Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. - 1 Cor 9:24-27

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My First Half Marathon

After a five hour drive, I met my sister and my mom at the fanciest hotel that I've ever been to, The Inn at Bay Harbor.  The valet took my keys and I wondered what he thought as he parked our 14 year old Chevy truck among all the new high end vehicles.

My sister put together an awesome pre-race surprise bag; though some of the items are for after the race.  An indulgence ... "I've burned over a thousand calories, so I can eat this"
Thank you!  Thank you!

It rained most of Friday.  The forecast for Saturday was rain and thunderstorms.  As we drove to the race, it was raining.  I kept saying that just before the race, the clouds were going to disperse and it would be a wonderful day for a run.  Sure enough, it stopped raining just in time.  The temperature was 65 deg and the humidity was low.

The three of us before the race:  my little sister, my mom, and me
Don't we look super cute in our matching outfits?

Mile 1:  11:15
  My little sister started closer to the finish since she's much faster than us.  Mom and I went more towards the back of the pack.  I warned my mom that we are not starting out fast.  My goal was to finish and try to run 2:30 which means that I needed an average pace of 11:25  At 6:11 into the race, we realize that my mom's garmin wasn't on the training mode; therefore didn't start at the start.

Mile 2:  10:47
  Under 11:00!!!  Are we going too fast?  Will we be walking like some others that we passed?  "See, Mom.  We were smart for not starting out too fast."

Mile 3:  11:01
  My mom exclaims that she just ran her first 5K!  Yeah, go Mom!

Mile 4:  11:12
  The kids at the aid station had water cannons.  One of them blasted me full force in the stomach.  It took my breath away.  This aid station also had licorice and pretzels.  Neither of those sounded good.

Mile 5:  11:30
  Ran on a wooden bridge that lasted for over a mile.  I saw my little sister going the other way.  Gave a big high five.  She yelled that she was beating her virtual partner that she had set up on her Garmin.  Yahoo!  Keep it up, little sister!!

Mile 6:  10:51
  At the half way mark, our overall time was 1:12 ... not too bad for us newbies.  I was worried that I was going to fade.

Mile 7:  10:51
  Under 11:00!!!  My mom slows to a walk saying that she is out of gas.  I continue on.

Mile 8:  11:22
  Back on the wooden bridge.  8.5 miles is the longest run that I've done up to this point.  I'm eating my gel and I look over my shoulder and there is my mom right next to me again.  "Where did you come from?" I asked.  "I ate some beans, so now I'm good," she answered.

Mile 9:  11:01
  Warned the aid station kids not to aim the water gun directly at me but in the air.   This was the first time that I asked for gatorade rather than water.  Wrong choice, it tasted awful.  A lady, who has been running behind us for almost eight miles, informs us that she likes our outfits and finally read what the back of our shirt says.  The back of our tank says, "You're been passed by a skirt."

Mile 10:  10:56
  The next aid station was volunteered by the local fire department.  One lady had a bowl of ice.  I grabbed some and placed it on my neck for a while.  Ahhhh

Mile 11:  11:04
  Back into the local neighborhood.  One house was playing music for the runners.  As I went by, the song that was playing was "We like to move it, move it; we like to move it, move it."  Perfect timing.  I need that one on my playlist.

Mile 12:  11:30
  Slight incline, well compared to my hills at home, next to the local ski hill.  I mention to my mom that I was going to kick it in because I just couldn't have her beat me.  Wrong thing to say.  She increases the pace too.

Mile 13:  10:21
  I just couldn't let my mom out run me.  I started kicking it in at about 1.5 miles to go ... way too early, I discovered.  I could hear her behind me.

Last 0.1:  8:43 pace
  Sprinting to the finish.  My mom is not too far behind.  Must go faster!
First Half Marathon!!!!
2:25:29  -  11:07 pace
 25/31 in age group; 186/243 women; 343/479 overall
1443 calories burned

As you can see in the picture, my mom was right behind me.   She did such a wonderful job running the race.

The course was a beautiful:

Check out the huge medals!

Standing on the working drawbridge.  The race director warned us to be over the bridge ten minutes before the race in case the bridge opened for a boat.

Back at the hotel, we relaxed and walked out our legs on the beach.

No one was willing to play me in a game of chess.

I'm so proud of how much I have accomplished.  November 2009, I could run for maybe 20 minutes.  Seven months later, I ran for 13.1 miles!!  I'm so proud of my little sister who's time was 1:56!!  You rock!  I'm so proud of my mom who just about kicked my butt!

After the race, I called the hubby and the kids.  They survived the night without me and gave me permission to stay one more night.  Thank you so much for giving this mom a huge R & R!!  A huge thank you to my hubby on distracting a 15 month old who still nurses at night.  A huge thank you to my hubby for getting all the kids to soccer practice and to church.  Juggling five kids by yourself is no easy feat!

My 'running sponsor' awarded me with my own pair of Vibram Five Fingers - KSO style  Thank you!!

Sunday, I attended Mass with my mom and little sister.  I didn't have to worry about keeping kids quiet.  I could focus all my attention on Jesus.  Thank you for keeping us safe on the drive to the race, during the race, and on the drive home.  Thank you for a family who wanted to run 13.1 miles with me and is considering doing it again next year.
St. Xavier Catholic Church in Petoskey, MI


  1. Awesome job on your half marathon! I think it is awesome that you were able to run it with your mom and sister! You will always remember this one:) I love the picture of you relaxing by the lake!

  2. Very nicely done!!! Coolest thing ever to run with your mom and sis. You are very blessed--but you already knew that! Love the outifts and wowee what a great hotel! Congrats!

  3. Great race and great report, Cheryl. Congrats!

  4. So I was stalking your blog all weekend long waiting for the half-marathon update and then life was too busy to be online for more than minute for the last two days, but I have to say reading this was so worth the wait!!! Thanks for the fabulous update. I felt like I was there with you. You three all look so happy. My only question: why was there no dark chocolate in the treat bags?

  5. Thank you all for your sweet comments. We had a blast.

    The treat bag is what my little sister brought. I did bring three different kinds of organic dark chocolate. I was thinking of you actually when I bought them. =) Forgot to mention it in my recap though.

  6. Wow, you did AWESOME!! We are like long-lost sisters, I think. Catholic, lots of kids, ran our first 1/2 marathons this year...pretty cool! I'll be checking in often :)

  7. Nice work! That is a very positive first half story! How do I get a running sponsor?

  8. Marian VolmeringMonday, July 05, 2010

    What a great post. Love the update. It was one of the greatest times with my two daughters. Still can't believe we did it. Never thought we would accomplish this together. Thanks for the fun time. Looking forward to the next race.