Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous Cinco de Mayo weekend and that there was plenty of celebrating going on! As for my weekend, there was certainly celebrating, although not with margaritas and Coronas!
I’m currently sitting on my couch with my feet up on the coffee table, loving the soreness that has taken over my lower body. I’m proud of it. I worked for it.
Yesterday I ran in the Long Branch Half Marathon, and it was an amazing experience.
Let me back up to Saturday. Bobby and I decided that we were going to head down to the Long Branch area to have a big pasta dinner and hang out with my family (who live in the area) on the night before the race. One of my cousins was also running, so it just made sense.
One thing I was petrified about was not having what I needed for Sunday morning. I laid out my clothes and went over all options of running gear (more times than I’d like to admit).
Once I was comfortable that I wasn’t forgetting anything, we headed down to the shore area for some QT with my family. Dinner was fabulous and I certainly got my fair share of carbs! Spaghetti, chicken parm, garlic bread and salad fueled me up!
I hit the hay early Saturday night, knowing that my 4:00 a.m. alarm clock was not going to be a welcome sound if I didn’t get enough sleep.
Well, I got enough sleep, but it was still not a very welcome sound. I woke up and shuffled down the stairs still in my PJ’s to get myself some breakfast. At that point, my nerves hadn’t kicked in, I was just tired.
My breakfast consisted of a Trilogy Kombucha, an apple (which was about the size of my head), and a Cliff MOJO bar. It turned out to be the perfect fuel for me!
Once I was done with my breakfast, the butterflies began, and the questions in my mind started….
“What if I didn’t hydrate enough? What if my IPOD dies? What if I need to use the bathroom? Did I pack the right clothes? What if I’m cold, or what if I’m hot? Should I wear my hat or my hairband? What if my hairband falls off my head, or bothers me throughout the race?!”
My brain was going a mile a minute, but after taking some deep breaths I was able to get my act together.
I threw on my running clothes, grabbed my GU chomps, made sure my IPOD was fully loaded, and woke up my amazing and groggy husband to drive me to the starting point.
Once we were there, I met up with my cousin and my aunt (who was running the 1/2 marathon relay), and we waited anxiously in our corral.
I honestly didn’t even feel like I had a chance to be nervous once we were there. It all happened so fast. I put in my headphones, blasted Bruce Springsteen “American Land,” and before I knew it… we were off.
The feeling of crossing over that starting line is like none other. My nerves had disappeared and all that was left was excitement. I’d been preparing for this for months and wanted to prove to myself that it had all been worth it.
I felt strong, powerful, and ready to dominate the next 13.1 miles.
I knew that Bobby, my mom, and some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins would be cheering us on, so I kept an eye out whenever I saw a group of spectators. I was shocked at how often I saw them, though! Each time gave me a huge burst of energy. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing people you love cheering you on.
Miles 1-5 were a breeze. I remember looking at my time and noticing that I was running at about an 8:56 pace. For me, that is fast, and I was scared of burning out, but I also didn’t want to hold myself back.
So I forged on!
Around mile 6 I started to feel the drain. I was thirsty and tired, and my left ankle started bothering me a bit. My pace slowed down considerably, due to fatigue and a few bridges that we had to cross over. I decided to take a few GU Chomps and cross my fingers that they would give me the energy boost I so badly needed.
Mile 7-8 went through some semi-deserted neighborhoods which were killer on the motivation, but I just pumped my music louder and tried my hardest to get into my running zone.
Luckily, that energy boost hit me somewhere in the 8th mile, and I felt awesome. I definitely think the GU Chomps were part of the reason, but I passed Bobby and my family around this time too, and that combination was all I needed. Hearing their cheers, slapping their hands, and seeing them jumping up and down brought me exactly what I needed.
Sugar + Love = all I need.
The next few miles flew by. Before I knew it, I saw the ocean up ahead, which meant that I didn’t have much more to go.
The last leg of the race goes along the board walk in Long Branch, and it’s beautiful. Being near the water gives me peace when I am stressed, energy when I am tired, and a sense of calm like nothing else. It was the perfect backdrop for the last few miles.
I saw the sign for mile 13 and gave it my all. I dug up every ounce of energy I had left and sprinted through the finish, feeling amazing.
Bobby managed to catch this moment with some stellar pictures….
Here I am fist-pumping (I am from Jersey, after all) behind the girl in blue….
Ohhh… you wanted one where you can actually see my face? Well, don’t worry, he took one more…
Whatever, I only wanted ones of my arms and my hat anyway.
Crossing over that finish line was the most amazing feeling. Especially when I noticed the time…. 2:08 race time, with a chip time of 2:04:57 (average pace of 9:32).
My first half marathon time? 2:28.
I was so proud of myself, and I felt like all the dedication I put in over the past few months had finally paid off. Nothing could have wiped the smile off my face.
After meeting up with everyone, we headed out to brunch where I proceeded to stuff my face with a omlette, toast and the most amazing cinnamon bun I’ve ever tasted. There are no pictures because I was being very self-absorbed and only cared about:
1. Beating my previous time by 24 minutes.
2. My food.
After hanging out with my family for a bit, my stinky self and I decided I needed a shower bad. A few smelly hugs later, we all parted ways and headed home.
Once I took a loooong, hot shower I parked my butt on the couch with Romo in my lap and a DVR full of my favorite shows.
Several times throughout the day I claimed that it was the most perfect Sunday ever…. and it was…. until the best husband in the world went out to grab dinner for us. He came home, not only with my favorite salad, BUT another little treat as well.
At that point, it clearly really became the best Sunday ever. I was one happy girl.
How did you spend your Sunday?
Tell me what YOUR best Sunday would consist of!!!