Since my blog is brand spankin new there are lots of things that I have done but have not been able to share with you guys. So I have decided to recap all of my races thus far, so that when I run a new one I can just it to the bunch.
My first race ever ran just happened to be a half marathon. Go big or go home right? After I started running regularly I knew I wanted to run a race but was a little nervous to pull the trigger and sign up for one. I knew I wanted to run a race with my friend Ashley and after some deliberation we decided to run the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon. It was the perfect race for us to run together.
The race is held in Fredericksburg, VA which is where we went to college at the University of Mary Washington. It’s a smaller race because it’s still pretty new. It is also a Marine Corps race which is close to my heart since my brother will soon be a Marine Corps Officer and my parents are both Navy Veterans. When I checked out the course map I was happy to see that we would be running on familiar streets and by landmarks from our college days.
Race weekend rolled around fast and I found myself to be crazy nervous but also excited. I had lots of fears about not being able to run the whole 13.1 miles. I had no goal time in mind. I just wanted to finish the race. Up until that point my longest run was 10 miles. I knew that adrenaline would have to carry me the rest of the way.
I decided before the race to eat a banana and drink a little bit of water. I don’t run well on a full stomach and I am notoriously known for my small bladder. I was counting on water stops, and the race provided Jelly Belly Sports Beans to push me through the final miles.
Marcus dropped Ashley and I off near the beginning of the start while the sun was just starting to rise. All around us people were stretching, jogging, and preparing for the race. Talk about intimidating! I felt like everyone knew what they were doing but me.
After stretching, chatting, and hanging out with Ashley for a while, we decided to part so we could run the race separately. We both wanted to run at our own pace. My stomach was doing flips as I stood there alone surrounded by a huge group of runners eagerly waiting for the race to start. I cranked up my iPod to try to distract myself.
Before I knew it the race was starting. I took my headphones out of my ears to hear the announcer as I began mile one. I felt a huge surge of excitement and pride as I began to run and just like that my nervousness and doubt turned into determination and joy. I knew I was going to rock this race. My body felt prepared and my mind was ready.
The course took us around Fredericksburg and around the places I grew to love in my four years of living there. It was so awesome to run along the back side of the UMW campus and remember some of the crazy moments from college.
I knew to expect to see Marcus and my friends at mile seven since that was the designated spectator spot. I rounded the corner and I saw my cheerleaders. I gave everyone high fives and waves as I ran by and it was the boost I needed to get through the rest of the race.
Miles 7-10 were great. There were lots of locals, police officers, and Marines cheering for the runners along the course. I felt happy as I ran through the streets of Old Town, Fredericksburg. My body felt good and I wasn’t feeling fatigued at all. I knew as we were approaching Mary Washington Hospital that a hill was coming. I had been hill training so I thought I was prepared…
Boy was I wrong! I don’t know if any amount of training could have prepared me for that hill. It went on for a mile and just gradually grew higher and higher. My body felt like shutting down as I finally had to alternate between running and walking. I felt mad at myself for needing to walk. There was nothing I wanted more than to be finished with that hill.
Unfortunately after hill one was hill two. We ran down hill two during mile one and now it was time to run back up. All I could do was tell myself to keep moving. The end was in sight. I had come so far.
Finally I approached the top of the hill and made my way back towards the start/finish line. My exuberance returned as I approached mile 13. Those killer hills were a distant memory.
Everything was a big blur as I crossed the start/finish line. I remember Usher’s, “OMG” was playing on my iPod and I was running as fast as I could (which probably wasn’t very fast at that point.)
I slowed down and made my way to the medals. My first race medal was placed around my neck by a Marine. I felt like my heart was going to explode with excitement and emotion. I had just run the furthest I had ever ran in my whole life.
Everything after that was a jumble. I met up with Ashley, Marcus, and my friends. I got my free banana and water. We chugged our free Michalob Ultra and put on our flip-flops.
My feet and legs were starting to hurt as my adrenaline and heart rate started to go down. All I wanted was a huge meal, hot shower, and long nap. I kept asking myself if it was real, if I had just ran 13.1 miles. With my medal and my aching feet as evidence, I told myself, “Get used to it girl. You’re a runner now.” 🙂
I hope you guys liked the recap of my first half marathon. I think I will remember the feeling of crossing the finish line for the rest of my life. This May I will be running the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon again and it will be my one year anniversary of running races. I can’t wait to relive my first ever race, create new race memories, and kick hill one and hill two’s butt! I know what to expect this year. I’m not a rookie anymore!