Saturday I ran the farthest and longest I have ever run in my life- 13.1 miles! I ran the Charlottesville Half Marathon at an obtrusively early time- 6:30 AM- and somehow not only finished, but exceeded my goal time! I usually run at a 10 min/mi pace, so I expected to finish at about 2:10. My actual chip time was 2:01:44! Booyah! That is a 9:29 pace!

Admittedly this isn't too impressive to a lot of runners, but I'm pretty amateur, and I feel great about it. Matt wasn't expecting me to come through the finish line so quickly, so he wasn't prepared with the camera, hence these awkward finishing pictures:

Here is the thing- when I think about actually running it, even though I know it was really hard, I mostly just remember a groove. One foot in front of the other, zoning in on a person to pace with (because I am terrible at pacing myself), keeping moving.
I don't remember the hard parts really. I think it must be like childbirth (not that I'd know... I had a c-section) where you forget the labor and pain and somehow want to have another kid. Yeah, it's got to be kind of like that, because I can totally see myself running another long race. Right after the race I didn't feel that way though, I remember that. I had to find a bathroom stat (running does a number on my bowels... tmi? sorry) and I felt sick, sick, sick. Probably because I ate dinner late, went to bed at 11 and woke up at 4. Yeah, that might have had something to do with it. Anyway, I was in really rough shape for a couple of hours after the race but once my stomach recovered and I took a shower I actually felt surprisingly energized.

Love me some Nesquik! 

As far as training goes, I started following this training plan in February, but I was running 3-4 miles three times a week consistently before that. I chose this training plan because 1) When I decided to sign up for the half I had exactly 9 weeks to train, and 2) It didn't require I run on Sundays. I was really worried about the jump from 6 miles to 8, but it went surprisingly well, and so did the rest of the long runs.

I'm really proud of myself for running a half marathon. I've never been athletic and I don't have a competitive bone in my body, but I think it is safe to say I love to run. I love that I trained and stuck by my schedule. I love that I pushed myself through the mental and physical (but mostly mental) blocks and was able to do something pretty incredible. I love what my body is capable of.

Finisher Medal!

It's a race! I hope I win!

Ok, so I really had no chance of winning the 8k we ran on July 2nd, but I can't help but think of my sister Erin quoting that line from "Rat Race" every time I think about or talk about a race. Its just one of those things.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MJX6XQUYA4]

(I couldn't find the exact clip I was thinking of, but come on, this is funny)

The race was the first one I've done since my 5k when I was 7 weeks pregnant with Charly. Our race was the Run for Independence 8k here in Leesburg. 8k (just about 5 miles) is probably the furthest I have ever run, (edit: not anymore! I ran 6.86 miles this morning. Booyah!) so I feel pretty awesome about doing it. Anyone who has known me for a while knows I am totally not the athletic type, but I'm trying to be healthier and more fit, and signing up for a race is just the motivation I need to keep going! The course was admittedly a little tougher than I was anticipating, but I'm really glad I did it. Matt finished just ahead of me- he pulled ahead the last mile because he was just sick of running! I finished in 54:06- not fast, but I'll take it!

Here I am crossing the finish line. They used chip timing, which means I had a chip attached to my shoe, and because of that they were able to read each person's name from the computer as they crossed the finish line. I'll admit I felt pretty awesome having my name read and hearing people cheer. That is the cool thing about races- everyone cheers you on and makes you feel like a rockstar!

Here is our little family! This picture prompted me to do something about my oh-so-drab hair. I now have bangs! No pictures yet... I'll get on that.

The runners! Me, Matt, Gretchen and Brinn (who now herself is about 7 weeks pregnant!)

And just for fun, a picture from the 5k last June...

And a picture from the 8k 1 year, 1 month, 1 day and 1 baby later...
Hey, I had just run 5 miles, gimme a break:)

Now I feel like I've got to sign up for another...

Anyone else working on fitness goals? Or just love to hear people cheer your name?