Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 St. Jude Half Marathon!

This race marked my fourth half marathon, and I was determined to get a PR. To top it off, I entered as a St. Jude Hero! St. Jude has always held a special place in my heart, as I absolutely LOVE children. The work this hospital does to save children's lives is beyond amazing, and it's a dream of mine to one day work in the Communications department for ALSAC, the fundraising company that supports St. Jude. Brent's cousin, Scott Elrod, spent a lot of time here in high school. He passed away on April 4, 2000, his senior year, from Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Read more about his amazing story here.

In case you're not familiar with St. Jude, here is their mission statement: The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.

Back to the half marathon... Autumn and I have been running together for the past two and a half years, and I am SO thankful for her company, guidance, motivation, and fantastic humor. :) She has run something crazy like 20 full marathons, and she is my inspiration!

Last year, we ran with our friend, Hayley, who kept us at a super fast pace. Hayley was pregnant for most of 2010, so she wasn't able to run with us as much this year. While we didn't have her speed, Autumn and I picked up our mileage, logging numerous 8-milers, seven 10-milers, one 12-miler, and even a pre-St. Jude half marathon! (Autumn of course ran a lot more and further distances, as she was running 26.2 vs. my 13.1.) Needless to say, we were prepared. That being said, I wasn't too sure I would reach a PR, having not done many speed workouts.

When race day arrived, we were beyond excited. We couldn't have asked for better weather...overcast, breezy, upper 50s. Absolute perfection. We met up with a few friends beforehand, stretched out, and lined up in the fourth corral. I was feeling pretty good for the first five miles - no knee or hip pain, which was a nice break from the norm. There were people cheering us on throughout the entire course, and we even got to run through St. Jude campus for the second year; it was awesome! And since I was wearing a Heroes jersey, that got us even more screams. At the beginning of mile six, I could feel myself start to slow down a bit. Then I got a wonderful we ran up to the 6.5 marker, I saw both my parents cheering for us, complete with a huge poster with mine and Autumn's names. It was such a wonderful surprise and exactly the motivation I needed!! After that, Autumn, Lindsey (Autumn's friend who also happened to be running the full), and I kept up our energy and were making great time as we hit the Gu station. Ahh, Gu...gotta love it! Then again, somewhere along mile 10, I saw my wonderful parents cheering us on. THANK YOU, Mom and Dad! You are the BEST!!

As I turned to take on the last mile, Autumn and Lindsey headed in the other direction to run another half. I have to say I was so thankful I wasn't them...but you go girls! I pushed myself for the last mile, though I know I could've shaved another 30 seconds off my time had I pushed just a little harder. Can't complain too much, though. I finished in 1:47...a new PR!! It was an incredible race, and one made even more special having been a St. Jude Hero. I can't wait to run it again next year and hopefully raise double what I did in 2010!

Happy running!

 Autumn: the best running partner ever!

 Love these ladies!

About to cross the finish line at 1:47! Whoop!!

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