Well, it’s done! I finished the half marathon in 2:36:26 WITHOUT WALKING! I’m not sure where to start with the race story, so I guess I’ll start at the beginning.
I woke up Sunday morning at 5 o’clock and ate my trusty Fiber One bar. I read my Bible a bit before dressing and peeing one last time. Chris and I left the house at 5:55. As much as I would’ve enjoyed being in control, I was not allowed to drive to the race because when I’m nervous (especially before big races) I’m a little heavy on the pedal, and before my first race ever, I got a speeding ticket.
We stopped by Krispy Kreme on the way to Bass Pro, as I had promised my family, and we got to Bass Pro by 6:20. I passed out donuts and race routes to my mom, dad, mother-in-law Martha, father-in-law Don, my bro Jacob, and two of Jacob’s friends. Turns out Jacob and his friends were there just for the donuts and Bass Pro.
After peeing two more times, we moseyed to the Bass Pro Grand Entrance to stay warm before heading outside to the start. I’m not sure what possessed me to take a gel 10 minutes before the race, but I am so glad I did. I’m pretty sure that’s what gave me all my energy the first half. I ran into my student Drew from last spring and saw New Sarah and Lex while waiting to start. Sarah, Lex, and I screamed quietly to ourselves as we couldn’t believe what were about to do.
The gun went off, and we slowly made our way out of the entrance. I was so glad that I knew the race route because there were plenty of spots where I was able to follow the tangents of the road and save a few seconds. Man, there were some ticked off drivers those first few miles. Springfield PD and the race ambassadors did a great job keeping the traffic out of our way all morning.
I have no idea what my mile splits were, but I finished the race with an 11:57 pace, which was exactly where I wanted to be. My plan was to run the first 25–30 minutes and then walk 1, run 5 the rest of the way, but I kept feeling good, so I kept running. I didn’t walk at all (except a few steps through the water stops ). At mile two, I rendezvoused with my family and earned one toe for my pedicure. Both my mother and my mother-in-law had signs cheering for me, and they were the hit of the race! Apparently every Sarah on the course loved them, and I think every other runner wished their names were Sarah, too.
Just after seeing my family, I made it to the first water stop and took water from my good pal Heather M., who was working the station with the Community Blood Center. I stopped a moment to give her a hug before moving on.
I still felt good at mile three, so I kept trucking. I met my family again at mile 4.5ish and earned my second pedicured toe. I just felt good, so I just kept going. At mile 5, I sorta felt the urge to pee, so I got it out of the way instead of waiting until I really needed to go.
At about mile six, I started running with Cindy, a gal from Ozark who was also running her first half. She was a lifesaver! We were able to maintain an easy pace by getting to know one another, and I’m sure I would’ve walked part of the last mile without her.
At mile eight, after crossing the Kansas Expressway overpass, we met up with my family again who were cheering in fine form. I earned one more toe. We were off to Nathaneal Greene Park, and somewhere along the way I missed the eight-mile marker (which is hard to imagine because the mile markers were probably six feet wide and 12 feet tall and held up with scaffolding), so when we came upon the nine-mile marker, I was ecstatic. Shortly before the turn around point for the half, we were passed by the front-running marathoner. He ended up finishing his marathon two minutes before we finished our half marathon. Ugh!
On our way back to the Kansas Expressway overpass, we met up once more with my family and I earned one more toe. I still felt pretty good, and at this point, there was no way I was going to walk unless I was really feeling bad. My hip didn’t give me any problems, but the back of my left knee was a little achy. It was tight all Sunday afternoon, but it’s feeling a bit better today.
I felt great until about mile 11.5 where we entered the final neighborhoods before Bass Pro. I’d run them before, but I hadn’t noticed the slight mile-long grade. I really wanted to walk, and no offense to the Army Reservists who were along the route, but they were no help whatsoever. Come on, guys! You could’ve given me a few, “Keep goings!” Cindy and I kept each other going, and once we turned to see the backside of Bass Pro, we got a second wind and hoofed our way to the finish line! I finally earned a ten-toed pedicure!
We moseyed around for about half an hour just so I could cool down and get some food in me. I called Linden, who was waiting in Germany to hear from me, and I talked to my grandma on the phone. We headed home and I showered. We met the family at Buckingham’s BBQ for lunch, and then Chris and I went home where I napped the rest of the afternoon.
The jury is still out on what marathon I’ll run, but once I’m back to 100% and back on the road, I’ll let you know the plan.
“If I want to be great I have to win the victory over myself… self-discipline.” — Harry S Truman