St Jude Half Marathon Recap 2009

December 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm 3 comments

I don’t think I could have asked for a better first half marathon. Even five days after St. Jude and despite a cold, I am still on a half-marathon runner’s high.  I have stopped wearing my medal, but I am sure strangers can still see the pride beaming from my face.  After all, finishing your first half marathon is a big deal.

On race day, I woke up ahead of the alarm and had my planned breakfast.  All my clothes were laid out and I dressed slowly.  I decided on two tech shirts (purple showing) and my fleece vest with purple shorts over black tights.  It was about 25 degrees when I left the house and it felt that way.  My boyfriend took me downtown and dropped my close to the start.  He would meet me at the finish a few hours later.

The next hour was spent waiting and walking in an attempt to stay warm.  I was not very successful but met a few nice people to keep my mind off the chill. All morning I was amazed at how calm I was.  I never got butterflies.

At exactly 8:00, the race started.  I was in corral #10 and began my race with 17:30ish on the clock.  The first mile was slow, especially because my toes were completely numb and refused to wake up.  Finally in the second mile my feet felt normal and everyone around me seemed to wake up, too.  There were gloves and sweatshirts flying through the air as people began ridding themselves of now-unnecessary layers.  I was struck by the thought that if this kept up, I would be running with a bunch of streakers by mile five. Luckily things leveled out.

My pre-race plan divided the course into three segments: 1) First five miles: this was the twisty part of the course weaving in and out of downtown streets hitting a few of the Memphis highlights and ending on the St. Jude Campus.  2) Next five: straight stretch for three miles followed by a winding two miles through Overton park.  3) Final 3.1 miles: another straight stretch back downtown toward with several downhill surges and a few final turns into the AutoZone Redbirds Stadium.

I knew if I made it to mile 5 feeling strong, the rest of the race would go well.  I knew if I made it to mile 10, the rest would feel downhill.  Luckily, I was right on both accounts.  After a very slow 11:00 first mile, I got a little elbowroom at picked up to the 10:30 pace I maintained most of the race.  The highlight of this stretch was running through the St. Jude Campus and seeing all the kids and employees that came out to support us.  It was inspiring to see firsthand what an impact this fundraising event has in their lives.

The next stretch was fairly flat with a few hills.  Spectators continued to line the roads and cheer for us.  St. Jude did a great job with the course, having water, Powerade and portas at each mile marker.  There were so many volunteers braving the cold to support us and it was much appreciated.

During mile 8 my knee began hurting and continued for about half a mile until it stopped as abruptly as it started.  No complaints now, especially as it has not hurt since.  When I rounded the corner out of the park and hit Poplar just before mile 10, I knew I had made it to the final stretch and would make it.

The final stretch was a mix of energy and exhaustion.  I am not sure if the energy was from gels and apple juice or adrenaline, but it waned a few times.  I had a back up plan of calling my sister if I ever really wanted to stop running, but it never got to that point.  At mile 12, I picked up the pace and despite being tired found I had the energy to maintain.  Downtown was coming closer with each step and before I knew it, I turned the corner and saw the stadium.

I started to see people who had already finished the half who had come out to cheer us on.  Then I really got excited. I actually told a few people who were walking, “we got this” as I ran past, hoping they would get excited too.  I started to sprint and ran into the stadium, only to realize that I was not quite at the finish.  One more big push and I crossed the line.  I had done it!

I did not experience the tears I had expected but still felt a great sense of accomplishment.  I texted boyfriend, “Did it,” and began looking for water.  I passed up the post-race photos for water and a heat blanket.  Luckily there were a few great shots of me sprinting to and crossing the finish line.

I found boyfriend and before I knew it, we were walking back to the car.  The day was done.  I had run and finished my first half.  The sheers size of what I had done hit me as I looked at the car clock on the way to my house.  Only 5 hours before we were leaving my house, and now we were back.  It seemed like days.  I ran literally half the time we had been gone.  It was an amazing feeling that felt even more amazing under a warm blanket after a hot shower and half a pizza.

I would say the big thing about race day is realizing that it’s not the only day.  Each day of training led me to this point.  And it doesn’t end on race day either.  I am already working toward the next one.  It was a wonderful moment, and one of many I hope to have as I continue running.  Thank you for sharing this one with me!  All your support through my journey meant so much.  I hope you enjoy the pics!


Entry filed under: Beginning Runner. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

St Jude final 2:21:06! Back at the gym

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Catherine  |  December 11, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Great report!!!! Congratulations!!! What’s next?

  • 2. sherrie  |  December 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    i could “hear” the excitement in your voice during the recap – i’m SO happy for you! you have earned the right to be very proud indeed! i’m not so techy…where can i find the pics? haha.


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