Half-Marathon #1 ... in the books!

I did it! I didn't know if I could or how I would do or what ... but I did it!

Training recap - basically next to nothing. I mean, we ran (Matt and I) and we tried to get out 3-4 times a week but we only did 3 miles each time during the week and would try to do 4 or 5 (one time, 6!) miles on the weekend. Long runs though? No, didn't happen. I tried to use the training schedule set up for the Kentucky Derby Festival Half-Marathon and let's just say that I was a little more motivated than Matt was to get out there and get those miles in. He's a good guy though - he humored me most days. It helped that I ran a 10k up in Indianapolis about a month before and even though I walked more than I had planned, I PR'd by about 2 minutes (from the Rodes City Run in March).

Race recap - rocked it! And I don't think I could have done it without Johanna - a friend from high school who was one of three who helped me become interested in running in the first place. That day was cold. It was windy. It was windy cold. And of course, we didn't know what we needed to wear to stay warm while running. I wore running leggings, a long sleeve tech shirt, a running jacket, ear warmers/headband and cheap-o gloves that didn't match. I figured what I couldn't wear any longer would just get thrown to the side and then picked up after the race for the homeless community. I kept my hood up for the first half too. It really wasn't that bad and once we started moving, the adrenaline kicked in and I was enjoying myself too much to be cold. Right before the race started (we were pretty far back since we weren't racing to place, just trying to finish), Matt had to stop by the porta-potties again but I knew he'd pass us by later on.

The race atmosphere was just awesome - I love my hometown of Indianapolis! Running through the streets and seeing the architecture again -- amazing! I'm glad we started back where we did because it didn't seem like we had to dodge many walkers. The past two years Matt and I ran the 5k and it seemed like it's pretty much 75% walkers or schoolkids who are running on their school teams and all over the roads. I don't remember seeing any younger than teenage kids running the half ... but then again, they were probably all in front of me. :)

When they say it's a flat course, they aren't joking. I loved it because I was able to keep going and only walk the water stops for the first 5 miles. We stopped at the 5-mile marker to use the portable facilities ... and ended up standing in line for about 3 minutes. I paused my RunKeeper at that time, thank goodness! Matt also passed us at this point and he looked like he was having fun! We continued on but I knew I would need to be on the lookout for Gatorade stops instead of water -- I found out my fingers/hands swell when running for longer than 5 miles so I made a point to shake them out periodically.

Johanna was the perfect person to run with me -- she could run a half without stopping but she said she just wanted to cross the finish line and so would walk with me whenever I needed to. That, of course, made me not want to walk as much I normally would have. Besides the water stops, I don't think I stopped to walk until around mile 8! Unreal!! But I was truly feeling pretty good. We ran when we could and walked only periodically. I think we caught up with Matt at around mile 8 or 9 and kept going when he had to walk a little. He still looked pretty good but was getting tired.

At around mile 10, the marathon route merged back with the half-marathon route and wouldn't you know there were guys from the marathon sprinting past us? Also at this point, there was a snack stop and someone was standing there with a huge box of glazed donuts. I didn't even try it as I'm sure my stomach would have rebelled. Fun tidbit - I happened to look up and see the 24 mile marker and thought to myself (and said out loud) "Crap - it's been 24 miles??" Then a moment of realizing that it was for the marathon runners and our 11 mile marker was a little up the road from that. But it was also a small motivator -- I feel this good after running 24 miles? I'm sure I can finish this then! :) Johanna thought I was crazy, I'm sure.

It was so cool to see Monument Circle coming up, even though we weren't going to run on it at this point (that was earlier in the race). I wanted to run but didn't want to get tired out before getting to the finish line. It didn't help that I couldn't picture in my head what the remaining route looked like so we walked a bit more than I needed. When we finally got to the last 1/2 mile (I think), I couldn't believe I was actually going to finish. I hadn't checked my pace or my time on RunKeeper so I didn't know how I was doing -- only that we crossed the start line at around 7:30 after the race started.

My original goal when we signed up was to finish within 3 hours. Then later I bumped it to 2:45. Then I was thinking 2:45 for the goal but if I finish in 2:30, I'd sign up for a marathon next. As we got closer to race day though, I did not feel prepared enough and changed it again to just 2:45 for the goal but I'd like to finish before the female winner of the full marathon (2013's record was 2:39). My official finish time? 2:36:34!! My RunKeeper time (which excludes the time spent waiting on the porta-potties at mile 5) - 2:32!! Like I said, rocked it! :)

Matt and I signed up for runner tracking so we were to each get a text when the other one crossed the finish line, as well as get a text when they crossed the 10k mark with an estimated finish time. I got the 10k text for him but hadn't gotten the finish text so we were looking for him. And looking for him. And waiting and looking and worrying. I finally got the text and looked up and could tell he was hurting -- his calves were cramping up the last 2 miles so he had to walk most of that time. I think he enjoyed himself overall though and hope he'll keep running with me! He has to, actually, because the night before, we signed up for the Kentucky Derby Festival Half Marathon in April 2015! :)

The spectators were great -- I decided that if there is a race going on that we aren't going to run, I want to show up and be a spectator with crazy signs or something. It really does help motivate the runners!

Next on the list is Fast Freddie's Festive Five Mile Foot Feast on Thanksgiving morning!!

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