I'll start at the very beginning (because that is the very best place to start.)
Matt, the girls and I all piled in to the car shortly after 6:00 am and drove about 45 minutes north to Everett, where the Heroes Half was held. I was really glad we were able to park quite close to the start/finish/packet pick-up area. It made everything a lot easier for all of us. As we were pulling gear out of the car I finally got to see the sign Matt made for me.
|If you look closely you will see that Eloise added some more pizazz to her sign by the time I finished!|
We got my bib number and t-shirt, waited in the port-a-potty line and then went back to the car to get my last-minute things situated. I did some stretching and then it was back to the port-a-potty line.
TMI TIME: I was hoping to go "#2" before the half started, which runners obviously appreciate before they set out on a race. I had no luck, and was a little stressed about it. What if I had to go out on the course?!?!
While I was in the potty the second time Matt started yelling "they are starting the race!" so I wrapped up my efforts and jumped out to get to racing. I threw my jacket to Matt and said my goodbyes. Then I was off!
The race was very small; I think I heard it was just over 800 people. We had two lanes of a road to spread out on, and it was nice that I didn't have to do too much weaving around the other runners. I spent most of the first couple of miles going "holy shit, I can't believe I am doing this!" and then we approached pretty much our only hill. It wasn't bad, just a ramp to get from the road on to the highway. I also knew that on the way back it would help out quite a bit.
When I looked up a map of the course online I thought it was going to be quite scenic, as it goes right along the waterfront. Turns out it wasn't right along the water, though. We went over three really cool bridges but that is the only time I saw water. Oh wait, scratch that. The turn around point was a path around a sewage treatment plant. Yeah, that was lovely.
Overall I felt the race was nothing special in terms of scenery, but it didn't bother me. I find that even when I run next to gorgeous views I focus on what is right in front of me for the most part, anyways.
Mostly my thoughts went like this "I am running a half-marathon!" "Should I be running this fast? Can I sustain this?" "Yeah, I got this." "Gee, so glad I don't have to poop!" "I am running a half-marathon!" "I wonder what Matt and the girls are doing?" "Oh look at that, I passed another runner!" "I am still running a half-marathon!"
Once I got past the first four or five miles I checked my Garmin. Doing, the math in my head, I realized that if I kept my pace or even slowed down a bit that I would hit my time goal of 2:00. Knowing I was ahead of my pace gave me a lift that helped me push even harder.
I'm really glad I practiced running negative splits. I am not a super speedy runner, but especially on the second half of the race I passed a lot of people and was only passed once or twice. One guy I was following most of the way really slowed down at about mile 11. I was kind of bummed to run on without him, since he was my buddy without even knowing it. Since it was the "Heroes Half" many service men and women were running. I entertained myself wondering if the guys I was passing were firefighters or police men.
I stared feeling it when I came back down the hill around mile 11. You know, the "it" that says "oh, man, I am tired, this is getting tough," but I pushed on and sped up. The course did this really fun (or not so fun, really) thing where right before we got to the finish area we had a huge detour out and around the marina. I was checking my Garmin and knew what the mileage was, but it was still annoying to feel like I was close and then be directed out.
|A picture of the finish line, just a wee bit before I finished!|
|Waiting for me with their signs!|
|Matt and his sign!|
Right at the end we had to make a hard right, then a hard left, and that is when I heard the cheers. I started scanning the crowd for Matt and the girls, as the finish line didn't end up being where we originally thought it would be, so our plan was out the window. Tears started forming in my eyes as I found my family. I yelled for the girls to come out and run to the finish line with me-- I ended up grabbing Eloise's hand and Iris ran up right behind us. As we crossed the finish line the lady handing out the medals asked Eloise if she wanted to put it on me, which of course she did. It was really sweet and fun.
|Here I am going "come on and run with me!" to the girls!|
|Finishing with my girlies! One of my favorite parts of this photo is seeing|
all the people watching who turned to see us running :)
After some hanging around and me changing in to my, well, pajamas (yeah), it was time for Matt and the girls to run the kids' race.
|I guess she didn't read her bib?|
|On your marks, get set, go!|
|My speedy girl. See that little blob of pink to the right in the photo?|
That was the first place girl, but Eloise was hot on her heels.
She was so happy to be running... a girl after my own heart!
|Here comes Matt and Iris! Big smiles!|
|Three proud girls with three well-deserved medals.|
I can't even properly describe in words how awesome this day was. Matt and the girls gave me so much love and support, everyone on facebook offered congrats, my mom made me feel so awesome when I called her. My BRF (best running friend) even brought me tulips. How amazing is she????
You only get your first half-marathon once, and I am so glad I chose to do this one. I think the Rock-n-Roll would have been very overwhelming for my first one. It is going to be an absolute blast for my second, though. Lots of friends are running so it will be like a 13.1 mile party in sneakers.