I got up around 5:20am and had a piece of toast with almond butter and drank a Rock Star. The kids stumbled downstairs ready to support their mom. I wasn't very nervous at this point. There is something to be said for being tired. You forget to be nervous.
I get all of my running gear on and apply two temporary tattoos to get in the spirit. And just to add a little class to the day I wear diamond earrings.
We arrive at the park around 7:10 and there is a line of cars waiting to park. I'm feeling a few jitters at this point. Is this really happening?!
This is one of the parking lots! It's filling up fast but we managed to find a parking place.
The park had port-o-potties and real bathrooms. I waited in line and froze! The temperature was 40* at that time and there was a fierce wind blowing off Lake Houston. Brrrr!!!
We all hustle back to the car to sit in the warmth of the heater while we wait for the race to begin. Then we hear an announcement over the speakers that it's time to line up. And it is crowded!
I wait in the back of the crowd shivering. Chuck sees how cold I am and comes to block the wind for me while I wait. It's nice to bring your own windbreaker to these events whether is be human or clothing.
And the race begins!! It takes a few minutes for me to make it to the start line and then I get to start running. I took it slower than usual (which is already pretty slow!) because this is my first endurance event and I wasn't sure what to expect by the very end.
Meanwhile, the kids are wrapped up in sleeping bags and waiting to cheer for me with a cowbell. The race course is a double loop so I'll get to see them at least twice.
It takes me a while to run my first loop. Fortunately there was a nearby playground where the kids could play.
Or flying off stumps is fun too.
While the kids are freezing and playing, I'm running down a wooded road at the park. It was so pretty! And it didn't take me long to shed that jacket and tie it around my waist. So many people were tossing their jackets and gloves and hats to the side of the road.
The views were very pretty and there were even a couple of downhill sections that were nice. It's like getting a free ride when running downhill for short distances. But then there's a nasty uphill for every downhill!
Water stations with water, gatorade and gels were positioned every 1.5-2 miles. Port-o-potties were scattered throughout the course as well. It was one of the best organized events I've been to so far. Of course, the volunteers were wonderful. They are so important and appreciated. They would call my name and cheer for me as I ran by and it really was a boost.
Pretty soon I am finished with my first loop. Chuck sees me before I see him and the kids.
And then I see them!! So happy to see them and hear that cowbell. I'm doing this!! It hits me that I am really running this thing!
I am happy to see my kids cheering for me. What a great feeling.
I stop to give them a big hug. I'm feeling GREAT at this point. It's just a little after mile 6.5 I think.
And then I'm off and at mile 7 heading towards the start line. I can't believe it. I feel good and I'm actually enjoying this! I'm really thinking I can finish this.
A picture of the parking lot where we parked and Lake Houston in the background.
As the runners head back out for their final loop, we run past inspirational signs. They were great. Another boost.
I pass Chuck and the kids again as I head back out for the final loop. I'm feeling good! My right foot is giving me a little trouble and my calves are tight but I can do this!
Still wearing a smile so that's a good sign.
Things get a little more difficult at mile 9. But there's no turning back. I just have to take it one step at a time, enjoy the scenery and have a good time.
I passed a mobile home park on one part of the course and a lady had come outside wrapped in a blanket carrying her coffee in her gloved hands. She just wanted to cheer for us runners! She gave me a high five and some encouraging words which was very sweet of her.
I also met a lady who kind of took me under her wing and gave me tips along the way. I stopped to have some gel at mile 9 and she told me to keep moving. No stopping or my muscles will seize up.
Then she asked me how I felt. I told her my feet hurt and she told me to put Desitin powder on them next time. She was so sweet. She kept telling me that I was going to complete this.
I then found out that this was her 13th half marathon. She runs one per month! Wow.
I finally arrive at mile marker 10. Double digit miles! This has been the furthest I've run to date.The miles are passing much more slowly at this point. This is where it gets tough!! The legs are sore. My feet are hurting. I get a shoulder cramp. And my butt is hurting!
Then mile 11 shows up. Finally! This is what I was supposed to run according to my training schedule. Mile 11. Only two more miles left! This is when it hits me that I've almost completed this thing. And it hasn't killed me. I'm doing it! A feeling of pride and accomplishment rushes over me. I'm pretty sure I was wearing a huge grin and Whitney Houston was singing One Moment in Time.
I know it was a long wait for my family. While I'm out doing my thing they just have to sit and wait for me in the cold. But it was appreciated to have that support.
While I'm coming up to mile 13, the kids are waiting for me patiently near the finish line.Rachel and Charlie see me and run up to me to give me hugs and high fives. Rachel says, "Mom! You're about to finish a half marathon!!" Such a great moment that it's hard to describe. It gave me just the boost I needed to dig deep for a last push for a strong finish. You can see Charlie running behind me and Rachel is at far left cheering for me and running. Loved this moment.
This is it!! This is what I've trained for. This is where I never thought I'd be. My first 5K I could only run 12 seconds at a time and thought I was going to die. I've come so far! A great feeling as I finish and hear my name called over the speakers.
YES!! And I didn't even cry. ;)
My legs are so shaky that I can barely walk a straight line. It took me 3 hours to finish this race. Yeah, I could have shaved some time off had I not stopped to take pictures or hug my kids but what fun is that?! I'm doing it for the experience, the medal and sense of accomplishment. Keeping those goals in mind made it an enjoyable experience.
A very happy (and tired) Texan.
I literally stumbled to the building where the post race party was happening. I pushed through the crowds and got my breakfast burrito, two mini bundt cakes, Muscle Milk and Diet Coke.
There I ran into the lady who had taken me under her wing (though I think I was older than her!) and she told me she was so happy for me then told me to go get in line for a massage. LOL She was sweet. I did not get a massage though. I was ready for my post race treats at BJs Brewhouse!
Just look at that gorgeous medal. I love it!! Yes, I did wear it into the restaurant. And my 13.1 tattoos. And a lot of salt on my face from the dried sweat.Chuck drops me off at the door of the restaurant. It's a good thing because I could hardly walk! I had to grasp the railing of the stairs and take it slowly one step at a time. The legs just weren't working.
Ah!!! A pitcher of Jeremiah Red. Cheers!
And a deep dish bacon cheeseburger pizza. My post race guilty indulgences. :)
It was a very good day.
And this race completes my race year! It's been a very good year with some great races with friends new and old and family. Looking forward to 2012.