Last Saturday, I ran my first half marathon ever! It was amazing. It was a gorgeous course running from Santa Ynez to Solvang (30 min. from my hometown). I ran with my cousin & friend, and we stuck together the whole time! I keep thinking that when my children look back on this picture, it will be neat to see the gas prices waaaaay back in 2013!
Rach forgot her bib in her mom's car, so she got a random bib 2 minutes before start time! It was so funny to hear people at the aid stations give us water and say, "Great job, Kara! Go Roxanna!" It's her sexy running alter-ego :)
Before the race & scenery along the way:
We got stuck in the porta potty cube of death before the race! There was a big square lined with potties on three sides. People were lined up in all directions, it was madness. We ended up in a line that was actually 4 lines merging into two. There were probably 200 runners waiting, and we all were saying there was no way the race would start on time because there were so many of us still waiting. WRONG. They started anyway. And we still had to check our bags because we didn't want to lose our spot in line! So here I am crossing the start line, running while putting my phone in my armband and hooking up headphones!
The residents along the course were AMAZING! We saw a woman walking a turkey, people sitting in lawn chairs cheering us on, but the best were these people:
Sitting at the end of their property, in the back of their pickup truck with their dogs, waving an American flag. They said, "God Bless America!" as we ran by and I was so happy to be home. You just don't see or hear that sort of thing in Santa Cruz!
Lindsay, Matt, & the girls met us at about the halfway point in Los Olivos. I could see the big flagpole for about a half mile, and it really gave me a burst of energy knowing that they were there waiting for us!
I ran up and saw Ada cheering, "Go Mommy, you can do it Mommy!" And Lola didn't know what was going on until I kissed her cheek :)
I didn't think I was going to be in the picture below...
I was feeling pretty amazing after scaling Corkscrew Hill to Josh Groban's Awake. I felt like I was in a movie! The golden rolling hills, the oak trees, the green lines of vineyards...it was so beautiful. I absolutely loved running with Jessica and Rachel. It was so good to know that when one of us was weak, another would be strong and lift the others up!
So there was this bison, a very protective mama! She charged Rach when she went in for a picture, and it was the funniest thing I've ever seen! She moved SO fast and everyone running was cracking up. I wish I had a video!
I LOVED miles 4-9. I was in my groove and my calves had loosened up. By mile 10, I needed a potty break and so did Rach. We stopped and then continued on, my hips and pelvis hurting more with each step. I've worked so hard since having Lola to get my shifty hips tight again, and I feel like all of my hard work held up until mile 10. My body was exhausted, and I had eaten all of my Skittles & Shot Bloks. It felt like all of my ligaments just relaxed and I could feel my bones moving and rubbing against each other.
At the 11.5 mile mark, I saw a sign with a hot pink shirt on it. I thought, "Hey, I have a shirt like that." Then I realized that Rachel's pic was on the poster next to it! It was my awesome sister-in-law, Kandie! She made a poster and came at the point where I wanted to quit. If it weren't for her at the bottom of that hill, I probably would've walked up it instead of run! Sorry for the big sweaty hug, but I was so happy that you came out and surprised us...we needed it at that point!
I wasn't mentally prepared for the hills at the end. I looked at the elevation map and thought once I made it past Corkscrew Hill, I was home free. Do not discount those rolling hills those last 3 miles! They may look small but they are no joke. I was getting goosebumps and felt like my legs were going to give out at the tops.
I kept saying to myself, "You run 2 miles in your sleep. You run 2 miles in your sleep."
When I finally rounded the last half-mile (worst of my life), I could hear people cheering and knew the finish line was close. I first saw my Nana & Bobba, which was a surprise because they were driving up from a long week of serving at the Los Angeles Temple! I know they were tired and it meant so much to see them there! I almost burst into tears. Then Matt lifted Ada over the railing and she ran across the finish line with me.
What a perfect way to end a race. See Bobba in the background? :)
She was smiling and waving at everyone cheering us on. I have a future race buddy on my hands!
She loved wearing my medal & almost snatched one of her own!
The three of us, after completing our first half marathon together! My hot pink compression socks saved my calves...and made me stick out in a crowd. Matt said he was looking for my socks! They are miracle workers.
Afterward, Rach & I took advantage of the free massage booth. That should be a part of every race...best feeling ever! I walked (slowly) away with a bruise on the top of my left foot, and my right pinky toe is still numb. My knees and ankles are starting to feel back to normal.
Ada wanted to ice her feet along with Rach :)
Then we headed to Kay's Country Kitchen in Old Orcutt for the best breakfast food in the West. Seriously. Matt and I split the BAGS Omelette and Texas French Toast. I ate my full halves of everything. Matt says he doesn't like me running half marathons because I eat all of the food he was planning on finishing for me!
I finally got my big Dr. Pepper that I was dreaming of the whole run.
Our gun time was off because of the porta potty debacle, but my official chip time was 2:57:27.5. I am happy with that because I wasn't out to set a record, I was out to push myself to finish and never stop. Not bad for having surgery 44 days previous! I feel so empowered and strong after finishing this race. I am so grateful for a strong body and for a will to push forward and work hard. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who gave me this body, this beautiful Earth to enjoy, and these wonderful people I get to call family to support me in all of my endeavors along the way.
We decided that this needs to be a Mother's Day Weekend tradition, so I am excited to run it again next year with more friends and with this experience under my belt! Thanks for a wonderful time Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon!