Continued from: Run a Half-Marathon – The Prep-Work
The week before a half-marathon race you are supposed to begin tapering off on your distances and taking it easy. My week was anything but relaxing. Five days before we were set to head down to Savannah, I learned the house we had paid to rent was no longer available for us. I will spare you the craziness unless you want all the details but the short story was, using a reputable and known rental site, I got conned along with at least 18 other groups for a house that was not available for rent (The lady was later arrested). I spent the week scrambling to find a house on race week for 15 people. It was no easy task. We ended up on Tybee Island, 30 minutes away, instead of within walking distance of the starting line like I had planned (the crazy thing was this con-woman actually met the person who ended up renting us the Tybee Island house and gave her the money for the house minus about $300 for the difference. The detective said he never figured out why she did this because we were the only group to recoup ANY money. Praise God).
With the new location, we finally made it down to Savannah even as last-minute details on where we were staying were being worked out on the drive down. I could finally relax before my run. On the Friday we woke up and drove in to the city to go to the expo and pick up our race packets. I was beyond excited. I was officially number 14722.
Wandering around the expo got me even more excited about my running goal. Vendors were peddling new running shoes and attire. There were all sorts of nutritional supplies, information on upcoming races, and my favorite, tons of freebies!
That night, with everyone finally arriving, we settled down to prepare for our early morning departure. Thanks to James-Michael, who actually grew up in the area, we were able to navigate from Tybee Island all the way to within two-blocks of our corrals. Even though it was Savannah, we were all still freezing. Thankfully we could dress warm, throw our layers in a bag right before the start and have them waiting for us at the end. I still ran with a base long sleeve shirt and gloves.
I decided to put a sign on my back to motivate me and others that read:
“This is my first half-marathon. Two year ago I could not run half of a mile! Let’s finish this!”
It was the best and worst idea I have ever had. Other runners loved it. They wanted to take pictures with me before the start of the race. During the race people kept patting me on the back and high-fiving me as the passed me and every time someone did, I got a little extra burst of energy. However, I was shooting for a 10:30 pace throughout the race. By mile five I matched my watch with the mileage and determined I had been running closer to a 9:30 pace which is just above my 5K pace! Ooops.
As the miles wore on, my time got slower and slower and slower. By mile 10 I was nearly exhausted. Miles 11, 12 and 13 were an absolute grind. But finally I saw the finish line, gathered up everything I had within me and pushed the final few yards. I did it! I completed a half-marathon!
I finished nine minutes slower than my goal and with a final pace time of 12:09 (told you I slowed down after “sprinting” those first five miles). But, I was done and could cross this goal off my list.
Since running I have been asked when I am going to run a marathon. My answer is that I want to get a few more half-marathons and maybe a sprint tri in before I even think about a marathon. But at this point I can no longer say I will never run anything again. And yes, I have a medal to show for it now.