Saturday, December 10, 2011

And Finally...My First Half Marathon Done

On Sunday, December 4, 2011, I participated in the La Porte By the Bay Half Marathon with Haley. And on that cold and rainy day, Haley and I officially became Half Marathoners.

This race was the last event in the Texas Bridge series earning me an extra medal (or T-shirt, but the medal was WAY cooler). WHAT? WHAT? MORE BLING!!!! I was so nervous about this race, because I had only ran 9 miles before I left for England and I didn't do any running there (lots of walking though). Also, I only had a week to prepare for a half marathon when I came back from England without overdoing the training, which could lead to hurting myself. This was a big fear of mine, because I tore a ligament in my left ankle before the 2011 Chevron Half Marathon in January (supposed to be when I popped my half marathon cherry) forcing me to eat the registration.

To top it off, the weather was expected to be raining all day. Great, my first half marathon...on a rain. Am I glutton for punishment or what?

On the Thursday before the big day, I went out to the Flying Saucer where I met up with some friends who also run. I was introduced to a guy who had done an obscene amount of marathons (concidentally, it was about the same number of plates he had on the walls at the Saucer) and he put my mind at ease. He reassured me that I was ready, because I ran 9 miles...I'm good to go and to not be nervous. Easier said than done. Okay, really, I felt less nervous and told Haley (also freaking out at this point) what the guy told me to calm her nerves. It worked...up until about as soon as I woke up the morning on the big day.

The night before, I was cleaning and putting up decorations doing everything to busy my mind about my impending death. I had a restless sleep when I finally went to bed, because I kept thinking I would miss my alarm (side effect from the Seinfeld episode). But I woke up at 5:20 a.m. when my first text from Jules came in saying she was headed my way (I enlisted her to drive me and support me). Haley texted shortly after to make sure I was awake. Then, I started to get texts from friends wishing me good luck. Mal went so far as to send me flowers and a balloon and posted on both Haley and I's facebook page. I felt the love.

I can't love this girl anymore than I already love her. She thought of me all the way from Grenada. Thank you Mal.

For breakfast, I had an English Muffin with peanut butter and LOTS of water. I could say that I had a marathon of water. Yup, pun intended. I went there. Don't judge me.

We found our way to La Porte. Now, I have driven through La Porte, but never actually stayed there or visited there or even really been there. I think I was asleep everytime I drove through or just drove fast. I wasn't exactly sure where we were going, but I knew it was at Sylvan Beach and luckily for us, there were signs guiding us everywhere. Jules parked at the school and we met up with Haley at the chip pick up table (we actually got our packets early this time...GO US!).

Haley and I in our standard before shot trying not to look nervous.

I saw a group of people just stretching away and I said, "Let's go join them" after Haley and I went to the bathroom. They were passed the good stretches and on to the let's raise our heartbeat. We took that time to stretch on our own; however, we rejoined the group at the end when they went back to stretching.

Haley and I having fun with our tandem stretch.

Then, we found out that we in fact crashed the Bay Area Fit Club warmup. I'm not sure if you need to be a part of them, but it was probably a good thing. The main guy huddled us all up and they started shouting "HOORAA" and "Bay Area Fit Club." We were kind of near the middle and couldn't really sneak out of there without notice.

After our crash, we went over to get some more pictures with the bay in the background.

Yeah, that's right...I busted out the guns. Whatchya gonna do, punk?

Finally, it was time to head over to the start line. And wouldn't you know it, that's when it started to rain on us runners. The whole time we were there waiting and waiting, the weather gave us a reprieve and false hope that it wouldn't rain. But then, I could distinctly here this evil laugh coming from the skies and what sounded like, "You stupid peons....I will rain upon thee." So, as we stood there in the rain, it got cold and I was wishing that I had brought Jules' windbreaker (although, I'm glad I didn't). One guy was supporting his wife by standing there holding an umbrella over her head so she wouldn't get wet. Now, everyone at the same time, "Ahhhhhhhhhh."

I was getting antsy, jumping around, wanting them to hurry up and just blow the whistle. I complained that this race started later than the other 2 bridge series races. If we had started earlier, we wouldn't be rained on while we were waiting. But instead rained on while we were running (much better).

Then, I heard them announce the La Porte high school glee club to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Finally!  Let the countdown begin...5...4...3...2...1...GO. It was time to start running...well, sort of, since we had to walk with the crowd before crossing the line.

I couldn't believe it. Haley and I were RUNNING OUR FIRST HALF MARATHON! Whoa! The song choice of course was I'm Sexy and I know it (video) and we sang that the entire run. I sang the Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle and she sang the Yeah. We had it down to a science.

Even with the cold drizzling rain (reminded me of England for some reason), it was hot. After awhile, I took off my under shirt. Before we reached the first mile marker, this loud group of guys started chanting Haley. They were Haley's friends and coworkers. She was so surprised to see them and just started running faster. In fact, every time she saw them, she got faster. They showed up throughout the course and were just awesome singing and chanting and yelling. They even had me tear up a little, especially when they finally learned my name and started chanting for me, too.

The boys cheering on Haley.

Jules standing by the boys as we came around close to the first mile.

Our goal was to stop for a walk at the 4 mile marker (or see how we felt), but we had a quick stop at the 3 mile marker so that Haley could fix her knee brace (it was quick...I swear). We ran mostly with this group of three ladies. They ran what seemed like 5 minutes and walked 1 minute. Even though we kept running, they were keeping up with our pace. At one point, we tried to follow them, but they stopped too much. This may have been our downfall in the end when they beat us at the finish line.

Everytime we reached a mile marker, I said, "1 down, 12 more to go." "2 down, 11 more to go." And of course Haley would sing, "I'm sexy and I know it." We had a system.

The rain was pretty much start and stop, but it was never really heavy. I was so thankful that Haley suggested we wear our hats to keep the rain out of our eyes. It was just drizzly enough to make the ground slick. I think that is why my toes started hurting really bad at 6 miles. I never had that issue before at 6 miles and my theory is that I was putting too much pressure on my feet so I wouldn't fall.

Finally, we made it to the bridge and it was really an awesome sight since the top of the bridge was covered by the clouds. 

The top of the Hartman Bridge covered in clouds.

Haley looking like a bad ass as we approach the incline.

We ran the level area until we got to the incline where we walked to the halfway point before we picked up the run again. This is the time when we had goal points of when we would walk. However, Haley would get fast everytime she saw the boys and I would have to tell her to slow it down, bring it back. We made it to the turnaround point, which was roughly between the 6 and 7 mile marker. We weren't dead yet and in fact, feeling okay.

A viewpoint of what we just ran over from the turnaround point.

Seriously, I love these guys and want to adopt them as my friends.

I thought this was cool seeing Santa at the turnaround point. They asked if we wanted to stop to take a picture and I said, "No, gotta keep moving."

As we made our way back on the bridge, I still felt good, but my legs were hurting. My toes were hurting. It took a lot just to get to the incline so we could walk again. Finally, we made it off the bridge. 

On our way back down the Hartman Bridge.
Our other goal was to smile everytime we saw the photographers. Although, I contend that they didn't have many actually taking pictures. A lot of them were slacking.

When we got to 10 miles, I screamed out, "Milestone. Longest I've ever run. Oh and 10 down, 3 more to go." When we got to 11 miles, Haley and I pretty much pittered out of steam and energy. My toes were hurting so bad at this point. We would set a goal to run to a certain location in the distance, but we would stop a couple feet away. Haley kept saying, "I just want to get this done" and my response was, "So do I, but I can't get my legs to cooperate." For the rest of the 13.1 miles, we pretty much complained about our legs and feet. In hindsight, was that healthy or motivational?, but we did it anyways.

What's crazy is that we lost the 3 girls a LONG time ago, way before the first crossing of the bridge. Yeah, they caught up to us and passed us by, but we followed them on when they stopped and started. Actually, at the end, everyone in our group that had been with us for the last 3-4 miles were pretty much on the same thing of when to stop running and when to start. The only anamoly was this girl who sang and danced her way on the runs; she had a different start/stop then us, but still kept in our group.

Finally, we hit the 13 mile marker flag and it was so glorious to see. We still had 0.1 mile left to go and we ran. Then, we saw the guys and they saw us, which started a flurry of chanting. Haley and I picked it up and just sprinted in to the finish line. I'm sure to the bystanders it looked like a fast jog done by mental ward patient, but to us, it was a full on Olympic marathon sprint to take Gold. I'm not even sure where I got the energy from or even the muscle to do it, but it happened and I'm betting it had to do with seeing the boys running and screaming with us on the sidelines. Our time was 2 hours, 45 minutes, and 22 seconds (full results here). Haley and I got the exact same time. How cool is that?

Afterwards, I saw Jules and begin stretching, drinking my water. She kept saying how proud she was of me and asking if I was okay. My first response was that I may puke or cry and I don't know which one will happen. I honestly didn't know if any or both or one would happen. My body and mind pretty much shut down at this point. I walked over to the guys and they flooded us with awesome comments. I really do love those guys.

Look at those smiles. I think I was hallucinating at this point.

I went over to get my Texas Bridge Series Medal and it was awesome and loud and heavy and I loved it.

Me and my bling. What an accomplishment to finish not only a half marathon, but all 3 bridge races.

I got in line for pizza, but I had to wait on a new delivery. I got a sausage on a stick, but so NOT what I wanted. In fact, sausage on a stick is just not right after the race. Too greasy. I did end up getting my pizza, but I thought I was going to collapse. In fact, a guy did collapse, while I was waiting on my pizza. Haley and I said our goodbyes and I thanked those guys for being awesome. Jules drove me home where I was flooded with text messages of my survival. Jules got me home and pretty much took care of me and the dogs.

I want to take the time to thank Haley for going on this crazy adventure with me. I'm glad I found someone just as stupid as I am to share this journey. Without her, I don't think I would have survived. We pushed eachother to get this done and we accomplished what few have considered and completed. I'm so proud of us in so many ways that it's hard to find the right words. are awesome. I love you. Thank you for everything that you did that day. I don't think I could have made it home or anything had you not been there to nurse me back to life. Thanks to the guys for being there cheering us (mostly Haley, I know) on throughout the entire race. Seriously, you guys were the best ever! And thanks to everyone that sent me messages of good luck and how proud they were of me.

The guys made this for us after the race. How freaking cool are they? And the best shot ever!

And Jules made us a video of our run. I have the best people in my life.

Haley and I plan to do one more half marathon (maybe 2) and then we start training for the marathon in possibly November. Yes, we are THAT stupid.


  1. Haha, girl, you made that sound easy!!!!!
    Actually, I've experienced the toe-pain thing also, but I have a theory that it's due to hard shoes or hills, because you have to push off extra hard with your toes. Hmm.

    We should definitely meet up!! We would run half marathons together and go sky-diving! I have always wanted to go :)

    Oh, and you wouldn't need to adopt those guys as your friends, you already have the most awesome of friends! They sent you flowers and texts, you lucky girl.
    Congrats again!!!!!

  2. You did it, you really truly DID IT!! YAY!! :)

    I wish I lived closer so I could've been there to cheer you on and give you a big Mary HUG at the finish line!


    p.s. And Jules video is super special too. What a great way to remember this day and your amazing accomplishment! Very Very Cool! :)

  3. You've come a long way Kristi. I ran the half mile and mile in high school. but you actually got me to tear up when when Haley's friedds learned your name and and started to chant for both of you. its been so long but I can relate to the aching body etc. of my days gone by. you have lived a double life from some of your relatives. But NICE JOB!

  4. I LOVED your post! You & Haley look like you are having so much fun... despite the rain & the pain! What a great way to run with a friend. I ran my first half with my sister-in-law who was also running her first. But, we hadn't trained together & I didn't want to have to try to keep up. So, we separated at the beginning & I did it alone. She finished a few minutes ahead of me & another friend finished before her. As the last one in, though, I got to hear them both cheering for me!

    Again, you are making me want to have this bridge series as my big 3 this year. :-) Thanks for sharing! Love the photos & the video, too!


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