Note to self: running 13.1 miles with a stress fracture in your femur does not make for a pleasant race. Who knew?
Nate and I completed the Bentonville Half Marathon on Saturday! I've always been a runner and enjoyed running in races like this. Nate always found it pointless to run without a ball. However, since meeting me, I've slowly been converting him to the world of running. We started with a couple 5ks to ease into the idea, and then I begged and begged for us to do the half marathon together. For my birthday Nate signed us up! What a sweet husband I have!
We spent the last few months waking up early on Saturday mornings to complete our long runs. Yet another reason my husband is so sweet; he's not a big fan of the early morning Saturday business. Training was going great until I developed a stress fracture in my femur. I know, the femur is supposed to be the strongest bone in the body, but apparently my body doesn't know that. I didn't want to let all my training go to waste or make Nate do the race on his own when he only signed up because of me, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and do the race anyway. However, I was wise enough to stop my training runs and switch to cross training activities for the last several weeks before the race to take some pressure off my leg.
The morning of the race was beautiful! It had been rainy and cold all week, but the sun came out for a perfect day of racing weather on Saturday. We lined up at the start line and before we knew it, the gun had sounded. We got off to a great start! We were hitting our goal pace with ease and feeling strong. That is until about mile 4 when I started to have excruciating pain in my leg. Ok, maybe excruciating is too strong of a word, at least at this point of the race, but it was quite painful. Since we still had over 9 miles to go, I knew we'd be in for a LONG race. But I figured after so many miles my legs usually go numb and I can't feel any pain, so I would just have to push through for a couple more miles until the numbness kicked in. Unfortunately, that numbness never came, and the pain only got worse and worse with each mile.
Now is where I have to stopped and praise Nate! He stayed with me the entire time, always encouraging me and not allowing me to quit. He pushed me to keep going but allowed me to set the pace at one where it was possible for me to continue. It was a slow pace compared to our training runs and our goal pace (hence the name of the post, the half marathon shuffle!) but he never made me feel like I was holding him back. Like I said, I have the sweetest husband!!!
Besides our personal fans, Bentonville townspeople were great fans too. We ran through a bunch of neighborhoods and I was surprised at how many people were outside on their driveways cheering for us. Some even had music blaring out of their cars or live bands playing. The atmosphere was a lot of fun. That was Nate's favorite part about the race. He actually felt pretty good most of the way and really enjoyed the race. He didn't even put his earphones in because he was just excited to listen to the crowds cheering!
With the help of our fans, the crowd, and lots of praying we managed to reach the finish line, join hands, and raise our arms triumphantly. It was a dramatic moment. This was my fifth and slowest half marathon, yet I am still proud of this one. I seriously wanted to drop out at several points of the race and let Nate go on with out me, but he didn't let me and I didn't let myself. So while it was a disappointing time, it was still a rewarding finish. We're planning on doing another one someday so I can redeem myself with a more satisfying time and Nate can set a true PR not a pity PR, but for now we'll be focusing on recovery! We're pretty sore today! Also I plan on taking the next 6-8 weeks off of running to allow my stress fracture to heal. It was a wonderful experience to run a half marathon with my husband and hopefully we can continue to make running a part of our lives together.
We really did cross the line with out arms held in the air. Unfortunately we put them down before this photo was snapped.