Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Half Marathon......I did it.

Ok, here it is. My official report from my very firstest half marathon. First off, I finished. After all those months and miles of running I finally completed my goal September 1st 2012. I will say that this particular race was Much harder than I had anticipated. I knew it would be hard as the course would take me literally up the face of a mountain and I would gain over 1,100 feet of elevation. I have to admit.....there WAS walking, there was cursing, and there was thoughts of giving up.

The morning of the race it was POURING rain. I mean, cold, wet, miserable. YUCK. I'm honestly thinking this is the day I have been waiting for and it's pouring? Regretfully I did not follow Hal Higdon's advice from his Marathon book I had been religiously reading and didn't plan for inclement weather. Thankfully my dad provided me with a waterproof jacket which I was most grateful for.

Once I arrived at the beginning of the race the butterflies and anxieties hit. I really get intimidated when I see so many more seasoned runners and the reality of going running 13.1 hard miles was hitting home. Now, I don't know WHY those fears gets the best of me. It's not like I'm racing against anyone. I had nothing to prove aside from just doing the race. Anyway, enough of that.

Now, the blessing in disguise to this half marathon journey was the icky kucky rain. It literally stopped within the first mile and it made for a cool relaxing run instead of the hot sweaty one I was expecting. Now.....like I had mentioned before. The course was much harder than I expected. Now I KNEW it would be tough....just didn't realize how honest to goodness grueling it would be. The whole first half was all up hill.....but were talking STEEP. Even the hardcore seasoned runners were walking at the steepest points. Now.....I had also mentioned there were thoughts of giving up. I won't lie. Miles 3-5 were the hardest. The worst was a stretch about 2 miles long that was so intense with an long long hill climb with no breaks and no flattening of the course. There were a few moments I thought "I can't do this, I should turn around". Then the thoughts of humiliation facing all the runners behind me trucking along and I had been the one to give up.  Even when people were passing me left and right, I could not even muster up my competitiveness to speed up and not allow another runner get passed me. They just kept on moving past me and I did not care. I wasn't in it to have the fastest time. I was in it to finish. I won't lie. It was a difficult time in the race....especially knowing I wasn't even halfway through and I still had miles more to go. One thing I found to help me continue is keeping my nose to the ground I wouldn't get so discouraged. If I looked ahead,  all I would see is the runners ahead of me continuing going up the grueling ascent. Realizing that there was STILL more hills ahead of me was SO disheartening.

Finally.....I reached the aid station which was just before halfway the halfway point. It was a great feeling knowing that I had made it to the top. It was all downhill from there. Not that running downhill is easy...but gravity has to help you out coming DOWN the mountain right? Well, even if gravity wouldn't help my legs to carry me on my descent, it was a nice thought anyway and at least there were no more hills :) At the aid station I ended up chatting with some runners who were keeping roughly the same pace with me. Most of the race I was alone being stuck in between the fast pack and slow pack. Anyway we got talking and they were shocked to find that this was my first half marathon. Especially that I was keeping their pace. I guess they had run the Bear Lake Monster three times before and have completed many full marathons *insert inferiority complex....*
What did give me some confidence and made me smile inside is that the girl told me that if I could run  THIS race, I could easily do a marathon. I believe it. The Bear Lake Monster Half was one of the hardest physical things I have ever done in my life.  

So to continue my story, at about mile 8 or 9 the couple I was  chit chatting with got way ahead of me. It didn't bother me one bit. They are way more experienced runners than I am and was pretty experienced with this particular race. So I was back to being by myself just trucking along jamming to my tunes on the ipod shuffle. Now you want to know something crazy?? Well at mile 10 I was feeling GREAT! Like really really good. I was stretching out and REALLY running. It was tough though because at this point, my thighs felt like they were on fire. Running down such steep inclines really was doing a number on them. I think a big part of what was making me feel so good is knowing I only had 3 miles to go. A half an hour. My daily run. I can DO this. Now....what's even crazier is around mile 11 I passed the couple who I chit chatted with and who had gotten so far ahead of me. Then I passed two more runners at mile 12 :)smile I honestly was a bit in shock. I actually lost count of how many people I had passed at the end. Now, I will admit. the last mile I believe was the hardest of the race. The course had flattened and my friend gravity had disappeared. I could SEE where the end of the race was, but I swear the closer I got, the further away it seemed haha! So, I put my nose to the ground again, found a great Metallica song, and just put one foot in front of the other. There was quite the inner argument going on inside my little head. I really did want to walk so bad. Like even just 10 steps. But I kept telling myself no. I had less than 9 minutes to go, then 8, then 7, and well.....you get the picture.

What brought tears to my eyes is when my sweet, wonderful, supportive family recognized me at the end. My sweet daughter and my cousin Kevin started running along with me to help me to the finish line. Honestly, I couldn't say one word at that point. In fact, there was most likely much whimpering, huffing, puffing, and groaning at that point. All whining aside.....I passed the finish line. I through my hands in the air and hugged anyone who would allow a red faced, sweaty, overly exhausted 30 something year old to do so ;)

What an experience. Ya know.....I have always had a hard time doing long term planning. Not that I don't follow through, it's just the actual making the goal, working towards it, then finishing. I'm so glad I did. All the hard work.....sometimes painful.....sometimes sick.....most of the time tired.....day after day, week after week, for months really paid off. I am still shocked I did it....and I have to admit, with a very respectable time of 2 hours 26 minutes and 26 seconds. I also have to toot the horn a bit....I actually placed fourth overall in the women's division. Not novice, age group, ect. Of all the women, I got fourth :)

So everyone, thank you for reading. I really do appreciate you taking time to read my little half marathon story. It truly was an experience I doubt I will be forgetting anytime soon. Stay tuned to hear about a full marathon recap next year hehehehe :)

Now how about some pictures?

Rainy rainy morning
Trucking along.....before I realized I was being "watched"
Dork Jill realizing there was an audience 

 While I was running my Half, my cousin Kevin (in the red shorts) and my daughter Kassidy (ONLY 6 year old) ran the 5k :)

And my mommy raced the 5k too! Because of the course being mismarked, they actually ended up doing just short of a 10k race. I just LOVE my family and I'm so excited they are picking up running. Kevin is such an inspiration as he is the only one in my family who has ran an entire marathon :) 
The fam did it!!!!!!!!!!!! 
And here is my wonderful family waiting for me. My Grandpa, Mom, Daughter, and brother :)
Now.....here is the where the race ends. Now that itty bitty little bit of a hill going up to the lighthouse was just pure diabolical as you had to run UP it to finish your race. After all the hills I had JUST ran, my legs were jelly and I almost didn't make it up. Ok, that was exaggerating, but it WAS hard to run up at the end haha! 
The end is near!!!!! "I think I can....I think I can"
Out of the whole race, this last little stretch running with my daughter brought a tear to my eye. I just love my little kid and she helped me to the finish line :) 
It's OVER and I did it :) 
Yes, it WAS a monster haha! 

My wonderful family :) I love them so much! I can't wait to do it again NEXT year :)


  1. Ok... yeah this brought tears to my eyes too.. especially the last ... seeing your family at the end cheering you.. and OMG Kass running the last bit with you!!!! BEAUTIFUL!! I am SO PROUD of you Jill!!! You are awesome and just so inspiring to me on a daily basis!!! (((((((HUGS))))))

  2. What HorsenGarden said!! I have tears too! I love this, love your thought process, your candidness. You are an absolute treasure to this world and its inhabitants! I just dearly love you, Jill. Awesome job, and Fourth overall in women's might as well be a first, in my book! SWEET!!!!