Well, I did it!
In this post, I will give you emotional highlights and fun things from the race. I will talk more about the actual race course and logistics of the race when I do my race recap!
So, you all know from my earlier post that I was a nervous wreck! Needless to say, I had to force myself to eat breakfast Sunday morning. All I ate was a banana but it was torturous getting it down. We got in the car bright and early around 5:30 to head to downtown Atlanta for the Publix Georgia Half-Marathon.
We stopped and picked Amy up around 6:00 and headed to the race. Parking was a breeze and we were at our corral at around 6:40 a.m. WE WERE READY!
The music was pumping and the runners were hoppin’! Amy and I were about in the middle of the pack in Corral I. It took us about 10 minutes to get to the starting line so each clock that we saw at the mile markers was about 9 minutes ahead of our actual time.
I was concerned about the first mile because it always takes me a few minutes to get into the rhythm. Surprisingly, the first mile went by fast and we were on our way. Starting at mile 2, there were water/Gatorade stations at each mile marker. Big Plus!
We got to mile 10 about 10 minutes ahead of my training runs. I was excited about that! I was concerned about the amount of hills we would encounter…I should have been. There were MANY hills and they were big! But…I conquered them all…running! NOT WALKING!
Yes, except for the water stations, I maybe walked a total of 3 minutes here and there. That was due to Amy.
Amy was my personal cheerleader. Amy had decided before the race began that she was going to stay with me. She wanted to experience this with me and she didn’t care about her finishing time. I am so thankful she did. She pep-talked me the whole way. She kept me running when I wanted to walk. She encouraged me and pushed me and loved me the whole time. We laughed together, cried together and ran together. We held hands for our finishing picture and thanked God right before the finish line that He gave us the strength and the health to do this together. She was a God-send and I am so thankful for her!
Along the race there were some pretty funny things we saw. We saw the prettiest houses around the Inman Park area. We saw the cutest dog with pink hair. We saw families gathered to cheer on loved ones. The two funniest things we saw were:
- A man sitting in a lawn chair with a sign that said, “Please run quietly, I have a serious hangover!”
- As we were running by some houses, an older gentleman came outside to get his paper off of the front porch! He was wearing one of those nightgowns from a long time ago and he looked a bit disheveled. He came out, bent down to get his paper and then as he looked up he looked a little confused like, “What is going on?” He looked around and smiled and said, “Good morning!” With Amy and I were a group of women running and we all looked up and shouted, “Good Morning!” He was the cutest thing with the cutest expression on his face!
I told you how God sends people to me to encourage me and He didn’t stop during the race either. I think the whole race was a God thing because I couldn’t have done it without His strength. However, there were two specific moments where He really revealed himself to me through others.
First, I was really struggling up a pretty big, constant hill when a random person ran up to me and said, “I just have to tell you, you have the best looking calves!” I laughed and thanked her and told her I had lost 100 pounds and through it all, my legs were the only thing that looked good! When I caught up to Amy after the hill, she said, “Girl, I need to look at your calves.” I told her in order for that to happen I would actually have to be in front of her! What a random and cool thing for someone to say just when I needed to hear it!
Second, as we are running up another major hill, a girl comes up behind me and says, “Are you Jennifer?” I said, “Yes!” She proceeds to tell me that she reads my blog and knew I was going to be there and had been looking for me! I have no idea how she found me with thousands of people there but it was perfect timing and just the motivation I needed to keep moving. We encouraged one another and chatted for a few minutes and then she took off. Her name was Eliana and she was a rock star! Such a cool God thing!
As we approached the finish line, this was an amazing site to see:
I knew at that point I could do it and I was going to do it!
Then, right before the finish line, I saw my family and they gave me that last boost of energy I needed to go faster until I hit the finish. At the finish line, my friends Kristen and Kim were waiting as well as my brother and my husband.
As I ran across the finish line, there was a wave of emotions that were running through me.
First and foremost, I was so PROUD of myself. How did this person, that three years ago was morbidly obese, just run for 2 1/2 hours straight?!? As my sister said it best, “You’ve come a long way baby!”
I also felt so much LOVE. Here I am surrounded by people who are there to cheer me on and watch me as I accomplish this major goal in my life. Here are people that are so PROUD of me, they took time out of their busy lives to drive downtown, pay to park, fight the crowds, stand in the heat, all for ten seconds of watching me go by and finish this race. How BLESSED am I?!?
Last, I felt GRATEFUL. I am so grateful that God gave me His strength and determination. Without Him, the training for this race would not have been possible and without training, I wouldn’t have been prepared to run it.
What an amazing day! Here is my official finishing time:
Yep…we did it and I am officially a half-marathoner!