I RAN A FREAKING HALF MARATHON.
And every time I told someone I was running this race they said...
"Well, you must not like yourself very much."
They had a few reason. June would be hot and humid. It would be sweaty. It was a half marathon. The biggest reason was always the same though: This course is HILLY.
Ok, perhaps, hilly is an understatement.
But when I got to the point where I COULD run without pain again, I had only 6 weeks week left until my half marathon. And that is NOT a lot of time to prepare, considering that during my injury, I couldn't run more than one mile without pain.
Welp, let's crank half marathon training up to eleven, why don't we? That's a sure fire way to avoid injury... (Please note sarcasm.)
Either way, I was going for it. My PT assured me she though I was capable of completing a half marathon, so with a vague plan and a reasonable goal of being sub 2:30, I went at it.
And so my weekends went 5 miles, 7 miles, 9 miles, 11 miles...
And up until 11 miles everything was swell. Heck, even 11 went ok other than some IT band pain. Which, let's be honest. I broke EVERY SINGLE RULE OF TRAINING. I knew things were gonna hurt. And they did. But each time a day or two off was enough to get me back to normal.
The two weeks before the race were crazy hectic and included a trip to Ohio that turned from 2 days into 4 days and so what happened was essentially no running for two weeks. Until the night before the race when I though, "Huh... I wonder if I remember how to run?"
GOODNESS I HATE GETTING UP EARLY.
But there I was, on the starting line at 6:30 AM. I took a moment to find a running buddy from instagram before the start.
Once the gun went off, I set myself towards the back of the pack... I know that mentally I tend to start out too fast, so by starting at the back I keep myself going at a more reasonable pace.
I felt pretty good for the first few miles. In fact, I felt TOO GOOD.
But I resisted the urge to check my watch. I didn't need to know my pace. Or the mileage. I needed to trust my body and my *cough cough* training to get me through the race.
The first water station went smoothly. The Franklin Half used these sweet water bags instead of cups of water. I know some traditionalists complained but I have to tell you...
I always struggle with cups of water, spilling it mostly on my face and down my front, only minimal amounts actually in my mouth and I usually choke on that. But these bags were great. They're like the Capri Suns of race waters. Just bite a hole and squeeze water in to your mouth. Or suck on them. Or squeeze it on to your body to cool off. BEST. INVENTION. EVER.
Anyways the race went on, and as I knew it was coming, so did the giant hill around mile six. But no biggie. I still felt well enough that I both took this pic AND sent a snapchat to some running friends.
WHO SNAPCHATS DURING A RACE?!?! Oh, right. THIS KID DOES!!!
(And my Ragnar Team Zero Running Ability teammates. We're weird. Embrace it.)
My mind started switching between two thoughts:
"I can totally afford to slow down. My legs are sore and even if I slow down, I'll still make my goal."
"I can totally do this! FASTER, FASTER, FASTER!"
But I settled down and and went back to my previous mantra...
"Do what feels good. Do what you're capable of."
So on I went. Steady, feeling confident and still pretty strong. Strong enough that as I rounded the final turn, I managed to pick up the pace and close in on the people in front of me. I didn't catch them, but I made a strong push. I love that feel of going for the "kill." In fact, that had been my strategy for a good part of the race. Pick the person in front of me and slowly reel them in. Between that and refusing to walk the hills, I know that's why I managed to CRUSH my goal.
When I finally crossed that finish line, it was in 2:24, a full 6 minutes faster than my goal time.
I AM AMAZING!!!!! MWAHAHAHA!
I sat down and had no intentions of ever walking (much less running) again... But damned if I didn't feel pretty proud of myself.
And it doesn't hurt that the peach they handed me as I crossed the finish line was the best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. Those The Peach Truck peaches are legit.
I have to admit, the course if GORGEOUS. There's all these beautiful farms, and rolling hills, and watching the sun come up and burn off the fog? PRICELESS. I couldn't have picked a much more gorgeous course for my first half. And I cannot wait to be a part of next year's race.
I haven't signed up for another half marathon yet. But it's definitely on my list. My goal for next time is to a) actually train and b) sub 2:15. And if I pick the right course, I think that's totally manageable. I'm so excited to find the next half marathon. And definitely looking forward to next year's Franklin Half Marathon! And y'all should totally come run it with me!
'Cause it's all about the #runlove, y'all!