I laid out all of my gear on Saturday night including my XL shirt from the little boys section at Target. I LOVED this shirt and $9.99 is a hard price to beat.
Billy was prepared in his way, too.
We woke up Sunday morning at 5:44AM. I made us a cup of hot tea and a light pre-race breakfast. Billy blasted his race playlist to get amped up. I’m sure our neighbors were appreciative. The race started at 8:00AM and we ate around 6:15AM.
Our friend Nick came over at 6:30AM and we headed to the race around 6:45AM. It was still pretty dark outside and the lines for parking were backed up.
But the sun came up quickly and I tried to snap some photos of Billy and me.
It was freezing outside. Teeth-chattering cold. Once inside, I waited in a 35-minute line for the bathroom. Worth it. I didn’t want to have to stop during the race.
I WAS PUMPED and ready to run! Billy didn’t feel like posing.
We headed outside after a while and watched the start of the race. Again, it was freezing! There were 22,000 runners and 18 or so wave start corrals.
We slowly moved forward in the herd of people and started running just after 8:30AM. Billy and I planned to start the race together and run together until one of us changed our pace. We honestly weren’t sure what either of us would feel like since it was our first race. Constantly weaving in such a large crowd was tough.
We couldn’t get our pace below 10:00 for the first mile but we were so excited when we saw our first (and unexpected) supporters, my sister and my niece! I cried.
There were so many spectators and I felt like I was floating. Probably because I couldn’t feel my legs since they were numb, but it didn’t bother me. Billy and I were feeling good, but it was still really crowded and hard to maintain any sort of consistent pace, so we were fluctuating from 8:30 to 9:30.
We continued to run together and the time was flying by on my Garmin. I remember looking down at 25 minutes and it felt like we’d been running for about 5.
Before I knew it, we were approaching mile 5 and I was planning to have a Gu between mile 5 and 6. Billy looked at me with a big smile on his face and yelled, “I’m not even tired yet!” I love him. We both had a Gu and grabbed some water.
At mile 6, I saw one of my girlfriends who is an accomplished runner. She finished the same half marathon last year in 1:35! It was great to see her face. Thanks Elise!
We continued on and saw Billy’s mom around mile 7 just in time to tackle an incline. Billy was either right beside me or a few feet behind for the next mile or so. We saw my mom and her husband around mile 8 and I was ecstatic. Between seeing her and the Gu that had taken effect, I sped up and my pace around 8:15-8:30.
The marathoners split off from us at this point so the course opened up. Since I rode the course on my bike a couple of weeks ago, I knew the biggest incline of the course was approaching. I was 110% mentally prepared for it and I absolutely dominated that incline, passing people by and in my zone.
When an inkling of worry came into my head that I was using too much energy, I realized I was approaching mile 9 and I knew it was time to give it my all. I had 4 more miles left in me. I ate a couple of Gu Chomps (so tasty) and when Billy stopped for water, I carried on. It was a tiny bit sad but I knew that it was part of our deal.
The first half of our race was slower than my typical pace, but with all of the weaving and congested course, we didn’t have much choice. In order to finish under 2 hours, I figured I needed to run an 8:15-8:45 pace for the last 4 miles. (I suck at math.)
I felt great from mile 9 to 10. When I saw the 10 mile marker, I still felt great and couldn’t believe I only had a 5K left. Was this race I’d been anticipating for so many months really coming to an end? Mile 11 was pretty tough but I managed to keep my pace. Just after mile 12, I was in the home stretch and saw 2 runners to my left speeding past me and the other half marathoners. They were the leaders of the marathon taking it home! I was in awe of their speediness. Truly phenomenal.
I was on the TV news coverage as the leaders passed me. I’m in the front left wearing a white baseball cap, black capris and blue shirt.
I looked over as I noticed them.
They were flying. My legs in the top left of the screenshot.
My legs were really tired at this point but I could see the end ahead of me and just powered forward. Running towards the finish line seems like a dream and when I crossed it, a wave of warmth and pride came over me.
My chip time: 1:55:25
I walked for about a minute but stayed near the finish line to watch for Billy. I had no idea how far behind me he might have been and I was so eager to see him! All of a sudden, he came sprinting up from behind a group of runners and I cheered SO loudly that I caused a scene! Nothing less than a scene will do for my Bee.
We hugged and cried for all of the reasons we each decided to run this race. Billy came in just about exactly 10 minutes after me at 2:05:13! I trained more diligently than he did and I’m so proud of Billy’s natural ability to achieve such a great time.
We headed inside for medals, finisher t-shirts, official photos, food and water.
We found Nick who also had a great race and I kept an eye out for my friend, Marci, but unfortunately never saw her in the sea of runners. It was Marci’s first half marathon as well and she did great! Check out her race recap here. It’s too bad we didn’t get a picture together because our outfits matched. And Billy’s mom was waiting for us as well. I’m SO thankful for the support!
We headed to Nick’s car so I could get my iPhone and camera. The boys headed home but I stuck around to meet my sister. It was my turn to be a supporter.
This post is getting long.
My running gurus, Garmin stats and negative splits, more photos, more finishers, the aftermath and a guest post by Billy.