As I prepare to run my third half marathon, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane about my first distance race...
I signed up for the Philadelphia (half) Marathon on November 23rd, 2008 and gave myself about 7 weeks to train for it. Though I'd been running for a while, I'd only had a few really long runs before I signed up. And, then after I signed up, as life always has it for me, I hadn't logged too much running the first 2 or 3 weeks of "training". I got a cold, I started dating an awesome guy (who is now my awesome husband), my boss left for 3 months of FMLA...the excuses piled up and I wasn't running.
I was starting to get nervous that I was going to be walking ten of the 13 miles and wasting my extravagant entry fee ($100!!!!) ~ and disappointing myself and the goal I've had for 2 years to run a half...
In order to get some running in, I'd have to do so from work. I mapped out a route to travel through the Philly neighborhoods of Wynnefield and Overbrook. It was a 2.5 mile loop and for a week I walked it every day. Then, I started running the 2.5 miles on my lunch break a few times a week, but running nothing longer than that. I still had a LONG way to go to make 13 miles seem do-able...however, I was feeling really good and my time was reasonably ok too (I usually run a 11:20 mile and these runs had me at a 10:50 mile).
Finally, about three weeks before the race, I got back out for a long run, and I was so anxious to see how I'd do, kind of to take stock of where I was for this half. Well, I ran 9 miles in 1:38 and I am thrilled! I actually shaved 8 minutes off my time from my last 9 mile run a month ago. Progress!
My goal time was to run the half in 2:30 ~ and I beat my goal time!!! I ran in 2:25:33!!! Well, officially I ran 2:33:48, but I waited for 8 minutes at a port-a-potty stop to pee. Next time I don't care how cold it is, I'm just peeing next to a building like the guys did.
The Race Day was totally awesome! My parents and nieces drove down from Massachusetts, and with my daughter cheered for me at the half way point, complete with signs and t-shirts that read "Team Jill."
Glenn got up with me at 5:00 am to drive me to Philly in 23 degree weather, and stood at the start/finish line for me. We were newly dating and he HATES driving in big cities, so that tells you just what a great guy he is.
And a new friend of mine, her hubby, and daughter drove from Delaware to Philly and were at the finish line! It was so great to have people I care about there to be proud of me.
The spectators out there were a pretty quiet and frozen bunch. It was about 28 degrees at start time and was 36 when I got back to the car at 10 am. Everyone was silently shivering (conserving energy I'm sure ~ it was FREEZING!), all except for a group of fraternity brothers who were outside their house bright and early (with beer) and banging on pots and pans. Every time the spectators cheered, it really did give me (and the other runners) such a boost and pick-me-up. I wish there had been better crowd support.
It was so pretty to be running through Philadelphia that early in the morning: I remember I turned up one street and saw the skyline all lit up with the early rising sun, golden and pink reflected on the buildings, and it was breathtaking! It was cold, sometimes the road was icy and dangerous...but it was AWESOME!! 3 years ago I couldn't have run a mile...and now I just ran 13!
After the race, when we were all back at my home and getting ready to go out for a celebratory lunch, my 2 1/2 year old angel said to me, "Mommy, I so proud of you!"