I’ve been dying to write this post about the race last Saturday but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I still can’t believe the race is over with after all of those months planning for it and the anticipation. It was such a wonderful experience and I’m so proud of myself for completing it! Huge accomplishment!
Now for the race details that I don’t want to forget…
I completed my last long run (10 miles in 1:30) the Friday night one week before the race. I was so pumped about my time and felt that I could make my 2 hour goal during the actual race. I knew there was lots of hills so luckily I was prepared and tried not to focus on them too much. I was definitely a bundle of nerves but I was ready for my taper down week. I did not run that Saturday or Sunday and planned to pick up on Monday with 4 miles. Unfortunately my stomach had other plans. I felt “off” all day on Monday and just chalked it up to nerves. I hardly ate at all that day but drank about 100 oz of water. Then that afternoon I started feeling so so tired and thought it was just my afternoon slump time. I was telling George how tired I was but told him I would somehow perk up to do my run after he got home. After all it was only 4 miles and it wouldn’t be too bad once I started running. Then around 4:45pm it all started. I knew I had a virus and 5 minutes before 5pm I called George and asked him to go ahead and come home. Luckily he was about to leave and I had to lay down on the couch until he got home. It all went downhill from there. I had a nasty stomach bug and major chills all night long. It was absolutely horrible. I was so weak but couldn’t sleep and only slept about 2 hours the entire night. I haven’t been that sick in years (besides being sick after both c-sections).
Around 1:30am George came into the room and told me he had gotten sick. Uh-oh! That’s when I really started to freak out. How were we going to care for the kids?? George had eaten alot more than me that day so he threw up 8 times I think he said. It was bad. Luckily I stopped throwing up but I was still a hot mess and could hardly walk I was so weak.
On Tuesday morning George was still throwing up but I wasn’t so somehow I managed to pull myself up and get the kids ready for school. They showed no signs of the virus & I knew we couldn’t take care of them so off they went. It was so hard getting them dressed, breakfast, and making lunches. I really didn’t know if we were going to make it and I kept laying down in bed for a few minutes and then I would get them dressed, etc. I couldn’t believe how weak and dizzy I was! Luckily I pulled it together and got them to school.
We both spent the next few hours in bed and I picked them up at school at 1pm. Then Ru-Rus was a huge lifesaver and came down around 5pm to help with the kids. George had stopped throwing up earlier in the day but we still both felt like poo and just wanted to lie down. Ru-Rus saved the day and brought some new toys for the kids and chips, cookies, Gatorade, etc. The kids were in heaven! They played in the floor all night and had the best time.
On Wednesday I felt much better but still wasn’t 100%. I was really starting to get nervous about the race and whether or not I had the energy to run. I had hardly eaten all week besides crackers and the race was only a couple days away. Plus I hadn’t ran all week. Finally on Thursday I felt much much better and I met George at work while the kids were at school and we ran about 3.5 miles. It felt great to run and it gave me confidence that if I could run 3 miles I could do 13! We both slowly started eating more and I tried to rehydrate as much as possible.
Friday was really crazy. I had so much to get done and we didn’t leave until 2pm or so. Both kids were really acting up and Emma had been a huge whiney mess all week so I was on the verge of losing it. Both kids slept the whole way to Nashville which was really nice. I finished reading “The Help” which took my mind off of the race.
We got to downtown Nashville around 4:30 I think and made our way to the Convention Center to pick up my packet and check out the Expo. I had borrowed my friend Lindsay’s double stroller thinking it would be easier with the kids. Well once we got into the Convention Center the kids went whacko. They were crying and fussing and I was about to pull my hair out. I was so nervous about the race and didn’t have the patience to deal with them and thousands of people. After I picked up my packet I took the double stroller and went to the Expo by myself and George took the kids to walk around and play on the escalator. At this point I was really regretting bringing them to the race and I wanted to sit down and cry. I had hardly slept all week and things just weren’t looking good. I really enjoyed the Expo besides trying to maneuver a double stroller around with tons of people. I bought a 13.1 magnet for my van, some new sweaty bands, and talked to a few people. It was nice but kind of overwhelming at the same time. So grateful though that George let me walk around by myself!
After we left downtown we headed to get dinner (O’Charley’s) and to my Aunt Marsha’s house. She had invited us to stay the night which turned out great. Hudson really needs room to run around and release all of his energy and they have the perfect big house for that! My cousin Monya is a cheerleader at school so Emma and I went to watch her and the football game that night. George stayed at the house with Hudson so he could get ready for bed. The football game was so fun but really cold! Emma loved watching Monya cheer and she has spent the past couple of days at home doing her own cheers.
We got back to Aunt Marsha’s around 10:30 that night and didn’t get to sleep until 11:30ish. I was so nervous and the alarm was set for 4:55am! I ended up and only got 1.5 hours of sleep that night b/c of my nerves and Emma could not sleep. It was miserable! I was actually ready to get up at 3am and just watch tv but I was afraid I’d wake people up. I was so glad when 4:55 came and I got up and jumped in the shower. I wore my most favorite running outfit as you’ll see in the pictures below. My black running tights, purple dri-fit shirt, Asics, and my new sweaty band. I also put enormous amounts of Body Glide all over especially in the sports bra area b/c I’ve had some major issues in that area! It helped a ton! Then I had 1/2 of a protein bar and 1/2 of a banana with some water. I wasn’t hungry at all but knew I needed to eat. Emma was a huge pain in the rear that morning so we really struggled getting her ready. Note to self-next time DO NOT take the kids to a big race! ha! My Aunt really wanted to keep both kids at her house but Emma loves going to our races and I wanted her there so we let her go. We did opt to leave Hudson behind though b/c he’s just so hard to take places right now. I knew it wouldn’t be fun for George to watch them for 2 hours during the race and it all worked out great.
We got downtown around 6:15am, got parked, and made our way to the port-a-pottys. If you know me at all you know how much I DESPISE public restrooms and I think I’ve only used a port-a-potty once in my life. I will hold it for 10 hours if I have to. BUT my bladder was screaming and I knew I couldn’t run for 2 hours like that so I had to suck it up and almost lost my breakfast. Yuck is all I have to say. Once I got that taken care of the excitement really kicked in. I loved seeing all of the other women and some were in funky outfits. Even though I had very little sleep I was pumped up! Here’s a few pictures we took before the race…
Emma was refusing her picture at this point so I didn’t push her. I realized we were running low on time as it was 6:45am so I made my way to Coral 2. I had put my time down as 2 hours when I signed up and I saw the pacer guy with the 2 hour sign. My stomach was doing flips! So many people everywhere and then I kept trying to find George & Emma and couldn’t. Finally I found them and George took some pictures…
JoDee Messina was there and sang the National Anthem which was really cool. I have to admit the whole time I was holding back tears. This race was so emotional for me. I think because this is something I’ve always dreamed of doing but never thought I would actually achieve it. It was just something that other people did. Now it was a reality and I was doing this for me and I had worked so hard for it. I had to keep telling myself to pull it together b/c you can’t run if you’re sobbing!
After the anthem the countdown started and everything got blurry. I wanted to freak out & cry but that wasn’t going to happen! I quickly turned on my music and started my RunKeeper b/c we were running! It all happened so fast! My music was blasting into my ears so loud and I didn’t want to take my armband off to fix it b/c I was afraid it would slow me down so I ran for 2 hours with the loudest music ever. It was painful at times.
Remember those hills I mentioned?? Well our first mile was up a major hill but not far after that hill we went across a bridge over I-65. I remember looking out at the sky and it was so beautiful. I started to get choked up again. It was the most perfect morning for a run and downtown Nashville is absolutely gorgeous. It was around 50 degrees which is kind of cold but for running 13.1 miles it is amazing.
The race itself was set up great. There were bystanders everywhere cheering us on and aid stations everywhere. I don’t remember the exact mileage but I grabbed water at the first few aid stations and had a few sips. I wanted to make sure I was hydrated. At one point there were several people handing drinks out so I took it only to realize it was a cider drink. Not what you want when you are running! I quickly regretted that decision but I was ok. It seemed like at every turn there was a massive hill to climb and I would seriously start laughing every time b/c it was so crazy. Who in the world created this race path?? I’m so thankful I started training with hills b/c otherwise I would have been in major trouble!
I keep trying to think what the hardest part of the race was and I remember mile 6-7 being somewhat hard. Before mile 7 was the only time we back tracked and at first I kept thinking “why are these girls running back?” thinking they had lost their minds when I remembered we had a turnaround. So I saw the women who were at the very front thinking I wasn’t too far behind. Yeah right! That was the longest stretch! Then after we turned around it was back up hill again. What a joke! I will never stop talking about those darned hills!
I do remember after mile 7 we went up the long hill and then veered to the right. It was so pretty! There were all of these gorgeous little bungalows and families were outside with their dogs and babies cheering us on. There was never a moment where someone wasn’t cheering us on. So cool. Oh and there were some really funny signs. I can’t even remember what they all said but they constantly made me laugh. I loved it! Little girls also handed out orange slices and some other things that I didn’t pay much attention to.
Around mile 10.5-11 is when we came back downtown and there were gobs of people waiting and cheering us on. I had realized my pace had slowed a bit around mile 6 when I took my GU gel and I fell a little behind my 2 hour pacer when I had been way in front. That really discouraged me b/c I felt like I couldn’t catch up. Well once I got to 10.5 or so I caught up and passed him! I was ecstatic! I also looked over to my left and saw George & Emma cheering me on and taking pictures. I started to get choked up again but told myself to suck it up b/c I had more hills to tackle!
Once I passed them we made a left turn for the “I WILL HILL” and boy oh boy did it suck. Luckily it wasn’t too long of a hill but when you are 11 miles in those steep hills really burn. I made it up with the help of numerous cheerleaders and then we turned right and headed over the Titans Bridge and by LP stadium. The view was absolutely gorgeous and it felt great being so close to the end.
I remember thinking how the end of the race was going so well and I was determined to make my 2 hour time. That all changed around mile 12. We looped around and came to the bottom of the Korean Bridge. Now I had been warned about the Korean Bridge but didn’t realize just how steep of a hill it was. I got to the bottom and stopped for a minute and at that point I was ready to cry. I had smiled the whole race and had the BEST time and then I was thinking what kind of a cruel joke is this? At that exact moment on my ipod Miley Cyrus came on with “The Climb” and I started laughing. It is such a powerful song and it was rather comical for it to come on at that point. For the first time in the race I allowed myself to walk a bit and then I started to run for a sec and then started walking again. I was wearing down at this point. I thought about taking my other GU gel but then it wouldn’t really kick in until the race was over. So finally after hearing these girls chant my name and tell me I was almost there I perked up and tackled the rest of the bridge. I was determined to run it even if I was slower than grandma. It was so hard but once I reached the top I was on fire. I gave it all I had and rounded the corner to the finish line. There was one last little hill and I saw George and Emma waiting for me cheering me on. I was mentally & physically exhausted. Once again there was gobs of people cheering us on and I pushed as hard as I could. Once I was able to see the time clock I realized I was almost at 2 hours. I could taste that 2 hour mark & wanted it so bad. I ran through the finish line at 2 hours 40 seconds but my official chip time was 2 hours 11 seconds! I made my 2 hour goal! If I wouldn’t have walked on that crazy last bridge I would have been under 2 hours but I really don’t care. I averaged a 9 minute mile for over 13 miles which is awesome in my book!
Once I ran through the finish line they were waiting for me with my gorgeous medal! It is so nice! Then I made my way through the crowd to find George & Emma. Then the fatigue really set in and my head started throbbing something crazy! I thought I was going to fall over and die it was hurting so bad. I tried to get some water & gatorade in me but it’s so hard to eat & drink after running 13 miles. I was so hungry but couldn’t get anything down. I did manage to pose for some pictures with 2 of my favorite people!
You see that little charm down towards the bottom of the medal? I had purchased a bracelet at the Expo for $15 and after the race they transferred the charm to the bracelet for me. I’ve really enjoyed wearing it! Normally I don’t wear bracelets but this one I do.
We walked around for a few minutes & I sat down to rest for a bit. Then I took Emma to the Publix food tents and we got some goodies. Emma enjoyed that part! We listened to the awards for a bit too and found out I need to run 30 minutes faster and I could win! ha ha! Maybe in a year or two.
Overall the race was a huge success and I’m so proud of myself and everyone else that ran/walked it. I was on cloud 9 the rest of the weekend. Surprisingly I wasn’t too sore or tired that afternoon. I did sit down and relax for a bit at Aunt Marsha’s house but then I was up playing with the kids again. They don’t let you stay down long! We had such a wonderful visit with my family and my Granny, Uncle Arnold, and even my dad came down for the afternoon/evening. So what started out as a crappy week ended up being an amazing weekend!
So long Women’s Half Marathon…maybe I’ll see you again next year!