I’ve only been a runner for a little over a year. It’s not lost on me that I missed out on the prime health years of my life by waiting until the age of 34 before truly running, but it’s okay. Better late than never, right? I used to observe my runner friends, perplexed by their obsession with training and adrenaline highs after races. I wondered why in the world they would be so excited about getting up at dawn to run 3 miles or more.
Now I know.
Last Saturday I ran my first half marathon. Before that I was solely a 5K racer. I had a mental block, telling myself I couldn’t run any further than 4 or 5 miles. But then when I heard our town was hosting its first ever half marathon, I really wanted to be part of it. Inaugural events are always so special and memorable. And that it was.
The chaos of my life prohibited me from training like I needed to. In fact, before the race, I’d never ran more than 8 miles in my life. I tried to train, I really did, but it was quite the challenge to find two hours here and there to run the distances I needed. Needless to say, I don’t think my body was ready, but I did it. I ran the whole way. It was certainly mind over matter.
The body can do amazing things if only the mind will let it.
The Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon was hosted by our local chamber of commerce, and the entire town wrapped their arms around the event. It was awesome to see familiar faces all throughout the race, handing out water, playing music, holding back traffic and directing our way. The route was absolutely beautiful. The start was on Main St. and the finish was in our revitalized depot area. The middle of the route wound through our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
I ran with my close friend and colleague from Pixels in My Pocket. She and I have similar personalities. Sheer will power led us to run the entire 13.1 miles, even though neither of our bodies was probably ready for it. My friend Jaime who blogs at Love, Jaime also ran so that was super fun. She’s a more experienced racer than we are. I envied her fitness belt. I definitely need one next time for chap stick, gum, etc.
We told ourselves in the beginning that if we had to walk it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but around mile 10 we got a complete adrenaline rush (runner’s high maybe?) and nothing was stopping us then, even though our knees and groins were in pain. Then around mile 12, our bodies started feeling it. It was as if they knew it was almost over. At mile 12.5, we could actually almost see the finish, then we could hear the people cheering, so at that point, we kicked it into high hear and finished strong.
My husband and two boys were at the finish, so that was special. I had told my husband to be there way later because I had no idea how long it would take me to run, so he took the boys out to breakfast. Then I texted him during the race and told him to be there an hour earlier than I had previously said. They literally made it five minutes before we finished, and I’m so glad they did.
Again, at the finish were tons of familiar faces giving us hugs, water, food, beer and high fives. Several of our craft breweries were there, music was playing. It was an all-around festive, exciting time.
This was my first half marathon, but it won’t be my last. My time was 2 hours 23 minutes. The winners finished an hour ahead of me. So amazing! Now that I’ve proven to myself I can do it, I hope to run another one. If you’re considering running one, do it! If I can, you can too. I really want to commend the Haywood Chamber of Commerce and everyone else who volunteered. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
Great race!!!!!! I’m so happy for you!!!!! What a joy!
Thank you, Julie!! Maybe we can run the next one together!
I couldn’t have run that race without you! Such a great day!
Congrats on your first half marathon!! So fun. 🙂 I’m hoping to post about it tomorrow. I have to go through all of my pictures!
Can’t wait to read yours! Also can’t wait to run another race together.
Jess Carr says
Way to go Susanna! That is quite the accomplishment .
Thank you! It would be awesome if I saw you on the race route one day.
Awesome accomplishment! Congratulations!!!
Thank you so much, Jacque! I think perhaps the NingXia Red helped!
Julie @RunWalkRepeat.com says
Way to go Susanna! A half is a big deal and to be quite frank, I avoid any race with a mountain reference in the name. 🙂 Running with friends is fun, way to finish strong.
Sarah Beth Lee says
Loved reading this article this morning. You are right—running seems nutty to people until they get into it. Then you’re hooked and it offer some incredible joys. Congratulations on your first half. I always admire moms who somehow juggle it all (fitness, families, jobs, fun, etc.). I hope to add the “kids of my own” element one day. 🙂 Thanks for the article.
Awww…thank you, Sara Beth! You were completely amazing during the race. You are a running inspiration to me. Thanks for stopping by the post. 🙂