Monday, November 2, 2009


I did it! I set a goal. I trained for my goal. And I finished! I was so nervous leading up to this race (as I'm sure you could tell from my last post). There's so much I want to say about this experience.

First, we stayed in a hotel downtown before the race. It was a very nice hotel and would have been a very nice night... except Patrick was up vomiting all night and Benjamin didn't sleep much. It wasn't exactly the rest I was hoping for, but we all made it through. The good news is that the night before, we all slept great! Getting up super early was a little tough, but adrenaline got me going!

I had to go to the bathroom so bad before the race, but the port a potty line was at least 20 minutes long. I decided to suck it up and go along the course if I needed to (there were potties available and I didn't have to go, as it turns out). That made me kind of nervous, but you do what you have to do!

When the start horn went off, I admit, a few little tears escaped from my eyes. The nerves, the pride, it all was so overwhelming. I was actually doing something huge. I was accomplishing this awesome goal. It felt so good! The start was crowed (there were 3500 people there) and pretty enthusiastic. I got in line with the "2:20" pacer instead of the 2:30. Bring it :) "Let's get it started in here..." was blaring through the speakers as I ran by and it was enough to pump me up for a few miles.

Hundreds of ponytails were bouncing around in front of me and I spent a lot of time watching other people run and taking in the gorgeous scenery. I checked my mile times and set out a plan for each mile or so as it passed. At 35 minutes, I passed the 2:20 pacer and took off. I felt really great - until mile seven.

Miles seven through nine were TERRIBLE. Maybe worse than child birth. At one point I didn't think I would be able to push through and run anymore. It was certainly a mind game at that point and I set little goals to get me through these miles - "just run until that sign", "keep running for another three minutes and then you can walk for one." When I saw the mile 10 sign I did a little dance, in my head, and smiled. Double digits! I knew I only had a 5k left and that was pretty motivating. I started hurting pretty bad around mile 11.5, but I had to keep going. I wasn't out of breath, my legs were throbbing and felt like jello! I was pretty encouraged by my endurance through the whole race.

At mile 12, there was a water stop. I grabbed a cup and walked for about thirty seconds. I threw my cup down and took off. The last half mile I sprinted. I was so close! As I got closer to the end there were more people on the sidelines. They were yelling and cheering. It felt so good to be encouraged! I couldn't stop now. When I saw the finish line, I cried a little more. I was so excited to be done, but mostly I was proud of myself.

I finished in 2:22:53 (officially). I came in 858 out of 1078 women. My official pace was 10:54, which I think is pretty great for not training as well as I could have! I only walked about eight minute the whole race. Most of that was after mile six. Side note: Our goodie bags were pretty sweet and loaded with stuff. I love that all of the "Spirit of Pittsburgh Half Marathon" gear said "finisher" on it! Yes!

My legs were wobbly and my arms were a little weak. My knees were hurting so bad. However, I felt so great. I would do another in a heartbeat! I've never had such a thrilling moment than crossing that finish line (okay. childbirth is probably the top, but you know.)! Sitting and getting back up, walking up and down stairs and generally moving was difficult until this morning. A little motrin and ice and I'm good as new!

Ah. It's nice to be done, but I can't wait for the next race. They are addicting (I should know, I've run in 5 races this year! Sheesh!) and I'm okay admitting that :) I'm going to take a month or so off from races, but by the new year - watch out! Bring on the races!


My little pumpkin on Halloween!Getting ready to trick or treat. We had dinner with our friends Andre and Margaret, so Benjamin and I went around their neighborhood. We only went to 5 houses. Also, my child is sticking out his tongue. Awesome!

Benjamin's halloween costume :)
Start of the race!
My goal! Patrick took this at 59 minutes. The first finisher came in at 1:06! Holy cow! He is a fast runner.
Me coming in...goal in sight. Sprinting like crazy! Can you see that smile on my face?!
Finish line! I'm feeling good! Under my goal, even!

After the race. Medal in one hand, protein shake in the other :)
Me and the babe after the race. 7 1/2 months after giving birth.


Beth said...

Congrats, Ashley! How inspiring! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow Ashley...what an accomplishment!!!!!!!!!! I can't imagine what that must feel like :)
Jennifer Vw

Morgan said...

congrats! i know i couldn't do it!

mama cindy said...

You are amazing!! So proud of you and your accomplishments. Love the picture of you holding the medal... hint, hint. :) So glad that Patrick and Benjamin were there to cheer you on!! Love you!

Luke's Mom said...

Congratulations Ashley! What a great accomplishment!
Amy J.

Baby Hancock said...

Wow. I am so impressed! More than that, I'm encouraged...maybe I could do that!?

I dunno.

But they ARE addicting, that's for sure!

So glad for your accomplishment! Thanks for inspiring us!!!

Jeannie said...

I was on the treadmill today and thought of you. You're a rock star!

theroyalgarcias said...

Yeah girl!!!!! 7 1/2 months after having a baby!!!! Take THAT haters!!! ;)