Sunday, November 11, 2012

I did it.

It is official. I am a half-marathon runner.  I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes and maybe a little smile on my face. The tears were tears of joy and pain! Let's be honest, it was hard. It hurt. I wanted to stop 10 times. I wanted to give up. I wanted the pain in my legs to go away. But, I didn't stop. I didn't walk. I didn't give up. I had a 2:15 goal in mind and I wasn't going to let that surpass me. Too much was riding on this race.
So, lets start from the beginning. I had a great night sleep. Went to bed early, passed out, and slept soundly through the night. When our alarm went off at 5 am, I was ready to get up. I had my outfit all planned out after much deliberation with other runner friends. I ate a banana and packed up my change of clothes for after the race and waited for our friends to pick us up. We hit a little traffic getting down there but it was not too bad and we got an good parking spot in a deck relatively close to the start and finish line. I had layered up with some clothes that I wore when I was pregnant and I was happy to ditch them before we started running.

Once we got into our corral the nerves kicked in. I started to feel butterflies in my stomach. Lindsey calmed me down a lot and I told her I was so glad we could do this together because I would have been a mess alone! Once we crossed the start line the nerves only grew. We were running a bit under my goal pace and combine that with the nerves and I was feeling a little cramp growing. After we crossed mile 3 I feel like I settled into my pace and I started to feel great. I felt pretty good until about mile 7.5. Linds and I got separated at mile 5.5 just as we were entering in the hilly park of the course. She had a sub 10 minute overall pace goal and I had a sub 10:15 overall pace goal so it was inevitable that I wouldn't be able to hang on with her the whole time. I turned on my ipod and started to jam. I missed Dan and several other friends passing as we entered/exited the park. I guess I was into my zone at that point. I crossed the 10K point at right about 1:00. The park was hilly but was ok. I made it out at mile 7.5 and that is when it hit me. Those 9:45 miles started to add up on me.  I slowed to a 10 minute pace and then to a 10:30 pace and there was even one 11 minute mile thrown in there. Miles 8-10 were the hardest miles I've ever run. I was alone out in a neighborhood that I'd never been in and it wasn't flat. I thought after the park, it would be flat. It wasn't. It was a slight incline for a good amount of those 2 miles.

I knew at mile 10 my friends and training team would be at the party stop (Thank you Endorphin Fitness!!)and I just focused on getting to mile 10. I could do it, I could do it. Sadly, I saw the 2:15 pacer guy pass me and I started to get nervous.  I did the math in my head and was confused as to why he passed me because I still was on track with my overall pace. It turns out he finished too fast and so I was still able to squeak in a sub 2:15 finish.

Once I saw my team and the "Only a 5K left" sign overhead...I dug deep. I knew that I could make it another 30 minutes or so. I was just in survival mode at this point. I was averaging about a 10:30-11:00 pace and that is all I had in me. I wasn't trying to speed up, just hang on. I knew I was on track with my goal I just needed to hang on a bit longer. So I did. There was a slight hill at mile 12.5 that hurt really bad but then you turned the corner and went down the biggest downhill I've ever run. Wow, even downhill was hurting at that point. My pace picked up a bit because I had no choice with the hill and I saw the 13 mile marker. I felt the tears welling up inside of me. Tears of pain and tears of joy and tears of the overwhelming feeling of pride that I was feeling. I saw my watch and it said 2:14. I knew that I had done it. I had reached my sub 2:15 goal.

I am so close at this point!
Trying to finish strong!
Dan, Sean and my Mother-in-law were cheering for me but I didn't see them. I found my two friends right after the finish line and the tears really came out when I hugged Lindsey for the first time. We both were so proud of what we had done. At that point, just walking around post-race was a difficult task. My legs literally hurt more than they have ever hurt. My calves were on fire. Luckily, we found Dan and my mother in law and Sean pretty quickly and shared race stories and results. Dan did amazing with a 1:43 finish (7:50 pace!) and my other friends also did a great job! Sean had made a sign for us so we took some pics and walked slowly to the car. We were able to change clothes and head out to the marathon course to cheer on a friend and then have a wonderful brunch to re-fuel.
The Rettigs and the Eades finish the 1/2!
Our biggest fan!
Training buddies
Needed a little post race snuggle!
Yes, we wore our medals to brunch!!
Delicious breakfast! Just what I needed!

 When I got home I put my new 13.1 magnet on my car. My sis found one and had it sent to me for an early b-present. It was a perfect combination of what this race meant to me. I want to display that proudly on my car. So much was riding on this race and thankfully I was able to reach my goal. Now, I move on to a new kind of race. My surgery is 2 weeks away and now that I've crossed 1/2 marathon off my list I am ready to cross this PBM off my list, also. My body is strong, my mind is strong, and I have my family and friends to support me. I can do this.

Putting it on my car!
It is official! (Man my car is dirty!)


  1. Erin, it was an honor to train and finish this race with you. You worked hard and you now know that you've got the mental and physical toughness to move on to this next stage. So proud of you girl:) Remember - it's just about putting one foot in front of the other and some days, that's all you can do (and that's okay because there are other days where you will run like the wind!)

  2. Soooo excited for you!!!! Hope it was enough to entice you for another race after your next "race!" You did amazing!!!!


  4. That's fantastic, Erin!!!! I'm so happy for what you've accomplished - WOOOHOO for you! ~Catherine

  5. I love it! I am actually tearing up reading your post. Way to go!

  6. How did I not comment on this one!!!! What an amazing run you had! Once the dust settles post surgery, I hope we can run together. :)