May 27, 2014

13.1 baby!

Three-thirty AM is when my alarm went off, not that I was really asleep. My sister let me in on a big race day secret - get your good nights rest the two nights before race day, the night before you're worried about forgetting something and too excited/nervous to get any decent rest so 2 nights before is crucial. I can't believe how much this helped with my nerves! Don't get me wrong, 3:30 is fetch freaking early but I was ready to roll when the phone started vibrating.
 We caught the bus at 4:45 to take us up the canyon to Eden park and I was ready for my nerves to kick it, I was surprised when they never did! I think I was just so excited for race day to finally be here that I was too pumped to feel the jitters. 
 A few thousand runners crowded around fire pits to keep warm and waited for 6:45. I knew a lot of people who were running but I ran into very few. About 20 minutes before we took off, I finally found my brother in law. I was so excited to see him, mostly because I knew he would finish long before I did and wanted to say hi. All the big races that I've done (Ragnars) have been with him and my sister and I found a little bit of comfort knowing that if something were to happen, I know he wouldn't hesitate to run the route backwards to find me. (He's had to do it before!) 
 They gave us the go-ahead to RUN! and with so many runners, my friend Stacey AKA (the golden running partner) and I  crossed the start line and 6:51. I completely forgot about my watch until it was almost too late but that good ol' Garmin didn't fail me (yet again) that bad boy found satellite seconds before we started. 
 The race was on and we were so excited to shed our sweats and finally get going. The scenery was absolutely beautiful from the very beginning and continued through the finish line. I laughed because people were stopping every 1/4 mile for photos. Three-quarters of a mile in, 3/4! of a mile and people started walking. WALKING. Both Stacey and I looked at each other and reminded ourselves that we were not here for a stroll, we knew we weren't going to win (or come close) but we had trained and we weren't stopping until we finished. (and/or had to pee) 
 We stopped at the 5.4 mark to use the portas and continued on from there. We laughed and chatted and kept our mind on the prize. Stacey will tell you that I was super chatty towards the end and she has no idea where I mustered the energy to speak but I had to put my focus somewhere besides my achey calves. 
 We made it to about 12.3 miles before we could feel the wall, the one where you're not sure how you'll take another step but you do it because everyone else is and you've come too far to walk now. 
 The adrenaline came fast and hard as soon as we could see the finish line. Shortly after it was in our view, we saw Stacey's cute family. I heard "LIBBY!" and turned to see my favorite aunts cheering me on. From there I heard my name a lot and was confused when I didn't recognize anyone that was yelling it. Stacey laughed and reminded me that my name was on my bib. Oh ya. 
 We sprinted in hard (and probably not very fast) and were so excited to finish! High fives were thrown and talk of how awesome we are came shortly after. I found my family and was greeted with hugs, kisses, flowers, balloons, and a candy bar poster! I have 2 amazing sisters who couldn't make it but did their best. I cried when I saw the poster and I cried when I heard my sisters voice on the phone telling me how proud of me she was. It was amazing to have my boys and my Mom waiting for me at the finish just as anxious as I was for me to cross that last line. 
 I finally ran my first (and certainly not my last) half marathon. The runner's high is still very present and I'm itching to sign up for another. I could barely walk for the first 24 hours but it was absolutely worth it. I'm so grateful for a healthy body that allows me to run! 

And the sticker makes it official. 

It feels incredible to accomplish something that I knew would be hard but with enough training 
(and the perfect running partner) 
I could do it. 
Hit me again half marathon. 

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