It has been just over a week since my husband Mattie and I completed the Philadelphia half marathon. It seems so surreal. I cannot believe how quickly it went by. We trained for months and looked forward with anticipation to the day of running the actual half marathon. At many points over the summer, it seemed like the day was so far away, but once fall came and we traveled to Tennessee for Refresh summit and some family time, the days seemed to pass by so fast!
The week leading up to the race, I was struggling with the tail end of a cold and didn’t want to make it worse by continuing to push myself. So for the entire week before the race, I didn’t run and this made me feel a bit uneasy about race day, but I knew it wasn’t a make or break situation. I still kept up my cardio and some light strength training but definitely cut back and rested more then I usually would before a race. I was also more nervous about not getting to the race in time then just about anything. I actually had a dream a few nights before that I overslept and ended up stuck in traffic on the way to the race and missed my opportunity to run. Other than that, I wasn’t super nervous about running the race. I think this is because I didn’t really have any strict goals that I wanted to complete. Being 5.5 months pregnant, my goal was simply to finish the race even if I had to walk at certain points. Being a competitive person, this wasn’t exactly how I wanted to run a race but I knew that it was best for me and baby if I needed to walk some the day of the race. Thankfully, the day of the race, I felt great!
On Saturday morning before the race, I went with some friends who were running the Rothman 8K and it totally got me riled up and excited to run the half the next day. The excitement of watching the elite runners and cheering on my friends got me so excited to run. Later on that day, Mattie and I made or way to the health expo with the kids to pick up our race packets and check out the expo. As tough as it is being at an expo with littles, it was fun to be around other runners and mentally prepare for the next day’s race.
Later that night, we dropped the boys off with one of our good friends so that we didn’t have to wake them up early and drop them off before the race. It was such a blessing to not have to worry about them race day and it was AMAZING getting a restful night of sleep. I highly recommend this for any sleep deprived mama, even if you are not running a half marathon :)
The morning of the race, hubby and I got up early, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed out to the race. I knew that I needed to fuel myself but I am always fearful of things not settling well due to nerves (because of this, I often eat right before I go to bed too) I decided to eat a few pieces of peanut butter toast with a banana. I also packed my Rx bars and some larabars for just before the race and during. Thankfully, we didn’t run into any traffic on the way there and easily found a parking spot that was fairly close to the race.
After parking, we started walking toward the start of the race and made our way through security. We then started the hunt for the correct corral that we were to start out in. I must say that it was so much easier starting out with people who all ran about the same pace. I think that every run should be this way. I have become so accustomed to spending the first few miles of a race weaving in and around people that it was a welcomed change to already be surrounded by others who ran at the same pace.
Overall the race seemed to pass pretty quickly. I did stop around mile 3 and 9 to use the bathroom (don’t judge the pregnant lady) but the first 7 miles seemed to fly by. At mile 7, I broke into my RX bars to keep me fueled along the way. Around 8.5 miles there was a huge hill that I struggled to get up, but with the encouragement of my amazing hubby and a few walking steps, I made it up the hill and continued to run. Every time that I started to wonder if I was going to make it to the end, I started to pray for the kids of Casa de Esperanza. The whole reason I was running in the cold at 5 months pregnant was to help this orphanage in their mission to raise up children who know and love Christ. It definitely kept my feet moving!
After my bathroom break at mile 9, we passed the carb boom energy gel tent and I picked up a banana peach one. Really it was the first one the lady handed to me as I was running by. I had taken the time to look over the ingredients of the gel the day before at the expo and was impressed to find out that the energy gel did not contain any added sugars, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. To find that in an energy gel was surprising. Overall, the consistency was super thick, but the flavor was great. I will definitely be using these gels as a go to during training for my next long race. (Don’t worry; it won’t be until after baby V is here).
After we hit the carb boom tent I really just wanted to finish the race. I was ready and determined to finish. Mile 11 into 12 seemed to drag a little but we soon hit the wave of cheering fans near the end that kept us going. Once we got to the part of the race where the marathoners split from those doing the half, we knew we were in the home stretch. Hubby and I stayed side by side and crossed the finish line holding our hands high. We couldn’t believe we had just finished the race!
Once we stopped to get our medals and thermal blankets I felt like I just needed to keep walking. My body did not want me to stop moving, so we continued to make our way through the crowd. There were tents with pretzels, fruit, peanut butter… but the line wasn’t moving and I was not going to stand still and wait in line, so hubby and I kept walking. We then got in contact with our friend that was watching the boys and started our hunt to find them. While we were walking to the end of the corral, it seemed like it was never going to end. I swear it was like a mile long before you could get out. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long to find them.
Once we saw the boys, I just about lost it with emotion. First, I couldn’t believe I just ran a half marathon. Second, I couldn’t believe that even though we hadn’t reached our final fundraising goal, we were able to reach 74% before running the race. When we first set our goal for fundraising we knew it was a lofty goal to aim for but we knew that we serve a God who rules the impossible. Lastly, I looked at my kids and started thinking of all of the children at Casa de Esperanza and how I wish I could personally bring each one of them home and love on them. Thankfully, I didn’t let the pregnant emotions get the best of me and kept my tears bottled up inside. I knew that if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to control myself. This whole experience was absolutely remarkable and it was an amazing feeling to take something I am passionate about and use it to help others.
With this being said, we wanted to thank everyone who contributed to our ROOTS initiative and helped us raise over $1900!! We are so thankful that you each felt lead to help us financially contribute to Casa de Esperanza. We also want to take this opportunity to let you know that we would still love to see our original goal of $2600 reached. So, please consider partnering with us and making a donation.