Yesterday I ran my 5th half marathon. This was the 3rd time to run the Little Rock Half Marathon. Three years ago, it was my very first half. Last year I ran it with Jason after pretty major injuries and not running for 6 weeks. Not smart, but so satisfying to cross that finish line with my husband.
This year, more trials and tribulations. In December I discovered I had a blood clot and have been on medication since. I was told no running or even walking for that matter in the beginning. After weeks of no exercise combined with side effects from the mediation, I wasn't sure I would be running this race period, let alone accomplishing a 3+ minute PR.
I started the race with my friend, Amy (given clearance to user her name). She was starting to get sick on Friday and said that she'd run with me if she was still not feeling great. She was originally planning to try for a course PR. While I welcomed the company of my running buddy, I certainly didn't want to be holding her back. My plantar fasciitis decided to come back in full force just in time for the race, so I wasn't sure what I'd be able to do.
We started off slow, meandering around the crowds of runners and finally breaking free after the first mile. We kicked it into high gear and hit close to 8 minute miles for the next few miles, then slowed a little, maintaining an 8:12-8:15 pace. I was giddy mind you. My last PR was 1:53 so an 8:40 average.
The first 5 miles went by pretty quickly. A little cursing about frozen fingers and toes and crazy cold wind. But otherwise, really good. Miles 6-7 is all up a gradual incline, so fatigue starts to set in. And that's about the time my foot started talking to me.
By mile 8 (thankfully downhill), I was on the verge of tears. But no crying in running...or so I kept repeating. I knew if I stopped to walk or stretch I wouldn't get going again. Amy was awesome and just kept talking and cheering me on. Mile 9-10 is another all up hill sucky stretch. It also passes right by my house. Talk about a tease. I could just stop and walk inside.
I was definitely struggling and slowing down. I tried my best to maintain a decent pace. Lucky for me (not) my Garmin froze up at mile 6, so I had no clue what the pace was. I was just following Amy. At mile 11, she had it in her to sprint out to the finish and I absolutely encouraged her to go ahead. Around 11.5 I hear someone yell out "Hey sexy" and realize Jason has caught up to me. Amy and I had broken away from him around mile 2.
He could tell I was hurting and struggling. I thought he was going to pass me and get himself a PR. But he stuck with me for that last grueling bit. So, once again, we crossed the finish line together. He came in at 1:50 and I crossed at 1:50:01.
Tired, hurting, but so incredibly proud.
I have to thank so many of you for your amazing support, encouragement, texts, emails, facebook messages, tweets, and more. You know who you are my Sherpas!