Heart Half Marathon-My Lucky Day

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day! If I had to sum up my day in one word it would be lucky.

I woke up at 6:15 a.m. to get ready for the Mercy Heart Half Marathon. I ate my standard Wheaties, banana, and almond milk as I watched the weather. The night before, a winter weather advisory was issued. Ugh, the last thing I wanted was for it to sleet during this hilly race. They were calling for snow after the race, thankfully! (It snowed for about 5 seconds on Sunday and the warning ended up being canceled!)
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Since the race was on St. Patrick’s Day I had to show off a little of my Irish heritage with a glittery shamrock body tattoo, and a headband with shamrocks on it (which sadly it was too cold to wear). Andy, being the awesome husband he is, drove me down to the race at 7:15.

I arrived downtown just in time to meet up with my good friend, Alisha. We ran the Commitment Day Race together a few months ago. She is training for the Pig half and was running the 15k. We wished each other good luck and headed off to find our pace groups.

I went into this race without a plan. Ok, I had a few plans in mind that I just didn’t want to say out loud. My first goal was to beat last years time of 1:51. I knew that was possible but didn’t want to put pressure on myself. Once I got my bib number at the expo on Saturday, I came up with a secret goal of 1:44 (1444 bib number, 4th half marathon…I’m kind of obsessed with numbers!), but again didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself.

I started the race with the 1:50 finish group. I put my headphones in as soon as the race started. It wasn’t long before I found myself pulling ahead of the group. I ran mile 1 at a nice pace of 8:06. I wanted to go out easy.  It was one of those days where my music was driving me crazy. I ran mile 2 in 8:03 and I took my headphones out and instantly felt more relaxed.

Once I got to mile 3, {7:42} I saw a guy from my training group. I ran with him for a few and we chatted about our race goals. We could see the 1:45 pace group up ahead, and he said we would be able to catch up. I ran with him for about a mile before I started to pull ahead. {mile 4 7:37}

Around mile 5 {7:38} I saw my super speed friend, who had already hit the turn around. He was in the front of the pack! After cheering him on I had a little bit more motivation to get moving.  {He ended up finishing 3rd overall!}

At mile 6 {7:38} I finally caught up with the 1:45 group. It was then that I knew my secret goal was possible. I hung around with the pace group for mile 7 {7:38} as well. I was still feeling really good at this point and slowly started inching myself ahead.

By mile 8 I was cruising, and hit my fastest mile at 7:22! I knew we had bridges ahead so I scaled it back a little bit.

At mile 9 {7:45} I ate some sports beans to give myself some energy for the last stretch. I saw a couple other familiar faces at mile 10 {7:29} and we cheered each other on and gave a couple high fives!

Mile 10.5 was the start of the bridges. We crossed over the Purple People Bridge to get to Newport, KY. We wrapped around a parking lot, turned the corner and  hit mile 11{7:38} as we ran along the Ohio River. I found myself running with two other runners and the three of us kept pace with each other til the end.

We hit mile 12 {7:46} on the Southgate Bridge, which I have ran a hundred times, but it never feels easier. I told myself one more mile and I could do it. I looked at my watch and realized I was going to crush that goal of 1:44.

We came back into Ohio and I was making conversation with the two other runners. I guess I was being more motivating saying things like “we are almost there”, and “last up hill”! We passed the last water stop where a volunteer shouted that our jog was almost done. The other runners and I joked that we were definitely not jogging with a 7:40 pace!

We rounded the corner and hit mile 13 {7:27}. I picked it up and could see the finish line.

I didn’t know if I should cry or smile as I approached the end. I opted for the latter 🙂

I heard Alisha cheer me on as I crossed the finish line at 1:40:56.

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Credit David Long Photography

 

 

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As I was crossing the finish line I was scanning the crowd for my mom and Andy. I asked Alisha if she saw them but she didn’t either. It wasn’t but a minute later they came walking up. I was still in the finish area getting my chip cut off and getting my medal so we were shouting back and fourth. The first thing Andy said was “what, did you finish in 1:40?” to which I flashed a huge smile on my face and nodded.

I met up with them after I got my things. Andy normally plans it out perfectly to see me finish and he thought he had about 5-10 minutes until I crossed the line (it was a really cold morning so I don’t blame him for waiting in the warmth of a car!). I told him I had no clue I had a 1:40 in me. I surprised him, my mom, and myself. They were there to celebrate with me and that was all I cared about!

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The course was just a little hilly!

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I beat last years time by 11 minutes and my previous personal record by 6 minutes.

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Alisha did awesome in the 15k! It was her longest run so far!

I still am smiling ear to ear from this race. I still feel like what I did was a dream and I am just waiting to wake up. I wish I could bottle up those good feelings that this run gave me so I can save it for those days that I am feeling challenged. I made my mom, husband, and friends proud, and that to me is the best feeling of all!

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As we were heading back home we came to an intersection that if we turned left we’d head home, and if we turned right we’d pull into the new casino. I told Andy I was feeling pretty lucky so he turned right. I proudly wore my medal into the casino and headed straight to my favorite slot machine, the Wizard of Oz. I put my $20 in and it quickly was disappearing. I got down to about $4 when I hit a bonus. The dollars kept adding up and I hit almost $60! I’ve learned when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em and this was for sure a fold ’em moment.

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It was the perfect ending to my lucky morning.

 

5 thoughts on “Heart Half Marathon-My Lucky Day

  1. This doesn’t surprise me at all! You’ve been CRUSHING your paces from last year. It’s so impressive to see. That’s awesome that you just felt it and didn’t put pressure on yourself. Very nice! Amazing! And the extra $60 to boot? Can’t beat that!

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