I Did It! : The Half Marathon

I Did It! : The Half Marathon

I still can’t believe it, but I did it! On Sunday morning, I woke up at 3:30 to start getting ready to take on one of the biggest personal challenges in recent memory. After waking the kids and having a very early morning birthday gift opening for my baby’s 4th birthday, we headed out the door before 5 a.m.

We stood outside in the runner’s village for 2 hours waiting for the race to start. By the time the race was about to start, I had a headache from clenching my teeth for 2 hours and my toes were frozen. I wasn’t even nervous anymore, I just wanted to get moving and warm up!

I will tell you from the bottom of my heart that all I wanted of myself on Sunday was to have fun and cross the finish line smiling, and I did both. Although, my smile may have looked a bit more like a grimace – it was painful! I had so much fun though. At mile 3 as I ran up and over a bridge lined with cheering fans and music playing, I got choked up. I was really out there doing it. Nothing mattered then except just keeping going.

My devoted cheering squad stood in the cold watching 10,000 runners go by in hopes of catching a short glimpse of me. It made me feel pretty special. My 6 year old daughter made a bright pink sign that said “GO MOM” on it. At mile 8, I saw her standing at that corner yelling my name, I threw my arms in the air in happiness and stopped to give that special girl a big hug. My 4 year old also made sure to get a hug too, then I went on my way.

I felt great for the first 10 miles (believe me, that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d say) and the last 3 were tough. I kept thinking of a quote I’d heard a few days earlier: “Run the first third of the race with your legs, the second third with your mind and the last third with your heart”. I had to do just that, as my legs and mind were ready to give up.

I was running in the only marathon and half marathon dedicated solely to breast cancer research. I thought of all the women who have battled, are battling or have lost the battle and just kept going. The crowd support was amazing. Women standing on the side of the road with signs saying “Thank You” as we all passed by. Kids cheering for parents, passing out high fives to anyone who would give them. I remembered to keep smiling.

I made it to the finish, and I ran faster than I imagined I’d be able to the whole way. 2 hours, 10 minutes on the nose. It was the first time I’d ever run 13 miles in my life and I felt so good when I was done. I had really done it. I hauled myself to that starting line and I put one foot in front of the other for 13 miles. I kept going when I thought I couldn’t do it.

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  1. How awesome! Congratulations!!!!

  2. SOOOOO awesome Emily!!! Congrats!!

    we just watched an old episode of “how I met your mother” where Barney ran the NY Marathon….thought he felt GREAT….until he got on the subway and couldn’t get off because he couldn’t use his legs once he sat down! lol

    Emily Reply:

    So funny and so true!! I feel fabulous right now as long as I don’t try to move :)

  3. So I’ll tell ya – I went & signed up for the 1/2 in May I was telling you about, after I saw your pics last night. I was deeply moved by the pictures, and even more so by your story. I so wish we could do a race together – wouldn’t that be fun?!?

    Emily Reply:

    I would love it – it would be fun!! You’ll do awesome!!!

  4. Oh, congratulations, Emily! I’m so proud of you to step up and so something you’ve always dreamed about. Now if I can just use you as an inspiration to get my butt out of my chair…

  5. Congratulations on accomplishing a personal milestone. Your persistence is inspiring.

  6. Awesome job!! You are very encouraging and inspiring. Congratulations on going the distance and not letting anything stop you.

  7. You ROCK! What a great accomplishment!!

  8. Way to go. That is quite an accomplishment!

  9. So proud of you, GF! Really proud!

  10. CONGRATS!!! WOOHOO!!!!! GO EMILY!!! I am so excited for you! That is an amazing accomplishment & I’m so proud you did it!!


  11. Awesome job, Emily! I ran my first half a few years ago and swore I would never do it again. But seeing your post just gave me the “itch”!

    Also, love that quote about the last third being all heart. So true!

  12. What a great job!!!! And your time is awesome! I have a friend whose husband ran the full marathon! I hope your weather was as great as ours was in Birmingham for our half marathon on Sunday….. it was PERFECT running weather here!

  13. YaY what an accomplishment!!

  14. I ran a 5K for the first time this last November. It was an incredible experience for me. Sooooo challenging. Very spiritual. Extremely memorable. Even thinking about a 13 is scary. For me, it was soooo difficult, and I was soooo proud that I could say I did it! I can relate to all of your feelings of elation in the end, and the pushing yourself at the finish. Your story is inspirational. Thanks for sharing, and CONGRATULATIONS! I always enjoy reading your blog, although this is the first time I’ve left a note. God bless you, and keep keeping it ‘authentic’. ;)

  15. Congrats! Love the photos!

  16. so awesome!

    when we lived in Denver I considered doing the Bolder Boulder not only for the accomplishment, but also for the experience of ending the race in a jam packed arena full of cheering folks – what a thrill! :)

  17. Congratulations! What an amazing accomplishment!

  18. I am weeping reading this post. Weeping. Congratulations, friend. That is such a beautiful accomplishment. AND YOUR BLOG? I read you in a reader usually…it’s gorgeous!!

  19. Congrats! A truly awesome accomplishment.

  20. SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!

  21. Way to go!!! Congrats!!!!!

  22. Amazing! You did great! Awesome time, too. In training for my first half this April I have heard the that 10 mile mark is where you have to dig deep and find your determintion. You did it!

  23. congratulations!

  24. so proud of you..you ran when others couldn’t. Something so much bigger than yourself yes?

  25. Congratulations!
    What a fantastic achievement to run a half marathon.
    You are also being a great role model for your children in your running and dedication and your ultimate achievement.

  26. Wow! Just … wow! That rocks! I’m hoping to do a few 5ks this summer. Maybe a 1/2 marathon for me next summer :)

  27. what an inspiration and an accomplishment! congrats!

  28. so proud of you!

  29. This is so inspiring. You should be extremely proud of yourself. Congratulations!

  30. Yeeeeeeaahhh! Yeahhhh!

    (That’s the sound of me cheering this last weekend. Awesome, awesome, Emily!)

  31. Congratulations!!! It is a big achievement.

    I have done a few and everytime I cross the finish line..I still tear up. It is a culmination of hard work, and more importantly..amazement that I can do this!

    I am very happy for you. Great Timing for the Half completion…

  32. Congratulations, Emily!!!!
    Great time, too! (I came in at 2:32 on my 1st 1/2 last Nov)
    So, are you going to keep up the training and run the Disney Marathon? (It was my 1st marathon and SO MUCH FUN!)
    Congrats again & I hope I’ll see you on a course sometime.

  33. Joanne Daggett says:

    So PROUD of you !!! I ran my first two months before I turned 40 and was elated ! You GO girl !!!

  34. Got all emotional reading this…how exciting. I’m running my first 5k this weekend and I’m nervous and scared but stories like yours keep pushing me to go forward (I ran many years ago in HS but now I’m 40 and VERY slow and heavy when I run…just wish I hadn’t stopped!LOL). Congratulations!!

  35. Yea you! I greatly admire runners of marathons and half marathons! Kelly

    p.s. found your blog through the 31 day series.

  36. Great job!

    Running a half marathon is one of my goals for this year. I can’t wait to do it!

  37. congratulations!! i ran the half marathon last year and the full marathon this sunday! what a beautiful race for a great cause.

  38. Emily, that is great. You are an inspiration. I am training for a 1/2 marathon in late April. I would appreciate any advice you could give this 45 year old.

  39. That is so cool. Congrats!!!

  40. Congrats! A half-marathon is an awesome accomplishment.

  41. we missed each other – we moved from the area is 2001! my in-laws are still there. makes me want to go back and do the bolder boulder this spring :)

  42. Absolutely amazing and inspiring, Emily! Missed this the first time round, but congratulations!


  43. okay let’s see if my reply actually shows up below your comment. Did I ever tell you that I went to UC Boulder for college? And ran the Bolder Boulder? I did it with my hubby who doesn’t run at all. It’s really awesome. I had to drag him into the stadium when he wanted to crawl at the end :)

    heidi @ wonder woman wannabe Reply:

    no, I didn’t know you went there! :) very cool!
    We lived in Denver from 2002-2005 and would go back in a heartbeat if we had a worthy job opportunity.


  1. [...] Willing your heart and mind to keep going in a half marathon when your legs are ready to give up on you. Read more about Emily’s race at Remodeling This Life. [...]

  2. [...] signed up for and ran my first half marathon back in February while my hubby and kids stood in the cold for 2 hours to cheer for me for the 15 [...]