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It is official! I am a runner. Although I was reminded this morning by Jodie that I was a runner long before I crossed the start line of yesterday’s race.

Up until the actual morning of the race the weather was a constant unknown I was prepared, I had my skirt and my tights packed. I decided to go with the tights and I second guessed my decision up until I turned my bag in to baggage claim. I finally made my peace with my decision and didn’t think twice about it. It wasn’t a horrible decision, I wasn’t too hot and I was thankful for them at mile 11 on in…it got a bit chilly over Allen Parkway. Now I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Friday afternoon I went to pick up my race bib and goodies by myself. Jodie and Bryan planned on picking up their packets on Saturday and I wanted to spend time and actually walk through the expo instead of chasing my 2 and 1/2 year old so I went on Friday. It was great. I walked right in…the huge signs made everything crystal clear. I got my packet, my shirt and proceeded to browse.

My first stop was the skirts booth. I bought a “run houston” t-shirt. I should have gotten another skirt but I wasn’t in the mood. I walked around and bought a couple of other shirt and some socks that I would find out later would be my undoing.

Saturday was relaxed. I drank my water…thanks babe. The family and I went to Sam’s and the boy kept asking where Sam was. Too cute. We all took naps and watched football then went to dinner at Hasta La Pasta. It wasn’t too bad but the boy was done with the place. After two spilled waters later the hubby and I were done. “We’re not doing this again” I love it.

Saturday night I got about four hours of good sleep. 12:30, 3:00 and 3:55 and finally 4:15. It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t rush…I eat a bowl of granola and I checked the weather one more time and was off around 5:15. It was funny, as I passed drivers on the road I wondered if they were going to the race. Turns out a few were. YAY us!

Parking was relatively easy. I decided to be a lemming and follow all of the other cars since I am not downtown savvy. I think it worked out fine. I was inside the GRB by 5:45.

I though I would be more anxious about doing this all by myself but to my surprise I was calm. I guess because I have trained by myself and it was only me out there during the long mile days it seemed only fitting that I would be doing this by myself. Running isn’t a team sport and I guess I was secretly fine with that.

After a potty break, some beans and water, I checked my bag and I proceeded to the black corral. I had torn out the directions they gave in the race packet just in case and instead of being a lemming I actually referred to them once. I was petrified I would end up in the wrong place and have to run 26.2 miles instead of 13.1.

I made it to black and just took it all in. I don’t remember what I was thinking…I was just ready to go and see my friends and hubby along the way cheering me on. All I heard was a thunderous boom and several cheers. It took me 5 minutes to cross the start line. We were off…man there was a crowd.

The first mile was frustrating having to navigate through the “walkers” and slower runners. At mile two it was pretty awe inspiring to be at the top of the hill and see all the runners in front and to know I was apart of it. I ran with super girl and superman for a bit but lost them somewhere in the crowd.

I knew I had some friends meeting me around mile 5 but I started looking for them after mile 4. There they were…Kim and Nicole. I ran and gave them a hug and trudged on.

At mile 6 I started feeling my toes and the rubbing that ensued with each step. I ignored it and continued on…focused on the crowds. The house”men” in the heights. The chickens on the overpass the go “team wayne”, “keep it up sandy” they were priceless and sustained me until just before mile 9. I had to stop at a medic stand and try to do something about my feet.

I took my socks off and oh my gosh…it was disgusting. Quarter size blisters on each toe thanks to the seam of the socks I purchased the day before. I even deliberated that morning on which sock to use. Then I heard a voice “don’t you know you aren’t supposed to wear new socks the day of the race…” Shut it…I proceeded to apply bandaids. If I could have cut my toes off I would have been in less pain.

I trudged on and found Kim and Nicole shortly before the 9 mile mark unexpectedly. I got choked up a bit. The emotion of all it hit me. I thought I was going to hyperventilate. Then I focused on the pain to settle myself down.

My 6/1 became 4/1 then 3/1 and finally 2/1. Not only was I fighting the mental aspect of the run but I was fighting with the pain every step was causing. I kept on…still running…I wouldn’t let myself walk more than a minute.

Finally…we turned the corner on Rusk and I could see the finish line in the distance. I was never so thankful and relieved to see those balloons. I almost got choked up again but again…but I had to focus. I had enough gas for a strong finish and look who I run into just past the finish line. Kim and Nicole and finally just before I go into the GRB I see the hubby and the boy. I broke down for just a bit. I did it. The boy wanted to show me what he did to his hand and the hubby looked like he could have just ran a half marathon. Keeping up a with 2.5 year old seems like a marathon some days.

I stumbled in to the GRB, had a finisher medal placed around my neck, fought back tears then headed for bananas and picked up my finisher shirt. Then off to see my fans. I was so happy to have finished. I didn’t finish in my goal time but I chalk that up to two things. I took a month off from training during the holidays and my feet didn’t take care of me. But…I’m not going to focus on that. I finished at 2:43:42 at a 12:29 pace.

On my way back to the car I had one woman tell me congratulations. It really made me smile. The amount of support of strangers was overwhelming. Oranges, cookies, mini bars the cheerleaders along the way. I hope those people, every single one of them know how important of a role they played in my success and many of the other runners who didn’t think they could take one more step.

I appreciate everyone who supported me through this endeavour you know who you are! A special thank you to my hubby who supports me continually, loaded me up with running equipment for Christmas and made sure I was drinking plenty of water on Saturday. This will not be my last half and dang…5K and 10K will be a flash compared to this. Here is to my new PDR and PR! Congratulations to all of the runners!!

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