Well, I did it. I did it! I finished the half marathon on Sunday, September 30. Anna and I had a blast of a time, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It hurt like hell while I was running it, but it was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. Granted, it hurt like hell because I hadn’t trained well enough, but I finished and I finished triumphantly.
Anna picked me up from Salem at 6:00am, and we got to the race around 6:45. We found easy parking and then went up to get our bibs. We walked back to the car, and readied ourselves for the big event. Sharpie markers went to work on our arms with encouraging statements such as “Fire Up” and “Rock On” with a little Anna art to boot. We got our music ready. We got bibs attached. We got ourselves to the bathroom for the last pee break of the morning and we were off to the start line. We waited in the drizzling rain for about 15 minutes before we had to line up and then we lined up.
I had David Crowder’s “Oh Praise Him” playing in my ears as I waited to go past the start. Then, we were off. It was rainy, it was gross, but it was a thrill. Anna was kind and polite as she held back her pace to run with me, and I made the observation that she just needed to run and do her own thing. I told her to just go and have a good time. She left. It was great to see her just sail on. She had been training so hard for this race, and the day was finally here to do what she’d been practically killing herself to do. Anything from sore knees, sore hips and even hives… she’d been training hard, and I wanted her to just fly. And she did. She ran that whole thing in 2:18. Proud of that girl. Proud.
I, on the other, ran miles 1-5. Got my gatorade at 5 and walked until mile 7. Got my water at 7 and ran until 9. Got a gel pack (never had one before and didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great booster) and a water at 9 and walked until 11. Decided while I was walking to 11 that I would run 11 and 12 and finish running. When I started running 11, my already horrendously aching knees and hips yelled at me to stop running, so I listened. I walked as fast as I could to 12, and I said, “Self, you will finish with a run. Jesus, please take my pain away and just carry me to the end.” And He did. It was a rather emotional ending. One, I finished my first half marathon. Two, it didn’t matter that I ran and walked, I finished. Three, a song so perfectly started playing on my ipod that I think Jainie and I recently coined as “our song” – it’s Coldplay’s Us Against the World. Got weepy because it was like Jainie was crossing the finish line with me. Finished at a time of 2:55. It was amazing. One of the most amazing days of my life.
I’ll do it again. Even with the pain, I’ll do it again. In a heartbeat.