This weekend was nothing short of amazing. After several months of training, I finally ran my first half marathon with my best friend by my side. Meg motivated me in so many ways and I truly couldn’t have picked a better person to do it with. She talked me through a little side cramp around mile 5 and convinced me that the hills weren’t as horrible as I was making them out to be, even though my legs are now telling me otherwise.
I wasn’t feeling the greatest this week and I was bummed that I came down with a sinus infection after being relatively healthy all winter long. I blame it on my allergies and this insane weather we’ve been having. The typical pre-race jitters coupled with all the medicine I was taking left me feeling insanely antsy! You know that feeling you got when you were younger, right before the first day of school? Magnify that by about a gazillion and that’s where I was at on Friday night. I slept about 4 hours total and a good chunk of my night was spent staring a the clock on my phone.
I choked down some breakfast (literally), but once we got to the race and lined up the anxiousness subsided and I was ready to roll. I had no idea there would be so many people cheering us on along the route. The hilarious signs (“Your training lasted longer than Kim K’s marriage, you can do it!”) and smiling faces convinced me that I could do it. It wasn’t easy, but it was awesome.
When I got to the finish line I looked over and saw my friends lined up with Pete, signs and all. I can’t put into words how much that meant to me. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by people who are so supportive and genuinely excited to see me excel in all areas of my life. My friend Whitney also hooked me up with an amazing bag of goodies that were perfect for the day!
I didn’t expect running a half marathon to be such an emotional experience. I owe a special thanks to the woman at mile 12 who was handing out Kleenex. I cried tears of joy when I crossed that line a mile later and I can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences of my life.
There were several things that crossed my mind while running, here are some highlights:
“Why didn’t I train on any sort of incline? Jess, you are such a rookie.”
“Aw, those little kids lined up along our route reaching out to slap our hands are so cute. I wonder if they will run someday?”
“Oh my gosh, that girl has the same skort on as me. Is mine that short?!”
“Those people are thirteen beers deep and it’s not even 9 yet. They must be in college. I sound old.”
“Haha. That hill is not happening. What is that pinching in my right calf?”
“I wonder if my face looks as white as my arms do right now? How embarrassing.” I loaded up on sunscreen right before the race.
“I swear if one more person on the sideline tells me this is my last hill and it isn’t, I’m coming back to give them a piece of my mind.”
“I’ll be damned if I’m walking across that line. I came to RUN! Come on leggggsss.”
I shared a picture before the run on Instagram Saturday morning with the photo I pinned to my shirt. I wanted to find a way to honor Chip and give him the send off that he deserved. I had a slew of texts waiting for me at the finish line, but the best one by far was from my sister letting me know how much it meant to her. Every time I think of him I get teary eyed, but I know that he loved that run and I hope that it provided some closure for my little brothers and sisters.