My First Half-Marathon and 13.1 Atlanta Marathon Recap

That is an incredibly long title. And this is an even longer post. Buckle up, its about to go down.

So as I am typing this, I am trying to remember every.single.detail. I was so excited that some things are a blur. Pure excitement can do that to you. However, there are many moments I am really anxious to tell y’all!

First off, I got up at 5:00am. I didn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time. I’m weird and have to have a fan with us (even in hotels) for the noise to make me sleep. Zach and I have used this fan for almost 5 years, and Saturday night it almost caught fire. For reals! Zach woke me up and the fan was glowing orange and the electrical smell was strong. Afterwards I couldn’t sleep. No white noise.

Anyway I got up early, had a bagel with PB which I’ve never done. As Zach was sleeping I was on the computer just going over the course again. Finally I woke him up and got dressed and meet my mom and aunt downstairs. It was freezing. I am so glad I brought that long sleeve shirt! Nerves didn’t set in really, I was more focused on having all my stuff then thinking about running 13.1 miles.

We got to the Town of Brookhaven and got stuck in traffic. I decided to get out and walk and meet up with my friend Brittney and her husband Paul. They were in the mile-long bathroom line that I had to jump in and I only got in a quick hello before racers started to line up. This is where my nerves started to kick in, only because I was more concerned about using the restroom then starting on time. Zach, my mom, and aunt met me in line and then I got really nervous. This was really happening, I couldn’t grasp the situation. After my potty pit-stop I jumped in line next to the 2:30 pace group. BTW the race had already started at this point, but it was a big race and I didn’t cross the start line until 5 minutes AFTER 7:00am. Once I started moving I began to cry. I know, I know…I’m a big baby. But I was just so excited and proud of this moment. I was really about to do this.

Now I just want y’all to know this. Its a BIG factor into this race. I was running on hills and hills alone. Savannah is flat as a pancake. See where this is going? Yeah so I started slow and tried to keep thinking “I love hills” just to prepare for what was coming at me. I was and am proud I made it through mile 2 running uphill-yes up hills for 2 miles before thinking of a walk break. I got to the part of where the 5K and 1/2 runners split before I started to warm up and then thinking this shirt was a mistake. I got to mile 4 and was exhausted. There was this mountain in front of me and I took a 30 second walk break up it, and then ran/walked this hill. Then the worst thing happened to me. My left knee twisted. I mis-stepped coming down a hill on a curve and yeah. It ruined my mental strength, wanna know why? Because I was going uphill again! Ok so once I was on flat ground again I was nearing my cheer team!

I then started to cry again. For 2 reasons, 1.) pain and 2.) I was so happy to see them. I stopped to express where my knee hurt, because I was texting Zach throughout the race telling him my distance. I picked it back up because I was nearing the second loop which was 7 miles. This race had two loops, a 6 mile and 7 mile one. At this point, I think mile 6 the first male was passing me. I was amazed. We were just over an hour and there he was going into the last mile. I managed to run to the next water station which was on a downhill and getting there was tough. I was on rolling hills, nothing too scary, but nonetheless it was hills. So this is where things get blurry. I was doing a lot, like texting/walking/running/walking/running. My knee was killing me and around mile 8 my ankles were dead. The impact of downhill running was really hurting me, I was starting to lose hope of finishing under 2:30 and Brittney texted me asking where I was and told her 8.14 and we were so close to each other, had I know I would picked up speed and ran with her. She too was having a tough time on the hills. We ran down a nice long hill, which ended in the biggest hill of the course. I cursed at whoever thought this was a great idea.

At mile 10, things changed. I had 3 miles left and I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning. I tried to walk less, I knew my time was bad, but at this point I just didn’t care. I was starting to chafe on my right thigh and I’ve never had this happen. My shorts were just rubbing in one spot and I was freaking out! I tried to think of something else, but then another big hill was in front of me. I was over the hills, done with them so I ran up until I got to mile 11. I had 2 left, I texted Zach. Which by the way his texts made my heart oh so happy. He was the encouragement I needed. Once I was on the way back, I saw the mile 12 sign. I kept running. There was no way I was going to walk to the finish.

I was coming up the last hill, and texted Zach “headed to finish line now!” and when I rounded the corner I sprinted. I was crying. I saw my cheer team, which was awesome! I knew I didn’t let them down! After crossing the line and not feeling my legs I headed to a bench and just sobbed. Zach and my dad met me first and I kept saying, “I did it” while hugging and crying. I couldn’t believe the accomplishment I just achieved. With my shiny medal around my neck I could finally grasp it.

The whole thing was 2:45…15 minutes past my ideal finishing time. My friend Brittney finished just 10 minutes ahead of me, and she was just as proud of me as I was her. She is the one who told me to sign up for this! She was the one who encouraged me to try and I was thrilled to stand next to her.

My cheer team was incredible! I couldn’t of done it without knowing they were there for me.

I had my Aunt Denise, aka “Nancy Grace”:

Her daughter, and my cousin/BFF Brittney!

This bundle of cuteness. Landon was the best running sign ever!

My sweet daddy, who sent me a text that made me cry as I was running!

My wonderful mom and Aunt Debbie!

And the one who has been through this from start to finish, my amazing husband.

I know I could of done better. But I’m beyond thrilled I did it! I’m a half-marathoner! I hope to run the whole distance again, on a flat course where I can really see my time. For someone who hasn’t done this distance ever and did it on tough hills with no flat break, I am proud of myself. It was an experience that is hard to explain. I’m not saying you aren’t a runner if you don’t do this, but if you haven’t done a half-marathon its hard to get a grip on what the person is saying. I’m sure this is the same for those doing a full marathon. With that being said, all runners know the racing thrill and that is something understandable to all.

I’m unsure of when I will do this again, right now not any time soon. I am in killer pain. My hips, knees, ankles, shins, everything below my waist is beaten to a pulp. I feel as if I’ve been hit with a baseball bat all over. Sunday night I was stiff as a board. I even had my compression gear on and that made things better, until I had to get ready for dinner and then pain set in and it hasn’t left.

I want to run 13.1 miles again, I really liked the challenge of what I was faced with. I might of injured my knee again, I rubbed my skin raw, and I’m unable to walk but I wouldn’t change any of it. I would do it all over again.

Why?

Because I’m a half-marathoner! 🙂

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6 thoughts on “My First Half-Marathon and 13.1 Atlanta Marathon Recap

  1. milesgoneby says:

    Congrats to you on your first half marathon! You should be very proud of yourself, especially for such a tough course for your first one. Soak in the moment and embrace the feeling of accomplishment….you earned it!

    • Brooke says:

      Thank you! I’m still in semi-shock that I actually did it. I am feeling a lot better! Took about 3 days for the soreness to go, but I ran yesterday and I’m sore again. Guess I need more days to recover.

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