. Because really, if there’s ever a good time to go to The Melting Pot, it’s on a day you just ran a half marathon :)

My official finish time:

11:03 pace – Not too shabby. Ideally I would have finished a little faster, but it doesn’t really matter: My real goal was to run the entire thing without walking, and I did that. If I had run any faster, I’m not sure I could have finished without walking. Hell, I was close to being unable to finish at a run as it was!

In fact, even at the pace I went, which was comfortable for me, I honestly don’t think I would have completed the entire race without walking if I didn’t have the support of Fast Willy C beside me. It was fabulous of him to run with me and keep me going, especially since I know he could have finished with a much better time if he had run on his own. I’m very grateful that he helped me reach my goal today!

And I’m thrilled that I did, in fact, reach my goal today. It was hard, but that’s what makes it feel like such a great accomplishment. Yay for me!

13 Responses to “…Go!”

  1. Jerry Says:

    AWESOME be you

  2. bodybypizza Says:

    'Yay' for you is right! I knew, knew, knew you were going to run the entire thing. I knew this because you've been training consistently and you have a lot of heart. Seriously. A LOT. You are a go-getter and a total bad-ass and it showed today. Your time? Awesome. And something I won't be able to touch on May 30th when I set out to complete my first half marathon, but you know what? It doesn't matter a bit. It's all about finishing what you've started and doing the best you can do.

    I've said this a million times and I am sure that the impact has rubbed off by now, but you are seriously my hero. Congrats!

  3. Sarah Says:

    I'm really happy for you! Will is awesome; I'm glad he was your running buddy today!

  4. Alicia_B Says:

    I am so proud! I knew you would kill it! Way to go!

  5. redstar5 Says:

    Amazing! You are a champion fitness warrior! Your time and dedication and the fact that you did it in the rain and ran the entire way is incredible! I hope you're enjoying the post run satisfaction and your meal out with your husband. Congrats again!

  6. Nicole Says:

    Way to go, Kimberly! This is just one more thing you've accomplished that you set your mind to. So proud of you!

  7. Mala Says:

    I love that last picture. Champs.

  8. Kat Says:

    Congratulations. That is an amazing finish time. You did great!

  9. South Beach Steve Says:

    Congratulations!! This is awesome!

  10. Sarah Camp Says:

    Congratulations! You're my hero! :)

  11. Roni Says:

    Loved your take! I remember mile 8 all too well.

    And I think you inspired me to hit the melting pot after my next long race. I love that place! :)

  12. aimeeinak Says:

    I'm so happy for you, congratulations!!! All that hard work really paid off, you did an amazing job!

  13. redstar5 – Work in Progress » A Blog Award = Embarrassment? Says:

    […] Kimberley @ Watermelon Waistline […]