Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another half marathon in the books! {A long review of my latest race}

Over the weekend, I ran a half marathon.  It was my goal to run one after each baby to get back into shape.  And I have accomplished that goal each time.  I'm proud of myself for setting this goal and meeting it THREE times!

I ran the OKC Memorial race {again} and it was as humbling and motivating as last time.  It is a true blessing to run to remember the 168 lives lost 19 years ago.  I met a woman who was cheering on her family as they ran different races.  They lost an 18 month old cousin in the bombing.  A sweet boy, Blake, who would be 21 this year.  My heart was saddened, but drawn even closer to this city I love.  

I may not be a born Okie, but I do love this great state.  
And I'm proud to be raising Okies!

The race day was already looking daunting as we checked the forecast days before -- warm and humid!  That was a bummer since I had trained in pretty cool and windy weather.  I was praying for a low 40's start temperature.  Maybe a slight wind.  Instead we had high 60's, humidity and severe storms.

As I got to the starting corral, the sky was already grey and overcast. We were waiting a little past the 6:30am start time to see what would happen. The potential for storms was very high, the momentum just as high.  There were 26,000 full and half marathoners ready to run! 

At first there was a 15 minute delay.  Most everyone waited around and took shelter in parking garages and open buildings.  But once the weather reports were more solid, the delay was pushed back to 8am!!! At that point I decided to run back to our hotel room because I would need to feed Elise again before I could run 13.1 miles!  She would starve otherwise -- haha!

The weather guys were hopeful, but not encouraging in their reports.  But there were a lot of runners wanting to run.  After training for four months, you want to see the fruits of your labor! I headed back to the corral as it started to storm.  I ran in the pouring rain and hail, but I made it! :)  The race finally started at 8:20am...

I couldn't find my friend Megan, who I was running with, before the start.  After watching for her for several minutes I decided to start running.  I didn't make it a mile before she called -- I stepped to the side and waited for her to find me.  Then we were chatting and running and cheering on the fire fighters running in their gear.  I checked our mileage around 4 1/2 miles.  It didn't feel like 4 miles at all!!!

At mile five the sun started coming out and it started getting a little warmer.  We downed some gu at mile six and kept going.  The crowds were awesome and cheered everyone on with great excitement! At one point I almost got a cup of vodka because I thought it was a water stop -- nope! Just a friendly neighbor handing out alcohol!  

I think it was mile seven that I started to get a little tired.  We split with the full marathoners at mile eight and I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine running 18 more miles in this weather! {Side note: one of my closest friends ran her first 26.2 and she rocked it! I am so proud of her!} I think it was at this point that I really needed to go to the bathroom and had peed my pants a little {truth of having three babies}.  

I was fading fast in the heat and at mile nine I ran into a port-a-potty and was glad to have an empty bladder!  That gave me a little more momentum.  You should know now that if it weren't for Megan, I don't think I would have finished strong.  She was an incredible motivator and a kind friend to stick with me at this point!

I told Megan several times to run ahead without me.  She is a champion runner and was beyond sweet to stick with me.  And I think it was fairly early in the race when I looked over to her and said, "I'm so glad we have Elise, but she did a number on my hips!" At around mile nine and a half, I couldn't keep running.  I walked for a little bit -- and then we would run again.  My legs were cramping so badly!  We would walk and then run again until the water stop after mile 12.  At that point, I knew where I was and how much further I had to go.  So we picked it up and ran to the finish! It was so good to be done! 2:42 was my official finish time -- 13 minutes slower than my slowest half before this race. {this was my 4th half}

I cried a little at the finish line -- not in pride, but disappointment.  I had trained so hard and so well.  I put in my time and effort.  But it wasn't enough to fight the heat and humidity and my lack of pre-race nutrition.  Next time, I'll down a teaspoon of salt before a warm race!  I have to remember, though, that this wasn't a time goal -- it was a get-back-into-shape-after-having-a-baby goal.  I need to remember that my body is very different after having three babies and being 32.  I need to remember that I ran the best I could in the moment and I did finish.

It was my hardest race and my slowest to date.  I would run in the snow for days rather than the heat, ever! :)  And right after the race I told Patrick that I couldn't imagine doing another one.  But yesterday morning {the day after the race}, I woke up ready to redeem my time goal and train for another half marathon.  This time without giving birth just six and half months prior!

Here's to a kind and faithful God who has given me both a healthy body and three sweet babies.  Here's to a faithful and encouraging friend.  Here's to an incredible husband who supports my insanity.  And here's to one more race!

Here are a few phone pics!
Race delay -- hotel picture :)

Post race selfie! Done!!!

Just one more! Love this girl so much!
B running his race!

I certainly cannot forget to tell you that Benjamin ran the kids marathon! They did 25 miles of running in PE class over the last four months and then they all ran 1.2 miles together at the race! He LOVED it.  And apparently he ran hand in hand with our friend Jerome -- and counted the entire time. Hahahaha! I love this kid so much.  Maybe someday you'll see me and B running together -- in fact, I really hope you do! :)

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