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A Simply Fabulous Half Marathon

July 4, 2009

IMG_2829 I DID IT!

I just had the TIME OF MY LIFE!!!  I cannot even express how excited I am right now.  If I was on cloud 9 two days ago prior to my race I am on cloud 9 x 1000 right now!!!

I don’t even have words!! Be prepared for a lot of photos in this post!

I have one thing to say though before I get to my recap; yes it was good but it was HARD WORK.  Oh my gosh, every step I took after 11 miles was rough.  It was hard hard work.  I will never ever again underestimate how much strength and power it takes to run so far.

Every single person who is a runner who is reading this …. seriously kudos to you. Honestly, no matter how much you run, no matter how far: 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, 13.1, or 26.2 … running is one hell of a sport that takes training, mental work and amazing strength.

Earlier this week I had doubts.  I knew I would finish all along.  But I had concerns about my time and letting myself down.

I have one thing to say about that: just FINISHING this was  a huge accomplishment and something I never dreamed of a year ago.

My time?


2 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds

I am so proud!!
That averages at about 9 minutes 48 seconds per mile. Yea baby!!!

Now, let’s start the day!!!

I woke up around 6am, way too excited to sleep.  I tried to sleep a little more and finally got up around 6:45.  I made myself a coffee and called my sister!! So glad she was working midnights and I could talk with her because she helped the time pass a bit!!  Around 7:15 I had breakfast!

Look what I woke up to!!!

Beautiful weather!!

IMG_2808 IMG_2809

1 slice wholemeal toast with peanut butter and banana.  I also had a bit of the banana on the side with a bit more peanut butter.


I talked to my sister for a bit longer and then eventually started to get ready.  Steve got up at 8:15 and I said “guess what? I’m running a half marathon today!” My resting heart rate was already at about 75 bpm because I was so excited! Normally it’s around 50!

We left for the starting point at 9am once I had everything packed and ready to go!



We got there quite early but I was thankful because I got to hit the toilets a couple times and gathered my thoughts! I had no idea how the heck to wear a chip but the lady at registration was very helpful.  Everyone who was running the race was so friendly!!  They were giving out these freebies at the starting line, both which I just put in my bag for after the race because I already had my energy shots clipped underneath my shirt.

IMG_2836 IMG_2841

Waiting to start! Pretty nervous at this point!


Walking up to the starting line.  Steve was such a good photographer for me!


I told the guy who has his back to me that I wanted to step aside to wait for Steve to get into position for my starting photos haha!!  He was totally great about it.  He was giving everyone a pep talk.


Once we hit that blue mat our time started.  The man said to me “ok are you ready?” and off I went!



If you can believe it I actually started to tear up within the first mile.  I just couldn’t believe that I was doing it and I couldn’t believe I had 13.1 miles ahead of me. Holy crap.  I finished my first mile in 8 minutes 29 seconds.  I thought I was going a bit fast and I didn’t want to hit a wall.

Miles 1 –3 felt amazing.  It was a very easy run.  I averaged those 3 miles in under 9 min miles.  I was trying to take in all the sights as well.  Most importantly I was trying to enjoy it.  At mile 2 though, I got a massive cramp in my side which was really strange for me, but I stretched it out and got through it.  At mile 3 we had a water station which felt fabulous.  I took a couple of sips and actually decided to pour the water down the front of me.  Loved it! It cooled me down a lot.

Miles 3-6 got a bit tougher.  At mile 4 there was this tunnel that was so dark!! They had warned us about the tunnel.  It was 360 yards long.  I almost had to walk through it because it was dark and slippery, but it was a nice time to get my breath.  There was another water station at mile 6 which I loved.  Again, threw the water down the front of me!  Water stations rock my world.  I took an energy shot at 5.5 miles.  It gave me so much of a boost.  I knew that Steve was going to try to see me somewhere between mile 6 and 10 so I kept waiting for the moment that I saw him.

Miles 6- 10 I took a couple more energy blocks.  I didn’t want to burn out but my pace had slowed down.  I used the pace setter that I got at the starting line and I looked at it every few minutes to see how I was getting on.  I had it around my wrist (the yellow thing in the photo above) and it really helped me set my pace.  My pace setter was for a finishing time of 2 hours and 10 minutes: my goal.  I knew once I passed 8.5 miles I had set a new personal distance record and that in itself was so motivating to keep on going.  There were a lot of bridges through this course, with very steep hills.  The hills were only about 10-15 seconds seconds long but my goodness they were steep.

Then there was mile 10.

Steve and his Mom and our niece Emily were there!!!!

Action shots!!


Look at me drinking my water.  Attractive eh??  You can’t really tell but the front of me is soaked!!


I ended up getting a BURST of energy and started speeding past them.  It really gave me a huge uplift to know that they were there at that point!!! I do remember yelling at Steve though and saying i’m so tired!!!

Miles 11- 13.1 were definitely the toughest throughout the whole race.  I just kept on thinking “i’m so close.”  I had to stop a couple of times and speed walk.  These miles, even though I was so close were so trying on me.  My legs felt like lead each step I took.  All of a sudden I was getting leg cramps and I kept on thinking “but I ate my banana this morning!” haha.. oh man.  It was so so hard you guys, I didn’t think I would make it.

There was a man who I passed, and then eventually at mile 12 he passed me.  I looked at him and shook my head and I told him I couldn’t do it.  He ended up running with me the rest of the way.  Maybe it was on purpose, maybe we were just running the same pace but I swear I credit this man for getting me through it those last 2.1 miles.  I THINK it was the man in the above photo who was wearing bib 630.  I kept saying to him “where is our 13 mile marker?!” He kept saying we’re almost there!

Then I hit mile 13. I said to him i’m going for it!!! I started to sprint!!

As soon as I got to the finish I saw loads of people around clapping and shouting.  I flew through that finish line!!!  I got my medal and two cups of water.  I also found the guy who helped me through those last two miles and shook his hand and told him thank you and how much he helped me.

Steve eventually found me!

IMG_2829                IMG_2830

2 hours 8 minutes 24 seconds


Emily was very excited with her strawberries!


I found it very odd that I wasn’t hungry at all.  I didn’t want anything.  Steve’s Mom offered me some strawberries but I couldn’t stomach them.  My legs were aching though and I just kept on saying I couldn’t believe it.

We took a few more photos and then eventually made our way back to the car!

Steve and I!


My Future Mother-in-Law, Emily and I!!


My legs were aching so much!! But there was such a buzz down at the finish line that I didn’t let it get to me too much!

Once at the car, I had a banana and a bit of the bar I got at the starting line.

IMG_2837 IMG_2836 IMG_2839

I didn’t like the bar at all to be honest and probably would not buy them myself.  It had that fake taste to it.  Way too over processed and just not very nice at all.  Because I wasn’t extremely hungry, I just wasn’t feelin’ it so I ended up throwing the rest of it out.

Now I am home.. and i’m all showered and i’m trying to re-fuel the best I know how!!

I burned 1404 calories! WOW!

I got out of the shower and had a pretty calorie dense lunch:


6” grilled chicken sandwich, a nectarine and a 9 bar.
The 9 bar is about 230 calories itself so it packs a lot in!

Well, i’m going to spend the rest of the day resting, stretching, eating and just taking it all in!!!

THANK YOU all so much for your amazing support over the last little while. 

I’ll be doing another post on Lessons Learned now that i’ve finished this race.  I definitely have a few!!

13.1 MILES – JULY 4TH, 2009

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46 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2009 3:05 pm

    Congratulations Leah! What an accomplishment (and what a FAST time)!!!!

    Make sure you celebrate tonight!

  2. July 4, 2009 3:27 pm

    yay you!! congratulations! and an awesome finish time too :)

  3. Bree permalink
    July 4, 2009 3:30 pm

    CONGRATS!!! That’s SO Awesome!!! :-D

  4. July 4, 2009 3:31 pm

    OMG LEAH I have the biggest goofy grin on my face right now!!! I am so so so proud of you, you don’t even know!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t think I have EVER seen you look so truly happy and that is such a great thing. You rocked it! And wow Steve was such a great photographer!!! LOL.

  5. July 4, 2009 3:33 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! What a fantastic experience and accomplishment!! :-)

  6. July 4, 2009 3:39 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I’m so beyond impressed and proud of you!!!

  7. rediscoveringlauren permalink
    July 4, 2009 3:39 pm

    congratulations :) you did so great!!! its such an accomplishment and so inspiring!

  8. July 4, 2009 3:42 pm

    Congrats Leah!!! I’m so proud of you! :) That’s a really great time too!!! I think you beat all of my 1/2 marathon times. You are speedy!

    I’m sooo glad that you had such a great race. Think you are ready for a full now? ;) I bet you’ve caught the race bug hardcore huh!

    Have a great weekend!!

  9. July 4, 2009 3:46 pm

    CONGRATS!!!! Way to go – so inspiring :)

  10. July 4, 2009 3:49 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS SWEETY!! Awesomeness! You did so great! I can relate to the high :-) I also felt the same after my races: no food please! But later you do get a little weak, so well done for having a good lunch. What a calorie burn!!!

  11. July 4, 2009 4:03 pm

    You totally rock!!!! CONGRATS! That is an amazing time – you are so inspiring me right now. I’m shooting for the Sept Virginia Beach half and am scared to death, but knowing that you did it with 8.5 being your longest distance prior makes me feel better. Thanks for sharing….and the pics are great!

  12. July 4, 2009 4:11 pm

    CONGRATZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was totally thinking about you today! Wondering how it went! You look amazing and sooo happy in those pictures..You did so well!!! You should toot your own horn alot this week! lol Stretch it out!!

  13. July 4, 2009 5:41 pm

    HUGE congratulations Leah! SOOOOOOO HAPPY for you! (I am crying, lol!)

  14. July 4, 2009 6:45 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Awesome job! I love all the pictures; you look soooooo happy! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)

  15. July 4, 2009 7:24 pm

    Wow hon, congratulations!! What a massive personal accomplishment. You must be so proud! Rest those legs now. :)

  16. July 4, 2009 7:56 pm

    YAYAY! Leah, Congratulations!! You are my running role model. I enjoyed reading your recap so much. I love the play-by-play of your feelings on everything. You should be so proud right now, just for endeavoring to do this, then to complete it, then to have such an AMAZING time!
    Matt and I went out for my first run today since my 10k, and I struggled a lot. You’re right…running is hard. You’ve just reminded me why it can be so rewarding though. Thank you.
    Love Steve’s England shirt ;) We have a couple of those in our house!

  17. Fabulous Mom permalink
    July 4, 2009 9:27 pm

    Congratulations Leah!!!! We are so proud of you and your hard work!! WTG!! :) xo

  18. Ariel permalink
    July 4, 2009 9:54 pm


  19. July 4, 2009 9:58 pm

    Congrats on finishing your first half and your great time :)

  20. July 4, 2009 10:41 pm

    I am SO SO SO excited for you Leah!!! Congratulations!!! We all knew you could do it, and you obviously did an amazing job. :D

    I can’t even imagine what it felt like to accomplish such an amazing feat. 13.1 miles… WOW! As always, I am so impressed by you Leah, and totally admire your strength, persistence, and attitude. :)


  21. July 4, 2009 11:18 pm

    Congratulations on an amazing run! I love your detailed race recap. Your emotions and excitement are captured very perfectly (the photos are great, too). The best thing is that you look sooo HAPPY! :D

  22. Kari permalink
    July 5, 2009 12:42 am

    Oh wow Leah, congratulations :) I am so proud of and for you!! And I love the way you wrote through the different stages of the race…I’m still aiming for running 12km (a LOT less than your half, but nonetheless) here in a couple of months and I think the last 1-2km of that will tax me, so it’s nice to read how you got through the hard points in your race. I also loved reading about the guy who helped you – so nice! xxx

  23. July 5, 2009 1:28 am

    What an awesome, inspirational race recap! You rock, girl!!!

  24. July 5, 2009 2:39 am

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are officially awesome! Just to let you know… :-D Are you planning on running another one soon?

  25. Yolanda permalink
    July 5, 2009 5:59 am

    Awesome job sis!!! I’m so proud of you!
    You make me want to start running….crazy eh! Me running! HAHA

    Love you!

  26. July 5, 2009 1:58 pm

    Wow what at great job, wonderful pics Steve did an amazing job. Congrats girl you did awesome!!! :)

  27. July 5, 2009 6:13 pm

    Congratulations! Your smile says it all!

    The medal is awesome.


  28. July 5, 2009 11:53 pm

    WOW CONGRATS!!!!!!! That is so amazing!!!! I bet you are so excited!!! Wahoooooooooooo!

  29. July 6, 2009 3:09 am

    WOWOWOWOWOWWWW! leah! CONGRATS! girl, that is a super fast time! you are a speed demon :D i loved the recap, i am so impressed and proud of you. you are SUCH an amazing runner. good job woman.. you kick some serious butt!

  30. July 6, 2009 3:37 am


  31. Mark permalink
    July 6, 2009 4:25 am

    Congrats Leah! That’s awesome…just got back from my trip, and mom told me the news :) I’m so proud of you, it’s great!

  32. Sarah permalink
    July 6, 2009 5:10 am

    Congratulations Leah! From my three emails, I think you know how simply fabulous you are for completing your first half, but I wanted to make an official comment!

    I can’t wait to see where this next chapter of your life takes you!!!

  33. July 6, 2009 1:21 pm

    Incredible time girl! You rocked that half! Way to go!

  34. July 6, 2009 1:54 pm

    So proud of you Leah!!!!

    Look at you setting a goal, going for it, and at such a blazing pace too! ;) Congrats!!!!

  35. July 6, 2009 2:01 pm

    Way to go Leah! I am so happy for you! You seriously rocked that out, and you couldn’t be more rockin’ for doing so! Enjoy that medla – you earned it :)

  36. July 6, 2009 2:37 pm

    Congratulations lady! That is truly an accomplishment. :) Glad you had such a great time, you will always remember your first big race!

  37. Amanda permalink
    July 6, 2009 3:14 pm

    Congrats on the great race!! Glad you had so much fun and that you’re looking into doing another!

  38. July 7, 2009 7:50 pm

    this post is amazing! CONGRATS! i have signed up for a half marathon at the end of sept and im so scared. im not a good runner but i want to do this so bad! this made me feel better about it and let me envision how great i’m going to feel when i cross the finish line. Thank you for being SO INCREDIBLY INSPIRING!

  39. July 8, 2009 9:04 am

    Excellent job! Your post is so inspiring… I’m pretty sure if I ever attempt a half, I’ll need to walk long before mile 11 :-). You should be so proud of yourself! And I hope the muscle soreness has gotten better.

  40. July 8, 2009 10:03 pm

    Woah, you are such an inspiration, GOOD JOB! You had a great time and it’s so great that you had fun :) I can’t believe you just signed up for that a few months ago and did it :)

  41. July 10, 2009 3:14 pm

    I know its been awhile, but I wanted to congratulate you. You did AWESOME!

  42. nikislosingit permalink
    August 2, 2009 4:33 am

    Congrats Leah! What a great accomplishment! Must feel so great to have made the goal and completed it!!


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