I run like a big girl

So…

How did it go?

I’m upright. I’m walking. I am managing going up and down the stairs under The Big Top. It hurts a little but I’m going up and down those stairs. I guess you could say I did okay with the half marathon comeback.

The day before the race, the boys joined me at the expo in downtown Modesto because what else were they going to do that day? Help Hollie and Ben move when Bill is still not 100% cleared from heavy lifting? Watch Netflix and play video games? It’s a beautiful day, let’s hit the expo, see what else they have and grab some grub because this mother runner needs to fuel up.

Oh and take my picture please because I’m wearing a cute dress…Old Navy!…and I am having a great hair day.

While at the expo, I made the decision to drop out of my age division and sign up for the Athena division, basically the big girl division. This involves stepping on a scale in the expo much like The Biggest Loser without the dramatic music and giant numbers flashing above your head. Still one must step on a scale and everyone within ear shot now knows how much you weigh. It’s just a number, I tell myself. A number that is now bigger than my darling husband; who, naturally, dropped about 10 pounds so far during his post STEMI recovery. I can’t hate him because I am certain that I can run a half marathon and he can not. So I am now officially in the big girl race division.

It’s all about that bass.

Back home, it was time to check out the swag,

and get my gear ready because come 5:00 in the morning, it is not the time to be looking for those socks or ear buds.

This kind of pre-gaming probably wasn’t the best idea but I reasoned it was to support my favorite dance team and studio…a little wine tasting, a little bit of good food and a little bit of shopping…the perfect way to unwind those pre-race jitters.

Bedtime soon followed because 5 am was going to come soon enough.

See?

A little oatmeal, blueberries, yogurt and coffee…definitely coffee and I was ready to go.

This lady is why I signed up for this race in the first place. She told me there was wine. She also told me that it would be her first half marathon. I warned that after about 2 miles I would take off and settle into my pace but I promised us both that this would be fun. It would be. The atmosphere at the start was happy, friendly and very comfortable. We were among friends all looking forward to a beautiful morning run.

Soon enough, I ran past Sandra and settled into my own pace. It was faster than I had planned but I felt good and I felt strong. It was about 58° under the shady college neighborhood so I figured that I might as well keep going at this pace. I soon passed this dapper gentleman above who was race walking and literally passing runners of all shapes and sizes. He smiled at me as I passed him saying “Great day for a stroll isn’t it?”

“Perfect day!” I agreed as I waved and ran on past him. Later I found out that he was just 12 minutes behind me crossing the finish line race walking all the way.

At the 7 mile mark water station, I could see that I was not going to maintain the fast pace I was running. No problem. It was a comfortable pace for a few miles but definitely not the long haul. I was planning to finish strong. It has been five years since I last ran a half marathon race. There was no PR planned for the day; just a respectable finish under a 12 minute pace. So at 7 miles, I walked through the water station. Drank some water. Drank some electrolytes and had a small snack. Back to running settling in a 11 minute pace, I decided that I would walk through the water stations.

And I would most definitely smile and wave at the photographers. Big girls run and look good while doing it!

It got warm soon enough. Not as warm as I imagined that it would be. Still, it was warm. I’m glad that I chose to allow short walk breaks. I was encouraged that I stayed with most of the pack that I had been running with since the 5K mark. The race organizers were true to their word. This was a fast course. Soon enough my pack and I were on 9th Street trying to power through because we were but 2 miles from being done when zooming past us was the marathon winner, Jesus Campos! With a series of 5:35 miles, he definitely ran past us all like he stole something complete with a police escort. We all cheered in our pack and found the energy to push through.

I was literally 6 minutes behind the marathon winner and ahead of the female marathon winner. Yes, I ran the half marathon. Still, I was beyond thrilled with this time. Just 3 minutes slower than my personal best and after a five year hiatus this was super…even better than what I had expected too!

Even better, I did well running in the Athena/Big Girl division placing 9th out of a 30.

Big girls do run and run sometimes faster than even they imagine…at an 11:55 average pace!

I’ll gladly take it and celebrate it.

After an ice bath.

You think running 13.1 miles is tortuous and hard!

and a massage…

and resting while rocking these sweet Pro Compression socks.

and along with a lot of hydration, a little celebration, thanks to the Modesto Marathon.

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