I had set my alarm to wake up at 4:15 a.m. but of course my boyfriend gets up right before hand and turns on the T.V. He has the worst habit of having to sleep with the t.v. on all the time and it drives me crazy, plus I can tell it hurts a lot with my sleeping habits. We try to set a timer and yes it goes off at a certain time, but he wakes up in the middle of the night and turns it back on, it drives me bananas!! Anyway, I got up and checked my phone and saw I had a message from my friend Jacke.
Jacke was not feeling well at all, in terrible pain and wasn't going to be able to run this morning and be apart of the race. I felt so bad for her because I knew this was going to be a big event for her and now she was missing out and wasted the money to participate. It would have killed me if I couldn't go, so I cant imagine how she was feeling. I immediately went into panic mode because Jacke was my ride to the race and my car was still broken. James had to work at 11, and if I took his car, he would have to go into work at least 1 hour late.
I woke him up and we discussed our options. We decided I was still going to go the race, but take his car and he would either get my car fixed before and take that or be late for work. As I was heading out AAA was in our parking lot and I asked them if they could check my battery. I mean what are the odds they would be there at that moment. So, they did and it turned out that it isn't my battery, but my starter. JUST GREAT!!
Well since it was 5 in the morning and a Sunday, we couldn't bring it anywhere, so I took James's car.
Before hand he snapped my traditional picture..
I finally got to the area and parking was a breeze. I was shocked, I didn't have to pay and I had a prime spot that I could easily leave on time with. Timing was important so I could get home for James to leave for work. I stood in line to use the bathroom, once again, I never like to while I am running, so going before hand is key. There was an expo going on also, I walked around a bit, to warm up my legs and then found a pace group. I started in the 2:40. I started with them because I knew it wasn't going to matter too much, it is so crazy the first mile anyway.
I loved the environment and energy all around me. A lot of people doing their first half marathons and a lot of running groups and ages. I love races like these because it is amazing at how many different people you are surrounded with. One lady was 86 years old and I ran with her for a good mile, she was amazing. I seriously want to be like her when I am 86.
The first mile wasn't bad at all, I finally kept my pace, after about 4 minutes, I hit my beeper and got in my rhythm. LOTS of ladies were doing the run/walk method, more than I have seen before. I LOVED THAT!!! It made me feel comfortable. The scenery is gorgeous the whole run and I got lost in my thoughts for about 6 miles. I didn't even know the miles were going. I watched a lot of the faces of the ladies running, as I passed them, as I ran behind them. Making up stories to why they choose this race, etc. I found a rabbit to chase and kept pace all the way to 11 and then passed them and it felt great.
I had some serious blisters going on, but I pushed through. And this race was the first one I wasn't having any issues with anything. Everything just seemed to fit together.
At one point my Garmin lost signal, so my mileage was a bit off, so I paid attention not to my pace but the timing. I knew I wasn't going to PR with this race because of the heat and the bridges, I am just not there quite yet. But I wanted to at least beat the time I completed last year in.
My hydration was key with this race and so was my fueling because it was really hot yesterday morning. I used my fuel belt with four water bottles. Two had just plain water and then two had lemonade NUUN inside with a sprinkle of salt too. The salt gave me a some hydration and stopped cramping I could have. It tasted great and worked even better. When Gatorade was passed out, I grabbed some and water also. I don't care, hydration is key for me because I sweat a ton and I sweat a lot of salt out.
The bridges were tough, but I am tougher, I ran them for half and then my beeper would go off. The 4th and final bridge which is mile 12.5, I walked just a little bit longer because I was really feeling it. At one point of my running, I was singing a song and smiling, I was feeling great, so I pushed myself a little harder. While everyone around me was looking beat, I was picking up. At one point I was disappointed, we only had a little bit more to go. Then I did hit a wall, but I said I only have 10 more minutes and then the runners high kicked in and flew across that finish line.
Top was last year, bottom was this year. A year really does make a big difference. Even if I don't feel it at times, I am getting stronger, faster and better.
Crossing the finish line was different for me. I didn't have anyone on the side lines and I was distracted because I couldn't take it all in because I had to get home. I got my medal, which is gorgeous. The sun in the middle spins..
I grabbed an ice cold water and they gave out chocolate milk. YES!!! I love a cold chocolate milk after a run like this, I drank that down right away. I knew I wanted to get some Iron Girl swag, so I found the tent and got a hat and a sticker for my car.
Then I found the food tent and went and looked what they had. They had it set up buffet style with biscuits, turkey sausage, strawberry shortcake, potatoes, watermelon, bagels and a banana. I grabbed everything and the bagel I brought home for James. I got my plate and walked back to my car with it. I was going to dive in when I got home.
I stretched a bit, sent my text messages to my family that I completed and headed back to St. Pete, I would have loved to stayed and taken in the atmosphere, tried to find friends of mine and walked around the Expo, especially because I saw there was an Advocare booth, but I knew I had to get home for James to go to work, it wasn't fair to him if I took my time. I stopped at DD to get an iced coffee, I needed one desperately.
When I got home, James took a picture of me with my medal.
I felt really great, despite all the craziness of the morning, I had a great run and felt extremely proud of where my life has taken me. I mean if you would have asked me 10-12 years ago where my life would be now, I never would have said what is today. I mean running 6 half marathons, signing up and beginning training on a full one, losing close to 80 pounds, never would this have been in my dreams and now it is a reality. Despite all the troubles and hardships I have been through, I still come up with a positive attitude and a smile on my face. They say people cant change, well I am proof they can, and for even better than what they imagined.
The rest of the day I was pretty sore, so I laid around all day and napped for a good 2 hours. It felt great and I didn't care for being so lazy. I ate when I felt hungry and taken a lot of water. It was a great day.
Now I am taking a little break for running, especially any long runs. I am focusing on some strength and core exercises and finishing my Marathon book. Marathon training will begin the end of the month, so this break will be much needed.
I recommend if you have an Iron Girl Event in your area, take advantage of it. Everyone woman deserves to be an Iron Girl.