I finished my first half marathon this morning - the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa, FL. My official time was 3:40:13 with Garmin time 3:40:20. My Garmin also showed the course was long at 13.25 miles but it is what it is. I went into the race expecting a finish between 3:30-3:45 so I'm absolutely thrilled that I met that goal.
I followed a customized training plan from Runners World...well sorta followed it. I did run at least twice a week and did a couple speed runs and a couple long runs and those tied along with my 3-4x a week boot camp/insanity classes, I felt pretty prepared for this. Of course in the week leading up to the race I came down with a cold, sore throat and cough. I took my meds and just hoped for the best come race day.
I had my outfit planned out so I could carry my essentials on me - essentials were my phone (for music, runkeeper intervals, and texting my husband my location so he could look for me), gummy bears for my mid race fuel/sugar needs, and a towel in case I had to blow my nose or wipe my sweat. So I wore a tank top, shorts, a sparkle skirt, and a spibelt. The phone went in the spibelt and the gummies went into the pocket on the sparkle skirt. The towel was draped around the belt portion or the spibelt. Everything was comfortable and I didn't have any issues.
The weather leading up to race morning had me a bit worried that it would rain but it wound up being perfect weather, mid 60s and overcast. No rain. My only issue was the wind, the race was along the river for the most part and when the wind would blow up off the water it got cold! I wished I wasn't wearing a tank top in those moments but I'll take some cold wind over the super hot sun any day. We really lucked out with the weather.
Anyways, as far as the race itself, I planned on starting out with the 3:45 Galloway method pacer, who was alternating running 20 seconds, walking 40 seconds. I stuck with that group for about a mile and then moved up to the 3:30 pace group who was doing the same interval times, just a slightly faster pace. 3:30 was my ultimate dream goal time so I wanted to stick with them. Well it wound up being a bit too much for me and by the end of mile 4 I just couldn't keep up anymore. At that point I let them go ahead and followed my own 1:1 intervals at my own pace. It worked out pretty well until miles 9-12 where I just really had to slow down. The bottoms of my feet were hurting so bad and I wanted to finish strong so I decided to walk more than I jogged for these few miles.
When I reached mile 12, I ignored the pain and pushed ahead. More and more spectators lined the course around mile 12.5 and their cheers were SO encouraging. My name was on my bib and people were cheering for me by name and I got overwhelmed with emotion. When I reached the last turn there was a photographer there and I mustered a thumbs up with a big smile for him. As I rounded the corner I kicked it up a notch. People were still cheering for me by name and it felt like I had my own personal cheer crowd. SO incredible. I reached the finish line, put my arms in the air and smiled huge! I was so happy to be done! And so proud that I did it! I will never forget that last half a mile and all that support from those strangers. They just have no idea how much their cheers meant to me.
I have to give a shoutout to a few people. My husband Anton who woke up before 4am to come support me during the race. He met up with my trainer and friend Wendy and I saw them around mile 4.5 and then again around 8.5. I was so thankful to see some familiar faces along the way. I also piggy backed with a woman named Connie who attends boot camp with me. We crossed paths more than a few times and it was nice not to be so lonely the entire time. I also passed another boot camper Cheri and a coworker Lori who both had encouraging words to say as we crossed paths. So great to see them!
After the race, I was able to catch up on all the Facebook posts and comments and likes from everyone and it felt so amazing. I felt so much love and reading people say I inspire them and they are proud of me really means a lot.
Wow- like I said this was very long winded and random, but I wanted to save this memory forever.
Thank you for reading and THANK YOU for supporting me!
Before the race
Coming around the bend to the finish...
Eye on the finish line - almost there!
And DONE! With my medal :)
I don't think I've ever seen myself look so genuinely happy. :)