In the days leading up to this race, I didn’t have a clue as to how it was going to go. My thoughts were negative in the few days before, but the night before, I tried to have more positive thoughts. Maybe I’d surprise myself. Maybe I’d blow my goal (2:30) out of the water. Maybe I’d have a better time than I originally thought.
The race was in Sarver, PA which is about 45 minutes north of where I live in Pittsburgh. I left the house around 7:10am to get there for a 9am start time. Parking was ample & since it was kinda chilly before the sun came out, it was nice to be able to stand in a warm building to wait for the start. I met up with a few people from the running group & then once it was time to head over to the start line, that’s what we did. The pastor said a prayer for us & then it was time for the National Anthem. After some technical difficulties & the tape cutting out after the first few bars of the song, all of us runners started singing acapella. It was absolutely one of the most touching moments I’ve ever witnessed. With all of the craziness our country is going through at the moment, the fact that everyone came together & sang the National Anthem was pure gold. It is something I’ll never forget.
The gun went off & I was all set up with my kick-ass playlist. I remember the first song that played was “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars because – lets be real – who doesn’t love that song!? Forewarning: my watch was a little off mileage wise, but I’ll give you my splits as they are on my Garmin.
Mile 1: 10:28 | Mile 2: 11:01 | Mile 3: 11:15 | Mile 4: 11:09
The first 2 miles were on asphalt. The first mile was pretty much downhill, as you can see by my pace. Once we got on the crushed limestone trail, it was really nice. It’s softer than road & the trail was beautiful. I was pretty pleased with how these paces were clicking off. I was feeling so good but I kept telling myself that I still had a long way to go. It stayed pretty crowded, but I didn’t have a big problem trying to get around people.
Mile 5: 11:38 | Mile 6: 11:17 | Mile 7: 11:30 | Mile 8: 11:30
Somewhere in this stretch of miles, maybe between mile 7 & 8, it switched from crushed limestone to road. Ouch. If I wasn’t getting a little sore yet, I definitely was now. The switch to road really made a difference as you can see in these next miles. My playlist was awesome. I was completely immersing myself in the songs & it was really helping.
Mile 9: 11:34 | Mile 10: 11:18 | Mile 11: 13:36 | Mile 12: 11:32 | Mile 13: 12:48
I played cat & mouse with a few people for a while. In particular, I remember 2 younger women probably around my age that I was continuously passing, then falling behind, passing, falling behind, etc. It was nice to be around some people at least. I pulled my phone out somewhere between mile 9 & 10 and realized I only had about 11% battery left. Great. So, I had no choice but to turn off my phone & run music-less for the remaining 3 miles. Let me tell you, those last 3 miles were brutal. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, the sun was beating down, & there was hardly any shade these last few miles. Everything hurt. But, I kept telling myself “I can do anything for 3 miles.” & when I looked down at my watch, I did some math in my head & realized that if I kept going & didn’t stop… I could hit my time goal right on the nose. Mile 11 was clearly a rougher mile for me.. I walked a few times & was just generally trying to get my mental spirits back up.
With only about a quarter mile to go, I saw the enormous hill. It was steep. I thought.. you have got to be kidding me. I had very little if not nothing in the tank left. It was taking everything I had in me to keep running. I walked that hill, talked myself down from what could have been a huge panic attack, & kept going. I saw my friend Jenn at the bottom of that hill & she was screaming for me. I told her I had nothing left, but I’d smile for the camera anyways. I could see the finish line & I saw my friend Katie & I somehow ran myself in.
I clicked my watch to stop &…. 2:30:13.
Remember my goal A? It was a 2:30. I DID IT. A 7 minute PR off of my Hershey Half time this time last year. 2016 is the year of the PR for me. I PR’d in the 10 mile, the 5k, the 10k, & now the half marathon. Holy moly, guys. I was a running machine this year. I am so happy with the way I’ve performed & I’ve truly surprised myself. Having my friends at the finish line was great.. I finished not very excited (I was exhausted) but after about 10 minutes of me chugging water & stretching, I came to & realized how happy & proud of myself I was to finish in exactly the time I wanted. This race was beautiful, well organized, & the volunteers were excellent. Thank you to everyone that participated, volunteered, & cheered me on along the way. I DID IT!!!
I want to call out a few songs that really helped me – & to the friends that put these songs on my playlist – thank you, you 100% helped me through this race.
- The 2nd song that played, Living in America by James Brown. My mom added this one & it was SO nice to hear that in the very beginning. I thought of my Mom the entire time this song played & I had a lot of fun.
- Indestructible by Disturbed
- What is your Why – Motiviational Speech. This was actually a 4 minute speech off of “Fearless Motivation” on Google Play (& probably iTunes). It certainly gave me happy feet. It was a great addition to my playlist.
- Pony by Ginuwine. Made me laugh so hard. ❤ Channing Tatum
Don’t forget about my Momentum Jewelry Review + GIVEAWAY! It closes Friday evening! Click the link for how to enter 🙂