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Race Recap: My First Half Marathon

27 May

A tale of my trip to the start line.

About seven years ago I met my best friend. We were inseparable from the start – truly two peas in a pod. When our first New Years rolled around, we resolved to start running and sign up for a race. She is a former competitive soccer player and me a collegiate figure skater. We both have a bit of a competitive spirit. 😉

We ran together after work for three months and then ran our first race together finishing side by side. Image

Thanks to new jobs, relocating and busy schedules, we stayed friends but lost our nightly runs. 

Katie has always been a runner while I have been touch and go. However, last year my passion for running came back strong and I completed a 5K, two 10Ks and a 10-miler. So this year, I was ready to take on my first half marathon – and yes, Katie would be running by my side once again.

The Bayshore is a very popular race as it guides the runners along the bay in Traverse City, MI. The views are stunning, rounding the corner to the sun rising over the water is something that doesn’t leave your memory anytime soon. 

I did a decent amount of training for this race and felt ready mileage-wise, but I was very nervous for the race. I was so, so lucky to have my best, her boyfriend and our other friend all running with me.

On Friday night, we rolled into town and headed over to the expo to check in.

Mom and dad whipped up the perfect pre-run dinner to help me fuel for the big day. I got myself organized and headed to bed.

Race Morning

Katie and Chad came over to our house bright and early and Phil drove us over to the drop off-point just before 6am. The half-marathoners are bussed out to the end of the peninsula and then run back.

The line to board wasn’t bad and I planned to drink my very small iced coffee and pb & nanner toast on the way out. The food worked well and I felt great. We arrived to the start point, immediately got in line for the blue fridges to beat the rush and then had 30 min that we used to do some shake outs and prep before the run.

At 7:25 we lined up, sang the National Anthem and we were off!! It was such a rush! 

This was Katie’s fourth half, so she was a great resource and strength to have with me. We ran the first mile at 9:36, which was great considering all of the ducking and weaving. Once we pulled away from some of the group, we locked in at a 9:20 pace and by mile 4 were down to a 9:10 pace. It felt good.

The fist six miles were pure joy – everything was going right; I felt strong, my food had plenty of time to digest, the pace was great and the view was amazing. 

At mile five, we had our first cheerleading squad sighting.

My mom, dad and husband were up and at ’em cheering us along! It was so awesome and literally brought tears to my eyes. To have that support (at the crack of dawn no less) means so much.

Can you see us waving?!

Chad speeding by.

Miles 7 and 8 were fairly uneventful. And then about halfway though 8 I felt my legs start to tighten. It was something I had never experiences, but I pushed through turning on my music to distract my mind.

At mile 10 we had another cheerleader sighting, this time my brother and his fiance were there, too! I was D_O_N_E at this point, I wanted to stop and walk for a second (we ran the entire race), but Katie shared some encouraging words and said it hurt her too, but this pain is what we worked for, no time to stop. It was just what I needed. I made it through mile 11 and onto 12 where I finally hit my wall. My legs were done and I was not sure what to do. I told Katie to keep going and I stopped to take a deep breath. Every part of my body hurt and told me to stop, but I knew I was crossing that finish line one way or another.

I took a breath, looked forward and told myself, “Go Brynn, just go.” I finished the last 1.1 miles with pain and tears in my eyes, I was about to accomplish one of the most challenging goals.

I crossed at 1:59:47, (57/188 for Females 25-29), pace of 9:16.

A sub 2-hr finish, I could hardly believe it. 🙂

I gathered my water and medal and immediately went to refuel. It took about 30 min, water and some chocolate milk for me to feel better; I don’t think I took in enough liquid on the course. 

All of my supporters came over to give me a big sweaty hug and capture my big moment!

Top to bottom: Shane and his fiance, Nichole made the sweetest sign, the three halfsies, me and my other half, all of my crazy family who love me enough to cheer like mad on the side of the road at the crack of dawn. 🙂

I am so proud of myself for accomplishing this goal. It certainly was not easy before, during, or now after. There has been blood, sweat and tears, but it was totally worth it. I can now say I ran a half marathon.

But I couldn’t have crossed the finish line without all of the love and support of my friends, family and husband. Somehow Phil understood my need to wake up early on Saturdays and disappear for hours, get in my speed play at 6am or to scoot off at night to get in a few miles after work. My complaining, worrying and even moments of pure joy when I met my goals, he stood by me through all of it. He is my biggest cheerleader. Even to the bitter end driving me to the race at 5am and calculating where I would be through the route to see me as much as possible. I am a lucky girl.

Thank you, everyone.

XO-

BB