A year ago I would have told you I’m not a runner. I mean I did run. But I ran because I love to eat. In fact, when I injured myself 1.5 years ago, I told my physical therapist that I’m not a runner. I just run so I can eat cake. #truestory.
Things changed though.
I did a thing. A big thing. A crazy thing. But only half crazy. I ran a half marathon. Like I signed up, trained, and ran a half marathon with 25,000 other people. The St. Jude Half Marathon. And I finished! I did it! My time (because everyone wants to know) . . . 2:06:59. I’m pretty happy with it. This was my first one. And not my last.
So what was it like? Well it was pretty epic. The first 5 miles felt amazing. Brian, my kids, and my parents were at Mile 5 to cheer me on. That was the best. Mile 6 was through the St. Jude campus. I can’t even describe what Mile 6 was like. Everyone should run Mile 6. I had to wipe tears from my face as I ran out of St. Jude. Actual tears. The patients who were well enough were outside, cheering us on, giving high fives. I high-fived every single kid as I ran through. These sweet, innocent kids are so amazing. I saw a few more St. Jude kids later on the route too. And I almost cried again.
I ran as a St. Jude Hero and raised money for St. Jude. Did you know that no one pays for treatment at St. Jude?! That’s crazy right?! And because I’m from Memphis I had friends growing up who were patients at St. Jude. And now I have friends with kids who are patients at St. Jude. It’s really an amazing place. And I hope I never get to experience it firsthand. But it’s close if we need it and that makes me strangely comfortable.
Here’s my name on the St. Jude Heroes car! So cool!
I struggled more than I expected during the middle part of the race. I had to stop for a massive cramp in my stomach. Not my side. My stomach/abs. And it was still sore over 24 hours later. Weird. Other than that I ran the entire time except when I grabbed water. I apparently need to learn how to drink water while running. Because currently I can’t do it. I tried. And choked.
The last .75 miles I could see the stadium. A guy running close to me yelled out to everyone “we’re going home, we can do this!” as soon as we made the final turn. And he counted down every 1/10 mile. I wish I had that kind of energy. I had enough to finish though. And then I may have almost cried again. I finished. In the middle of a crowd of strangers. And I almost cried. But seriously . . . I did it. I didn’t expect the emotional response but it just hit me right there in the middle of that crowd of strangers at the finish line.
Here’s me after the race:
Oh and Joey ran it too. I even got him to join in my pre-race selfie. And he kinda sorta smiled.
Here’s where we started:
Oh and after the race you have to climb OUT of the baseball field. Like stairs. They make you climb stairs. Then of course I had to walk back to the van. And funny story . . . Brian announced that he had lost the key to the van when we were almost there. BUT we had a backup. In my purse at my parents’ house 30 minutes away. BUT we didn’t end up needing it. We went to the van and James found the key! Under the van. Seriously. See, kids are good for something. Saved by a 3 year old.
So now that I’ve finished, let’s back up. Here’s how I got here:
- In 2010 I had back surgery. I wasn’t allowed to exercise AT ALL before then.
- 3.5 years ago I had triplets. Before that I was a casual 3-mile runner for about a year.
- About 1.5 years ago I injured my IT band and had to go to physical therapy and gradually increase my running. Starting with 1.5 mile “long runs.” I graduated from physical therapy. I even got a certificate. Which I still have. (I may be a hoarder)
- I told my physical therapist I’m not a serious runner. Like my original reason for running, I was still running so I could eat cake.
- In March I decided to run the St. Jude Half Marathon. My brother Joey and I decided to do it together. We didn’t train together because we live in different states. But it was still pretty great to have someone to talk to about the training. (FTR I came in before him at the race).
The fact that I was running an actual half marathon kicked in the night before the race. When I picked up my race packet at the expo. And of course more pictures.
I’m not gonna lie . . . I was freaking out just a little when I picked up my race packet.
So what was the training like? Rough. I did a complete half marathon training program in the Spring. I made it to the last 2 weeks then I stopped doing long runs. Because it was July and I couldn’t run that far in the heat. But I started a new training program at the end of the summer and completed every long run (and most of the shorter runs and interval training). I ran 12 miles 2 weeks before race day. So I knew I could do it. I only ran about 5 times the last 2 weeks. I struggled with some tendinitis in my feet so I wanted to make sure I was completely rested up. It worked too!
Here’s a few more fun facts about running and my training:
- At least once a week I wanted to quit
- I decided that running is stupid pretty much every time I ran over 5 miles and wondered why I decided to do this. This was true on Saturday while I was running the race too.
- I lost 2 toenails training for the half marathon. Apparently this is a “normal” running issue. Yay. I tried to glue them down. It worked the first time and a new toenail grew in and no one knew (except me and the girls at the nail salon. The ones who probably hate me for making them touch my gross glued-down toenail). The second one fell off. Luckily it was basically fall by then. I’m pretty sure I’m about to lose another one. See, running is stupid. Brian really told me to quit over the toenail thing. I considered it. Lucky for you, no missing toenail pics. No toenail/foot pics at all actually. You’re welcome.
- Nothing will make you feel older than running. I can no longer walk around my house barefoot. In fact, I wear orthotic flip flops most of the time (when I’m not wearing boots or booties, my fave shoes ever). I love my orthotic flip flops. (Oofos). If you run you need them. You’ll thank me later.
- I self-diagnosed myself with several injuries over the last few months. Extensor tendinitis and plantar fasciitis most recently. I actually didn’t run much the 2 weeks leading up to the race because I was worried I’d injure myself. I think the break was good for my feet but bad for my mental state and my confidence.
- I now own 4 pairs of $16 socks (Feetures are my fave). They have a right and a left. Oh and I lost 1 basically the first week. So I have 3.5 pairs of $16 socks. They supposedly help with the toenail issue. I’m not sure . . .
- I also own a fairly crazy amount of Lululemon. Maybe they’ll sponsor me. I probably need to get faster first . . . . But seriously this stuff is amazing.
- And speaking of things I now own, I also wear a Garmin watch at all times. I bought it for the GPS and the running functionality. But I love that it notifies me about texts, emails, etc. Maybe I need an Apple Watch. Or a fancier Garmin watch.
- I count while I run. Not always and not the entire run. But usually at least part of the run. What do I count? Sometimes my steps (10 sets of 20 steps at a time), always people (bikers, runners, walkers), and sometimes vehicles if it’s too dark for many people to be out. And I always count when I’m going up a big hill. Somehow it helps. See I’m a little crazy. Ha! Surely other people do this right?
So I guess I’m a runner now. I plan to do my second half marathon in March, the Little Rock Half Marathon. It looks mostly flat. But it’s Little Rock so it’s probably not actually flat, just flat for Little Rock. My goal for the next one is to finish under 2 hours.
And to wrap this up (I know you’re thinking “finally!” if you’re still reading even at this point), here’s some pics of our weekend:
Addison requested Central BBQ for dinner so we went there. The boys are still talking about “the BBQ place” so I guess we have 4 Central BBQ fans now.
We took the boys to Starry Nights too. They LOVED it! Definitely worth the super long wait. They also like peeing in the back seat of the van (in the potty I brought of course).
Sunday we came back home. And they boys have been asking to back since then. Maybe 2 weeks in a row at Nana and Grandad’s house set them up for disappointment. Oops!
Only Mason stays awake on long drives so he got the headphones. That lasted a whole 10 minutes.
And because it’s Christmas time and we are in the Christmas spirit I’ll leave you with this one: