Well friends, mama’s BACK! I did it! I completed my 8th half marathon/1st postpartum half marathon, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself! If you’ve been a longtime reader, then you’ll know that my running days haven’t seen the light of day in approximately 5 years. My last marathon was January 2015, and my last half marathon was October 2014. Since then, I’ve been busy doing this whole mom thing, and running has fallen to the wayside. I finally got to a place though where I felt like I could focus on me again, and reclaim that part of myself I’d let slip away. So, I picked out a half marathon, and decided to make it happen. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to train as much as I wanted to, and of course, I also wasn’t planning on changing jobs during this time either. So needless to say, the road to get here wasn’t as smooth as I’d liked, but isn’t that life as a mom? Ha! I’m feeling content with how the race went, and am thrilled to have finally conquered a goal I’ve had in the back of my mind for years now.
So here’s how it all went down. The Toyota Music Factory Half Marathon, in Irving, TX, was set to begin at 7:30 AM. With Irving being a little out of the way for us, I opted for race day packet pickup. This meant we needed to leave our house around 6, in order to get there by 6:30, and still have time to get parked, get my packet, go to the bathroom, get the kids situated, and head to the starting line. Even though it had been 5 years since my last half, it still felt like second nature. Other than having butterflies in my stomach, I felt pretty good. I knew I wasn’t in as good as shape as I would have liked, but also knew that I’d put in lots of work and would just have to see what race day had in store. So, we loaded up the kids, and the day began!
Once we arrived, it took no time at all to grab my packet, which I did while Adam parked and got the kids in the stroller. They met me back down where all the pre-race festivities were, and we hung out until start time. The Toyota Music Factory quad where the start/finish line were is SO nice! It’s such a cool venue! I’m already thinking we’re going to need to plan a date night to a concert out there soon! Anyways, it was soon time to start so we said our goodbyes and Adam took the kids to get ready to watch. The temperature was in the low 40’s – perfect weather for a long run! I actually gave some AllState guy my information so he’d give me some free Hot Hands, which were a bit of a lifesaver while standing around waiting to start. I made sure to also put down Adam’s phone number instead of my own, HA!
Just as the start gun went off, I realized that the cheapy arm-band holder for my phone was not going to cut it so I quickly ditched it and threw it off to the side. I hadn’t trained with it anyway, so no real loss there. TBD, I tend to either hold my phone or shove down my sports bra, and that works just fine. Real classy over here, ya’ll. I opted for a strategy of starting out slow, and doing my best to settle into a groove that felt like running on autopilot. TBH, I probably went out a little fast at first, but I felt really great! I knew in order to have a good race with the lack of training I’d done, I’d need to play it smart and really listen to my body.
Miles 1-4 were road, and sidewalk. (My only complaint from the entire course was between miles 1.5-3 there were A TON of potholes in the road. Unmarked, no warning. Just tons of potholes, and crevices in the pavement, like giant tripping hazards. Other than that, the entire course was perfection.) I felt really great for these first 4 miles, and held a pretty solid 10:00 pace, give or take a few seconds. Overall, I felt very consistent and happy with my pace. Right at mile 4, the sidewalk turned off onto a paved trail system for the out-and-back portion of the course. This part of the course was beautiful! It was basically through a greenway and there were trees all around, a few different little bridges, and several curves. So, it wasn’t boring, is what I’m really trying to say. It went all the out to mile 6, where it turned around and re-traced its steps through miles 8. All in all, these first 8 miles felt fantastic. I truly felt like I was “killin’ it” and knew I was making good time. In fact, I was actually ahead of the 2:15 pace group for several of these miles. #selffive But, as we approached mile 9, back out in the sun, I started to really feel it. (As expected, of course, since I’d only trained up to 9 miles.) At mile 9, I finally let myself walk for a few seconds, and regroup mentally. Up until that point, the only walking I’d done was a few steps at each water station. But, I ALSO had developed a giant blister by this point, so starting back up running from walking was basically excruciating.
So, mile 9 was a little rough. But, I knew that once I hit mile 10 it was just a 5k from there! Mile 9 remained on the same trail system, as well as mile 10, and once we hit mile 11 we turned up onto a sidewalk then back onto the road. Mile 11 I also had to walk for a few seconds, and it was the longest walk break of the whole race. Mile 12 was sort of the turning point for me though after a rough mile 9 and mile 11. From here, the course turned left back towards the music factory and you could actually SEE where the finish was. I tried to give mile 12 everything I had, but ya’ll, the last water station was just past mile 11, and by almost mile 13 I NEEDED water! But, as soon as I passed mile 13, I looked up and guess who I saw! Cue the tears! Not really, but my eyes did start to water. It was the best motivation to finish strong seeing Adam and the kids just before the end and I waved and semi-hugged Adeline and then pushed it as hard as I could until the end.
I ran as hard as I could through the finish line and felt the biggest sense of accomplishment. This was such a huge moment for me and meant so much more than just running 13.1 miles. I felt like I found a part of the old me, and showed myself that even though I’m a mother of two now, I’m still ME. It’s a really strange feeling coming back to running – something that I was so passionate about pre-babies. It felt like two chapters of my life were colliding in the strangest of ways. I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone else out there, but I’ll just leave it at that.
I finished in 2:19:06 and am very pleased with my time. I think if it hadn’t been for the giant blister on my foot, I could have knocked out maybe a 2:15, but I guess I’ll just have to try again! I laughed a little to myself whenever we passed by the 1:50 and 2:00 pace groups – HOW HOW HOW. I honestly don’t even think it’s physically possible for me to see sub-2 again! (Side-note: I also laughed at my age group now being 30-34 as opposed to 20-24. I feel so old!)
Adeline and Barrett seemed to have so much fun with Adam, and it meant the world having them all there! As soon as we snapped these pictures, we headed to the truck and went straight home. Barrett had reached his limit, and I needed to get off my feet. Writing this blog post now, several hours later, I’d say I feel exactly as I remember feeling after previous half marathons. I’ll be movin’ slow tomorrow, that’s for sure!
YAY for half #8!!