I am a Half-Marathoner

Well, I did it!

13.1 miles!

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!

Let's Do This!

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:

  1. A man sitting in a lawn chair with a sign that said, “Please run quietly, I have a serious hangover!”
  2. 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!

Eliana and Me at the finish line!

As we approached the finish line, this was an amazing site to see:

YES!!!!!

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.

The whole gang there to cheer us on!

As I ran across the finish line, there was a wave of emotions that were running through me.

Crossing the finish line!

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:

My official finishing time!

Yep…we did it and I am officially a half-marathoner!

We did it!

 

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  • http://www.raeesagettingfit.blogspot.com/ Raeesa

    Congratulations! Wow, what an inspiration!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you!

  • dillard

    Congratulations!  You did great!  God is so good!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      He is good…all the time!

  • svoiles

    Awesome job, Jennifer! I knew you could do it next is a full marathon because you’ll realize in a few weeks that you’ve become hooked and you’ll want to keep on running. That’s exactly what happened to me 2 1/2 years ago now I’m training for my 5th half and 3rd full with a Triathlon thrown in. Oh yeah I’ve already signed up to run my 4th full in the fall.

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      I don’t know about a full yet but another 1/2 is certainly in my future!

  • Jack and Danielle Reed

    That’s so awesome! Congratulations! I’ve been going through a lot of peaks and valleys lately, and it never ceases to amaze me that God puts someone or something in my life when I’m struggling – glad to hear you share those experiences.  He is a great, all-knowing God, and I’m glad He’s our Daddy! :-)

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      He does take care of us! Thank you!

  • baylor9090

    Congratulations to you!  You should be proud!  When I was training for the first half I ran, I started picturing Jesus running beside me and encouraging me up those bad hills.  It always made me laugh because the picture in my head was kind of a Forest Gump in a running suit (during the movie when he ran across the US with the long hair and beard). :)

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      That’s great!

  • Mandi Blackburn

    Congratulations! You are amazing.

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000084355051 Rachel Bollinger

    You are awesome! Congratulations on a job well done!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you so much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5736331 Eliana Leader

    Hey Jennifer! Thank you for your sweet words, but I actually have to tell you I felt the EXACT same way, that it was so crazy that I not only actually saw you and that was a big motivator, but that I saw you right before the steepest incline of the race. I live nearby Piedmont Park and knew how hard that hill was, and with the way I was feeling I was scared I wouldn’t make it. I was saying a little prayer asking God to help me get through it and not stop, and literally I recognized you a minute later and you helped me run the whole way up! Thank you for the help and motivation and congrats again on such an amazing accomplishment, you looked great! Hope to bump into you again some time :-)

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      It is amazing how He brought us to one another when we both needed it! He is a good God! It was so nice to meet you and chat and I so appreciate you coming up to me and recognizing me! You rocked it!

  • Aimee Davis-Witten

    God is so good!  Good job on the run!  Love your blog!  <3

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you!

  • Ferreh hiatt

    Knew you could do it!  I’ve been waiting patiently all weekend to read this post!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you!!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/X4AZK6JWQPSE6POT2IAQG6RJII doglover1

    Congratulations!  I am so glad that you felt loved and cared for by our heavenly Father.  He is always looking after us.  :)  

    Renee

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      ALWAYS!

  • sandra_dunigan

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have SO much to be proud of, Jennifer. I am so excited that you accomplished your goal…and you did it in a BIG way! Any more half marathons in your future? I hope so!!!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      I think so…maybe one in the fall!

  • http://profiles.google.com/life.n.between Rice Clan

    Congratulations!  Your rocked it!  :)

    Marissa Gets Fit

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you!

  • Cindy Houser

    You did amazing!!  Congrats and I am just praying that my half in 6 weeks will go as well.  Way to go!!

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      I am sure it will be wonderful! All of my nerves were for nothing so I am sure you will do just as well!

  • Karen Kraeger

    Jennifer,
    I’m so proud of you!  What an amazing accomplishment!  It’s an incredible feeling when you reach that last mile and then when you cross that finish line.  I know what you mean about your race being a God thing.  Almost every day when I run, I thank God for giving me legs that can carry me over the miles and for providing the will to keep running even when it’s dark and I’m too tired to get out of bed!  God gave me a healthy body and I try to remember that when I do things aren’t always easy or fun, but are good for my body.  

    I’m so glad that you have close friends and family to cheer you on and support you in this journey!  I think God’s got big things in store for you and this is all part of getting ready!

    Rock on Sister!
    Karen

    • http://www.itsuxtobefat.com Jennifer Swafford

      Thank you Karen! Your words mean so much to me. You have seen me go through this from the beginning and your encouragement means so much!

  • TammyBoltWerthem

    i got goosebumps reading this. I am doing my first 1/2, since high school in November. I am 41 and recently released 30 pounds and cannot wait to be able to share about my exciting finish.
    Love your blog!! very inspirational