Jeanette, my training partner and great friend, picked me up on Saturday afternoon and we headed to Bethlehem for packet pick-up. FYI, this is the site of the Runner’s World Half which was an absolute blast last year.
After we checked into our hotel, we headed to dinner with some friends. I made sure to load up on carbs with shrimp risotto and plenty of warm bread. I really wanted some chocolate after dinner, so I bought peanut M&Ms from the vending machine and I was a happy girl. Once we got back to the room, we got ready for the morning by setting everything out. My outfit included shorts, shirt, and sports bra from Fabletics, socks from Pro Compression, and shoes from Brooks (I am still wearing the Pure Flow 2s).
We went to bed early and tried to get some quality sleep…4:30 am came rather quickly.
The weather for race day was pretty wonderful. It was sooo hot and humid on Saturday, but thanks to some severe thunderstorms that evening, Sunday’s weather had low humiditiy and cooler temps. The race started promptly at 7:10 am and I was a bundle of nerves.
I started pretty close to the front of the pack because it is really hard to start too far back and have to bob and weave past people. Mile 1 clocked in at 7:51 and mile 2 clocked in at 7:49. I really wanted to stick to an 8 minute mile pace, but the race day jitters and adrenaline got me going out fast. I found a few ladies that seemed to be keeping the 8 minute pace and I hung with them for a while. I also found my buddy Bart Yasso twice along the course…he is my hero. :) I finished the first half averaging right under an 8 minute pace. This was a good thing (I had some wiggle room for the second half) and a bad thing (I was tired already). I also spent lots of time trying to get sport beans out of my teeth…I’m so glad they caught this on camera. LOL.
Jeanette hopped in around mile 12 and she is a LIFE SAVER. By mile 16, I started to question my ability to keep pace and my legs and feet were getting very mad at me. I doubted my ability to keep going at that pace and to keep going at all. The thought of having 10 more miles to go was daunting and I started losing hope. Jeanette helped to keep my confidence up, kept reminding me that I could average slower miles from there on out and still make my goal. She gave me food and water when I requested it and she kept my legs moving when I wanted to slow down and walk. When I reached mile 25, I had about 10 minutes to run 1.2 miles. If I just held it together for 1 more mile, I would actually do it. After a slight uphill, the course flattened out and I could see the finish line. I crossed the finish line in 3:34:12 and it took a lot of strength to not just collapse right there.
I beat my previous time by 55 seconds and I qualified for Boston. A few years ago, I thought qualifying for Boston was a dream and something I might be able to do one day…dream realized. :)
This picture was taken about an 1 1/2 hours after I finished and this smile is very fake. I had some extreme “runner’s flu” and felt TERRIBLE. It was so worth it though. :)
The race wasn’t just giving out medals to finishers…It also gave me a few of these babies. I know it’s gross, I’m sorry.
Best running day of my life. Boston 2015 here I come! The best part…Jeanette qualified back in May and we are going to rock Boston together. :)