The City of Oaks Half Marathon was SO much fun! I’m so glad I was still able to run the half and Andi was also up to running the half with me as well. I was worried all week that she wouldn’t be able to run and it would be sad to be at the start line without her. The evening before we went to the Expo, picked up our bibs and shirts and went and ate pizza for dinner.
The morning started out perfect, but I was so cold! As we walked to the start line from the parking lot, the sun was rising and it was so beautiful. It was going to be 30 degrees in the morning and I knew that I would be much happier wearing pants so I switched up my outfit that I planned out and got dressed. I also wore my new Feetures Plantar Fasciitis socks.
We headed to the start line, it was a smaller race and really well organized. We took a few photos and got into the corrals, and stayed fairly close to the back. They sang the anthem, one of my favorite parts at a start line, and we were off. It was really weird because there were these huge yellow divider dots in the road and everyone was falling on them. A girl right next to us fell and we all looked around to help her up and she was immediately helped up. We took off very conservatively, which I was really happy with. I wanted to make sure Andi was feeling okay, especially at the beginning.
The first few miles were a bit crowded because we started in the back of the pack, but we weren’t weaving too much and we were enjoying it. The entire course was pretty hilly, but there was a lot of distractions. We started hitting the mile markers and I made sure to point them out each time we passed one. There was a long stretch that was out and back so we looked at all the marathoners and it was a great distraction. Before we knew it we were at mile 3. The sky was beautiful and the weather was cold for me, but I’m sure fine for everyone else.
At mile 3, I felt a little tingle in my foot and got nervous that it was going to start hurting but it went away around mile 4. It was around this point that we also lost the rest of the group we were running with. One of them stopped to go to the bathroom and we didn’t realize and we kept running. We were running up all the hills and and I kept checking in with Andi to see how her knee felt. We were keeping a steady pace even though there were a lot of hills. The race didn’t have that many spectators but it was a decent amount spread throughout the course. We ran by the capitol and through a few neighborhoods where the trees were so pretty.
At mile 6, Andi said her knee was starting to hurt and it hurt more going up hills. So I made sure to give her extra encouragement as we went up the hills and tried to keep her going on the flat parts. The only thing that was hard was the fact that we would be going down a hill and then see a hill looming in front of us which was kind of discouraging, but I knew we were more than half way done and we just had to keep moving forward. The mile markers were much more important at this point than at the beginning of the race. I tried to find things to distract Andi and pointed out things to look at, and pretty houses and signs along the way. This was a tough part of the course because it seemed like the hills kept going and it was really windy out!
Right before mile 9, we saw her family, which I know lifted her spirits and gave her a lot of motivation and energy. She sped up and was flying through the part with the spectators. I reminded her to keep steady and to relax! We had a few more miles to go to the finish and I didn’t want her to run so hard that she wouldn’t be able to finish strong. We also found some beer along the route and drank it. It was actually good beer!
Finally we made it to mile 10 and I knew we were going to make it to the finish! Andi was getting more and more excited about passing the miles and I think this is when she really felt like she was going to make it too. People were cheering and we knew we only had a 5K left. Andi told me she might have to walk up a hill we saw in the distance and I said that it was totally okay, I wanted her to be comfortable and if we had to walk to the finish, I would be more than happy to walk with her. It was only about finishing the race.
She kept running and I kept trying to distract her. We actually started picking up the pace at the end. During mile 10, right at the end she walked for about 400 meters and we were off and running again. Then we only had 2 miles left! There were still hills in this area, but we managed to get through them pretty quickly and at mile 12, we could hear the finish, which was extra motivation. We started picking up the pace and when we hit the mile 26 sign for the full marathon, we knew we only had .2 left. We were sprinting towards the finish and it was downhill right before the finish. They were calling out everyone’s name and we saw her family again which was perfect timing for the finish.
Once we crossed the finish line we both gave each other a high five and I asked her how she felt. Her knee was hurting a bit, but she felt awesome and was so glad that she finished. It was great to see her smiling and so happy and I was so excited for her. We grabbed some ice for her knee and waiting for the rest of the group to finish. It was so windy and cold out. The medals we got from the race are so nice and we even got a finishers shirt as well as a participant shirt.
Overall, even though we were both training for the full and our plans were derailed by injuries, I’m so glad we were both able to run the half together. I’ve haven’t ever run with anyone who was a first time finisher for any race and it was such a rewarding experience. I really enjoyed running with her and am looking forward to see how her training will go once she is healed from her injuries. I am also really proud of her Brother In Law, who took up training with her doing the plan I made for her and finished the Full Marathon in 3:48, and her two sisters who hadn’t ever run a half marathon, who ran with us as well. It was really inspiring to me to see so many first time finishers and their excitement. I’m so glad I was able to run and am looking forward to slowly adding in some miles to get back to where I was before the PF!