With this past year being a whirlwind of jumping into the self employed world I realize that my poor ol blog is a'lackin but I really do miss all of you! I have made some extremely close friends and I value each and every friendship I've made. I promise that 2015 will be more focused on building my blog back as well as coming back and practicing routinely keeping updates about life and what's going on around the farm. I have to say the one update I miss the most is my farming on the four's and although I still keep tabs on the farm I miss adding those journal entries on here for you all to see! I'm hoping to do a few round up posts to share what went on in the garden and how hard we worked during harvest on the farm as well as many other updates that happened through out the year. Keep an eye out, but in the meantime, enjoy the holiday season. Take every moment and soak in the festivities! This may be your last holiday you'll celebrate, enjoy every blissful moment!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
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***This was written a few days after my race, but it wasn't posted until now when I finally buckled down and added all my race pics. I wanted to make sure this post was perfect before it was posted so sorry for making you wait to re-live my first half marathon but I'm a perfectionist ;)
I'll admit, I'm still on my runners high so bare with me as I write this for you guys. I wanted to get a post together to let you all know how the run went before I forgot the emotions that the day were filled with.
Yesterday, Sunday, November 9th was a day that all my training (or lack of training) led up to and I was as ready as I could be for it.
MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!
It was so much fun! (I can say that now, I'm done and no longer filled with millions of different emotions) I'm not going to lie, I was so nervous and excited for this race to come. Not only was it a local race but it was something I knew I'd been wanting to do for awhile.
I decided awhile back that my need for longer distance races were starting to form. I loved my 5k distances but they just weren't enough of a challenge for me. I wanted something longer, harder, something that'd put me into the elite group and set me apart from the average gym rat.
I looked around for quite some time to find the perfect race for me. I knew I wanted something out of the box that had a huge love of fun and high energy. I wanted something that was endorsed by products and companies I was already in love with. But most of all, I wanted a race that I could call mine and come back and run in the future. I wanted something close to home to call my first half marathon.
PACKET PICK-UP & RUN EXPO
I was excited to go visit packet pick-up! I'm actually already a member of the Bulu Box community (Use this link and code BULUGAN065 to get 50% off ANY box subscription!) so when I knew that they were sponsoring this race AND I had the opportunity to meet a few of the guys/gals behind the company I was thrilled! And, meeting them in person was amazing! They're all SUPER kind, super friendly and totally hilarious! I was also grateful that at packet pick-up they let you try on and trade-out shirts if they didn't fit. I ordered a medium since I knew it was a women's fitted shirt and thankfully they allowed me to trade out sizes and get a small. (FYI this is still my favorite tech shirt to date and I actually ordered a second one because I love it so much!) After I spent awhile chatting with the Bulu Crew I took a look around at the other running companies at the expo and headed home. Bib in hand, ready to race the next morning... But first, I had to take a selfie!!
RACE DAY MORNING
Race day morning was tough for me. I woke up with less than four hours of solid sleep and I dreaded it. I knew I wasn't prepared but I knew I was running it no matter what. I actually laid out all of my clothes the night before that way I'd be ready to jump in them and go the next morning. My dad, mom, Travis and his mom Joan all met at our place to car pool up to Lincoln. We were planning on meeting my sister and Cliff at the race start just to make things easier.
I laugh thinking about the entire drive up, the boys talking about farming, me thinking of every possible way to get out of the race. Them encouraging me saying I'll be fine. On the way up I whined as I laced up my Brooks. I complained as loudly as possible the entire time I filled up my Blender Bottle (free from Bulu Box!) and dumped in my Uplift by NLA For Her pre-workout formula that I'd been training with.
We arrived in Lincoln and we were totally overwhelmed with the amount of people walking towards the start line. The parking was insane but I guess it should have been expected for those kind of events.
I almost started crying when we started walking towards the race line-up area. I was nervous, thrilled, scared, anxious and so many other emotions because I wasn't sure I'd trained enough for this day. That morning it was chilly, the chills made me even more nervous. I was really annoyed that we were late, getting there about half an hour before the race really wasn't enough time for me to get stretched out and ready for the 2+ hours of running I was about to do. And I wanted to get a few photos in with friends and family before I started.
I started stretching, slamming my pre-workout drink and trying not to shiver and waste too much of my energy keeping my body warm. It was just a weird feeling being giddy with anticipation yet insanely nervous and ready to pee your pants.
The things us runners will put ourselves through!
RUNNING THE RACE
I was so scared at the starting chutes. Seriously, I was standing there, attempting to stretch, calm my nerves and prepare myself for the "first" of firsts for the day. I stood there, with tears in my eyes. Yes, my emotions were that high and I was that worked up. I believe my tears were truly tears of joy and anticipation. I prayed the entire night before and felt a huge calm come over me through those 12 hours leading up to this event. I felt tears well up because my heart was so ready for this event but I felt my body hadn't trained hard enough.
A kind young lady named Jessica was standing next to me and I'm so grateful she started up a convo with me. She's what saved me from tears falling down from my eyes at that point. She just did the typical small talk about how many races you've done, how often you've trained, but her small talk meant the world to me. I felt like I wasn't alone in this race.
As the runners started moving forward I found myself searching for my family. I needed to see a glimpse of them before embarking on such a long journey. I needed that final smile and good luck wish. I found my mom and ran to her arms for one last encouragement and she sealed my send off with a kiss. I could feel her lipgloss on my cheek, but I didn't dare wipe it off, I needed my family with me as I ran. Seeing both my mom and Joan right before I cross the start line meant the world to me. You always need your moms with you before doing anything courageous.
Then as I'm starting the race, I find Travis right around the first bend. He's smiling at me and taking pictures. This just makes the race start even better!
If you take a look at the miles, you'll see my first mile was actually extremely slow. I'm thinking I did this because I wanted to get my breathing under control, get into my "zone" and really start focusing on the entire race. I prepared myself for the race by constantly reminding myself this was an endurance run, it wasn't a short race and I needed to really pace myself and conserve energy.
At mile three I reminded myself that I just finished a 5k and this was the longest distance race I've ever ran. That was already an accomplishment in my books and anything after that distance was an added bonus and this was now all for fun.
After the first four or five miles I was feeling completely fine. I was finally warmed up and didn't feel chilly anymore and loved seeing those first few cheer stations. They all happened so quickly but I loved them. They felt natural, no cramping, no pain, just crowds of encouragement and mass amount of adrenaline going through me.
When I finally hit the halfway point around mile six I knew I was feeling great, a little tired but I was running my halfsy off! I was thrilled to see family and friends there for me and the sign Chrissy and Cliff made me really kick it up and continue through the next few miles with a smile. Seeing their faces is what pulled my spirits back up and reminded me why I was running this race.
I could tell that my non-existent ADHD kicked in around mile 8ish because I started sending selfies to family members and even had time to update one to fbook, with no spelling errors!? That was the point where I wished I'd have word headphones so I could listen to music.
The cheer stations were great but the gaps in between with no crowds is what killed the vibe. I really needed someone to entertain me and keep my mind off the distance. I remember counting in my head how many miles I had left and that's where my doubt and hatred of the run started.
Then, the wall hit me. The big ol wall that everyone talks about with longer runs. Mile 11 is exactly where it hit me, I can remember running through a residential neighborhood area and I'm not sure if that's what caused it or the amount of pressure and pain I was feeling running through my knees at that point. I think it was both. It was around that time I started to really dig deep and find my reasons for why I was doing this. It was tough and I questioned my sanity at this point.
I pushed through, I had to look down at my race bib because I knew I added two very important Bible verses to the back of it. I repeated those verses over and over in my head and at one point heard myself say them out loud. Mile eleven about killed me. But I refused to walk, I refused to give into the pain. Knowing this race was about over and reminding myself that I couldn't quit early because I knew I could do it helped me. Yelling DIG DEEP DON'T GIVE UP also was an incentive to continue to run because the walkers beside me gave me weird looks as well. I was going to do this. I was going to finish.
The next miles were brutal and tough but the skittles and gummy bears are what kept me going. I needed those last little bites of sugary filled goodness. I didn't stop the entire race to walk but I did slow down enough to slam a dixie cup of water. I'm normally not a water drinker during runs but I seriously needed something. Pretty much every opportunity I had to take a snack from those last two stations I did it. I didn't care about the after tastes in my mouth of the dryness they created. I needed that energy!
I think what helped to pull me through the last few miles was also seeing a glimpse of friends. My best friends parents were there and cheered me on bringing me hope that there were people fighting in my corner. Then, I heard the roar of a crowd and knew I was close to the finish line.
The last hill, a huge new bridge put in leading to the finish line was tough. I dug my head down deep and just climbed. Reminding myself I'd trained for hills. I could do it. I was on the last .1 miles of this course and I wasn't going to give up and walk now. It hurt, I was ready to be done. But I didn't give up! I knew I could accomplish it. I knew I was going to defeat my doubt!!
At the top of the hill I finally saw the crowds and knew it was time to smile and prepare myself for a powerful win. I knew I'd accomplished a goal I had set years ago and I knew that this was it. I needed to enjoy the bitter sweetness of this crowd encouraging me to finish strong.
I can't remember exactly why, but I remember after the finish line I kept running into the finishers chute. I think my body said to keep going before my brain could reply to stop. Even after stopping my legs didn't know what to do. I couldn't really feel them, they call that noodle legs right?! I grabbed my medal, thanked the sponsors as well as volunteers and continued through the chute to check out what was all in there.
There were so many delicious options to choose from at the end. Runza may have been a great choice but I wasn't hungry for anything really at the time. I grabbed a few pieces of oranges and slammed them as well as a gatorade and grabbed a banana to go. Looking back, I should have grabbed a Runza, they're so delish and worth every bite! What an unique finish line reward for our state. (Another reason I loved this race)
The one thing I wish I could have found was the post race photo area. I really wanted my picture taken with a neat backdrop and my medal and sadly it never happened.
This is where my nerdy skills kick in. I thrive for scores/results! I love seeing what "the numbers" say about my runs and how I stack up compared to the hundreds of other runners out there. I'm proud to say that looking at the official results, I placed 918th out of 1450 for the female division and I placed 1594 out of 2255 for the overall category. That means I place in the top 2/3rds of the entire event! PROUD :)
Aside from just those numbers, I also like to look at my splits for each mile and determine what made each mile easier or harder. For the most part, the entire race was downhill which was another benefit of practicing those hills here at home.
Overall, this was hands down one of the best races I've ever participated in. I loved how encouraging each and every cheer station person was including everyone in the crowds along the route. I LOVED the sponsors and the swag we got with our race entry fee. I really loved the shirts included. They're super comfy and I'm actually wearing mine as I type out this post. The only thing that I didn't like was the extra .13 miles I ran. Not that it's a bad thing because most races are cut short, but if I'm running a 13.1 mile race, I hate that extra .13 miles, that's when I'm extremely exhausted anyways. ;)
I work with Bulu Box and would love to give away a free Bulu Box for you guys to try out and get started with a great subscription box with healthy and fun new products. I'll be posting soon with a full review on them and how I enjoyed their sponsorship of this race but for now, I would give this entire race series a 10 out of 10!
And now, I can cross off a half marathon for the state of Nebraska in my Project Run 50 Series as well! Yay! Now that I'm hungry for more races it looks like I'd better find another state with a fun race (potentially even half mary?!) to sign up for! I'd love to find one before the end of this year even!