March 5, 2016
"I can do ALL thing through Christ who gives me strength".- Philippians 4:13
It's a GREAT day to run 13.1 miles!
It was 4:45AM and I was wide awake just praying and pondering on what the next few hours would hold. My alarm began ringing and I got out of bed quickly so I could get in the shower and get ready to go and run the 13.1 miles I had been training and preparing for since June 2015. I had all of my clothes, accessories and running supplies laid out in the living room and I was ready to persevere to greatness.
My parents had come down from Tyler the night before and they were up and at-em and ready to go before Chris and I were. We got Chris and my parents some breakfast and protein since they would be the "cheering section" and following me around and cheering me on during my run. We were out the door and headed to the race site by 5:30AM.
We made it to the Tinseltown Movie Theater parking lot by 5:40AM and just like 2015 when Chris ran his full marathon, we were too early and just sat in the car for a few minutes. Around 6:00AM we got out so I could get to the porta-potty before a massive crowd arrived. The course starting line was laid out a little differently this year so what we thought was a close parking spot to the starting line was actually a hike. Because of this, after we got done with the restroom we went back to the car to get all of my stuff so I would not have to walk back to the car yet again as we waited for the event to start.
The OFFICIAL "before" picture!
We got all of my needed supplies and headed back towards the corrals. I knew I needed to get off of my feet as much as possible so we found a bench near Market Street to sit on while the time passed. As the minutes passed we saw the corrals begin to get full so Chris advised me to use the restroom once more as the line would be long... which it was at 6:25AM. I HATE Porta-pottys and these were the worst as everyone was just GROSS, but I did it and that "hard" part was over! I didn't know which was worse; the fear of the race or the fear of having to use a porta-potty!
A picture of the staring line (Half on the left, Full on the right) taken from a drone at 6:50AM.
If you look closely on the bottom left you can see Chris and my parents... Mom is wearing a grey and pink jacket.
Around 6:45AM Chris, my parents and I said one last prayer before I would get into my Corral. I got into my Corral E and started to put on my armband and take off my light jacket. Chris gave me a final pep-talk and kiss and I was ready. The nerves and the butterflies were at all time highs at this point and I was tearing up just thinking about the "What-if's" and other things were running through my head. I could barely hear the Star Spangled Banner but I knew it was playing as people outside of the corrals in the spectator areas had their hands over their hearts. I knew it was almost time to get this thing started and I was really freaking out!
After that was over I turned my music onto none other than the song "Great is thy Faithfulness", This song and these words have literally gotten me through EVERY hard time and trial in my life and I knew I needed it once again. I only had 1 goal... To FINISH! I did want to try to beat 3:30 but I knew all that mattered was crossing the finish line and I knew I needed JESUS to get me there! As the song came to a close I found myself walking to the starting line and running past the gate. Within minutes the butterflies were gone and I was running in a Half Marathon.
The starting line... just waiting for me to cross over!
There I am... I was crying as I crossed over just listening to "Great is thy Faithfulness".
"Strength for TODAY and bright hopes for tomorrow. Great is thy Faithfulness Lord unto me"
I made the 1st few turns to get me onto Research Forest Dr where I would spend the next 4+ miles. I made it to the 1st water stop at mile 1.25 with no issues and an incredibly good time... Maybe too good as I was coming in under 12:00/ per mile. Within feet I saw Chris and my parents cheering me on at what would be 1 of 8 stops where they found me and cheered for me along the way. They were so supportive and if it weren't for them I may not have had the motivation and determination to finish! Thank you ALL so much!
TWO miles down... 11+ to go! I think I can, I think I can!
It was around mile 2 that I began to feel my left leg and especially hip start to hurt real bad. It felt like a joint was giving out or something. The pain was increasing with every mile and I was really hurting by the time I turned onto Kuykendahl Rd at mile 5.5. Luckily Chris, Mom and Dad were there at each and every mile along Research Forest Drive giving me words of encouragement and helping me push through the pain.
Chris, along with my parents, cheering me along the way. This was around mile 4-5.
Around mile 7 I lost the pacing team that would have a 3:00 final time. Again, I didn't really have a GOAL, except to cross the Finish Line, but I did want to beat 3:30 for sure and I led myself to believe that after 7 miles of keeping pace with the 3:00 team I could finish in under 3 hours but at mile 7 they passed me and that dream vanished. It was here too that as I saw Chris and my parents again, and I was feeling a lot of pain and tension in my legs and hips especially. I was able to see the Elite leader and Kenyan of the Full Marathon pass by me at this point too. This was kinda cool and depressing at the same time. He was on mile 19 and I was on mile 7... He was going strong and I was about to pass out! Good times!
Here I came... up those Kuykendahl hills around Mile 7.
I was about to turn directly into the sun so Chris gave me my sunglasses and I got an extra pack of GU for the next 5+ miles. I was feeling AWFUL at this point and honestly just wanted to QUIT... But I just kept on pushing!
As I turned on to Kuykendahl and knew only 4-5 miles remained I began to start walking more and more and the pain in my hips had now moved to my knees, calves and even feet. At this point I felt like I had thousands of blisters on my feet and each and every step was burning with pain. I remember there was a lot of moaning and groaning around these miles and people around me kept looking at me as I would groan in pain or sigh really loud. I didn't expect Chris and my parents to be able to find another location to stop and cheer me on before the finish line but much to my surprise there they were around mile 9.75. This was a true God send as I was really struggling and needed a little push. The random people who would give me a "you got this girl" or "keep pushing" were great but seeing your loved ones was priceless.
Coming up on mile 9.75 and seeing my family as a surprise!
I could barely make it to the pit stop for my water... I was worn out! Just over 3 miles to go and I was not sure I would be able to RUN anymore.
As I saw the "Mile 10" sign I knew that I had to push through no matter the pain and no matter the cost. I tried walking but my legs and feet hurt so much it did not matter if I was walking or jogging so I decided to try to get this misery over with SOONER rather than later so I just tried to jog as much as I could. I did a lot of "run to that light post then walk" but it worked for me and I only slowed down about 15-30 seconds per mile the last 3 miles but oddly enough my 11th mile was my FASTEST! There was an older gentleman who was crippled and a few pregnant women who passed me and that was enough determination and motivation to keep me jogging to finish ahead of them... And I did!
I came up to the populous part of The Woodlands and the last 1 mile and I really tried to run as fast as I could to get to the finish line. Oddly enough, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey came on my earbuds and I knew I could push through. Besides a wise old runner once told me "When you run, you run and when you're done... YOU'RE DONE"! All I wanted at that moment was to be done so I just pushed and pushed. I ran along the trolley path to the finish line and saw Chris and heard my family cheering for me. I had "Great is thy Faithfulness" playing once again as I came closer and closer to the finish line. I pulled out one earbud to hear the announcer say "And Half Marathon Finisher, Kellie Davis from Conroe". What a GLORIOUS feeling that was and one I will NEVER forget! I immediately gave God the glory as I crossed the finish line, knowing I could not have done it without the strength from Him.
Coming up the trolley path to the finish line!
I crossed the finish line and immediately said a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for helping make it through those 13.1 miles. I could not have done it without the strength He provided me along the way. I finished with a Gun time of 3:09 and an OFFICIAL chip time of 3:05!
I loved being able to use RunKeeper and UP aps to track my mileage, calories burned and even steps! HELLO 31K steps!
The run began with 48* and ended with 66*... Perfect weather and I am praising God for this perfect day!
I received my AWESOME medal and headed towards my family. Chris stopped my RunKeeper and helped me make my way to the food and beverage tent. I was exhausted but still had the most amazing feeling in the world. I got my plate of protein and carbs, Raising Canes Chicken and cookies, and sat in the grassy lawn while my family guarded me from the sun as I was already a little sunburnt from the 3 hours in the sun. I grabbed my shirt and took a few more pictures but at this point all I wanted was to go home, shower and lay down.
I did it! Crossing this off my Bucket List now!
I love (and so greatly appreciate) my daddy ALWAYS being there for me!
No matter the event! I love you Daddy!
My favorite signs along the way
Obviously, those made by MY family were my ALL-TIME Favorites!
- Run Kellie Run
- You Can Do it Mommy!
Others I liked:
- All of this for a FREE Banana
- Run Random Stranger Run
- You thought they said Rum, didn't you?
- If Britney Spears can get through 2007, you can get through this
- Don't worry, you won't feel your feet AT ALL tomorrow
- Just think... You paid GOOD money to do this
- Smile if you peed a little
- Run like you stole something
- On a Scale of 1-10, You're a 13.1
- Keep Going, Keep Going (That's what she said)
The random encouragement from the strangers, police officers and water station workers along the way really helped me and made me feel special. I tried to be sure and thank each and every police officer who was stopping traffic along the way and the workers, both young and old, handing out water and Gatorade at each station. They helped me push through and I will never forget that!
We made our way home and I got an ice bath and Epsom salt bath all while the kids and my parents ate lunch and got showered themselves. It was a AWESOME morning filled with amazing achievements and I will NEVER forget that feeling of crossing the finish line. I do not know if I will ever run in a Half Marathon again but oddly enough I am not going to say I will NEVER run it again! You just never know! I do know that THIS is MY MARATHON... Meaning I will NEVER run MORE than a Half! No Full Marathons for me!
I think the training was harder than the actual run and as tired, exhausted and sore as I was/ am after it was all over, I think the feeling I get from achieving something like this is worth the pain and agony in the long run (Ha... not pun intended)!
I am so grateful to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for helping me get through these 13.1 miles and giving me this opportunity! Plus Chris and my parents who were the best cheering section EVER. They cheered me on so many times that OTHER RUNNERS were recognizing them too! Thank y'all so much! Dan and Jackie, my in-laws, also took care of the kids for us on Friday night and even brought them to the finish line to cheer me on too! I am blessed beyond measure with the best family and support system a girl could ask for!
It was hard... It was painful... There was blood, sweat and tears (LOTS OF THEM) but I conquered those 13.1 miles and am better because of it! Once again, thank You, Jesus for giving me yet another opportunity to TRUST YOU!
God is good... ALL THE TIME!