Half Marathon Recap-Yeehaw

This last weekend I accomplished something I never thought I would do.

I completed my 5th half marathon.

Not only did I complete it, I finished it 20 weeks pregnant.

(I really must be crazy.)

I have to say thought that it was one of my favorite races to date.

I signed up for this race back in December long before I knew that George would be in my belly at the time of the race.

Even then, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to ever beat my PR time. So I came up with the idea of just having fun with this race and doing a scavenger hunt with my sister-in-law, Emily.

But then life happened, and the pregnancy took it’s toll on my body during the first trimester. I debated whether it was even a good idea to keep this race on the docket. Finally though, the morning sickness lifted, and I could exercise again. I began testing how far I could walk. The most I had done in the past month was 6 miles. Even up to last week I was unsure if I could do this. I talked with my doctor about running, and she said as long as I listened to my body and stayed extremely hydrated she was not concerned because I have an active past.

Emily and I decided to just go for it. We knew our options if we wanted to stop and knew that a truck would pick us up if we went too slow. I had been feeling great the past couple weeks, so we figured why not give it a whirl. We just wanted to have fun with everything!

And we did it full out! (Get ready for a ton of photos.)

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Emily and I before the race began.

I have to say the costumes were the best part of the race. About every 5 steps someone shouted/pointed/showed their extreme jealousy at our awesome cowgirl get-up. We pretty much won the best costume award! We are waiting for them to ask us to be the next year’s poster girls! (only slightly kidding)

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This is our favorite shirt from the day.

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This was at the beginning of the race. 30,000+ runners (and walkers)! Such a beautiful day for 13.1 miles!

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The first band of the day.

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Some of the bands were good, and some were not so good.

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It is a naked statue behind us.

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Walker selfie in front of the Brooks man!

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In front of Belmont University! We ran about 20% of the race, which were mostly on the downhills. It gave our legs a change of pace every once in awhile.

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This was one of our favorite signs. And yes, we both pooped that day. There were also a lot of signs about peeing. This was the first race that I used a Port-A-Potty, and I used it three times because I was chugging water like there was no tomorrow to stay hydrated. Each time there was no toilet paper…awesome.

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There weren’t many of us in costume for the day. These were some gals we passed a couple times before they eventually left us in their runner dust.

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Giddy Up!

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This was our favorite!

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No beer for the preggo. Sad day.

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One of the coolest parts of the race was going through Music Row where all the recording studios are. We were starry-eyed so we didn’t take pictures of hardly any of them. Whoops. In our defense, this part of the race was also on a downhill, so we were taking advantage of that momentum.

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You can’t read it, but this is a wedding chapel.

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A little praise band action!

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Very cool!

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Just a little bit country.

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And a little bit rock and roll.

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I think this was around 8 miles.

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The studios were surprisingly small.

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This is where we both started hurting a little. Also, I was starving. I needed carbs. I got some snicker-doodle cookies from a stranger and some jelly beans I had. I eventually had to ask a medical tent if they had a granola bar. George was hungry! And then soon after they had orange peels. They need to space this out more.

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The bump making an appearance with this lovely cop who was cheering us all on!

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This was a pleasant surprise! It was fun to shout a little Clemson love! Tiger Nation!

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Only two miles left. We can do this!

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The capital building.

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Emily tried out for American Idol here.

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We did it, and with smiles on our faces!

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Knowing there was food at the end got me through the last 2 miles. I took two of everything.

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I just have to say, I love my husband for coming and capturing our moment of crossing the finish line and also driving us back to our car. However, what this picture captures was my least favorite part of the day. The guys said this was the only way back to the car, barring walking another mile or so around the road barricades. This was a steep hill that I had to take my concrete legs and pregnant butt up. Not a happy camper! Tom loving braced me and pushed me up the rocks as I muttered curses at him all the way up. We did make it safely up this hill, but it was not a pleasant experience! I really am thankful for them coming though!

All in all, we had a blast. I feel really accomplished after this. It is funny that each race has brought it’s own challenges that I have had to overcome. It is one of the things that I love about race days. You really get to see what you are made of.

The participants were great. Besides Disney, you really can’t beat the atmosphere and environment Nashville brings (at least of the races I have done, I am sure there are other great race destinations). The organization was fairly good for the race. My only complaint is the lack of food throughout the race and the location of port-a-potties.

We didn’t really follow our scavenger hunt list we made previously. Instead we just took pictures of whatever moved us, and looking back we did get a lot that was on our list. We also saw a lot of things but didn’t take pictures of it like a barefoot runner, cheer team, and every water stop we took advantage of. We finished with a time of 3 hours and 41 minutes, which I would say isn’t too bad for walking pretty much the whole thing and making a ton of stops!

Who knows if I will ever do another one, but this was a great one to add to the books.

**As a caveat, if you are pregnant and planning on doing races, I would seriously think about your past activity and talk with your doctor. It is an individual decision, but it can be done! Just make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions and doing what is right for you and your baby’s health.

Every Day Should be Race Day

This weekend I finished my fourth half marathon.

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Before the Go Commando Half Marathon

This was a brutal race.

It started raining in the middle of mile one.

It did not stop until after mile twelve.

The rain fluctuated from sprinkling to blinding downpour. My clothes were soaked through by mile four.

There was a hill (or 2 or 3) in every single mile.

So I was soaked, cold (it was below 45 all morning), and my source of music was out since I was afraid of drowning my phone. I was feeling defeated every turn staring up at the road at another hill.

Here I was running with just my thoughts for 13 miles. Why did I do this to myself?

As you see on my shirt, I chose to run this race for T.J.

I was able to raise a $615 dollars for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. It wasn’t quite my goal, but still awesome to see the outpouring of love and support. I have left it open for anyone else who feels compelled to donate.

I didn’t run the whole thing. Many times, quite frankly I wanted to quit. Between the hills and rain, I was miserable. But then I remembered TJ, and a smile was put back on my face.

I started to really take in the race, more than I had for the last three (even Disney). Shocker I know.

Running for two and a half hours gives you a lot of time to be with yourself. It is a lot of time to criticize that I wasn’t going to PR, or focus on the cramp in my leg, or wonder if the liquid running down my face was rain/tears/snot.

But having TJ in the back of my mind made me run in a totally different way.

I had so much fun on this race despite being cold and sopping wet. I saw parts of Clarksville that are absolutely gorgeous in the fall. Since I wasn’t worried about time (well only to get into dry socks), I was able to observe things and be in the moment. We often try to rush to the end goal, so it was nice to take in the process. I was running somewhere between a walk and a hard pace. And I was quite content with that.

I think “every day should be race day.” And here is why.

1. People are constantly cheering for you. Who doesn’t love compliments like “You doing great.” “Work it girl.” “You are strong.” Some people even hold signs for you or come out in the road to give you a high five. Seriously, can these people come to my office all day?

2. Along the same lines, I have never felt that these races are competitive. Constantly you are cheering for your fellow runners on. I always end up running in the same group. You ebb and flow. Sometimes I was ahead of the rest, sometimes I was at the back. But the common theme was that we cheered each other on when we needed it most. We gave each other a heads up if the turn around was ahead. We made jokes to take away the fact our body was cramping. We ran along side each other to give the other person strength to take the next step. I think things in life would go much smoother if we took a lesson at this. Support each other even if it means you wont “win.” We are all living, so technically we are all winning. Comparison is the stealer of all joy. Run your race, and don’t be jealous of what others have.

3. Work hard and put in a solid effort, and you will be happy with your results. I am really proud of what I did today, and I worked for those 13.1 miles. No one can take that away from me.

4. No one criticizes what runners wear. Actually the more neon the better. I wear a fanny pack people. I would be ostracized if I wore a fanny pack to work or out and about. Think about it, these races are super accepting of all people.

5. Puddle jump. Oh hey rain. You tried making this race all about you? Well take that and puddle jump. Seriously enjoy life. (Why I realize that this doesn’t occur on most races, but I think there are ways to make every run fun…my interpretive dance walks are a big indication of this.) So take a moment to enjoy what you are doing in the here and now.

6. Do something to challenge yourself. This race was grueling with all the challenges, but the biggest challenge was the mental game. Being able to say you accomplished something challenging like this is a huge confidence boost. You also learn that you can do things if you just believe in yourself. We can do more than we realize.

7. There should be cookies at the end of everyday. Run for the cookies. Live for the cookies.

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13.1 miles later and feeling like I was about to board Noah’s ark, I made it!