Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My First!!!!! Half Marathon Experience

I thought they were going to. 

but hooray! They did not.

We arrived in downtown Indianapolis before the sun arose by my master plan. We were NOT going to be struck in traffic. We were NOT going to have trouble parking. We were GOING TO BE PREPARED. We would be there early and enjoy the atmosphere of the Nation's!! Largest!! Half!! Marathon!! It was going to be perfect. We left our house with plenty of time for unexpected issues----we got to the corral.......and due to my wonderful  slash psychotic planning---WAITED. for. two. hours. before anything happened. 
Due to my planning I had just enough time  to worry about BMs, Energy Shot timings, shoe lacings, outfit adjustments, and race day jitters to royally annoy the snot out of everyone. It was great. Two hours they will not soon forget as I asked frequently asked if they loved the new  RUNNING BELT *ahem fannny pack* that I purchased at the expo. They nicely told me it looked 80's and I assured them they were jealous----cause it was awesome. (it is awesome.) See...

After the longest two hours of everyone's life we headed to our corral. Due to the Jelly Belly sport beans I consumed I became very confident and decided that we should really try to corral hop. We didn't belong in the back of the pack----clearly. My running belt catapulted me into baller status for a runner and we successful hopped two letters in the alphabet. Stealthy and hopped up on sugared/ caffienated jelly beans I was ready to begin. Not to be dramatic (okay, a liiiiiitle dramatic), but this race signifies so much progress in my life. This race was the endcap to a lifestyle transformation. I was hearing slow motion motivational music in my head. Chills were covering my body. I was ready to do thiiiiissssssssss....... and with a quick pop of a gun...we were off.
I told myself I was going to pray for the first mile. It was a goal of mine to talk to God and praise Him for the changes and challenges I faced during my training and weight loss the past year.  I wish I could say that I did complete that goal during the half marathon but sadly, I didn't .  But I know God understands why I simply could not. For a  quarter mile we were stuck behind a middle aged man  with the shortest American flag shorts I've ever seen. It's really hard to pray when you're laughing and wanting to vomit at the same time. I doubt anyone could have a legit conversation with our Creator while  trying to dodge ones eyes from seeing a mans bits out on display through splashes of red, white, and blue.
Thank goodness for God's grace and those jelly beans.
We sprinted around that fella and carried on.

The first 7 miles were fun. I  laughed, chatted, and people watched with my runner girl Jess while keeping a steady pace. Can I tell you about my friend Jess? She was my rock during training. She was my cheerleader, butt-kicker, pace keeper, and off the ledge talker for 15 weeks. She ran with me so I wasn't alone. She wouldn't ever say this---but she SLOWED HER PACE for me while denying that she was faster than me. She listened to me mutter curse words and Get me through this Lord all in the same breath without judgement. She let me believe that my "running beans" really did help me maintain pace. She told me I could do this---when I didn't yet believe it myself.  She let me drag her to a race two hours early and was still my friend afterwards. Yay Jessica. If you're going to run a half marathon----you should really find yourself a Jessica.  I hope to be a Jessica to someone else one day.
Part of the Mini Marathon in Indianapolis is running around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway---I get it. Wow so cool to run where the racecars race...........As we were entering the Speedway I felt it too. OMGsh! The speedway!!! COOL! FUN! water stations? just asphalt? you want me to kiss what? the bricks?  During the speedway it got hard.  Your mind gives up long before your legs do. My mind started to give up and it doesn't take much for me to go to crazytown. So naturally, I ate more jelly beans and tried to distract myself.  
I read a running memoir called Running Like a Girl a few weeks back. The book is great and really interesting to read if you're trying to spark a love for running. One of the biggest takeaways that stuck out was that  she suggest painting your fingernails a fun color before each race. Her reasoning was that at the end you're GOING to look like hell so you might as well have your nails in order. Annnnddddd.....there is nothing like a splash of color to distract your crazy brain. My nails were neon blue----and she's a genius. I held out my hands in front of me and looked at my ridiculous nails and started laughing.  Because running with your arms straight out in front of you makes you look completely ridiculous. Mind. distracted.
There was a girl who was in front of me for most of the race who I convinced myself was a Runner's World Model runner.....She was tan with a runner's physique and her long fishtailed braid sticking out under her neon running hat taunted me for a few miles. "You're slower than me" the braid said. "I'm so much awesomer at running than you"....the braid said. I found myself wishing I could be more like this pretty  runner girl. I wanted a braid....and then I realized  Braids were taunting me---so I passed runner's world perfect runner girl---and it felt really good. Sorry pretty runner girl----you're probably really nice---but your braid is kind of a meanie--you should probably cut it off.
Runners come in all shapes and sizes and the Mini taught me that. There were people of all shapes and sizes running faster, slower, and more awkwardly than me. Running is something everyone can do---and while runner fishtail braid girl taunted me ---the remainder of the race I tried to focus on how beautiful runners are. They are strong and mentally confident. I am strong. I am mentally confident. There was camaraderie in that---and perhaps that what keeps people coming back for more.
Thirteen miles ---whew.
My longest run prior to race day was 10 miles---crossing the 10 mile mark during the half was do or die time. And turns out it was DIE time. My phone died. This was super sad for a few reasons.
1. running without music---tragic.
2. running without my pleasant running app talking to me with my pace and mileage ---super tragic.
3. running with JUST your thoughts and no Beyonce?? EPICALLY TRAGIC.
The first 7 miles were fun. The middle 3 miles were a little crazy. The last 3 miles were HOLY MOLY HARDDDDDDDDD AND PAINFUL. My feet hurt. My toes burned. My knees pounded. My hips ached. I wanted to give up. Why do people do this? All 30,000 people running through Indianapolis that day were hurting and aching----WHY?  I think it's because we like to prove to ourselves and to others that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.
and we did. and I did.
During the last mile I saw a familiar face along the street. An acquaintance that I met through my handmade business,  Lillypie. Seeing her and having her recognize me and shout "Keep going Laura!! You're almost there!!!" was just the boost of confidence I needed to pull strength out of my fanny pack and push through.
I finished the race.
I cried.
a wave of emotions flooded my mind and heart.

My biggest nugget learned from my first half marathon? People don't run races because they are easy. People run races because it feels flippin amazing to finish something you set out to do. 
Will I do another one?

I have more jelly beans to eat. and I definitely need to wear my 80s running belt again. It's super cute.


  1. You are awesome! I ran my first 1/2 last November and I empathize with everything you said! Sign up for another one to have another goal :-)

  2. HI Laura!

    I just found your blog. I'm running my first half marathon on less than a month, this post was so inspiring! Hopefully I'll have a story just this awesome soon! :)


  3. You go girl! That sounds LONG to me...hahaha. But alas, I just started running 3 months ago. ;-)

  4. I just found your blog through Pinterest and I am so glad I did! Congrats on finishing your first half! You're a rockstar girl!

  5. Thanks for the story! I am training for my first 1/2 marathon, so this helps me get a sense of what I'll experience on race day. Also, I like the sense of humor that you displayed throughout the day. Seems like you didn't take yourself too seriously and really enjoyed the whole event. That's awesome!

  6. Thanks for this great recap Laura! I felt everything that you were describing. Just awesome. I also love several things you mentioned to keep you focus. I loved the (Jelly Beans) and also the (Fanny Pack) ideas. I will defiantly use them. I also thought it was a great thing to dedicate the 1st MILE to our savior, we him by our side nothing is impossible. I will be running my 1st half On 05/14/2016 In Las Vegas. Hope I can find my own Jessica too! thanks again, Please add me on facebook or any other media source. I #run2improve, my mind, body and Soul.

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  8. Awesome story! I'm signed up for my first half marathon and just recently started blogging about it!
    Good luck with your future races! :)