BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - I actually ran a half marathon! That's 13.1 miles, in case you were wondering. It's hard to describe the thoughts and emotions I felt before, during and after the race, but I'm going to try.
First of all, I should probably rewind to when I signed up because the week before the race, I was definitely questioning my sanity when I signed up for it. My thought process was: "I'm going to be in the best shape of my life. I can do this."
Well, I am quite possibly in the best shape of my life, but 13.1 miles is a really long way to run. I have never run more than six miles at a time, and that was probably only once that I can think of off the top of my head. And, no, I did not train.
I've been working out with a personal trainer for months, but there's a difference in weight training and training for a long run. If I ever do a long run again, I will make myself do a little more distance running in order to prepare.
With all that being said, I wouldn't change a thing because I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. So, now I will take you through race day.
I stayed the night with WLOX Reporter Michelle Lady (she trained and successfully completed the full marathon!). I got up at 4:15 AM, ate a banana and some oatmeal, got dressed and ready to hit the road.
We arrived in downtown New Orleans around 6:20 AM for the Rock N Roll Marathon Series. We met up with a few people and headed toward the madness. The race sold out. There were 20,000 people there! I asked the question: Why do WE pay money in order to torture OURSELVES??? I still don't get it!
There are different corrals for how long it will take you to complete the race. They were 1-25. I was in 22. The race started promptly at 7:00 AM. I don't think my group got running until 7:35ish.
The weather was perfect. I mean, it was gorgeous. It was a little chilly, but the skies were crystal clear. You could feel the excitement in the air. I still can't believe I was so excited to run 13.1 miles.
I was very nervous though. Waves of nerves would wash over me from time to time, but as my corral (#22) got closer, my excitement grew, too. We did our 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-GO countdown, and off I went. I had my music playing, and my feet were pounding the pavement.
I was enjoying the crisp, cool air and the time alone just running. As I was running, I ran by several places where I remembered being at different times in the past. I never really knew my way around the city (and still don't), so it was neat to run along St. Charles. It is amazing to see a different view on foot rather than by car.
So, I see the 5K mark, and I'm still running and haven't stopped yet. That's the first time I can ever remember having done that! I made it four miles in 45 minutes. That is really good for me.
I haven't ever really 'raced' for time as an adult. I have always done it as a different form of exercise, and my goal is to quite simply…finish.
My feet started killing me around mile 5ish. Do you hear me? K-I-L-L-I-N-G me!!! I really didn't know if I would be able to finish. I remember thinking I'm 20 percent done now. Then, I remember thinking I'm halfway done.
A lot of it is a blur. I still can't believe I ran and walked for 3 hours! It boggles my mind; it's almost as if it didn't really happen. But the few days after, I knew it really DID happen with each step I took!
There were several moments when I would just start crying because I was so proud of my accomplishment. I really started crying, when toward the end, I passed a double amputee! Can you believe it? That was one of the MOST inspiring things I saw on the run, and I saw a few.
But, can you imagine? Imagine being told you don't have your legs or won't have your legs anymore.
Now, I don't know his struggle, but this man ran at least a HALF MARATHON with TWO PROSTHETIC LEGS!!! I cried like a baby when I passed him; reminding myself how truly blessed and fortunate I am. I still get choked up thinking about it!
I had a little coach in my ear telling me every time I'd gone a half mile, so that was encouraging for me. When it said 13 miles in 2 hours and 59 minutes, I started crying again. Clearly, I'm a crier.
My official time was 3 hours 17 seconds and some change. That was with 4 potty breaks I think. I guess I was drinking too much water, nerves, needing a break maybe? I'm not sure.
I will always be proud of my first half marathon! And to answer your question...I'm not sure if I'll do another. But IF I do, I'll train better. That's for sure!