Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bentonville Half

Back in January I made the commitment out loud that I was training for a half marathon, the Bentonville Half.  At that time I didn't think I could do it.  I thought oh yeah, I'll run with this group of friends from church and they'll probably kick me out because I'm slow.  Even in February I didn't think I could do it, but then I signed up for the race so I definitely had to do it.  I had several friends tell me it was all a mental game, and your body will do anything your mind tells it to do.  So I started believing I could do it.  And slowly but surely I ran 9 miles, 10 miles, and 11 miles.  And then all of a sudden it was race week.  Cue the panic.  I looked at the race course and my heart started racing.  I ran 3 miles and felt every little twinge of random pain in my knees and feet.  Saturday morning we met at 5:30 to drive to Bentonville, and I was shaking with nerves.  Then all of a sudden we were at the starting line, we were singing the national anthem, the announcer said, 'Runners are you ready? GO!'  And we were off.  Races are exciting; this isn't my first race but this was my first half marathon.  There are lots of excited people, there's music playing, and there's people all along the race course cheering for random strangers.  This race was really exciting.  Over 2600 runners participated!  There were so many people along the race course cheering.  Some of my favorite signs were: 'Run Random Stranger!' 'This is the worst parade EVER!' 'Run faster, the guy in front of you farted.'  'Go faster, that's what she said!'  My favorite of course, was my sweet friend Sarah from church who made a sign and came to cheer us on.  There was so much support, literally from random strangers!  There were even 3 bands set up along the last 3 miles of the race.  I was running along feeling pretty good until about mile 6 and my hip started hurting (on occasion my right hip will hurt while running, not consistently though).  I though oh no, this isn't good.  So I started praying.  I prayed for strength and endurance and for healing.  The pain intensified through mile 7 and 8 and 9 and I thought the last 3 are going to be hell if this keeps up.  But then all of a sudden it was gone.  It was seriously such a blessing.  The last mile was tough.  It's all uphill, in a very steep way...whoever plans a race with the hill of death at the very end pretty much wants to torture you!  I walked the crest of the hill but that is the only time I walked the entire race.  I was very proud of myself for that!  And after the hill of death, there was a straight stretch and the finish line.  I got emotional.  I saw my in-laws, Sara Kate, and Chris, along with some other friends from church.  I couldn't believe I actually did it!  It was surreal. 
I was so happy to see this sweet face at the finish line!
The whole race I was behind a sweet girl Chris teaches with, LeAnn.  It was her first half marathon too.  I was so happy to see her at the end!
I couldn't have done it without my awesome group.  They are amazing.  For 5 of us, this was our first half.  We ran fast and rocked it!  Thanks again Sarah for the sign!
I finished in 2 hours and 34 minutes, averaging 11:36 min/mile.  I'm not a speed running, never have been, never will goal is always to finish.  I'm pleased with my overall time (although I was hoping to finish by 2 hours and 30 minutes) and I was pleased in my averaging time.  I was very consistent in my pacing, which I was also very happy with, and I think it probably helped in the end.  
7 months ago I had surgery to remove 18 inches of my colon and Saturday I ran a half marathon!!  This just goes to show you can do anything you put your mind to.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 
-Phillippians 4:13

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