And, it is finished. Here is my (very detailed) account:
We left at seven in the morning, Saturday to head to Fort Worth. We had planned to leave at six, but with two little kiddos we are hardly ever on time. For some reason, both of our kiddos slept like junk Friday night, which meant we subsequently slept like junk as well.
My parents spent the night with us, so we all jumped into the suburban and we on our way. I drove because I am always the designated driver for family trips...we made a few stops and pulled into our hotel around four that afternoon, where my brother was waiting for us.
As soon as we were unloaded and semi-settled, Chris and I ventured out to pick up our race packets and look around the expo for a bit. We stayed about ten miles away from the convention center and as soon as we got out of the car I got nervous- like the excited kind of nervous. We felt a little out of place knowing that almost everyone around us was some type of "seasoned" runner, but everyone seemed to not judge us! :)
The lines were great; we looked around a bit and then headed to meet my cousin, Lori for dinner. It was Brad's night to pick dinner- sharing your birthday with your brother every single year has a few advantages- we each get to pick a meal, every year, so we get to go out for a nice dinner twice!
He picked Ricky's Steakhouse in the Stockyards for dinner. It was pretty yummy- I just had a burger and a few extra dinner rolls (I told myself that I was carb-loading!), my mom had fish, the kiddos had chicken and everyone else had a steak. After the meal we walked around the stockyards until it was cold enough to call it quits and go back to the car.
Chris and I got to bed with the kiddos around 9- that is pretty unheard of in our house. We are usually up much later. I slept like junk though! I was so afraid that I would miss our alarm (that was going off at 4:45) that I woke up every hour until 3:45 and then every 10-15 minutes after that. It was crazy, but oddly enough I really felt well-rested.
Ileigh woke up at 4:30, so while Chris was trying to get her back to sleep, I got up and got dressed. After I finished, I got in bed with Ileigh so Chris could go get dressed and waited on my mom to come across the hall and lay with the kiddos while we headed to the race.
We ended up leaving the hotel at 5:30 and stopped at a convenience store for some fruit and cereal bars. We ventured around the convention center/ university until we found the free parking, where we stopped to eat our breakfast- it was 6:00.
Around 6:20 we decided to head inside, use the bathroom and find the exact location of our corral. I was super nervous by this time. I had been fighting it all morning, but sitting in the car, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Thankfully, Chris talked me down a little- we really had no reason at all to be nervous. We weren't "racing" anyone but ourselves and my only time goal was to finish under three hours- easily attainable if we just stuck to our training pace.
I was very surprised by the type of people I saw around us waiting to line up. Sure, there were super fit looking people and a ton of cute little 20-something college girls, but I was really surprised by how many older/overweight people we saw. Yay for them! Seeing all different types of people there totally solidified my belief that almost anyone can run a half. If God has blessed you with two working legs, I totally think you should give it a try.
Here we are at the start line:
We found the restrooms, strapped on our gear and headed out the start line. It was cold (in the lower 40's), but we knew as soon as the sun came up, it would get warm quickly. About fifteen minutes after the first corral went, we were crossing the start line.
Can I just say, I rocked it. We kept a twelve minute pace until the last three miles and I didn't stop to walk (to take a good, long drink of water) until mile *8*. Eight, people. That is pretty good for me. We walked for about thirty seconds and then we were going again. Usually, I use the mile tracker on my phone as a type of crutch to see just how far we have gone every half mile or so, but I was so worried about my phone dying that I just let Chris track us and I listened to my podcast. We also passed a wheelchair competitor who was rocking it! And so, you don't even need two working legs to do a half- what is your excuse, again?
This is right as we made the turn into Cowtown:
At mile nine things were rough, but it is like a mental barrier is lifted when you hit ten miles. There were a few hard inclines within the last three miles of the race, but I started seeing other finishers headed back our way so I knew we weren't too far away. Also, at the water stations, there were what appeared to be trainers standing around, and since our numbers also said our names, they would call out our names and offer encouragement! I thought that was so cool! No one ever yelled at Chris, but two or three trainers in the last 5k yelled out to me- maybe because I looked like death, but it helped me out a lot. At the last two miles I started to get sharp pains in my side and had to walk a bit to relieve them.
The last half mile was the hardest. Everyone around us was feeling it too. I was happy that we stayed with the people we started around in the beginning- that made it more fun!
Chris surprised me with shirts that he made for us. It was really one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me. I had a ton of friends support and encourage me throughout our training, but I also had a few people who just asked "why?" and were not very supportive in general. Anyway, throughout the entire race I thought about those things and we would have people comment on our shirts the entire way. Chris would just beam and I would just start crying. :) When we crossed the finish line I really started crying- it might have looked like I was hyper-ventilating because two of the trained EMS girls rushed up to me to make sure I was okay. After that I tried my hardest not to cry anymore!
We got our metals, our finisher shirts and were offered a ton of food at the after-party. We sat around, stretched and finally walked back to our car. I really couldn't have asked for a better experience. It was just so surreal to actually be in the moment that we had been training so long for. Crazy.
Unfortunately, we knew that we had a hurry, pack and head home because a winter storm was due to hit Amarillo that evening. We had McDonald's in Vernon for my "birthday lunch" (I am demanding a re-do) and it started snowing on us right as we took our last exit home.
We have been snowed in for the last two days with around seventeen inches of snow (CRAZY). Since we didn't have time to prepare for the snow, we are basically rummaging through the depths of our cabinets for food. Chris, however was still able to make me fried chicken for my birthday dinner and a cake from scratch- pretty impressive considering it is the end of the month and our fridge is pretty much bare!
Thank you again to all of those who were soooo supportive in our goal to run a half marathon! And Chris, I have no idea why you go along with so many of my crazy ideas, but I am so glad we got to experience this whole journey together. You make it all worthwhile. Suck it up, Buttercup!
We are toying with the idea of running another this year as well...we shall see!