The day finally arrived...a test to see how my training is actually paying off. Yesterday, my cousin Jackie, her boyfriend and myself traveled to Atlantic City to run the 2011 Half Marathon. Each and everyone of us woke up with pre-race jitters, not being able to eat much of a breakfast and peeing non-stop because we’ve been drinking lots of water in preparation. With the race starting at 8 a.m. and only a high temp of 65 degrees, Jackie and I battled back and forth on what to wear during the race. A tank top and capri pants was a great decision. We headed over to Bally’s Casino which was the start and finish of the race. The energy was booming and the three of us quickly calmed our nerves. I was feeling a little sick to my stomach (possibly because of nerves, the other half from the crappy dinner I had at “Wonder Bar” the night before) but things soothed when I saw this green neon sign down the casino hallway that said “Pickles” (this restaurant and deli). It was a sign. :)
getting mentally ready
|Nothing is thicker than blood <3 My cousin Jackie & I|
The race was about to start so we all took our positions. Hans is faster than Jackie and I so he started up closer to the start. Jackie and I hung by this chick Nicole how was a pacer for the race. She was leading marathoners who were trying to finish at the 5 hour mark. I figured if I stayed around or near her I would do pretty well. Big thanks for that skeleton.
|Before we went to the start line|
|Before we knew it the gun started and I was right by the side of my cousin for her first half marathon. I was more than proud of her for taking on this challenge when nearly 6 months ago she could barely run 2 miles. I got a little choked up at the start of the marathon. I always get a bit chocked up because there is so much emotion: people running for themselves, for deceased loved ones, for pride. |
And we were off. It didn't take much time for Jackie and I to separate because we have different paces. We went off the board walk and hit the streets. It was one of the most beautiful courses I have ran. We ran along the bay, on the highway, past the Marina, past the Borgota. Angry drivers waited at stop lights for HOURS (sorry I”m not sorry, you should know better there was a race.) At one point, there was a four lane road, separated by a median. At that point I was flying, seeing the runners made me push. I looked for Jackie and Hans, saw neither.
At that point I remember seeing a Mile 8 sign and I think that was the last mileage sign I saw the entire race. I was feeling great, feeling strong. Us runners made our way back up to the boardwalk and in my head all I could think was “not much longer!!!!”
Boy was I wrong... The boardwalk was the longest stretch. It seemed like forever and it was maybe only 4 miles long. No matter what direction, the wind was in your face. For the race, we actually had to pass Bally’s, go to a turn around point, and come back for the finish. As I was running I kept looking for my friend Emily (she was cheering on her bf who was running the full marathon) who said she was going to be at Mile 10. Finally, I see Emily. I yelled her name, gave her a thumbs up, and kept moving. It was so great to see a familiar face. Only 3.1 miles left.
|Thanks for the action shot Emily!!!|
The boardwalk seemed to be getting longer and longer. Other half marathoners were making their way to the finish, the looks on their face were exactly how my body felt. I finally hit the turn around point...home free I thought. As I was running I saw a sign on the boardwalk that said “5K turn around,” I knew I only had a little over a mile. As I’m trucking back home - legs completely done, hipflexers screaming, joints yelling - I ran into Jackie. She had the biggest smile on her face, she ran over to me, gave me a high five and said “great job, go finish girl!” I told her she was kicking ass and to meet me at the finish!
That is all I needed to get me home. I saw the finish line, I picked up my pace, went into 5th gear. The crowd made a tunnel, a shoot to get us to the finish line. Everyone was cheering, congratulating me... I saw Hans with his camera out, I think he got a snap shot of me finishing. I looked up at the clock...finished in 2 hrs and 25mins...a new PR for me. I crushed my previous time by over 10 minutes. Hans and I watched for Jackie to finish up. She finished strong!
Afterwards we all got our free beer and food. We were all spent, but it’s a great memory we got to experience together. I’m no half marathon veteran (I’ve only ran one other one), but I hope yesterday is a day the two of them will never forget. I am so happy I was able to watch the two of them compete in their first half marathon. We’re half way there. But next, Disney World.
|Self taken photo is always needed|
|I came in second out of the group|