Y'all. It's done. I've completed my #1 2013 resolution of running a half marathon. Holy bananas, it feels amazing to say that!
In June, Summer and I decided to run the Parks Half Marathon, and Amber said she would come up from Florida to join us! We've spent the last few months keeping up with each other's training schedules, trading tips about how to get through the pain, and what to wear. I've caught up with all of my running buddies to discuss tips and advice from people in the know. On Saturday, I spent the night with Summer and Amber so we could wake up at 5am Sunday to head to the starting line.
Sunday was perfect weather for a race: 55 degrees, sunny, low humidity. I followed Haley's advice of, "Just start running...and don't stop," and just put one foot in front of the other, quickly, for 13.1 miles. We went from Rockville to Bethesda, MD, mostly along Rock Creek Trail.
JP said he would meet me at the half-way point with a surprise, and when I came up to the 6ish mile marker, he was there with a camera and KATRINA AND KEVIN WITH ENCOURAGING SIGNS!! It was amazing, totally sweet, and just what I needed to keep the momentum going.
The course was absolutely lovely, with lots of shade, trees, and just enough puddles to keep me on my toes. At one point, we ran through a residential street and there were people spraying hot runners with hoses to cool them down! There was a laid-back atmosphere with the runners, which helped me maintain a positive attitude throughout.
After about 2 hours, I could tell the finish line was coming up, and JP caught me at the tail end of the race. I got really emotional after the end; with all that adrenaline and endorphins, I just felt incredibly raw. And sweaty.
Now, I realize this is not an award ceremony, but I'm going to give a shout-out to some pretty important people. If I had won something and had a chance to speak, here's what would have come out:
Wow! I can't believe I've run 13.1 miles before 9:30am! If only 15-year-old me was here.
Running is a solitary sport: we cannot pass the ball to someone else to complete a play or ask someone else to sub for a race. It can be lonely to hear only your own footfalls on a trail on a Saturday morning. But this race has shown me that running creates a community of people supporting each other to accomplish a goal that seems insurmountable at first. Katrina and Kevin woke up incredibly early and even brought their dog to cheer us on, and Katrina gifted me a very stylish headband to make me feel pretty throughout this sweaty endeavor (which is seriously amazing. It's Lululemon and everything; that girl is classy.). Luke woke up at 5am to drive us 45 minutes to the starting line on a Sunday, and that boy likes to sleep in. Summer and Amber were excellent partners to train with, and put up with the insane giddiness I got from the temporary tattoos we wore during the race. My dad, Haley and mom all called the night before to wish us luck, and Aunt Cheryl even wrote a poetic text. And John Paul bought me coconut water to replenish electrolytes, toweled me off after 10-mile training jogs, drove in horrible traffic to take us to packet pick-up, took these awesome blog photos, massaged my achy calves, and tells me that he never doubted I would finish this race and truly believes I can run a marathon. God bless his crazy heart.
I'll close with this photo, which pretty much sums up how we all felt after the race: glamorous and ready for a close-up.
JP got a ton of great race photos; check them out at his Flickr account.