After I got back from Vegas I went back to work and as usual didn't have time to get any running or cross training in. I had the Holiday Halfathon coming up on Sunday and wanted to do better than Vegas. Since the Women's Half on November 18th, my times have been slightly worse each week, so I wanted this to change.

On Saturday morning I realized that wasn't going to happen. I didn't even know if I was going to do the race at all. I woke up with my heart racing and pretty bad chest pain. If any of you have read some of my earlier blog posts you would know this wasn't the first time. If not, I'll provide a quick explanation here. 

My heart rate has always seemed higher than normal and a few months ago I went to the doctor for an EKG just to make sure everything was ok with all this running. That came back fine, so I didn't really worry about it. I wasn't even wearing the HR monitor that came with my garmin when I ran. Then in September, during the Hooters 2 Hooters 10k I had to stop during the race. My heart was pounding, my chest hurt. I wound up going to the emergency room to make sure I was ok. Even walking up a slight hill was making me out of breath. They made sure it was nothing serious - no heart attack, no stroke - then sent me on my merry way with no explanation. I took off from running. I went to a cardiologist after that who did some tests - stress test, EKG, echocardiogram, etc - and said I could run, but to be careful. He was thinking that it was something electrical that might be causing the rapid HR. I was to wear a HR monitor for 30 days.

Well, I had just started wearing it Friday. I went out that night and took it off because it's bulky. (I don't need to wear it 24 hours a day, just as much as possible). In the morning I woke up, and it wasn't good. My aunt came over to make sure I was ok. We decided I should go get checked out at urgent care. The doctor there did another EKG, which came out fine. He said that something was causing the HR to be high - mine should be lower, especially being a runner. Of course, however, he didn't have an answer as to why this was happening. He told me I probably shouldn't run because when my HR goes as high as it does the blood isn't pumping properly. So, what to do?

Well, at first I thought I wasn't going to do the race at all. Then I thought I would run/walk, or just walk the whole thing. I was signed up and determined to do it. These tests were coming back ok, and of course if anything hurt or felt weird I could stop. 

So, off to the race I go. I hadn't ate much the day before since I wasn't feeling well, so I hadn't properly fueled for the race. Sunday morning came around and I was starving. I knew that I get hungry when I run, so I had to eat. We were running late and the only place to stop was McDonalds. Not really a good choice before a half marathon, but it was that or nothing. I had bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel and some coffee. A Nice greasy breakfast before a half marathon. I hoped my stomach would be ok. I wasn't trying to race it, or PR, or anything crazy - so I figured it couldn't be too bad. 

I also forgot to bring GU and the armband for my phone. I obviously was not prepared for this race. I realized I had two sample packs of sports beans in my bag that I threw in there from the Vegas expo. I would bring those. And I figured I would need music for the 13.1 miles. I decided I would just hold my phone. It might get annoying, but on the bright side, if I needed a more motivating song I could have access to change it. 

The race started and I ran the first mile. Then I started to feel tired and weak. I walked in mile 2. This made me feel like crap. I'd run for a little bit and get out of breath. I had to walk. During mile 2! I think this got me very unmotivated and the next few miles I had a mental battle with myself most of the way. I would look at my time and realize how much longer it would take me to finish. I tried to calculate how far off from my average time I would be. I felt like there was no one behind me even though there was. I was disappointed in myself. I tried to talk myself out of thinking like this. I figured, I shouldn't be doing this at all - and I'm still making an effort. I can't do more than what my body will allow, and I can't push myself harder and hurt myself. I was still doing it, even if it was slow, and that counted for something. I should be proud that I was still accomplishing this, even though I had to walk a lot. 

I ran over a bridge. No, I walked over a bridge. I HATE inclines. They make my heart rate go super high. I walked over it. There was no way I was even attempting to run it. I kept moving along. Then I got to an overpass. It was pretty steep for me. A few people were complaining about it when we got to that point. It was here I met a really nice woman. She made a comment about the overpass being hard, and I agreed. We said a few things to each other and then I asked her if she would mind if I ran with her. I needed the motivation, and it helped. I have her to thank for finishing! We talked for the rest of the race. We decided to try to run until the next water stop and we did. I felt ok and so did she. She slowed down for me a bit, and then I for her when her asthma started acting up. We made it over the next overpass.

I realized that even though a few miles ago I was thinking it was going to take me over 3 hours to finish walk/running this race, that wasn't the case anymore. We thought maybe we could make it in 2:45. That wouldn't be too bad for me - my first half time was 2:46:12. I would be happy if I finished under that time. We ran together through the finish. The clock said 2:49 something. 
Coming in for the finish

Unfortunately I didn't finish in 2:45, but we made it under 2:50. My official finish time was 2:49:12. A full 3 minutes longer than it took me to do my first half marathon. At first I was disappointed in myself, but now I'm happy I finished. That race took a lot of will power to complete. I had a lot of mental blocks during the course and still made it through. 
Proud of my medal, even though my time could have been better

Thanks to Jim, for waiting a whole hour after he finished =)

A Christmas themed medal - and me hanging out by the pool after. Oh Florida!

After the race I realized that I had qualified for Half Fanatics. I had run (or run/walked) 4 half marathons in 22 days. That would qualify me at Jupiter moon status. They have all of the qualifications and the more you do in a certain time frame, the more moons you get. I start with 4!
My qualifications for Half Fanatics!

I'm excited because I feel like this is a big accomplishment for someone who couldn't run a mile back in Feburary. It hasn't even been a year and I've run 6 half marathons. Four of which were on consecutive weekends. And I've done quite a few other races as well. I hope to be able to keep it up, and keep making myself a better runner.

My 6 half marathons, and their times.