1.06.2010

Run, Belle, RUN!!

I have been a neglectful blogger. I always think about how I could probably blog about this or that but when I have a little free time I always find myself doing something else. Since I haven't posted anything about the half-marathon yet I figured now would be the perfect opportunity.

I will start out by saying I am NOT a trained runner what-so-ever. I have never run a race. Being a health promotion major has prompted many 5K event planning opportunities, but my feet have never actually hit the pavement with the intent of running a race. I have been an advocate for working out, but I was never a "runner".

One night this summer I was feeling particularly frustrated with my current workout routine. I was working as hard as I could training, lifting weights, etc. My brain was on research mode trying to think of something new that I'd enjoy. I wanted to do something that I had never done before. Then it happened. The light bulb moment had arrived. I was going to run in a race. This is how the conversation in my head went. "Ok, I'll do a race. How about a 5K?"
"No, Not a big enough challenge."
"Big challenge, eh? How about a Marathon?"
"Ummmm, what am I, insane? How about I try for the Olympics while I'm at it."
"Ok, Half-Marathon."
"Perfect."


So I started to research. Where did they have half-marathons in my area? How would I even train for this thing? I realize that I am severely overwhelmed when school is in session but this semester would be different. My fiance would be in Mississippi, working football deep into the evening every night. This was the perfect opportunity to relieve stress and take my workout to the next level, too.

First, I found a training schedule to see how long it would take to train for a half-marathon. I found a great one at Marathon Rookie. I customized mine in Word and put inspirational quotes at the bottom. That's just how I roll. The schedule suggested that I have the ability to run for 30 minutes straight without stopping. I gave myself a couple weeks to do that, then searched for a run within that time frame. As it turns out, November is a pretty popular month for races. I found one on November 15th, (13.1) and started my journey to the half marathon.

Here's a pic of one of the schedules- This is one I kept on the fridge.


Within the first couple weeks, I had a few friends who wanted to join in. I was really pumped because I knew it would be so much fun to run with friends and we could help each other along in the process. As the weeks passed a couple of friends got injured, and another friend realized she was too busy to train.
I told myself that even if I had to run this thing alone I would do it.

When I started training I wore Nike Shox. BAD. IDEA. These shoes are cute but they are not for running. As I did more research and asked around it seemed like everyone knew this but me. As mentioned, I am not a runner so the shox were perfect for my other workouts. I own about 5 pairs. My two friends that got injured both wore shox and had knee/ankle problems. Bear graciously allowed me to use some of his Nike Elite points (for working at a Nike sponsored sport/school) to find a great pair of running shoes. Thanks, Bear!

I also purchased Nike + to help me stay on track. It is WONDERFUL. I loved seeing how my pace was improving over the weeks, and it helped me create goals for myself. (i.e. I want to run 5 miles at a 10:00 pace or less today).

One of my best friends and fellow nursing student Carla was the last of my friends to survive the training for the half-marathon. We talked about it almost every day in class and went shopping for race-day outfits the weekend before. I loved her enthusiasm. She's always been such a positive and happy person. It was so fun to have her there with me.

The day before the race we drove to the course to check out where parking was and to make sure we knew how to get there. (I'm not the best at directions. In fact, I'd probably rank dead last in a list of people who know how to get places.)
It was a beautiful day and we were so excited and nervous for our race in 12 only short hours.


On the morning of the race I woke up at 4:15 to get ready, ate my peanut butter and wheat bun, and I sprayed my hair back to the point of no follicular return. I had everything in a pile already. I drove down the street to meet Carla and we were on our way.


We got there about 30 minutes before the race started and we already saw several people in line ready to go. Traffic was being blocked off and our planned parking spot was already taken. We turned around to find more parking. After we parked, Carla suggested we put on our D-Tags (a device to show your true time after the race- even if you started a minute after the start due to the crowd). Even though I was really organized with all my equipment, it fell out of my bag when Bear called to wish me good luck. I couldn't find it for about 10 minutes. I was pushing the seat forward and backward trying to find this thing. I almost gave up when Carla said she found it in between the seats. THANK GOD!

After my little 'moment', we both decided to go to the restroom because we didn't want to use the pot-o-golds during the race. We found a Walgreens and sprinted in and out of there. Does that count as a warm-up?

We got in line about a minute before the big count down. I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed. I stuck with the training schedule and worked hard to get to this moment. I would have never dreamed that I'd be running a half-marathon 3 months before training, but there I was at the starting line about to start one.

The gun went off and we started about two minutes after. There were over a thousand runners so it took a while. People of all shapes and sizes were running. It was really inspiring to see those well into their 70's and still running. There were support groups wearing the same color shirts, and I even spotted a man with no legs at all, using his hands to propel himself on a skateboard.
"I can do this too", I told myself.

I was feeling great at the beginning of the race. The first few miles were a breeze. I kept up with Carla for a few miles, but after around mile 4 or so I couldn't hang with her 9 minute pace. I want to be at that pace for my next half.

If I recall correctly, it was around mile 5 that the hills started. We went into a tunnel and came back up at an incline that left me completely winded. I did NOT prepare for that! After that, I felt like I was dragging a little but I didn't let myself stop.


The weather was a cool 65 degrees and the scenery could not be more beautiful. We ran along the beach on A1A and through the downtown area for a bit. There were bands, singers, and high school cheerleaders along the course. It was great to have my name on my race bib because it really felt so personal to hear "Go, Chelsea!!! YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!" every once in a while from a stranger.

I brought 2 GU's with me and I had one around mile 5. (Orange Vanilla- Mmm!) It may be a psychological thing but I felt so much better afterward.

It hit me around mile 8. I was beat. I was not ready for the hills but I only had 5 miles to go and I was determined to run them at my goal pace.


I kept going, and counting down the miles helped distract me from the pain in my knees that was starting bother me. Mile 10 came and went. "Almost there!" I told myself. I was starting to get excited.

Mile 11. Time to pump it up! I walked a couple times when I was drinking water, so I had to make up for a little lost time. My iTouch counted down the miles with me.

Near the end I was considerably more energetic because of the mass of people that lined the streets and the adrenaline pumping through my veins. With every step my right foot had a painful shooting sensation. I knew I was blistered, but I didn't care. I then realized that on my left arm my iTouch holster cut into my skin from the way I turned it when I wanted a song change. But I didn't care. I ran faster.


When I could see the finish line and hear the music, I turned down my iTouch and sprinted to the finish. Carla was there with her family waiting for me. They all jumped up and down for me and we exchanged sweaty hugs.



WE DID IT!!
There are no words that can describe the accomplishment I felt from that run.
It was a 2 hour and 18 minute mental battle, and I had conquered it. I felt inspired by what my body was capable of.



Carla and I took a couple pictures, then went home to chow down after.
On the way home we planned our next run- the Disney Pink Princess Half Marathon.



(Me in the black top and pink shorts on the right)

Even if you have never trained a day in your life, let me tell you- it IS possible to run a half-marathon. To me it was more a mental challenge than anything else. I loved it, and I am so excited to do it all over again. There is not much that beats that feeling at the finish line.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith"
2 Timothy 4:7

5 comments:

  1. You look wonderful! I am hoping to be able to run an entire 5k soon. However I am not sure long distance running will ever be my thing.

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  2. Aw, baby girl, you just inspired me! I am definitely going to start training when I join the gym next week. I have nike shocks too. what shoes did you end up getting?? I'm gonna need new ones.

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  3. What a great post!! :-) Fun pictures! I love running!

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  4. Ooh running. So good. :) I loved the post and I love your blog!

    Xoxo- Emily

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  5. Thank ya'll SO much for the kind words!! I had the BEST time with this run. :)

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