Let me tell the tale of the Half.

The Half Marathon has become something of a thing I just do. I’m not sure if I ever really analyzed why.

The Half just kind of happened to me.

I started in 2017 when my sister invited me to join her five weeks before the actual race. The 500 Festival each May is one of the largest of its kind and of course, I decided to run it, even though I hadn’t been training. And did I mention I had a 4-month old? 

 

What was I thinking? I could barely go 1 hour without nursing, how was I going to run more than two??

I figured it out.

I ended up just bringing Anni with me to Indy. My sister’s daughter, my niece Lennon, was 3 months older than Anni so when she mentioned that she’d found a sitter who could watch both girls for the morning, I knew we could work it out. (Although I might have had to pump in the back seat on the way to the race, all while guzzling a protein shake!!!)

As for the actual training…the harder part…I decided I wasn’t going to run that many miles before the actual race. Not that many miles in a row anyway. My training started at 4 mile runs and I went all the way up to 9 miles. Once.

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Lookie! This was BEFORE the name change on all the signage for St. V’s!

This is where I did all my training runs that month. A straight 1.5 mile shot. There and back. There and back. And as you can see, it was chilly enough to run with a fleece-lined Northface. I look back at that time now and pine for those chilly morning runs.

My times looked like this:

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#runkeeper

I remember thinking that if I could just stick to an average of 11 minute 72411617_1176402669415384_5124839481068748800_nmiles, I would be happy. I was 4-month postpartum after all. My biggest goal was to actually run the whole half come May.

And I did!

I had a great support team both in Evansville and in Indy! I remember Snapping this pic of myself at mile 8. And then texting it to a few friends. How I was able to do that and still run is beyond me!

I felt that the only way I was going to survive was if I took pictures of myself while running. Looking back at my face, I am amazed at how thin it looks!!

The 500 Festival races weren’t just a thing that I fell into as I think more about it.

They have really been a family affair since my Grandpa had started walking them in the early 2000s. I know there are years of photos from those races, but I don’t have them on my phone or I’d share some here!

In fact, the very first Half I ever did was in 2003. And I walked it. It took 3+hours.

Back to the Indy Half of 2016….

Here are a couple pre-race pics!

 

I did manage to run that whole thing. Somehow. By mile 11 my legs felt like jello but I knew I could do it. I think I passed my sister at mile 9. Somehow. I recall running a bit together and then just wanting it to be over.

I think I blocked most of the race out of my mind because that was the only way I can figure that I not only don’t have post-tramatic-run from that race, but that I can fathom understanding why I chose to run a second half later that year!

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I was so glad when that thing was over!

Fast forward to July.

I texted my friend Hannah from Nashville to see if she’d want to run the Evansville Half with me in October. She and I had run together in 2015 every weekend and had enjoyed wonderful conversations as we sloughed off baby weight from babies 3 (her) and 4 (me). I had an android phone then and don’t have ease of access from those days of running, but there is a pic somewhere of our success in the 10K we ran!! I’m still stunned I finished in 52 minutes. Seems like a dream that I ever ran a sub-8 minute mile…

So back to Hannah. She said sure!

So here it was, Half 2 for 2017!!

Hannah sent me a schedule of training that she was going to follow and so I began to run after just a few months off! Running was hotter, but I started moving a little faster!!!

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I remember two weeks before the race we were in Indy because our Arizona family was in town. I was scheduled to run 10 that weekend so I slapped my watch on and I ran…9. I texted my mom with every mile, which both kept me motivated and helped her know I was alive.

I remember a few things vividly about the “fall” 2017 running season.

 

That’s right. The almost-total eclipse. My training life. And Orange Leaf. You could never give a girl who is running 20 miles a week took much fro-yo. Looking back I’m a little nostalgic for that scarf too…that was the best infinity-nursing scarf!

If you’re wondering, this is what child 5 looked like month 10, which is what she was when I ran my second half of the year!

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Race Day came and we flew off! We finished the race in great time, both of us achieving PRs. I was so happy to shave off 15 minutes or so!

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Hard to believe this was exactly two years ago today!

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That race felt so much better! I ran without duress and I felt strong at the finish line!

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And thanks to my husband, I have the great pic of myself running toward that line with semi-flailing arms. But seriously, that was great of him!

Things took a sober turn the day after though.

I found out that I was pregnant! I’ll save everyone all the details because that pregnancy did not pan out and that could have been not only the end of my running days, but the end of my actual days. Two months after that race, the day after Thanksgiving, I wound up in the emergency room.

That was a hard time and I did blog about that. Feel free to read some of that here. The Other Miscarriage

God did use that circumstance to help me gain closure on our family and to know that we were finished multiplying.

One thing that I was not finished with, however, was RUNNING.

And God would bring me a running partner right here in Newburgh within months!!! Because it was only a matter of minutes into meeting my now life-long friend Krystia that I knew God had intended me to run again with someone by my side!

I toyed with doing the Half in 2018 in Indianapolis but life was too busy, and I felt I needed a break, but soon enough May turned into June and June into July, and I was ready for a challenge. Krystia said yes!

She shared a training plan with me and we began to run together every Saturday just as my friend Hannah and I had done when we’d trained years before that in Nashville. It was such an encouragement to have someone by my side to run with and talk to along the way.

The training months were not easy and made challenging emotionally by my Grandpa growing sicker. The man who had first inspired the racing and athleticism, the man who had connected my husband and I, the man after whom we had decided to name the second baby we ended up miscarrying after–this man, took his leave from us to heaven in August.

My friend Krystia is one of the most compassion-filled women I know. I don’t think she got many words in edgewise during those Saturday-month runs. She maintains she couldn’t talk and run. I don’t know! Maybe it was a bit of both??

I don’t have a lot of evidence of running pictures-wise that season, but I do have a fantastic after-race-shot of us before we guzzled down our gatorades and waters!

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The race itself was kind of indescribable. Thankfully I wrote about it so I wouldn’t forget. Here is that account The 2018 Evansville Half Marathon.

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My race results astounded me.

 

I still feel like something supernatural took flight in me because the entire year we had trained I had maintained a steady 10:30 average pace.

Then in that Evansville Half in 2018 Krystia and I ran together the first 9 miles, after which I jumped into speed mode. I felt that my Grandpa’s passing had pushed me beyond what I was physically capable of for my conditioning at the time.

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I was ecstatic about the 10 minute drop in my overall time from one year to the next!

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And there is just nothing quite like a warm fire to come home to after a chilly race! Looking back I remember that that Saturday morning was a frosty one!! This year’s half, thankfully was warmer for race day….although I could have done without the summer heat that spanned the WHOLE SUMMER, making daytime running outdoors virtually impossible. For me.

Which brings us to 2019.

You were probably wondering if I’d ever get there. You aren’t alone. This year was so much harder. I wondered from the beginning of the Half if I was ever going to get here too!

Well, my race photos finally arrived so now I’m there. Or here. Ready to talk about it.

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First of all, these were not yellow trees behind me. No way. None of the leaves had even budged in color yet on October 5. They are only just now trying to change, and some of the trees are dropping their leaves before they change. But I think the colors are lovely so I’m not going to complain. The sun was really pretty and the temps at the start of the race were perfect. High 40’s I think.

The training season was a mix of great races and really hard Saturday runs. I can’t tell you how many times I had to slow Krystia down and even walk. My shins started hurting day one! And I just didn’t feel it this year as I had in years past.

But I kept up the with training.

My average runs looked something like this throughout the season:

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I had days where I’d kick in a 9 min mile or where I would sustain a quick clip for a few miles but then I would totally run out of gas. Which is exactly what happened to me at the 2019 Evansville Half.

This is about an hour into the race I believe….note the closed eyes. I even thought to myself, my eyes are closed and there is the photographer! The first 6 miles I ran my traditional 9:45 race pace. I felt okay.

 

Then miles 7-9 looked a big slower…closer to 10. I could tell that something was going to give. Unfortunately, not even the grassy and tree-lined views could motivate me to speed up ever again in the race.

I mean, I don’t think you can tell from these pics, but I was DYING.

 

In fact, at mile 8 I took a pit stop at a port-o-potty and scrolled through my messages via my Apple Watch. Therein I found more motivation! A childhood friend of mine from Indy was in town and was at the race. Her husband works for the timing company that ran our clocks. I was so excited to see a message from her!

Then at mile 9 wow, my daughter and her American Heritage Girls troop were there, serving water! I took three cups!!!

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At mile 10 I pretty much died. This can clearly be seen from the sharp slow down in my splits those last four miles. At one point I actually choked on Gatorade and had to walk for a few yards!

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Is your brain tired from looking at this long list of miles and times? Like I said, I didn’t think I would ever finish!

THIS WAS THE FINISH LINE.

 

Krystia blew hers and my PR from last year out of the water, which was awesome to see! She waited a full 10 minutes for me to finish and earn the same time I had run in the fall of 2017.

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We wore those medals proudly.

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And there was my hubby Christian and my mom here to support me too! My sister sent me an “I’m proud of you” text, and then lastly, there was Anni, done with it all. I think that was a clear sign….

Now that’s it’s over and I’ve had a week or so to think about it, I haven’t changed my mind at all.

I am fully committed to a Half-Marathon-FREE 2020!!!! Anyone with me on that???

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And my other daughter, child 5, also agrees that we should take a break. Just look at this face.

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“No more Halfs, Mom!”

At least not for a couple years….

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