The past couple days have been filled with a ton of pre-race jitters, questions of if I've trained enough, questioning if I'd finish, and just generally doubting myself. Thankfully, I have some of the most amazing people supporting me (online and in real life) so I knew I'd be able to go out and finish at least.
My trip to the expo Friday night was short. I picked up my packet, perused the official race merchandise, and left. I saw a great jacket that I liked (not in my size, of course) so I have decided to order it online.
I woke up this morning around 4. And by "woke up" I mean "stopped pretending to be asleep like I had all night cause the dog was jumping on me." I forced down 1/4 of a bagel, and I was off to get dropped off. I got there early, around 6, and waited around for the start.
Mile 1: Pretty easy mile. I ran at least 1/2 of it straight through, then alternated walks & runs. I did not appreciate the "Almost Done!" sign less than .5 miles from the start though! At that point, I had run a 14:37 mile.
Mile 2: Pretty fast & flat, and was over before I knew it. I was still under 15:00 and psyched about it.
Miles 3-4: I enjoyed these miles because they ran through part of South Philly and I have a special place in my heart for SP. I went to high school there and met the love of my life. Anyway, I honestly couldn't tell you where the mile 4 marker was. All I know is that I was still running under 15:00 and that was my goal. I saw a pretty awesome sign that made me laugh. While rounding a corner between 3 & 4, a volunteer was cheering on every runner. I believe he said something along the lines of "Come on, Anne, you can do this! You're doing great! Keep going and you'll be at the finish line soon." Cue a huge smile from me followed by wanting to cry.
Mile 9: I walked a lot, ran what I could. It runs by the zoo, and I seriously considered stopping and going to hang with the lions. At every mile marker, they had the race logo spray painted onto the sidewalk. I thought that was a pretty neat touch.
Mile 11: Pretty quick & easy. There was a downhill, a turn around, and then back to level ground. I ran to the mile marker & started walking. The lack of training was hitting me pretty hard.
Mile 12-13: I walked it. I didn't even care about pace at this point because I wanted to finish by running across the line, not walking. So I took my time. As I came through 12.5ish, I saw the back of the art museum and knew I'd be done soon. I was pretty much at the "put one foot in front of the other" point and that's all I could think of.
Mile 13.1: I ran in across the finish line, almost cried again, got my heat sheet and medal and found my lovely boyfriend who was waiting for me with a pretzel, some water, and my sweat pants.
It was a very physically, mentally, and emotionally draining day. The spectators and volunteers were phenominal and they made up for the stretches without spectators. No matter who they were there to watch, most spectators acknowledge everyone by name (thanks to our bibs) and told us to keep going, we could do it, etc. The amount of support I had from complete strangers was amazing. I had to fight myself a lot mentally because I kept coming up with "I can't do this" and I'd counter with "the hell you can't, run." My legs hurt. My feet hurt. My knees are probably hurting the most. I'll be rolling myself around work tomorrow in my desk chair. But I did it. I ran 13.1 miles without stopping and I can call myself a half marathoner.
Now please excuse me while I go to bed super early and catch up on some much needed sleep.