My First Half Marathon Recap (Houston Rhythm & Blues 13.1)

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Well, it’s official, I am a half-marathoner (is that a word?!?) I keep reliving the day over and over in my head, trying to figure out how to place it all neatly into words and realize finally that I can not. So much emotion went into that day, but I will try my best to recap it here for each of you that are following my journey, and for myself to be able to remember this accomplishment years down the road.

I have chronicled bits and pieces of my journey (here and here) that got me to the starting line Sunday morning as I have started to try to work this all out in words. It was an amazing day, filled with amazing support and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first big race.

So, here we go….I got up super early and did my usual morning routine of coffee and oatmeal. I didn’t want to change anything for the race. My best friend, Lory, met me at my house at 7am and we headed downtown to find a parking spot and get ready for the race. The 5K started before us, but even still we had plenty of time to park and visit the porta potties more than a few times. About 8:15am I lined up with the half marathon start, handed Lory my jacket, said our goodbyes and good lucks and proceeded to wait for the start.

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The start was delayed 10 minutes, but at 8:40am we were off. I fell into a massive moving crowd of people and shuffled to the starting line. As I crossed the start mat and started my Garmin, I was off. The first 4-5 minutes were completely dodging people left and right, then about 1/2 mile in the pack started clearing and I was steadily running, I glanced down at my watch only to see a 7:30 pace! WHOA! Slow down, I’m going to die at this pace (but it felt so easy, said my adrenaline.)

So here is a breakdown by mile:

Mile 1- this is great, all these people are in my way, oh shoot, 7:30 pace, scale WAY back, first hill of many rolling hills-felt easy

Mile 2- wow, that went fast, how did we get here already, this is great, 2nd hill- these are great, I can do this

Mile 3-5- these hills aren’t as scary as they seem, I haven’t broken a 9:00 pace yet…this is awesome! Ate 4 sports beans at mile 4…oops, forgot at mile 3

Mile 6- almost back to the starting point (was a 2 loop course) and by now everyone should be there, I’ll get to see my girls, my family and my friends….keep on going. Yay- there they are high fives, seeing all the littles holding signs, this is awesome! Standing there were my girls, my mom and dad, my best friend, my other “sister” Becky and her two boys. I needed to see them and have that boost…it carried me.

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Mile 7- oh my gosh, I have to run those 6 hills AGAIN?!? and do that whole loop AGAIN?!? That’s so long till I get back to my people. This was my roughest mile…seeing everyone and the finish line and then heading right back out to do it all over again was rough. Got a side stitch here and my toe/ankles starting acting sore on the downhills. Toughen up and COME ON LEGS (as I here my spin instructor Danielle in my ear)

Mile 8-10- more hills, maintaining pace, remembering that I am getting closer and closer to the finish line. Popped a few more sports beans for good measure, its hard to breathe and chew and doing it on a hill was a bad choice…Reflected on where I had been, what I had walked through and my journey to get me here. I said over and over to myself over the 13 miles…I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM DOING THIS!!!

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Mile 11- I want chocolate milk (this is a thing I have when I run, I always crave chocolate milk, although I don’t like it most other times, just after running) About this point my legs begin to feel as if concrete blocks have been attached to them and I am fighting to keep my pace.

Mile 12-13- I start to see the familiar sights from the beginning of the course as I’m heading back, I get closer to 13 and I hear the finish line bands. I have a conversation in my head with myself at this point that goes something like this, “Take that stupid eating disorder. You didn’t win this one, I did. I am one of the lucky ones who made it, who fought and never gave up, who SURVIVED.” It was so funny, but I just needed a moment to myself to declare this battle as done.

Mile 13.1- words fail me here, I see my girls, I see my friends and family….I choke back tears, I see victory, I see the cross and the strength that the Lord has given me to sustain me. I see redemption, I see beauty, I see a me that I’ve never known was there, the one who feels worthy of being herself.

and then I crossed that finish line…..Jesus! That’s the first word that came out of my mouth….it was exhilarating, it was redemptive, it was a moment that I can truly say I was PROUD of myself. I had done the hard work, the months of running, the mental work (and yes, running is VERY mental if you didn’t know that), the tears and the sweat and everything else had been worth it.

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And you know what? I finished in under 2 hours. My official time was 1:57:58. (I had a secret goal, but was too scared to say it because I didn’t think I could do it)

I did it. I ran a Half marathon. In under 2 hours. I can keep reliving that moment OVER AND OVER and it doesn’t get old.

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9 thoughts on “My First Half Marathon Recap (Houston Rhythm & Blues 13.1)

  1. You are truly one of the sweetest friends I have…you are inspiring, a great motivater, and you make me want to be a better person…I’m so lucky to have you in my life!!! Thanks for sharing all your stories because you are helping others whether you know it or not! Keep it up! Thanks for being you!!!
    Your friend…Danielle

  2. Congratulations on your first Half Marathon!! Under 2 hours is very impressive! Now you will have the half marathon itch 🙂 congrats and #swirlon !

  3. Thank you for sharing your story! It is so moving and so true, I had tears in my eyes the entire time I read it! You are such an inspiration! I’m so happy for you and I look forward to hearing many more success stories! As a fellow runner, I know that mental game and those tiny voices that creep up out of no where, but you are strong both mentally & physically and I’m so proud of my tough mama friends! Go get ’em Jackie!

  4. Way to go!! That is incredible! I love that you had your family and friends there to support you. I am not a fan of loop races. My first half was 3 loops and it was really mentally challenging!
    Keep up the great work!!

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