Weekdays 10:00am-3pm

When I started my running journey, I never imagined running more than a 5K, much less a half marathon. But on Saturday, I ran my 4th half marathon.  And this may have been the hardest yet! Let me explain a little bit why!

Back Story

I wasn’t sure I was going to run on Saturday.  You see… last Tuesday, my stomach issues (that I’ve dealt with for years) flared up REALLY bad. I’m talking, spent 9 1/2 hours at the emergency room on Tuesday night, into Wednesday morning. After getting a CT scan, they gave me some “fast acting” relief for what could possibly be a stomach ulcer or gastritis and sent me on my way.  Oh, and gave me a referral for a GI Specialist.  So now we wait.

But even after that ER visit, my stomach has still been a challenge. And I’ve just felt pretty crummy.  So I debated on whether I SHOULD run the half or not.  I talked to my fiancé, who told me I could just WALK it.  The cut off time was 3 1/2 hours, and at a decent walking pace, I could probably finish. So I picked up the race packet on Friday night, prepped all my race stuff, and got to bed.

Race Day

Made it to Aiken just about 6:25 a.m. on Saturday for the AEC RUN UNITED.  I usually have a lot of anxiety and nerves around my races, but I told myself to just enjoy this one, and walk when I needed to.  I’ve never explored a lot of Aiken, so I figured there’s no better way than running/walking through the town! And let me tell you… I really did enjoy a lot of the route.  It was a BEAUTIFUL morning, and there were so many great things to keep my interest.

And I did start out running.  Not fast… not trying to set a time or speed goal, just an easy pace.  And I ran for maybe the first 3-4 miles.  Then I took time to do some run/walk intervals. Trying VERY hard not to let the competitive spirit in me cause me to go to hard!  And then around mile 8 or so… my knee started KILLING me.  It hurt to run, and even hurt to walk.  I was really discouraged and thinking I’d have to call someone to come get me.

At one point, I was on a dirt road near these horse pastures.  I looked up, and the lady in front of me had rounded the corner and I couldn’t see her anymore.  Then, I looked behind me… no one.  I was pretty much alone.  At this point, I honestly thought I’d be the LAST person to cross the finish line.

Where is the Finish Line?

That was, if I could even make it to the finish line! Around mile 10 or 11, we had to go up one way, and basically make a U-Turn.  I swore I was getting close to that turn around point… but it seemed to be NEVER ending! I finally made it to where I could see the finish line.  And I’m the type that I don’t think I’ve ever walked across a finish line… so what did I do?  I picked up the pace, hurt knee and all… and ran (more like jogged) to the finish.  It wasn’t pretty.  I was in a lot of pain.  But I was SO glad to be finished!

Final Thoughts on the Race – I ran my 4th Half Marathon!

My stomach was fine.  It was the knee that killed it for me.  Overall though, I loved the course.  It was fairly flat, and just had some great scenic views! I still managed to finish under 3 hours, and NO, I wasn’t the last person across the finish line!

Check out some photos from the race below!  And just know… I’m giving myself more time to train for my next half!  This one I already didn’t feel prepared for, and then the stomach issues… but at least I know I can do hard things!  And so can YOU!  Now that I ran my 4th half marathon… I’m looking for my next challenge!

Photos from the AEC RUN UNITED Half Marathon in Aiken, South Carolina