Sunday, September 13, 2009

Run a Half Marathon...Check!

There are many things in my life that I can say I am proud that I have accomplished. I graduated college, I married the love of my life, I traveled to Europe....and the list goes on.
Today, I added another life accomplishment to that list and I can honestly say it was probably one of the most difficult but exhilarating things I have ever done.
Running the Harrisburg 1/2 Marathon in under 2 hours was my most recent goal and I am proud to tell you all that I have achieved this goal!
I started running about a year and a half ago. I was never a runner but always very active in sports of other activities. I actually despised running and had no intentions of ever really taking up this hobby.
Well, after Toly and I moved in to our home, I discovered that the complex gym had a treadmill. One night, I hopped on just to test the running waters, and I actually didn't hate it. It's was kind of invigorating and I felt that this new challenge in my life would be worth while.
So I started run a few times a week on the gym treadmill. 1 mile, 2 miles, and eventually, I made it up to 3 miles at one time. This was HUGE for me!
I'm not really sure when I decided that I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon. My best friend Jen had been a marathon runner and I think hearing her inspiring stories struck my interest. So one day, I said "I'm doing it!" And that was it, I started training for a 1/2 marathon.
During my training, I grew immensely in my speed and endurance with running. I was running up to 30 miles a week and competing in several shorter races. During this time, my passion for running also grew. The feelings of dread and uneasiness turned into excitement and overall thrive. I actually started to LOVE it. (Never thought I would see this day!)
Well I can honestly say, if I didn't have this passion, there is no way I would have been able to do this race today. It takes a lot of heart, desire, dedication and motive and after you finish, it's one of the best feelings in the world.
I started my day on the early side. The race started at 8am, but I wanted to be up early and get myself prepared. I woke up at 5:30am and did some serious yoga, stretching and foam rolling.
Afterwards, I made a light breakfast that was perfect for keeping me fueled.
Yogurt, kiwi/blueberries and granola....
1/2 Whole Wheat bagel with Naturally More PB and a smashed nanner...

With a cup of coffee of course...

We arrived at City Island around 7:30am and I quickly got my number and attached my chip.
There were TONS of people there. I think I heard someone say there was close to 1500 runners.

The day was perfect. Sunny, but a breezy 70*. I was nervous but more excited and I just wanted to start.
Finally, we were lining up and all I could see was a sea of runners take off.
It was so crowded for the first mile. I tried to find a good pace but I was really just dodging in and out of other runners so it was hard to gage a good speed.
My HRM also decided not to work. Ugh, I could have screamed, but eventually, I just gave up on it and said "screw it!"
Around mile 2, I noticed something jabbing severely into my lower back. There was something poking out of my camel bak that I couldn't seem to stop. I kept thinking "this is not such a great start" and tried to ignore it.
The first 5 miles were actually great! The course was beautiful, taking us through some wooded areas on the Greenbelt and then along the river.
Around mile 7, I reached for some fuel with a Cliff Block which really seemed to do the trick.
The next few miles were rough. We ran into some residential neighborhoods and it seemed just soo long until the mile markers appeared again. I kept thinking, okay, when do we turn and start to head back to the island?
When I saw the 10 mile mark, I was thinking "thank God, 3 more miles to go, I can do this." Then I saw a few people lying on the side of the road as an ambulance took them away.
Shortly after saying this, I started to feel some pain in my side and my right ankle. This is where it got hard. I really wanted to finish in under 2 hours, but I just kept telling myself that finishing this thing would be an amazing accomplishment in itself.
When I saw the 12 mile mark, I suddenly got serious. I picked up my seed and started to run hard. Only one more mile and I was going to finish STRONG!
As I ran over the bridge I could see the finish line. At this point, I started sprinting as fast as I could go. People were cheering which made me run even faster. I saw the clock and ran for it, lifting my hands in the air like a crazy person as I crossed that line!
1:56:52! AMAZING!!!!! Then, I started to cry and felt like I was going to throw up, but I didn't.
I found Toly a few moments later and cried again.
Overall, I finished 12th in my age group and I couldn't be more proud of this.

Here is me right after the race. You can tell this is a combination of pain, joy and unexplainable emotion.

What an unbelievable experience! I am still on such a high from the whole thing.
I especially want to thank all of your amazing support with this. There is no way I would have been able to find my inspiration without the love and encouragement from everyone and I am forever grateful.
Well, I'm not sure what is next on my list, but for now, this is just about all I can take. Maybe a marathon someday, maybe a Triathlon...who knows. All I do know is that I am so proud of where I have come and will continue to run with purpose and passion.
Love you all!


  1. CONGRATS LAUREN!!!! What an amazing accomplishment and a great story! So proud of you! Enjoy your recovery eats :)

  2. CONGRATULATIONS sweetie!! I knew you could do it, and do it well!! I'm so proud of you, and you've definitely inspired me to keep on chuggin'. ;) xo!

  3. Great job, Babe! I am so proud of you!! You are such an inspiration to not only me, but to so many others. Love you

  4. I cannot even begin to tell you how impressed and proud I am of you!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! :)

  5. Consider me VERY impressed! CONGRATULATIONS GIRL!

  6. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I am so happy for you! I just read every word of that post and almost cried :)You're an inspiration!

  7. Ahhh!! CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm so happy for you - be proud of yourself :)

  8. yay! so happy for you - bottle this feeling!!!


    I'm so happy for you, and that must be such an exhilarating feeling knowing that you did it! Man, I'm so proud of you, girl. I loved your recap and enthusiasm throughout the whole post. I love your spirit in every post!


  10. Oh honey, I am SO so so proud of you. What an amazing experience this must have been for you!!!

    Congrats xs100 on finishing under 2 hours. You are amazing!

    FYI, checked my calendar. I've got a family retirement party 10/3. So no apple festival. Boooo! I'll keep you posted on my next jaunt over to h'burg. xo, Erin

  11. SO proud of you! you're amazing! Running a marathon, or heck, at least a half-marathon is just a dream of mine! I hope to be able to put it to reality someday, soon!

  12. Ohhhh Lauren, I'm so happy for you! And so proud, too :D You're a total inspiration--I really want to run a half! I loved reading your recap. MAJOR congrats, girl! :D

  13. WOW great job!! congrats on the race, you looked so cute while doing it too :)

  14. Awesome Lauren!!! WOOT! You totally kicked that race's butt! Amazing!

    City Island, I've been there dozens of times, it's such a cute little park!

  15. congrats on the race, Lauren!!!!!!! That's so awesome!!!

  16. Congrats!! I have a life list as well and LOVE checking off items as I accomplish them! :)

  17. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATS! Seriously girl, you rock! And you beat your goal time by a good chunk, way to go!!!!!!!!

    Reading this recap makes me SO excited for my race on Sunday...which is exactly what I needed because I've been so ho hum about it!!!

  18. WOW - 1:56?!?!? You are a speed racer!! What an accomplishment - you will remember this for the rest of your life. Congratulations girl!!

  19. Congratulations, Lauren! You rock, girlie! I am so proud of you! And those pictures are great - they truly capture all of your emotions. I am so happy for you. You are such an inspiration!

  20. Oh, CONGRATULATIONS, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I had a big smile on my face reading this post. I remember you saying in a comment on my blog that this is a huge goal of yours. You must feel so proud just to have finished it, let alone ROCK IT with such an amazing time.

  21. Ahhhh!! I am so, so proud of you!!! And under 2 hours? You did amazing!!!!! So proud!

  22. Congrats, Lauren!! You did it, and under two hours, you should be really proud of yourself!

    Yay!!! I knew you could do it. So proud of you! Your story is inspirational! :D

    Love you, girl! Keep up the good work. :D