Monday, June 23, 2008

Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon


I cannot believe I ran my first ever half marathon. It seems like just the other day that I decided to sign up, but June 21st came before I knew it. 

On the ride up to Duluth on Friday afternoon, I was nervous. To calm my nerves I tried to listen to music and visualize my race. Once we got there we headed straight to the convention center to pick up my race packet. The convention center was packed with runners and families. The energy of the people was contagious and I started to get more excited and anxious for the next day. After I received my packet, we had dinner at Olive Garden. By then my nerves were back and I felt sick to my stomach. I had a plate of salad, 2 breadsticks, and a few bites of my pasta. I couldn't eat. My dad told me I needed to eat more but I just felt sick. After dinner my dad wanted ice cream but I only had a few bites of his. 

We finally got to Chris' apartment around 10 and I tried to calm my nerves by setting out my clothes for the next day. I wasn't able to sleep very much- I tossed and turned for an hour before dosing off. I woke up every few hours until my alarm went off at 4 am. I got up, got dressed, shaved my legs, and forcefully ate my peanut butter and chocolate chip clif bar. My dad drove me to the bus stop at 5, where we waited in line for half an hour. The weather was cool, but not as cold as I had originally thought. My nerves were on full force (see picture below). Once on the bus, I started talking with a group of older women and I felt a little bit better. 

Waiting for the race to start felt like a long time, but finally the line began to move forward. I slowly jogged toward the starting line and crossed it about 5 minutes after the start. The first half of the race felt great. I started out a nice, easy pace (10-11 min miles). The views were amazing. We ran along the scenic highway with breathtaking views of Lake Superior and downtown. Only slowed down twice during the water stations. I saw my parents, Chris, and Brody at mile 6. It felt great to see them because I knew I was almost halfway there! 

Around mile 6.5, I started to get tired. I started thinking- 6.6 more miles? I don't think I can do it. I kept pushing but around mile 7 I finally took a walking break. My knees were starting to hurt, I was thirsty, and in a mental block of negativity. I continued to walk/jog until mile 9. There was a big sign that read "Good job runners! Only 4.1 miles to go!" At this point I thought to myself, You can do it! This is an easy 4 mile run. You've got it! I pushed myself to keep running. It wasn't easy but all of a sudden I was at the 3 mile mark, then 2, and then 1 mile to go! The last mile was by far the toughest. My body was aching, I was thirsty and hot, and my legs were weak. I kept turning corners, expecting to see the finish line only to find I had to make another turn. Just as I thought I couldn't go on, I saw the finish line. I gathered all of my strength and crossed the finish line in 2:21. 

I have to say that the spectators were amazing. The entire 13.1 mile course was filled with people cheering and encouraging the runners. The energy at the finish line was incredible! I am so happy that I was able to accomplish this goal. A year ago, I would have never thought I would be a runner. I hated running. Now I'm proud to say I am a runner. My next race is August 24th, when I will be running the Woodbury Days Half Marathon. I hope to complete a full marathon in the near future as well!

Thanks so much again for all of your support and kind comments. It was extremely motivating to think of all of the support I had! 

Here are a couple of pictures from the race.

Waiting in line to board the bus that brings you to the starting line. 

Feeling good at mile 6.

I think this is somewhere around mile 10 or 11. 

Getting kisses from Brody

I finished!!!

19 comments:

Danielle said...

CONGRATULATIONS!

emmaline said...

congratulations, that's amazing:)

Sarah said...

Congratulations, that is a great time too! The crowds are the best, that's definitely what helped me get through my first one ;-)

mealsfromthegirlinthelittleblackdress said...

MON!! This is AWESOME!! Congrats to you- you are amazing!

chandra said...

Nice work!! I am so happy for you!! You did a half marathon in my 20K time! :) I am inspired by the wya you pushed through and hope I am able to the same with my half in October (or even my relay in August!!)

Great work, you did awesome!!

VeggieGirl said...

HOORAY!!!! GO, MONICA!!! :0)

Jenn said...

CONGRATULATIONS! I am so happy for you, and am now completely inspired to do the same!

That is SUCH an impressive time, seriously!

Sarah said...

congrats! you should be so proud of yourself, completing a half is a serious accomplishment! i hope to be able to run one some day but right now i can only do about 6 miles.

i hope you enjoyed some great food to celebrate ; )

Tina said...

CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!! So exciting!

Becca said...

Congratulations Monica and great job!

Ashley said...

Wow, congratulations! That is so awesome and inspiring that you were not always a runner. I can't imagine running for over 2 hours straight, that's amazing that your body is that strong. You should feel so amazing and proud of yourself! All your hard work definitely paid off! Congrats!

lighterportions said...

Wow, Congrats! That is such a huge accomplishment!

hk said...

CONGRATS!! Such an awesome accomplishment :)

Lora said...

omg congrats!! my brother's fiance' ran this same one you were in!! she got a time of 1 hour 45 minutes...i was so surprised there were over 1000 runners...wow I would be too scared bc the farthest I have run was 10 miles. good job and keep running! you are an inspiration!

ashley said...

No way! WOW!!!! Congratulations!! Amazing! You look so vibrant and fit! Good job!

glidingcalm said...

wow congrats! I truly am in awe of runners...esp those who can complete half-marathons and marathons! Running is so difficult for me! I'm so jealous! And you look so gorgeous in your pictures- you are just glowing! Again congrats Monica!

linds said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What an awesome accomplishment, you should be very proud of yourself :)

Happy Herbivore! said...

Congrads! Next up! MARATHON!

Simple and Divine said...

YOU KICK ASS MON! I'm so proud of youuu :) You are S.O. strong! To be able to run in the heat, BY YOURSELF!?!?!? That is insane. But so awe inspiring, I honestly can't tell you how incredible I think that is. It is just you and the pavement, you and the breaths, you and your body, etc. When you have to really push YOURSELF (in a positive light, of course!), without anyone there to help you, and you come out on top like you did, you have a true gift. I don't know anyone who's does a race with that distance or more, by themselves. The family that we became close to in Hawaii competed in the Kona Half-Ironman while we were there, and every single person had a buddy.

Seriously Girl... You are an inspiration!