Well, we did it! Hours upon hours of training, and over 230 miles of running in preparation. I completed my first half-marathon! I am still feeling very happy and accomplished, and what a feeling.
But, let me back up to the day before the race...
Andy has had back problems for years (Yes, I know. We make quite a pair with our back issues) and after trying just about everything, his doctor finally recommended a cortisone shot to try and avoid full on surgery. So, Andy set it up, not really realizing that the day after his same-day-surgery was our half-marathon. By the time we figured it out, it was too late to change it, so we just hoped for the best.
My mom and sister Rachel (who came up with her kids from Vegas to cheer us on. Love her!) took care of our kids from about 1 PM on. They picked them up from school and they slept over at my mom's so we could be free to concentrate on Andy's hospital visit and getting ready for our race. So sweet, I love them!
We got to the hospital and got Andy all checked in. He got to wear a sexy hospital gown that was waaaaay too small.
He told his doctor what he was planning on doing bright and early the next morning and his doctor told him it was okay, and to take it easy while running, but that he should take a week off of exercise afterwards. He also mentioned that if Andy had a reaction to the shot, he probably wouldn't be able to run.
Greeeeeeaaaaat. This is where we just hoped for the best.
After he was settled, they came and got him (after a very long wait) and took him back for "surgery". It only took about 15 minutes, and then he was back in recovery, cracking jokes like his usual self. He said he felt good, so they let us go shortly after that. He was a little woozy, but overall, he said he felt okay.
We headed to Simply Sushi for our pre-race carb load. We met my brother (who was also running with us) and his wife there. Between the four of us, we downed probably 12 whole rolls and about 12 pieces of nigiri. On top of that, we had soup and edamame. It was soooo yummy, and I'm not going to lie, it felt awesome to be able to eat as much as I wanted to after all of these months of strict calorie counting. I felt a little sick afterwards, but not for long.
We headed down to pick up our race packets after we ate, and it got us really hyped up just being in that atmosphere. We went home after that and got all ready to be up bright and early. We turned in around 11 PM with plans to be up at 5 AM. Andy was still feeling great, so that helped me to relax. Strangely enough, we both awoke around 4 AM and chatted excitedly for a half hour. I dozed off for a bit after that, and then we were up at 5 to get ready.
We had a light breakfast (greek yogurt and a banana for me, a power bar and banana for Andy) and headed down to Thanksgiving Point. When we arrived, we met up with my 2 brothers, Doug and Nate, and also my sister, Kaylie. I just have to say.... my sister is amazing. She started a new job a month ago at Kneaders, and she has to be to work at 5 AM every morning because she is one of the bakers of all those delicious pastries they have. They wouldn't let her off for the race unless she came in from 3 AM-6 AM and got started on all of the baking for the day. Seriously.... she was up at 2, worked for 3 hours, and then came and ran her first half-marathon. She is amazing.
We all took a last minute potty-break, and then lined up together at the starting line.
I felt much less nervous than I thought I would. I think it was because of all of my awesome siblings, because I just felt so much support. Andy is a pretty fast runner, so he got a little closer to the front than the rest of us.
When the gun went off, we walked with the huge crowd to the starting line, and as soon as we crossed, I turned on my moniter so I could keep track of my time, heart rate, etc. My siblings and I stayed together for a bit, and then Nate and I slowly pulled ahead. We found a good pace, and just ran. The first couple miles are always the hardest, so after we hit mile marker 3, I was feeling awesome. I was also pleasantly surprised to see how fast we were going. We stayed right on a 10 minute mile. My goal was to complete in under 2 1/2 hours, and at this pace, we would do that easily. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom again, but I didn't want to lose my groove, so I told myself that I could hold it until at least mile marker 6. However, my running buddy (Nate) had to go, so he stopped and said he would catch-up. I ran the next 2 miles alone. It was easily my favorite part of the race, not because I was alone, but because miles 4 and 5 are run through the tulip gardens, and it was breathtakingly beautiful (which can be a problem when you're already breathless from running, haha ;). I also started to get a little choked up because this is where I had my bridal pictures taken almost exactly 11 years before. I ran through the arches and almost lost it. Whenever I do hard things, I get emotional, and this was no exception. I was glad to have my ipod and lost myself in my music and just ran.
Around mile 5.5, Nate caught back up and at mile 6, I finally took a break and had a drink and used the restroom. Nate was kind enough to wait for me. I am so glad he did, it was so nice to have his company, and I don't think I could have ever caught back up to him. We took off again and I felt like I was on auto-pilot. This particular course is run through the golf course and there are a ton of hills. It is one of the most hilly courses in Utah. It was a bit of a challenge, and I was glad to have trained on a lot of hills. When we hit mile marker 8, I was still feeling awesome.
The hardest part for me came at miles 9-11. My legs and knees were starting to hurt, but I still felt okay. My stomach felt a little sloshy too, so I decided not to stop for any more drink breaks. The longest I had run up until that point was 10 miles, so after that, realizing I only had 3 miles to go, I knew I could do it, and what an amazing feeling.
Around mile 11 1/2, Nate and I saw Andy. He was running really slow and said that around mile 8 his back started hurting a lot, so he had been taking it easy. We ran together for a bit, and at mile marker 12, Nate took off. After that, I passed Andy, feeling torn about staying with him or trying to get my best possible time. He told me to go, so I did. I ran that last mile as fast as I could. When I saw my dad waiting a ways before the finish line, I felt so happy. I yelled, "Daddy!" and waved as I passed him. I sprinted up the last little bit to the finish line and after I crossed, I threw my hands into the air! YES! I was finished :) My official time was 2 hours 14 minutes 33 seconds.
I saw my mom, sisters, and kids cheering and waiting. Such a feeling. It was fabulous. All of my kids had these silly grins on their faces and gave me the best hugs. Andy came in shorty after me at 2 hours 16 min.
Me and him and Nate headed over to the recovery zone, turned in our time chips, and picked up our medals. We went and grabbed some chocolate milk, ice cream sandwiches, bagels and cream cheese, and whatever else was being offered. It tasted heavenly.
We waited for Doug and Kaylie to finish. They came in at about 2 hours 35 minutes, I didn't see their exact times. And of course, we took a bunch of photos with everyone.
I love this girl. Training buddies forever.
The Fabulous Five
My parents so generously took all 25 of us out to breakfast afterwards. I had stuffed french toast and bacon and didn't feel one bit guilty. Mostly because my heart rate moniter was telling me that I had burned 2100 calories during my run :)
We headed home after that, took off our running shoes, and I laid on the floor for about 45 minutes and didn't move, not even when Sadie (my dog) and Magnus started climbing all over me.
I felt well enough later that day to do a little shopping with my mom and Rachel. I even found these bad boys for an amazing deal for Andy so we can get ready for our next race....
Because there will definitely be a next race :)