As you probably know, my husband is in Graduate School (Gradschool Blog). The program is online, but not fully. Therefore, he has to travel to Tampa every so often to attend classes in person. When he goes, I try to find adventurous things to do. I happened to see that the Iron Girl event would be taking place in Clearwater one of the weekends he had class! I was soooo excited, I began to check some of the Tampa Bloggers for discounts (or better, a give-away!).
Mindy was hosting a give away on her blog and I was determined to win! One of the entries was to tweet about the give away every day. So, … every evening after work, I’d sit at my lap top and tweet away! The day the give away ended, I’d told myself that if I didn’t win, it wasn’t meant to be.
But … it WAS meant to be. Because, I WON (post)!
Heading into the run, I had 1 thing on my mind.
I knew I’d be running it alone, and I was determined to have fun no matter what! Of course, I had my eyes on the 3 hour mark. …but. …
Those bridges were like mountains, and it wasn’t like a just had to cross 1 bridge. I had to cross multiple bridges.
So, the idea of dropping 30 minutes off of my Half time was extremely hopeful.
The run began with us heading up a hill straight towards a bridge. Honestly, before we even hit Mile 1, I was drenched in sweat, questioning why I even wanted to run this thing in the first place, and tempted to turn completely around and go home. – Yeah, I was freaking out!
but I remembered my goal.
So, I put my head up and ran.
As I approached mile 4, I see the pace car and the lead runner zoom by. We cheered, took pictures and continued on with the race.
Around Mile 4.5, I turned my phone on and sent a text to my family. I’m pretty sure they were just getting out of bed, but they all texted back with words of encouragement and I continued on my journey.
I walked, ran, and took pictures throughout the course. I wasn’t tracking my run with any apps or anything so I really had no idea what my pace was. Since i’d lost the 3 hour pacers I didn’t really care too much. I just wanted to (you know, Have Fun!)
Mile 8 I was given a girl scout cookie by some of the cutest little girls. Seriously, it was adorable! “Erin, do you want a cookie?” Now, I’ve never had a cookie in the middle of a long run before but … who can pass up a cookie from a girl scout?
Mile 9 was approaching and even though I was sooooo sweaty and tired I began seeing signs for “hot pirates ahead”
Of course they are hot. … It’s FLORIDA!
Right after I took my picture with the Pirate, I started to get nervous about those bridges. If I thought going over them the first time was bad … going BACK over them might actually be worse!
I turned my phone on and saw a tweet from a fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador. Rachel had sent out a tweet to cheer me on, and you know what? It was amazing to have her support. Truly, I felt so loved!
I made it back over the bridges, and found out that apparently “tired legs are sexy” and found myself at Mile 12.
Right before I left for the start line, Prince Charming told me “when you see Mile 12, you know you’re almost there! Don’t give up!”
A couple ladies asked if I’d take there picture, of course I said yes and asked them to return the favor.
Just one more bridge, and a spiral ramp leading me to the finish line.
Just off of the spiral ramp, I hear my name. I’d heard my name throughout the course, (seriously those girl scouts were cheering runners on by name! – how cool is that?) Anyway, this time it was my prince.
There he was.
With his sign, a venti coffee from Starbucks and our large camera. I couldn’t help it, all I could do was smile.
I crossed the finish line, gathered a bottle of water and ran over to the side on the fence to give my husband a kiss. At that moment, that medal (with glitter) didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was my Prince. It was such a joy to have him there cheering me on.
Did I meet my goal of 3 hours?
No. I did not. However, I did shave 20 minutes off of my official half marathon time so I have no complaints.
Iron Girl Highlights
– The Course, BEAUTIFUL!
– Volunteers, outstanding!
– Girl Scouts, adorable!
– Organization, excellent!
Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Question: Have you ever done an Iron Girl Half?