Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Still a Luxury

It's been so long since I posted that I couldn't even remember my password to log in. That's bad. So, why the absence? I suppose I have to admit that I have been disheartened by my injury. As of my last post, I was running with MUCH pain, but had not received the MRI results. I went back to the doctor on March 10 and was told that I had extreme bruising and a stress fracture (a small break) in my hip. It's in the bone that runs from my hip socket to my pubic bone. Of course, he told me NO running for 6 weeks. I have tried to be good since then and really did limited running. The only running that I have done was about 20 minutes each week at about a 13:00 minute mile pace with a group I am training in the Couch to 5K program. (I promise another post on this very soon)
So, I had signed up for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon way back in December. Well, the time was here and I had to participate. I told myself I could atleast walk the 13.1 miles. The most walking I had done was on March 26. That was the day of the Azalea Trail Run, which is a very popular run in Mobile. I was having a pity party for myself since all of my friends were running and I couldn't. I set out to walk 6.2 in my neighborhood. I made it about 5 miles and had a TERRIBLE blister building on my right foot. Ding, ding, ding, I should have known the same thing would happen when I tried to do 13.1 just a few short weeks later. Note to self: Running shoes are NOT meant to be walked in!
That brings us to the Gulf Coast Half-Marathon weekend. I was determined to walk it and not miss the fun. I told my family they didn't have to come cheer for me since it would be a little less than exciting. I went to pick up my race packet and was a little disappointed by the lack of excitement being generated by the event. We picked up our packets at a local running store and literally all it had in it was the race bib, safety pins, and a bracelet for the after party. The t-shirt is super cute, but it's not a wicking shirt, which a lot of people had a problem with.
The race was 1,500 people, which is about the same as the First Light Half that I did in Mobile in January. I would have expected a little more energy and a "swag bag". Then I got to thinking about it, really, what is usually in those bags is kinda like getting a goody bag for your child at a birthday party. You might get one little treasure, but for the most part, it's just junk. The other good part about no expo is that I didn't spend any extra money on unneccesary "running stuff". Now, my expectation is for big expos at big races.
I have also been seing a chiropractor, which I can't really tell has made a difference. I do like that he has a massage therapist there and that I can get a mini-massage of about 10 minutes. I have also continued in boot camp during this time I am suppose to be healing. Well, I think I have done JUST ENOUGH to keep my hip irritated. For lower body, we do things like jog, goat trails (running up and down the football stadium bleachers), squats, and all different kinds of lunges. Possibly, I'm my own worst enemy.
On to the Gulf Coast Half-Marathon, which was held on Sunday, April 10. Here's a picture of my race day gear:

The weather was HOT and HUMID!!! I know it was over 70 when we started and I think it was about 84 when we finished.

 The sun was trying to come out from behind the haze and humidity. Thank goodness, it didn't make too much of an appearance. The people volunteering at the water stops were wonderful. They were having a blast, playing music, and providing lots of encouragement!
My plan for race day was to power walk the first 10 miles and then if I felt terrific, jog in the last 3.1. Well, of course, so much for my plan. Here's how it actually happened:
I started off walking at a 13:30 mile pace. That's booking it pretty good for short little ol' Leah. I kept my friend Leslie in sight. She was jogging and walking. Neither of us had properly trained for different reasons, but we knew we were going to finish and have fun doing so. We walked together from about mile 1.5 to about 6.5. We were Creative Memories buddies when I lived in Mobile and I have been gone now for 8 years. It was great to catch up and hear about all of the exciting things happening in her life. Below is a picture of us after the race. Believe it or not, they gave us a water bottle in the finishing chute, but after that, the only drink option that I could find was BEER. I see people drinking beer after races all the time, but that always sounded horrible to me, even though I love beer. Well, when there was no water to be found, that ICE COLD beer went down pretty easy.

The blister on my right heal was gradually building and becoming unbearable. Guess what, the only thing that made it feel better was to jog. Remember, running shoes are meant for running! Ligthbulb moment again! Somewhere after mile 6, I started passing my buddies who had made it through the turnaround at mile 7 and were heading down the home stretch. It is so exciting to see those super speedy runners booking it. Leslie and I started to notice that even the most seasoned, lean, mean running machines were struggling in the heat and humidity. Pretty soon, my friend Ali Penton passed me. He is my son's Cub Scout leader and always has that sincere smile on his face:

Obviously, he is the one on the right, waving and smiling. He placed number 74 out of 1,500 runners. Top 5%-very impressive! Do you believe me now about the haze, heat, and humidity. It was a thick covering as you can see.
Next, I saw a familiar face coming, it was one of the Sole2Soul Sisters, Laura Morris and another friend of hers, Angela. I am so impressed with their times considering the conditions.
Then came my friend, Mindy, my blogging buddy. Before my injury, we had such good intentions of running this race together and setting PR's. She is the one that I ran with in New Orleans when I was injured and she had the flu. Our day will come, but this was not it. She had a great run!

Then, I kept looking and looking for my other Sole2Soul Sisters from the Eastern Shore area. When I came upon them, they were having such a good time, but were walking. You know, not everyday is a perfect race day. From lack of training to bronchitis to low blood sugar, they all were just making it. They had to make sure to act like they were running, so that is why they are laughing so hard.
So, finally, I made it to the turn around spot at mile 7 and this group was having an absolute blast!

I did a few things this time that I have never had to do before in a race. I stopped just before mile 7 to re-tie my shoes in hopes that would help the blister issue. Just before mile 10, I finally gave in and used a porta potty. I spared you a picture of that, but I'm telling you, it was some kind of hot in that miserable, stinky place. So, now it was on to the finish. I pretty much jogged about an 11:00 minute mile with a few walk breaks for the rest of the race. The hip pain was not as bad as I thought it might be. I did manage to get a few more scenic shots. The views were tremendous and I'm sure would be even better on a clear day. We even had a para-glider come flying by around mile 8. By this point, I was running some and wasn't able to get out the camera fast enough.

In miles 11 and 12, I started thinking that maybe I am crazy for having registered for the Marine Corps Full on October 30. When you are trudging along alone, you have a lot of time to think. Then I started rethinking, here I was able to complete 13.1 without really working on any training for over two months. When I get ready to run in October, I will be prepared. I realize it is going to be a huge difference than running a half, but I am up for the challenge.
Here are a few pictures from the afer party. It was so gloomy and overcast that I put my sunglasses in my car, not thinking about the reflection from the white sand. I love this picture of me, Paige, and Mindy!

 Half-Marathon number 3 is in the history books. It was a fun day!

Still a luxury? My beginning runner friends think I am totally nuts. And well, maybe I am. I guess I do have an addictive personality. Addictions run deep in my family and I can certainly think of worse things to be addicted to. On days like today, when I wake up to a bright, beautiful day with a temperature of around 50, there's nothing I want to do more than just go for a run. Right now, I'm not able to, and I sincerely miss it. I will heal and I will get back out there. I will have to regain some of my lung capacity. It's amazing how quickly your lungs and heart muscle can start trending backward. Since Sunday, I have registered for two more half-marathons. One is on October 9 in Mandeville, LA and the other is April 15, 2012-the same race as this past Sunday. They are both being hosted by the same group.
One of the definitions of luxury is: a pleasure out of the ordinary allowed to oneself. I guess a love for running isn't ordinary. I feel a sense of accomplishment that I haven't felt in a long time. Even though I walked most of this race, I was still able to finish. It may seem a bit silly to pay money to run up and down the road, knowing that you are not going to place. But it is just a mental and physical challenge that I enjoy. The best part is the emotional boost that it gives me. I enjoy this journey with fellow runners that I have met along the way. It's a way to build relationships and celebrate successes. I love my running friends! My next blog post will tell you even more about building relationships through running.

By the way, my official time was 3:01:50, an average pace of 13:53.

Until then,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joy in the Journey

A year ago, I guarentee that noone would have ever placed money on me finishing a half-marathon. Well, now I have completed two! We all start somewhere. This time last year, I could barely run a quarter mile, much less 13.1. The Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon has been my goal since October. In October, I conquered the 10K and said, what's next? I signed up and kept adding to my training. As I trained, it became apparent to me that I would be ready. I decided to run the First Light Half-Marathon in Mobile in January for a "practice round". The First Light had about 1,600 people running, where as the Rock N Roll NOLA had more than 16,000 people running.
You see, when you run this longer distance, there are more things to prepare for. Fueling your body properly to meet the test of endurance is the biggest key. I am still learning this through training. It took me a while to find a "Gu" that I liked. Gu is an energy gel that you take about every 45 minutes to sustain your carbohydrates among other things. Another item that I CAN'T live without is my Garmin watch. Since the first day I started running with it, it has helped to even my pace. I have learned what a good pace is for me on shorter as well as longer runs. Before my Garmin, I was running too fast and having to take walk breaks to get my heart rate back down. While there is nothing wrong with that (some professionals are big proponents of the run, walk, run method-that's how we all start), I would prefer to run at a steady pace during this test of endurance. My new friend is my iFitness belt that I purchased at the Expo. It has two 6 ounce bottles for fluids, two spots for "GU" and handy dandy zipper pouch for carrying ID, keys, camera, phone, or whatever.
This is a picture of me on race morning with my new iFitness belt on. My other new item that we purchased at the Expo was a "Sweatyband". It is black and says 13.1 on it. A headband to keep the stray hairs from blowing in your eyes is wonderful!
The Expo
So, let me back up and tell you a little about the expo. The Expo is the place to check in, get your gear and "swag bag" and shop! Like anything else, once you get "into" something, you love looking at all the gear. If I love to hunt or fish, then BassPro would probably be my place. While I don't consider myself a big shopper, it certainly was fun to have all of the "running stuff" in one place. I traded my old, empty vitamin bottle for a free 90 day supply of Nutrilite vitamins. Pretty good deal, I'll have to see how fabulous they might be. Is a vitamin just a vitamin? I tasted lots of new products, including protein bars from Nutrilite and Snickers (yummy), Muscle Milk and Cytomax-both yummy as well. I am learning how important protein is and it was nice to find some products that actually taste good. Cytomax is similar to Gatorade, but taste much better to me. It doesn't have that bitter aftertaste. It is sweet, but not too sweet.
Then, there were clothing vendors. I wore my "13.1 cause I am only half crazy" shirt from One More Mile and got a free sticker for my car. That's their little promotion and hey, I got a free "Runner Girl" sticker. One More Mile was by far the busiest vendor, they just have such cute stuff! I got my Sweatyband and my iFitness belt.  We also took a few cute pictures as you can see below.

A quick picture with some of the Sole2Soul Sisters! More information and different post on that will be coming this weekend.

After the Expo, a quick trip to Riverwalk for a snack at Cafe DuMonde was in order. I'm looking a bit tired and rough at this point. We headed back to the hotel, freshened up a bit and had delicious dinner at Grand Isle.

Guess what, time for bed. After a 30 minute nap, my body said oh no, no sleep for you. Now, it was LOUD in New Orleans. Another city that never sleeps. There were sirens, screams, music, and anything you can imagine right outside our window. Scott managed to sleep right through it. I did finally sleep from 2:00-5:00. I really don't feel anxious, but I guess I am. I have decided at this point that this is just how my body reacts.

Here is my gear all ready the night before. I love my new 13.1 headband. You can kinda see it here.
Purple toenails and fingernails-well, I figured if I was going to run injured, I may as well have some fun with it. I have worn lots of purple clothing since Friday!

The Race
Scott and I made the one mile journey down to the starting line. Here are a few pictures while we were waiting to start. It was actually much less overwhelming than I had pictured in my mind. The race was well organized. Based on my estimated finish time, I was placed in Corral 13. They do a staggered start, so I actually started around 7:20. When you see times on the clocks, they are off from my actual time. Again, another reason to have my trusty Garmin.

Waiting in the Corrals, lots and lots of people!!

I just thought this was a funny sign! :)
Here I am in my corral, ready to go!
If you look carefully, you can see me in there with some of my buddies, trying to stay warm before the race.

At this point, I still do not know what my injury is that I spoke about in my last blog post. The only running that I did the week leading up to the half was at a boot camp and it was PAINFUL! I was in lots of pain even to walk. I went to the doctor who figured it was a pulled muscle and put me on a steroid pack to no avail. There are no refunds in half-marathon land, so I figured I would try to run at a slower pace and walk to the finish if necessary.
All last week, God was working with me on just enjoying the journey. I was not going to try to beat my time from January. I just wanted to finish. I was excited to run with a group of Sole2Soul Sisters from the Eastern Shore area of Alabama. We started out at about an 11 minute mile pace. My normal pace for a long run usually ends up about 10:20, but again, that's not what it was about. I realized this would be a battle of mind over matter. I was in lots of pain for the first 5 miles. The whole group was having so much fun. I just hung a little back and tried to process it all in my mind and find joy in the journey. I didn't want to complain and I WAS NOT going to stop unless I collapsed.

Mindy and I running about mile 8.

After mile 5, the full marathoners split off and our group became smaller. At mile 6, we stopped for a moment for one of the girls to use the restroom. That's when we realized two things. My friend Mindy was feeling terrible (she found out on Monday that she had a touch of the flu) and as for me, it caused me much more pain to stop and start again. The pressure in my groin area was INTENSE. Thankful that I had pre-determined this was not going to be a personal best for me, I settled into enjoying the whole experience. About mile 7, we sent Paige on to meet her goal time (she blew her old PR out of the water), and Mindy and I hung back to tough it out. I stayed with Mindy until 11.75 miles and then she said she thought she might have to walk it in, but encouraged me to go on.
Oddly enough, I felt TERRIFIC at this point. While still in a tremendous amount of pain, my spirit was just thrilled to be alive. About mile 10, I started to actually think: running at this slower pace, I COULD complete a full marathon. With each painful, but spirited step, I think I was getting a bigger smile on my face. I love this quote that I found on another blog:
We run to celebrate the life that is flowing through our bodies.
That's the way I feel. I kept on running until I crossed that finish line at 2:30:40. While that is almost 12 minutes slower than my first half-marathon, I am invigorated to take this further!
 Some Rock Stars cheering us on!

At mile 6, we are almost halfway finished!
A colorful character along the way and a picture coming into the French Quarter.

Running by Jackson Cathedral and Cafe DuMonde

Only 1.1 to go, I am so excited and grinning from ear to ear!

 After the race, with my medal and race shirt.
It's Wednesday after the race now and I can barely walk, lift my left leg, bare weight on my left leg, put on my pants, or get in and out of the car. I have an appointment with the orthopedic doctor on Monday. I suppose I will pretty much rest until then. I'm thinking there is some further testing in my future. I will refrain from telling you what I have self-diagnosed with my genius web medical skills. But like the saying goes, Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever!

OK, I wrote a book, but now I have it to keep forever.

Find Joy in your Journey!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

My first running injury????

Get ready, this is a STRANGE one. This may be a TMI post. Here we go. I ran 9 miles Saturday and felt fine except for the fact that I was exhausted. I was planning on getting up at 3:45, yes, in the middle of the night, to go run with a group of women in Daphne. Well, my lingering bronchitis kicked in and I coughed until after midnight. Well, then I got anxiety like crazy over not getting enough sleep, not being able to wake up, not being able to run, not getting there on time....and so on and so forth. I'm not going to bore you with all that drama, but I finally rested a couple of hours. I was up by 7:00 and made Blake his requested pancakes. I was determined to get this run in. Blake had a playoff basketball game at 10:30, so I had to get going. I finished my 9 miles and felt fine with a pace of 10:12. Perfect for my long run. Just hoping I can add 4.1 more miles to that and stick close to that pace to finish with a new PR in New Orleans on February 13.

On Sunday, we had a very busy day with church, family lunch, and conflicting children's activities which sent us in different directions. I should have run on Monday, but just didn't feel ready. Waited until Tuesday and by then, major humidity had set in with the storms that were on the way. I set out to do a minimum of 4 miles, but ended up doing 3.1 at a 9:53 pace. Great time, but I felt just terrible. I can't even describe it, but all I could think was that there is no way I could do 10 more miles. The rest of the day, the muscles in my lower legs were so tight. Also, I had a STRANGE pain in my groin area on my left side. So, no run on Wednesday. Rest needed. Trying to listen to my body.

This afternoon, I set out to run dressed as if I was going to take on the abominable snowman in the upper 30 temperatures that felt soooo much colder with the wind. Well, the good news is that I set a new PR for the 5K distance, 29:37, 9:34 pace. (I actually think I ran one a tiny bit faster last week, but I continued on to 4 miles, so I don't remember the exact time at 3.1) I digress. The bad news is, I can NOT describe to you the pressure I felt in my groin area in the last half mile. I originally wanted to go 4 miles (again), but the pain was so severe. For those of you that have experienced childbirth, well, it's the worst pain I have had in my lower pelvis in 10 years. I felt like something was going to be delivered right there on that road. CRAZY!!!

I ran while waiting on Bryant at piano lessons, we then rushed home to meet up with Blake and head out the door to baseball tryouts. I was in extreme pain trying to shower, lift my legs to put socks on, and just walking. At tryouts, we decided to go back to the car to get Blake's helmet. Scott told me to "run" because Blake was hitting soon. I took two steps and almost fell to my knees. Not to mention that it was 36 degrees and raining/sleeting at this point. We stood in those conditions for an hour. I pray none of us get sick.

So now, I have naturally come home and diagnosed myself by reading stuff online. Who in the world knew that you could get an overuse injury in your pubic bones? Not me. There are several possible reasons this could be happening: not stretching properly, improper gait, old shoes, or plain old overuse. And guess what the treatment is? Same as most injuries, the RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Unfortuately, this has been a random and Debbie Downer post, so I'll leave you with the thought of exactly how I might have to treat this injury. Don't be sickened by it, you can just laugh, visualizing me trying to apply ice and elevate my injured area. Now, that's funny.

10 days until my next half-marathon, my old body is so silly!

Hope you are staying warm wherever you may be!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Not Feelin' It!

Disclaimer: This post really is a little of a Dear Diary, so here's what is floating around in my brain right now.

The honeymoon is over! I took several days off at the beginning of last week, but headed back out to the open road on Thursday. My goal this year is to log (mostly through running, but some will be walking miles) 1000 or so miles, give or take.  Calculated, I need to log around 19-20 miles per week. Sooooooo, I needed to run 6 miles to finish out last week.

Here is a summary of my exercise for the past week:

1/13/11-3.1 miles-30:57-9:59 pace
1/15/11-3.1 miles-31:28-10:09 pace
1/17/11-6 miles-64:26-10:44 pace-Yikes!
1/18/11-4.11 miles-65:48-a much needed therapy walk with my friend Jennifer
1/19/11-3.0 miles-30:07-10:02 pace
1/20/11-3.2 miles-31:45-9:55 pace

Reflecting on this, I'm not disappointed. It is my intent to stay positive and focus on how far I have come. A few lessons:
*You are what you eat. Well, remember those M&M cookie bars, those probably didn't help. Nor did the donut from Milton Bakery OR the blueberry pineapple dump cake. OK, I'll stop there. Oh, maybe the few glasses of Riesling that I had last week didn't contribute well to my efforts either. Now, I'm done.
*Perhaps there is a recovery period after these big events. I remember struggling for a few weeks after I ran my first 10K back in October. Pushing my body to a new extreme may require my brain to adjust also. Mentally, I have been a complete mess while running. I have even had to stop to walk a few times. I'm just NOT feelin' it!
*On the bright side: I am getting my miles in toward my goal.  Finished out last week with 19.37 miles at an average pace of 10:23. I have 16.3 miles logged this week with two days to go. I am so thankful that schedules and weather allowed me to walk with my friend Jennifer on Tuesday. Walking and talking is great for my emotional health. Just sayin'!
Bright note #2: I am holding the sweets at bay this week, opting instead for sugar-free chocolate pudding to attempt to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Bright note #3: I have about 10 women interested in starting a Couch to 5K program with me in February. I am excited to see what God has in store for the women who join me.

It would be easy for me to get discouraged. I've accomplished my major goal, I no longer have my running buddy, I am pretty positive that I am fighting off bronchitis...blah, blah, blah.  All that needs to fall on deaf ears. Mine might need earplugs.
I realized way back in high school that I tend to complain. It is something that I consciously work to overcome. I try to be a glass half-full person because I was raised by a glass half-empty person. I have spent a good deal of time with my glass half-empty person this week taking her to have cataract surgery and for follow-up appointments. I literally cringe when I have to be around negative, pessimistic people for an extended period of time. It is so much easier to choose JOY!!!!!!!

So, I leave you with this that I saw on a friend's FB page:
There comes a time in life when you walk away from all the drama and those who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right and avoid the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, getting back up and moving forward is living.

Last, but not least, Scott encouraged me to break down (remember my thrifty side) and purchase my "official" photo tonight. Looking forward to my next half-marathon in New Orleans on February 13. Don't you want to go?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First Light Half-Marathon

Most likely, you are in for another short story made long, so if you are interested, grab your favorite beverage and I'll reminisce about the events of the past weekend.  A little background knowledge for you, Scott and I have lived in Mobile on two different "power company stints" (as I fondly call them).  We have lived in Mobile for a total of 8 of our 17 years of marriage.  Considering all of our other moves in between, Mobile is in a unique way kinda home for us.  Both of our children were born in Mobile, ahhhh, memories.

Once I picked up my race packet, I decided to explore part of the course that I was not familiar with. The first 4 miles took lots of twist and turns on roads that were off the beaten path.  I took a few snap shots of this beautiful old downtown area that is very historical in nature. 

Below is the picture of the home stretch.  I knew that once I saw this, I would be running the final steps to accomplishing my goal of completing a half-marathon.

After my little tour, it was time to get checked into my hotel. I was so thankful when I realized that my hotel was two blocks from the starting line and two blocks the opposite way from the finish line.  I never could have imagined just how helpful this would be.  I debated about going to eat dinner with a close friend of mine, which I should have done!!!  I guess I let my anxiousness get to me a little.  I was all settled in and didn't think I wanted to go back into another part of town.  I chose to eat the provided pre-race meal, which turned out to be cold spaghetti and COLD peach cobbler. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to go over the night before and stay in the hotel is so I could focus and go to bed early.  I got all nestled into bed at 9:00.  11:00 is my "normal" bedtime, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that I wasn't just going to nod off to dreamland.  It didn't take long before my stomach went into a dimension of it's own.  No, not nerves, it had to have been either food poisoning or something viral.  I will spare you the details of course, but I finally went to sleep around 1:30.  I know that I was "awakened" again in the the 3 o'clock and 4 o'clock hours.  At 5:23, I was wide awake for good. 

At this point, all of my attempts to hydrate all week long, were since exhausted.  My mouth was dry and I started drinking Propel.  I did actually feel like eating, so I headed down to the breakfast buffet provided by the hotel.  I had already called my best friend who was boarding her plane to some game out in Arizona and asked her to pray for me.  I also called Scott around 7:00 to tell him that he may find me at a local hospital, but I was about to head out to try to run the race. 

I sat down after breakfast and wrote out the Bible verses that I had been praying during my eventful night.  I knew that the ONLY way I would get through more than two hours of running would be with HIS help.  With less than four hours of sleep and almost dehydrated, I was learning the lesson to make sure He was glorified through this whole experience.  I still consider myself a toddler or perhaps a preschooler in my journey with the Lord, but these are the verses that I prayed and took with me on my 13.1 miles:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good,
not for evil, to give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:30

At 7:22, I darted out the door to jog to the starting line.  My body didn't allow me to leave any earlier and I probably did not stretch enough.  I turned my Garmin on as soon as I went outside, but guess what, the satellites would not load.  After a few adjustments and a little bit of panic (I so rely on my Garmin to keep my pace), the satellites were loaded and POW! the gun went off.  If there was any pomp and circumstance, I had missed it by my tardiness.

As I started running, I turned on my I-Pod only to find that it TOO was malfunctioning.  At this point, I just had to giggle.  Every time I turned it on, Anoop Desai's version of "Beat It" from American Idol was playing.  Blake loved that when it was on American Idol and it is on his playlist.  I could get it to stop and go back to the main screen, but could not get it to load my running playlist.  I tried no less than 6 times and decided just to give up on the I-Pod.  At mile three, the I-Pod fell off and I took that as a sign to try one more time.  Victory! it went to my running playlist where you might hear anything from Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" to Aaron Shust's "My Savior, My God". 

After this long oration, I must tell you that the next 13.1 miles were fantastic.  Simply stated, I couldn't have asked for it to go any better.  After about mile 8, it was vital that I stopped at every water stop.  Just needed the fluids. After about mile 10, my body started saying-you have never pushed me this far, I think that this hurts and I will show you many places where I am uncomfortable.  It NEVER crossed my mind to quit though.  This was a done deal. 

About that time, I start running by USA Women's and Children's Hospital.  Emotions...that is where our precious Blake was born 10 years ago.  Believe it or not, there's a much longer story that goes with how the Lord orchestrated his birth.  That was the little extra push I needed to keep running.  I started visualizing seeing my family at the finish line.

Running into the home stretch was exhilirating!  Scott and Blake were on one side of the road cheering me on and taking pictures and my dad was on the other side.  I am thankful they got pictures of me actually running.  No huge strides at this point in the journey, but still putting one foot in front of the other.  Bryant was stationed at the finish line and I didn't see him until he startled me after I had come through the crowd.  My boys think it is the funniest thing in the world to scare me. 

My Garmin time said 2:18:38, the official time from First Light was 2:18:57.  I still don't understand how these bibs are suppose to work.  I purposely got in the back of the crowd and started my Garmin as I was passing the start line.  Oh well, I'll learn and let you know.

My goal was to finish with a time somewhere between 2:15 and 2:20.  I am thrilled that I did just that, especially considering my lack of sleep and hydration issues.  My next half is scheduled for February 13th in New Orleans.  I am so glad I did this one first.  The Rock-N-Roll Half-Marathon is going to be huge!  I think there are more than 20,000 people registered.

Thank you Lord that I was physically able to complete my first half-marathon!

My first medal and the love of my family!

Scott is my biggest supporter.  Due to a torn miniscus and surgery, he no longer can run with me.  He said he never wanted to run the half-marathon distance, but I know that if he had not had surgery, he would have been there every step of the way.

Below is a picture of me with my boys and my dad.
My dad wanted to get this picture of me in the hotel after I got all cleaned up. 
 So, this is an "after" picture of one tired, but elated girl!

Now, if you stuck with me for this long, you certainly deserve to know that one of the big reasons I run is so I can eat some of my favorite things, like Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Mozzerella, and seafood from The Original Oyster House.  On Monday night, I treated myself to a pan of  M and M bar cookies.  I would show you a picture of those, but they are in my stomach.  Maybe I'll do a short post soon and share my favorite dessert with you!