Soaring Wings Half Marathon

Y’all wanna hear a little story?

Of course, you do. ::wink::

It was Thursday afternoon on October 25. I was headed into Kroger for a few items just knowing I wouldn’t run into anyone. Ok, I was hoping I wouldn’t run into anyone. I hadn’t showered since the gym that morning. Don’t judge.

All of a sudden, I heard a car honking at me and turned to see my pastor’s wife and daughter.

I waited for them to catch up to me and we talked while walking into the store. I knew Lauren had a half-marathon on Saturday, so I asked if her she was ready. Then, I asked if her dad was ready. They told me he wasn’t sure he was going to run in the race because he wasn’t happy with how little training he had gotten in.

I jokingly asked, “So, who’s he giving his race bib to?”

The next morning I woke up to an e-mail asking if I would be interested in running in the race the following morning.


I responded with an ecstatic yes.

It was too late to do a registration transfer, so I would be running as Todd. ::snort::

I arranged to meet Lauren sometime around 7:30 the next morning after she picked up the race packets. All went smoothly. I pinned on my race bib about a quarter til eight and we walked to the start line.

I had absolutely no illusions of setting a new PR (personal record). The longest run I had done was a 10-miler back on September 29, which was exactly four weeks prior. My goal was to have fun. I would just run what felt good, walk when I needed to and just enjoy myself.

It was pretty crowded the first two to three miles, which worked well for keeping me from going out too fast. I settled into a nice pace that felt good. It was pretty chilly out. I think it was in the mid-30s at the start of the race. It felt great to me. I prefer to run in cooler temperatures.

I was wearing one of those shirts that can go over part of your hand and has a place for you to slide your thumb through. Since I wasn’t worried about my pace I just covered my Garmin up with my shirt to keep my hands warm. There were a few times I wondered what pace I was running, but didn’t feel like looking at the Garmin.

Just after the half-way mark, there was a lady calling out people’s times. When she called out mine, I was shocked. It was just a little over an hour.

It was at that point I thought I might actually have a new PR in me. I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I still had six-ish miles to go and I felt strong, but anything could happen.

I decided to uncover the Garmin.

The highlight of the race happened around mile nine. I came up on two bodybuilders. They were huge, y’all. It seemed like every muscle that could possibly bulge was bulging. They even had the neck muscles that bulged.

It seemed like I was coming up on them kind of fast and then it hit me . . . I might be about to pass them.

Shut. The. Front. Door.

They were breathing hard. Really hard.

I wasn’t.

And I almost waved as I passed by.

::snort out loud::

Yes, I chick’d two bodybuilders. My head is now officially the size of a watermelon.

During mile twelve, I faded a bit. There was a hill that I walked up part of. I really didn’t want to start running again, but I told my legs to stop their whining and get back to business.

Just as I was turning into the street toward the finish I heard my man and the children screaming at me. I looked over, waved and shouted, “PR! PR!” I had the biggest, dorkiest grin on my face.

I finished in 2:18:04. It was six minutes faster than my second half and eighteen minutes faster than my first.

I was so shocked.

You want to know what really amazes me? If you had told me a year ago that one day I’d get an e-mail from someone saying, “Hey! I’ve got a race bib I’m not going to be using for the half-marathon tomorrow. Are you interested?” and that I would respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!” I would have given you a good hearty ::snort:: . . . . and yet, somehow I did it.

Just in case some of you might be interested, I took a salt stick and ate a GU just before the race started. Then, I took another salt stick and GU at mile 4.5 and mile 9. I walked through every aid station to drink water.

For inquiring minds, here are my splits:


  1. Congrats!! What an awesome feeling! I ran my first half over Labor Day weekend, and ran a 15K two weeks ago. If someone told me a year ago I would do that I would have laughed off my chair! Thanks for the inspiration, from your post last week, I just started referring to myself as a runner!!

  2. Fine, fine, I was just dragging my feet about hitting the treadmill this morning so I plopped down on the couch to scan your blog…. I know ski season is fast approaching do I’m off to hit the treadmill, thanks for the post and push I needed today.

  3. You’re a STUD, Todd!!!

  4. THAT is fantastic! Both your desire to run a 1/2 at the last minute AND a PR. Whoa! I ran my first 1/2 in September and am hooked. Well I’m still not loving the actual running part (and not sure if I ever will) — I love how I feel from the running. I’ve signed up for another 1/2 in May, 2013 and would like to get my time down by at least 9 minutes.

    • That’s awesome, Kathy! I certainly don’t always love running either, but I ALWAYS love the way I feel when I’m done. You just can’t beat it.

  5. You’re awesome! I’m about ready to hit the treadmill and this inspires me to GO HARD today! Congratulations to you!

  6. I love this! Your journey is so inspiring. I have went back and forth on whether to do a half this coming Feb near my hometown. This post once again encourages me to go for it. Thanks for your transparency.

  7. You are amazing! So awesome that you chick’d the muscle dudes. That’ll teach them to add some cardio into their workouts! I hope your friend did well too!

  8. Way to go Todd!! :) That is so cool! Good job!
    Isn’t it funny how when we are not really worrying about our time that we do our best…hmm… just run and enjoy!

  9. Your posts are always a great read! Congrats on all the latest achievements!!

    ::Question:: Have you ever done anything to help yourself get faster or has it just been an evolution for you? I keep hearing that over time it just will happen. My time is so slow right now … I keep telling myself it’s because I still need to loose another 30 and then I’ll see better improvement. Any great encouraging advice?? ; )

    • I think you’re hearing the right things. You will gradually get faster as a new runner. I haven’t really done anything. I’ve just run. There are days when I push it harder and days when I back it back down. I think you need a combination of hard and easy days. You’ll get there! I’m still kind of hoping I’ll get faster as I continue to lose.

  10. Woo Hoo Congratulations!! That is awesome!

  11. Way AWESOME girl!!! I have been slacking the last week and a half, and dreading the treadmill :/ We had early snow this year that hasn’t left and roads are icey. I don’t think I have it in me to keep the treadmill thing going. I am thinking of changing up winter with some exercise videos to work on strength and stretching. If anyone wants to shout out a good one to use, I’d love opinions. You continue to inspire me :)

  12. Thats awesome!! Congrats on the PR!!!
    Sometimes last minute is best, doesnt give me time to ‘worry’.
    I havent tried a salt stick, I may have to check that out!