20 weeks ago or so, when Alex first told me that she wanted to run the Prairie Fire 1/2 marathon, I told her that she was crazy. And that there was NO WAY I would be accompanying her.
Here we are after we crossed the finish line last Sunday.
If you've been following my training blogs, you'll know that this 1/2 marathon was no easy feat for us, as we started off in June barely being able to run 2 miles.
So last Saturday night Elyse, Kristine & her boyfriend, Chris & myself all went over to Alex's to carb load on a delicious spread her mom made for us, which included:
Whole Wheat Pasta & Marinara Sauce
Grilled Chicken & Chicken Sausage
Yummy Apple Bread w/Carmel Sauce - Thanks Kristine!
We updated our playlists, talked about what we were going to wear & eat the next day, our goals & game plans, etc.
We were EXCITED!
The morning rolled around too early, of course, with me going to bed later than planned & Cory getting off work at 11 p.m. But we pulled ourselves out of bed, grabbed our gear & scrambled out of the house to pick up Elyse & Alex. We took the wrong route & had to park far away from the race start & got there later than planned, but still 15 minutes before the race started. I heard that 1400 more people ran this year's Prairie Fire than did last year, bringing the total number of runners somewhere close to 4000.
Here we are pre-race.
Sally, Alex's friend from work, joined us.
Kristine ran 13.1 in honor of her 31st birthday!
The shotgun sounded & we were off!
Everyone's run was a success, but went a little different. For me, the first seven miles felt like a breeze. We all started out together, then some ran ahead & some were behind at a slower pace. Cory, Kristine & I started out running at about a 10:45 mile pace.
We saw our families along the way & I can't explain how good that felt to see the signs that they made & hear them cheering us on. It really made all the difference.
We grabbed water at each water station. I didn't stop to grab the water, just grabbed it while running by, which for me, helped to keep my momentum up.
I took my first GU at mile five & tried to fudge one for the first time. This might sound weird, but it was almost delicious. Much better than the Power Aid berry gels I had been getting at Dillon's, in both texture & flavor.
Mile marker six & seven were knocked over by the wind, which actually helped me because by the time I wondered where we were, mile eight appeared! By the time mile nine appeared, I was really hitting a wall. All I could think was, "Get to the next mile & all you'll have left is a 5k."
At mile 10 I took my second GU (vanilla bean - also tasty), but had to slow down, so Kristine went ahead of Cory & I. I know Cory could have gone ahead too, but he was so sweet to stay with me & get me through those last three miles.
We saw my sister, cousin & niece & nephew around mile 11 or 12 - and I just started crying. I couldn't hold it in any longer. I was in pain, so thankful for the supporters I have in my life & so proud of how far I have come in the past several years, all at the same time.
My tears lead me to realize that I ran my first 5k only two years prior, and barely made it across the finish line. At the end of that race I remember saying, "This is NOT fun for me. Why do people do this willingly?"
Now not only do I get it, but I'm addicted. Running is so symbolic of life.
I was so happy to see the finish line. Having run a full 13.1 miles feels awesome. Of course, next time I would do some things different. Yes, I'm already thinking about my next 1/2.
Here are some post-race photos:
Our favorite spectators.
I'm keeping THIS medal!
Some pretty amazing women.
My running plan for the future?