We spent most of our time over the weekend with the McCuaigs, some of our favorite people in the world. They live in Lubbock, and we had not seen them since February. They came to Waco on Friday and spent the night, and on Saturday morning we headed to San Antonio. It was so good to be with them. Though we love our life here in Waco, a lot of our energy is spent doing the work of forming new friendships. And while it's fun and exciting, it's exhausting. If you've ever moved to a new place, started a new job or school, you know what I mean. It was nice to settle back into a wonderfully well-established friendship, and just be together. Talking and catching up. Cooking together and drinking hot cocoa, watching the kids play together, and laughing a lot. Here we all are together at lunch in San Antonio on Saturday:
We did the race thing together. Went to Expo together, shared a hotel suite, Billy and Kelly got to hang together during the race as spectators, and after the race, we did a lot of good celebratory eating together! Such a fun weekend with friends.
Here are a couple of photos from the Expo:
Just got my race packet!
I love this picture of me and my cousins!
And of course this silly one!
As for the race itself. It was one of the most fun things I have ever done in my life. Running a half marathon is a dream I've had for a long time. And on Sunday, that dream became reality. It was more fun than I even thought it would be!
Shannon and I got up at 5 a.m. on Sunday. I took a quick shower (yes, I know it seems silly to shower before running 13.1 miles), and ate breakfast. My usual long run breakfast- a banana and peanut butter toast. I got dressed (of course I had obsessively laid out my entire ensemble the night before) and went downstairs to meet everyone. My "coach" for the weekend was my cousin Jessica. This was her fifth half marathon, so she's past the "I'm so nervous/excited I might pee my pants!" point, and had said she would walk us to the start line, help us get to where we were supposed to be, etc.
The one thing that surprised me about the whole pre-race experience, is that I actually slept the night before. I honestly didn't expect to. I often have a hard time shutting my brain "off" at night, especially when I am nervous or excited. But I totally slept!
We picked a great spot to stay for the weekend. Our hotel was maybe a half a mile from the start, so we didn't have to deal with driving or parking, or even taking a shuttle. We just walked out the front door and followed the masses. Here are a couple of pre-race photos:
Me with all of my "people". Shannon, Christin, and Jessica
The family shot! The best cheerleaders ever!
Now headed to our corral. We were practically GIDDY!
Since Jessica was using this race as a training run for her full marathon in a few weeks, and since this was mine and Christin's first race, Jessica was able to take it easy and pace us for the race. We ran with Jessica and her friend Serene. SO much fun. We talked, laughed, and ran. They were the best running partners. I don't know if I have ever had that much fun running!
It was amazing how quickly the time went by... in the beginning, anyway. I was really impressed with how well-managed/produced the race was. Water stops were well-timed. They were long, too. Meaning, there were several tables and a lot of people at each of the stops, which meant they weren't too terribly crowded, and didn't slow us down too much. There were several bands all along the course whose music was fun to listen to. The course was pretty flat, except for a few hills, including a ridiculously intense one near the very end.
My only real complaint was the lack of consideration a lot of the walkers on the course showed. That sounds jerky, and I don't mean for it to. I think walking a half marathon is awesome and I think it's a huge accomplishment. I just wish the walkers would have stayed to the right, like they are encouraged to do. There were so many walkers in the middle of the street. People we almost ran in to. It was kind of hard to navigate.
I got to see Billy and Eisley at Miles 3 and 8. Luckily, Billy's pretty easy to spot. Here I am at Mile 3, having a blast.
Miles 1-10 were pretty good. They seemed to fly by, and they were fun. Somewhere between Mile 10 and 11, the whole thing became a lot less fun. My legs hurt. I was tired.
At Mile 11, I hit a wall. A big one. Instead of realizing that I had JUST two miles to go, I kept thinking, "I have TWO miles to go. That's so FAR." Deep down, even in the midst of the "wall", I knew I would finish. It just seemed I couldn't keep up at the pace that we had all been running up until that point. I was really frustrated with that, too. I had a suspicion that even that was all in my mind, and maybe I could have done it, but somehow I couldn't talk myself out of feeling defeated. I slowed way down. I watched my cousins and Serene go on ahead of me (which was totally fine! I was not upset that they had gone on. That's what they needed to do, and should have done!). I settled into a slower pace.
And then I saw Jessica's yellow shirt. She came back to finish with me. And at that point, I could have probably hyperventilated, because I was crying so much. Happy tears. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see another person than I was to see Jessica. She ran (painfully slow!) alongside me, encouraged me, and told me I could do it. And I did. Before too long, we had reached mile 12. And then mile 13.
And then we were in the chute, approaching the finish line. I was able to put a smile on my face and finish feeling proud! Serene and Christin finished 2 minutes before we did, and we found them pretty quickly in the family reunion area. Soon after that I found Billy and Eisley. Not too long after that, Shannon finished, and I met up with her. There were lots of grins after the race!
All in all, a fabulous day! My official finish time was 2:24:23. My goal was to finish under 2:30, so I am very happy with my time.