Thursday, September 16, 2010

My First Half Marathon!

Hey all!

Its Shelby. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to post about my first 1/2 marathon but here it is!

Alexis already described our many ups and downs trying to get to the race. but the morning of I was starting to get pretty nervous. I had not gotten as much sleep as I probably should of the Thursday and Friday before and then Saturday night I was so nervous about not being able to sleep that I ended up not really being able to sleep. Regardless, I knew this was the day and I just had to make the most of my energy. We woke up around 5 and I wanted to make sure that I stopped eating and drinking an hour before the race so I munched on a peanut butter and jelly Larabar and a banana while I was getting ready. By 5:30 we were out the door and driving to the race!

Despite our many parking mishaps we made it to the start of the race about ten minutes before it started. Seeing all the people there was both exhilarating and extremely intimidating. Having Mary there by my side (it was her third!) was definitely a huge relief. As the carrels moved up, my heart started to race faster and faster. Finally we were up and after a 1,2,3 countdown we were off. 

The first two miles I was just adjusting to all the things to see around me. Between the bands they had set up on almost every corner to the cheerleading squads, to thousands of volunteers and runners around me, it was a lot to take it. However for me, it is the beginning of the race which I dislike the most. I would much rather be in the 10th mile going through the pain then in the 3rd mile, awaiting the inevitable pain. I told myself that if I could just make it to mile 5, without any cramps or pains, then I could find my groove to finish the race. Soon enough Mary and I made it to the mile 5 marker and we were both feeling pretty good. It was in about the 7th or 8th mile however that I finally started to gain my confidence and strength. I was surprised by this because everyone was telling me that this was usually the hardest part of the race for them but between mile 7 and 11 was when I was enjoying myself the most.

By this time the people were more spread out and instead of everyone trying to pass and work around each other, it turned into more of this collective energy where all the runners were on the same team- I can't even count the number of encouraging and inspiring remarks I got. Let's just say I fell in love with running races in that time. 

Mile 12 and 13 were long and I was definitely starting to feel the pain, but knowing you only had such a short distance to go and all the people around you cheering, stopping is not one of things you are thinking about it. Plus the last mile was on the beach! It was absolutely beautiful. When I saw the finish line, I sprinted as fast as I could for the last 200 hundred feet and looked around and couldn't believe that I had just finished my first half marathon!

My goal was to finish before 2 hours and 10 minutes and I ended up with a time of 2 hours and 5 minutes so I was pretty psyched! After training all summer, I had finally done what I had been working so hard for and it felt great!

I realized though that it is important to focus on your own accomplishments when it comes to running. With thousands of people there running a half marathon, many of them a lot faster and stronger than you, sometimes you can downplay your accomplishment. But running, at least for me, has never been about beating out other people or trying to prove myself to anyone else- it is about facing myself and trying to push myself farther and faster than I did before. You have to celebrate your accomplishments, especially when you worked hard to achieve them. 

On that note, my eyes are now on the Richmond Half! As promised, I will be posting my training schedule for that soon! I think the VA Beach Half Marathon has crafted a race running addict ;)

Happy almost weekend!


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