I have completed my third half marathon, and I have a new PR. While I am proud of my PR, it only makes me wonder what I would have been able to do if I had actually taken the time to commit to my training! There will always be another race.
The boyfriend and I left Saturday afternoon to head to Austin. We went to my friend Emily's house, because she was letting us stay there. From there, Emily drove us to the expo to pick up my things. I was super excited about attending the expo, because I've never done a large race. I expected way too much out of it, not thinking about the fact that it isn't a Rock N Roll race or one of the other large 20,000+ people races. I was pretty disappointed in the lack of booths (maybe 10, if that). It wasn't set to close for another hour, and several were already packing up and leaving! There were very limited samples (maybe 2?), and I expected to see a lot of gear, which there wasn't. The positive was that the packet pickup went very smoothly and quickly, and they let me exchange my shirt for a different size.
From there we headed to The Domain to walk around for a bit. We met up with two other friends and were going to have dinner at Maggiano's at The Domain, but their 1.5 hour wait wasn't something we were willing to stick around for. We ended up at Macaroni Grill. That was quite the experience! Our food took over an hour to get, and it was barely lukewarm. The boyfriend didn't even get his food until after we were done eating, because they had to remake his. We were there over 2 hours! We nicely let the manager know everything that happened, and he took all the food off the bill. I did appreciate that, because our plates were $18 each, and what we got was no where near close to worth paying $36 for. Our bill for the diet soda and flavored lemonade was $5.75. Not too bad for dinner for two! Haha. I had told the boyfriend I'd buy his dinner since he came to support me, so I got a bargain on that end. From there we headed back to Emily's to prepare for the race and get some sleep.
When leaving dinner, we all noticed how drastically the temperature had dropped, and of course that had me worried. I had been stalking the weather channel's site all week, and I knew to expect it to be cold. I was very glad the rain wouldn't be a problem, but I did see the wind chill would be 31* the entire race, and the winds would be gusting at 23+ mph. I was very, very nervous about that. I agonized over what to wear, and I finally decided on my RRS Scene Stealer shirt, which is on sale right now!, and RRS High Speed Compression Capris. I normally prefer the shorter length knickers, but I wanted the longer capris this time since it would be so cold! I have worn the Scene Stealer shirt many times now, because it's the only long sleeved running shirt I own! I think I need to remedy that. Anyway...
We got to the race site, and I immediately started looking for Amie. She and I planned to meet up and run the race together, which was super exciting! I've known her forever, but this would be my first time to actually meet her! That was actually the same situation with Emily as well, so I met two good friends for the first time this weekend!
We found each other and both complained about the terrible weather! We were freezing our behinds off and couldn't wait for the race to start! The boyfriend was such an awesome supporter and braved the nasty temps and wind out there with us. I used to bathroom one last time, and after what felt like forever, we were off!
Amie and I ran the first 3 miles without any breaks, but then we decided to utilize the run 4 minutes / walk 1 minute method to conserve some energy. We tried to chat, but our faces were so frozen that it was difficult to talk! The wind was steadily blowing, and it was so, so cold. We ran side by side until Amie had to stop to use the bathroom at mile 4 or 5? I don't remember exactly. I offered to stop, but she asked me to keep going with the 4 / 1 and said she'd catch back up. I was worried because there was a line she had to wait in, but I kept on going at her insistence.
I didn't have any music on me since I was planning on talking to Amie, so I was alone with my thoughts from then on. Shockingly, it wasn't so bad! Probably because I didn't have to think. I was so busy reading funny signs, hearing other conversations, and listening to a few random bands along the course that I didn't get bored.
At mile 7.5 I was so excited to see the boyfriend on the sidewalk taking pictures! It was so good to see his face. I would have hugged and kissed him, but he was on the opposite side of the street, so I just smiled and kept going. That gave me a huge mental boost.
I kept chugging along and started a 1 minute walk interval at around mile 8.5. I heard, "You better quit that walking!" from a familiar voice. I looked over to see him again! I asked him about Amie, and he wasn't sure where she was, because he left the last spot as soon as he saw me. I started to run again, and he chased me for a bit and took a few pictures. Again, seeing him was exactly the mental boost I needed! I've thanked him a million times for being there, but he'll never understand just how much it lifted my spirits to see him when I was running out of energy. It was still so cold and windy, and I just wanted to be warm again!
I continued along, and by far, the last part of the course was the hardest. The first 10 miles were relatively flat the entire way, but they saved every hill for the end. I definitely walked up all the last hills. No shame in my game! I knew sub 2:30 wouldn't happen, but I told myself I'd be happy to be in the 2:30s. I walked the hills and ran the easy parts until I reached the finish. My official finish time was 2:36:37. I'll take that any day of the week given the conditions. My only wish is that I had trained so I'd know what I was really capable of! But like I said, there's always another race!
At the end I was so glad to be done, but at the same time all I could think about was my next opportunity to do it again! Austin Livestrong, Lauren and I are coming for you on February 17th!