Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Allstate 13.1 in the Books

I did it!!! I ran my very first half marathon.  It was an AMAZING experience!!!
 So I guess I will start from the beginning... One word of advice: DO NOT drink coffee the day before the race... epecially if you haven't really drank coffee in the last couple of weeks!! I had no idea a small 8 oz. cup would have me bouncing off the walls all day (and night.)  Pre-race jitters and caffeine DO NOT MIX!! My main focus for the week before was eating right and hydrating ALOT.  By race day, I felt very well hydrated and ready to go.  My husband was so sweet and left work early so that he could put our girls to bed and I could get to bed super early as well.  Of course with the caffiene and excitement, I laid on my bed with my eyes wide open.  After an hour of laying in bed, I went to bug my husband who, sent me back to bed. I finally laid in bed and was able to relax a bit.  I closed my eyes and tried to envision myself crossing the finish line. I prayed to God and thanked Him for bringing me to this moment in my life.
The morning came very quickly... I had my alarm wake me up at 3:45 in the morning.  The race was in Town Brookhaven (Atlanta) and my husband wanted to park really close to where the race was starting and finishing before they closed the roads.  We left the house at about 5a.m.  My girls were both up and in a good mood, thank God. I really loved where the race was because there were many places for food/coffee and a Publix supermarket right across the street.  This was really helpful to my hubby who had 2 toddlers who are going potty now. :)  I had plenty of time to warm up, stretch and visit the porta potties before the lines were super long.  It was great weather.  It was in the mid 50's the whole way through. I had planned on wearing shorts and a tank top along my my compression sleeves.  I also wore a very light long sleeve shirt before the race started and was planning on throwing to to my husband as I ran by.  I ended up taking it off before the race even started.I lined up in back of the 2:20 pace group.  My last decision before the race began was whether I should run with or without music.  I had ran only a couple of times with music during training, but I finally decided to take it along with me.  I realized that I would need a way to focus and stay mentally positive during the 13.1 miles.  I have to say that it was a great decision!! I listened to worship music the whole way through.  The music kept my perspective on point, it also allowed me to focus on God and how awesome He has been in my life.  Running to me, is a form or worship, where others may sing, paint, etc... I run.  He has been my running partner this whole time and I couldn't have done it without His presence.
My goal was to run the race in 2:20.  The course was tough in some places because of hills but it was so beautiful. There were so many people along the course and many water stops/portapotties.  I ran with my amphipod handheld water bottle so I really didn't need to stop.  In the neighborhood areas, there were little kids with their own little water stops as well, which I thought was so cute!! The course was very scenic, I focused on the beauty of the course rather than the hills.  Most of the time I just focused on the worship music I was listening to.   The last stretch was a straight road that seemed like it was neverending.  I tried to keep my eyes focused on my steps rather that how far I had to go.  I had about a mile to go, I was almost there!! I told God all I wanted was to finish strong.  I knew that the "kick" I had been training for needed to come out and finish this race.  I don't know how fast that last mile was but I ran as fast as I could, I kept on reminding myself I had worked hard and believing that I would finish strong. It was tough, but the adrenaline pushed me forward.  When I crossed the finish line, I raised my hands up to the Lord and thanked Him. I thought of my babies in heaven and dedicated the race to them. I then looked around and saw my hubby and my girls, he was holding a sign up and had a single rose for me!!

This pic was right after I crossed the finish line!!

 I can't begin to express the feeling of crossing that finish line... it felt AMAZING!!! I teared up a bit as I continued to walk to meet my husband at the end of the race line.  I did it, I ran my very first half marathon and I finished strong!!!  Immediately after I met my husband and huged and kissed him and my girls, I started to feel sore, cold and achy.  I drank a chocolate milk that they were giving to the runners and covered up.  We stood there and waited to meet up with the rest of the Back on My Feet crew.  It was a great feeling to see the rest of the group finish and share our stories of the course, etc.  Here is a pic that was taken of my family... Gracie was done with taking pictures at this point. Poor Baby!!
My beautiful family, Gracie is ready for food and a nap!! 

We walked around the booths and I was able to meet with the founder of Moms Run this Town, Pam Burrus, which was really cool!! I also saw the marathoner who ran with me a while back at Silver Comet!!! He ran the race as well, I noticed him right away as he passed by me during the race, I really wanted to find and say hello to him, he was so helpful and so encouraging.  He surprisingly remembered me and I was able to introduce him to my family, he asked about my time and told me by next year I should be running the half in 2:00 or less!! We talked for a bit and said our goodbyes, he runs all the races, so I'm very sure we will meet again.  Then the Back on my Feet crew got together for a pic:

 After we took the pic, I decided I wanted to see what my official time was.  I got in line, stretched a little and talked to a few others in line about the race.  Everyone that I spoke to really enjoyed it and had nothing negative to say, it truely was a great race.  I went up said my name and bib number and the gentleman says: Jessica Messer 2:18.09!!!!   I have to say I did not even think I broke 2:20 when I crossed the finish line so when he told me my time, then wrote it down for me, I stood there for a minute and gazed at it!! I ran to my Terran and gave him the paper, He immediately said "WHAT??!!!" and we hugged and I cried a little bit or maybe a lot!! It was the best moment ever!!!! Even though I did not really tell much people about my time goal, it was something I was really hoping to accomplish, and I did it!!!

Allstate 13.1 Finisher

I was really sore the past couple of days, I made sure to get lots of sleep, spend time stretching and rolling.  Today I am walking normally, whereas the past couple of days I looked like a robot. My confidence has grown by this experience. I am more than excited to start training again and prepare myself for future races. My faith in God is on fire and I am ready to continue to run for Him and chase after my dream of becoming a marathoner!!

1 comment:

  1. Great read. I ran the race as well, and it was also my first half.