Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Hills Are Alive...

...with the Sound of Profanities.

Yes, kids....I am back.
Back home in VA and trying to settle back in to my normal routine.
But add in starting the Advocare 10-Day Cleanse (with Meredith - more on that another day!) and a sick baby boy that doesn't want his mommy to put him down.

Honestly...writing a post was the very last thing I wanted to do.

But, I know how all of you have been here...commenting, encouraging, pushing me...throughout this whole Half Marathon training, so I knew I had to let you all know how it went.

I ran 13 miles on Saturday, March 2nd on what I thought was a fairly hilly course.
And felt awesome after completing it in 2:02:46!

I thought for sure it would be less than that come actual race day due to the normal anxious, faster pace that a race brings.
So I was excited to tackle the race and meet my goal time of 2:00:00 - 2:05:00.

And then I thought, "Oh, what the heck! Let's drive the course to see what I've got coming my way"
It was like being on a roller coaster.
The ratio of hills to flat land had to be 10 to 1.

Elevation chart of the hills on the course.

My brother-in-law thinks it's hysterical that I have now been quoted as stating:
"That shit was hilly as fuck!"
One of the questions on the FAQ page for the race. I think my quote would better answer the question!
I could not get over just how hilly and hard this course was going to be.

Fast forward through my emotions leading up to Saturday.
Besides, you can read that HERE.

Saturday morning I woke up, had my bagel, peanut butter and banana breakfast and then headed out to the race location with my husband to pick up my bib, etc.
I told my husband that everyone there just looked like runners.
I thought for sure they were going to see through my facade.
Why, even after all the training and running and accomplishments, do I not see myself as a "runner"?
I don't feel I fit the mold of what a "real" runner looks like.
(And what the hell exactly makes you look like a runner?!?!)
Just more doubt creeping through.

Closer to the start of the race, I couldn't decide where my bib felt comfortable.
If my hydration belt was too tight or not tight enough.

Should I wear my jacket and gloves or will I get too warm in it?
As we were lining up for the race, I was taking off my jacket, loosening my hydration belt, moving my race bib to my leg, and trying to go through my mental checklist of what I needed on my long 13 miles.
I saw my mom who brought Royce with her and had to say a quick hello and hug before lining up to start.
(Just a side note: Each and every time I head out to run I HAVE to get a kiss from my little guy. It's like my good luck charm. I can't run without that peck!)

I didn't feel well prepared.
Everything was just rushed.
I was nervous and antsy and couldn't think straight.

Next thing I know, I was being corralled into the start.
I nervously high-fived my cousin, Zach, who was also running!!
And talked about the weather with a few runners next to me.
(It was supposed to warm up some...good call on taking the jacket off, Kyra!)

All of a sudden we're a moving crowd.
Since it was so bright out, I couldn't see my phone to start my Map My Run app on time.

About a mile and a half into it, I started to get my rhythm and was feeling amped!
Insert first kick-ass hill here at mile 2.5
I stopped to walk up it and then regained my momentum.
I was pretty good until about mile 5.5.
There was a water station right before yet another HUGE hill.
So I stopped to walk while I drank some water and refueled.
This time, I ran (well, slowly ran) up the hill.
You see, my good friend, Kelly lives in the house at the top of that hill.
We had already discussed how long it took me to run 5 miles so she knew to be waiting outside with camera in tow.
 After making it to the top I desperately yelled, "Is this the finish line?!?!"

I progressed on.
I was feeling restraint.
"I don't want to do this anymore."
"The next car that drives by, I'm flagging down and they are driving me to the finish."

About mile 7 was the turnaround point.
My music tuckered out.
(I only had enough songs on there to last about an hour. See, I'm very particular about my jams to keep me pumped. I don't want just any old good beat song on there, I want shit that gets me PUMPED!!)
So rather than restart the playlist, I made sure to speak to every person (ahead of me) as we passed.
"Great job!"
"You're doing great! Keep going!"
"Looking good!"
I saw 2 or 3 people I went to high school with.
I saw my cousin Zach.
I cheered them on.
I was feeling hella encouraged and happy and proud at that moment.

I got to the turnaround and stopped to walk so I could restart my music.

About mile 8, I hit a wall.
I was done.
I could not take one more hill.
I thought about how all I wanted to do was get back and hold my baby.
With each stride my right hip/knee was seering pain.
I thought about how the report back to my "followers" here on the blog would be so disappointing.
I felt doubt.

I got to a point, where any even remotely challenging hill I came to, I walked.
I could not push myself to run up any more damn hills.
Hell, it was a struggle to push myself to run on anything flat or a slight incline.

It was a serious struggle inside of my head of doubt and trying to encourage/coach myself.
I seriously thought I would need to go back on my anxiety meds at that very moment.
I was going crazy.
I didn't cry though.
I had moments where I started to, but I had to reign that shit in.
I knew, if I cried, that that would be the end of me.
That would be the end of this race.
I was down.
But I was not defeated.

Miles 8-11 were pure hell.

Mile 11.
I told myself, "Kyra, you are going to run the rest of the way. It's 2 miles. That is nothing."
And I did.
My knee in pain with every stride.
Some slow, some a bit faster.

Mile 12.
Young the Giant, "My Body" came on.
Dammit if that song doesn't ALWAYS know exactly when to come on!

My body tells me no
But I won't quit
Cause I want more
Cause I want more
My body tells me no
But I won't quit
Cause I want more
Cause I want more

I turned on that last road.
That last road that I knew meant I had 2 or 3 blocks left till the finish.
As I came up over that last slight incline, I saw my loved ones.
I saw my husband and baby boy. My mom. My brother, SIL, & niece. My sister, BIL, & other niece watching via FaceTime. My cousins. My aunts and uncle. My friends.
They were this mass.
This big group of people.
Waiting for me to finish.
Cheering me on to the end.

Knee pain or not, I finished strong.
I sprinted to the end.

"Under 2:20:00, great job!" said the man at the finish.
And he said it like he meant it.

Yep, there it is, folks.
My completion time of 2:19:29.

I've gone through being bummed about this number, to being proud as hell about this number.
Is it the time I wanted?
Hell no.
Was this course hard as shit?
Hell yes.
Is this number respectable for a first time half marathoner on a course such as this one?
Uh, hell to the mother-effing yeah.
Will I run another half marathon?
You better believe it. And that shit will be flatter than Kelly Ripa's chest.
And I'll have my 2 hour time.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement and motivation through this blog, on Instagram, on Facebook and via text.
It was those words and belief in me that helped me finish.
I couldn't feel more blessed.

My first ever half marathon is in the books.


  1. I'm so proud of you! This post brought tears to my eyes because it is EXACTLY how I felt during my half. My first half was also VERY hilly and I hurt my knee at mile 7. It was torture. I'm going to sign up for another one in August and it's supposed to SO flat. I'm so excited. No one knows how grueling a hilly half marathon is till you run it. I'm so proud of you!

  2. Ps you killed my time. I just went back to look at it was 2 hours and 47 minutes. I didn't train the way I should have but this next time I will murder that time.

  3. What a well written recap! I love this! I know it wasn't your time goal, but that pace is way impressive to me! That really sucks that you had to run through knee pain--I can't imagine anything more disheartening, and it sounds like it started pretty early on, too! Way to beast through it!! First one done!!

  4. HELL YEAH - that is beyond "Gone with the wind FABULOUS" honey! You did AMAZING, and I'm SO glad you had a wonderful experience (minus hells hills). Great race recap, missed ya lots!

    P.S. email me, I lost your email addy and FREAKED the eff out on Saturday when I couldn't send you an email (stalk) for good luck.

  5. And you should be proud!! That's so awesome!!

  6. Girl you did awesome. I read this and wanted to cry. For real you rock - I am so proud of you - so so proud of you. I wish I could hug you and tell you how awesome you are. Guess what - NOT a lot of people run a half and guess who did "YOU"!!!!

  7. Great job!! I am inspired reading this. I am on week 5 of couch to 5k and I've already signed up for a 1/2 marathon in late summer - something I never thought I would do but something I know I can after reading your story and others like it. 2:20 is an awesome time, you rocked that shit. ~ Amanda

  8. I read your post and I am inspired. I have such a fear of racing that it has paralyzed me to a degree. Everything you encountered (outside of injury/ $80 entry fees) has prevented me from taking my training to the starting/finish line. I recognize that it is a privilege to be able to participate in this sport while also realizing that, at some point, it will no longer be an option to pursue. Now, I don't think that if "I JUST train a little more" I will result in completing a race and having someone drape the American flag on my shoulders. That ain't happenin. However, I do believe that the feeling of accomplishment (no matter what it looks like in the end) will dispel the beliefs that have perpetuated the fear--to get their requires an action. Off to look for my first FLAT 13 miles. Thanks for sharing, Kyra!

  9. I am so so proud of you!! I know it must have been a challenge but you freaking did it!! I also laughed so hard at your next half Mary being flatter than Kelly Ripas chest- hahaha! Girl- you will get that bc you are awesome!!
    When is your next half? Do you know yet? Are you scaling back this week at all?

  10. Awesome job girl! Your are a runner! 13 point freaking one!! I psych myself out at every race also. All the sudden I am the fat girl who is out of shape...why do we do that? I am so proud of you!

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  12. You are awesome!! That is a great time, you are so inspiring!

  13. I want to run it under 2:40! You are seriously one of my biggest motivators, Kyra!!