Well guys, I did it. I ran 13.1 miles for the second time, and I can honestly say it was exponentially more painful this time around (but so so worth it).
We left for Virginia Beach Saturday morning and went to the expo. I’ve never been to such a huge expo and I was in runner heaven. Free smoothie sample? SURE! Free GU sample? Don’t mind if I do!
(fun fact of the day: Lindsay and I were actually wearing the same shirt/leggings on accident when we drove down but she decided to change so we didn’t look weird)
I got to meet the LIVESTRONG Team at the expo and they were all so nice! It got me really excited for the race! After a big dinner at the infamous Captain George’s (if you’re in my family you get why that’s big deal) we headed back to the hotel to chill.
I laid out my ribbons for each of the people I was running for:
I made them into bushels to wear during the race.
This was my point of peace for the day. The afternoon had been a lot of panicking/calming myself down. Putting the names together to wear finally gave me a minute to reflect on the real reason I was running, for these amazing people.
Even though it was a shamrock race, I decided to rep the yellow and black:)
We woke up around 4:45 to get ready. I can’t say I was really sleeping though. It’s like the night before christmas. I made oatmeal (if you’ve been following my blog you know oatmeal before a race is necessary for me) in a to-go coffee cup and made myself eat it. Even though I wasn’t even remotely hungry I knew my body needed it.
I wish I had taken a few pictures before the race but to be honest I was completely wired and a nervous wreck! Lindsay and I were twins again since we both got the exact same throwaway sweatshirt at Wal-Mart (Throwaway sweatshirt definition: a cheap sweatshirt one buys before a race knowing they are going to throw it off right before or right after the start of the race and never see it again). A great thing about the shamrock half marathon was that they donated all of the clothes they found after the race to local homeless shelters!
Heres a random picture to break up the words!
Finally I was off. The start was super smooth. Some races are hard at the beginning because you are constantly weaving in and out of people, but I didn’t feel squished once!
I started out feeling pretty good, but I knew I needed to hold back. My first 5 miles were at 9:22 pace. I decided after that point that I needed to slow it down a little bit so that I could finish strong so I (tried to) held back.
At mile 6 they gave us a GU packet (Definition of GU packet: concentrated sugar/electrolyte gel that is easy to consume during a race). The thing about GU is that you need water with it. Well the water cup I got didn’t have enough water in it (half a sip). You need water with the GU because your stomach can get overwhelmed with all of the sugar you are putting in it. Sure enough at mile 7 my stomach started to cramp and the next water station was 2 miles away, I managed to keep my pace for a little while longer.
By mile 10 I was hurting but according to my watch I was at 1:35. This put me on pace to finish around 2:05 so I was pretty stoked. I decided to try and push to the end.
Mile 11 kicked my butt. I got nauseas and my stomach was still cramped. I decided to walk through the next water station and start back up again. I knew I could push to the end but those last two miles were long ones.
When I got to the boardwalk I started looking for my Dad. I could see the finish line and I knew he would be close.
I saw him before he saw me and started waving my arms wildly. As soon as he saw me he started running to the finish line with me on the spectator side! He was yelling “Go Blake Go,” and waving his arms. I don’t think he realizes how much I was struggling and how much I needed that push to the end. I’m so glad he was there for me. Crossing the finish line was such a blur. By the time I realized I was finished I was a bucket of emotions. I got my medal and started tearing up (lame? probably) It was a mixture of relief, pain, joy, pride, and happiness.
Here I am right after I finished, tears in my eyes and medal around my neck! My time was 2:08:58, 6 minutes faster than my first half marathon! I am thrilled! Especially since the last few miles were such a battle.
Lindsay finished her (VERY FIRST) race in 2:26!! I’m so glad we got to do this together.
And an “eat whatever I want to eat” lunch: (cheeseburger w/ bacon + pulled pork without the bun and sweet potato fries)
One last thing:
A young woman by the name of Cameron Gallagher passed away yesterday after finishing her half marathon. I hope you will all join me in sending prayers to her family and friends during this awful time. I know that runners are a tight knit community of support and love, and I hope that her family knows that we are all thinking and praying for them.