I am a Gazelle Girl Half Marathon Finisher! This past Sunday, April 19th, I crossed the finish line as an official finisher of the race! Since January I have been training for this race and was thrilled to see how all of my hard work paid off. In previous posts, I wrote about my diet and training journey while preparing for the Half Marathon.
One of my favorite signs at the expo: Where's the finish?
On Sunday, I ran my heart out and hit a new personal record, clocking in the 13.1 miles at 1:51:09. I was thirty seconds faster than my previous Half Marathon in September.
I loved every second of this race and I will tell you why! The weather was perfect, the course was smooth, and the energy was unlike anything else to experience. I started the race mentally prepared and excited. The first mile went quick as I was taking in the moment of the race and enjoying the scenery of all the woman running next to me.
Mile two and three were a breeze and an aid station was already provided. I did not need any water so I kept running to find my pace. I settled at slightly under 8:30 and decided I was comfortable with this. The course so far was smooth, flat, and fun. We were surrounded by spectators holding signs, dressed up in wigs, skirts, and holding out their hands for high fives.
Mile four through six, I started to concentrate on my posture and cadence. I continued my pace at under 8:30 and my body felt good. There was an aid station at mile six and I took some water to help me stay hydrated. I encountered one steep, short hill that I quickly ran up. This route was becoming one of my favorites to run!
Before I knew it, I was already half way done and mile seven through ten were a blur. I concentrated on my strides and kept my pace. I took advantage of the aid station around mile ten and grabbed some water. I was mentally alert and enjoyed giving high fives to anyone who offered. I also had fun with spectators who would cheer and yell for me as my name was printed onto my bib. I knew I could finish this race and only had three more miles to go!
As we entered mile 11, I kicked it into full gear. I still felt like I was flying, becoming faster with each step. I recognized how strong my legs were and how I had so much more stamina. I knew this was from my diet and weight-training schedule. Next, we were entering downtown again and I knew the end was near. I switched my iPod to a favorite song and psyched myself up. I needed to use every last ounce of energy in me and finish strong. My knees and feet were becoming tired, but I still had to push forward.
I skipped the aid station for water at mile 12 and as I approached mile 13, the crowd was larger and louder. From hear on out was cheering and signs that read, "You're almost there," "Go Rachael, just around the corner is the finish line." I wanted to see that finish line so bad, and after I turned the last corner of the race, there it was.
I was by myself and the stretch to the finish line was mine. I knew I had to make it the hardest I have ever ran, and I began to sprint. The spectators on both sides of me became a blur and all I could hear was my breathing. I raised my knees high and kept my head up. I was closing in and started to smile. I threw my arms up in the air as I crossed the finish line, I DID IT!
My finishers charm!