Brandon's (and his family's)Big Adventures

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2nd Half Marathon – Grand Rapids

Posted on October 19th, 2011 by Emily

This past Sunday I ran my second in my life half marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I look back over the past 32 years of my life and am amazed at the depth of change from just this past one year.  Who would have thought I’d run a half marathon?  Who would have thought I’d be a runner at all?? Certainly not myself!! And yet, here I am, a runner, a half marathoner.  It still blows my mind.

Sarah and I signed up for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon on August 14th.  That’s exactly 9 weeks that we had to train for this crazy adventure.  We had run only 3 mile runs ever and no longer.  13.1 miles is a few miles longer than 3 if you weren’t sure about that.  We knew that too, so we searched the internet for a 9 week training program for a 1/2 marathon.  We found one that would *probably* suit our needs and fit into our schedule pretty well.    Sarah was awesome and took the time to create a pretty fun and motivational calendar.

We did the first month of training pretty well.  I proudly crossed of the days that we ran the scheduled amount.  I added the days we walked miles too.  Just for fun.  It felt awesome to see our accomplishment and cross off the days and see just how many miles we had finished every week.  The long runs were difficult and less than fun, but we did them nonetheless.  I dreaded them for nearly the entire week but once they were over I did have a huge sense of awesomeness right along with the quad pain and general leg fatigue.  I remember our first 6 mile training run and how I dreaded it for days before.  Again, who would have thought I’d run a half marathon? ?

I ran the Quiver 10K on September 10th, and then Sarah and I ran the Mercy 8 mile run on September 17th.  After that eight mile run my knee was no longer happy to be a runner.  It was insisting I stop torturing it.  So the long runs were out.  Sarah, her sister-in-law Bridget, and I were planning a 12 mile training run and I set out on it only to turn myself back towards home after a mile and a half or so.  Sarah and Bridget finished the 12 on their own.  The longest I ran between September 17th and this past Sunday’s 13.1 was 3 wimpy miles, if that. Instead there was a lot of walking.  It was just pathetic.  And I was getting extremely worried that this 1/2 marathon was going to end tragically.  I had no idea how I’d make it that far with my knee hurting as much as it was.  I did end up waving the white flag of surrender and going to Hadley Clinic where Scott (the owner) was able to show me how to work out my muscle issues with a rolling pin and a softball.  It helped even though I only had three weeks left before the race.

Race day came, Sarah, Bridget and I lined up in the last 1/4 section of the runners.  It was EXTREMELY chilly out at 7:45 when we lined up in the chute.  Thankfully I was wearing my Zensah arm and leg sleeves.  A jacket would have been way too much once we started running and it would have driven me nuts if I ended up tying it on my waist.  I don’t have a long sleeve technical shirt or else I probably would have chosen to wear that.  (Don’t get me started on how disappointed I am about the Grand Rapids Marathon changing to short sleeve shirts this year….. Their long sleeve shirt was one of the major reasons I was geeked to run this race.) The arm sleeves I ‘borrowed’ from Lily ended up being the best part of my running attire.  Well, those and my sparkly piggy tales.  :)

About 3 miles into the 1/2 my knee started hurting me.  I wasn’t surprised at all but I wasn’t going to let a little knee discomfort (*read extreme knee screaming*) get me down.  Sarah, on the other hand was battling her own demons, which was shocking since she never seemed to have bad days like I frequently had.  We were in desperate need of motivation about 9 miles into the 12 and, thankfully, we got it.  The motivation that helped us the most were the spectators that were ‘different’.  The ones that stood out and were obviously having fun.  The ones with loud, peppy, fun music.  The one with the Rockband air guitar.  The ones with fun signs.  Those ones were the best motivation that we were in desperate need of.  Which made me think of how I’ve spectated in the past and what I’m going to do differently in the future.  In fact, here’s a list of Marathon Posters you’ll see me sporting in the future.

“In our minds, you’re all Kenyans.”

“Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”

“Your legs will forgive you…eventually.”

“Don’t stop — people are watching.”

“That’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying.”

“If it was easy, I would do it.”

“Run like you stole something.”

“This is easier than labor and delivery.”

“You’re not slow. You’re just enjoying the course.”

“Stop reading this and keep running!”

“Puke and rally!”

“Don’t worry, toenails are overrated.”

“Run like someone’s chasing you.”

“It’ll feel better when it stops hurting.”

“Mortuary ahead….look alive!”

“If I ran it, by God, you can, too.”

“Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.”

“Staying up all night making this sign was hard too.”

“You are NOT almost there.” (seen at mile 1)

“The end is near.”

“What path does a crazy runner take through the woods? A Psycho Path!”

“Hurry, we’re cold!”

“Toll booth ahead. Exact change only.”

“What’s your favorite part of Star Wars III?”

“Run Total Stranger, Run”

“Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na (Chariots of Fire).”

“Free Piggyback Rides”

“It’s OK to cry”

“You’re running the wrong way”

“Bus station, —–> That way.”

“Think of how many calories you get to eat today!”

?”I’m a total stranger, but I am SO PROUD of you!”

“Running is a mental sport and we are all INSAINE!”

and my favorite….

“Worst parade EVER.”

Anyhow, back to the run….

At one point, somewhere around mile 11 or 12 we took a minute to walk and rest our leg muscles only to have a very rude awakening when we started up again.  Our quads, calves, shins, feet and especially gluteus maximus’s were in serious pain.  As Sarah perfectly described, it felt like someone was clawing their way out of the back of our pelvic bone or butt bone, tearing our pelvis’ apart.  Yeah,  it was painful.  So we decided that walking was going to be very minimal from here out.  It just hurt way too bad to start running again.  Besides, we only had less than a 5K left to run.  We could totally make it to the end now.

As we rounded the last corner and we had the finish line in sight we started to get a little bit emotional.  Sarah had warned me that she was probably going to cry at the finish line and she warned me of the impending hug there too.  Thinking about our huge accomplishment together had me starting to feel extreme sadness that it was almost over and happiness that we had done something so huge.  I told Sarah that I was getting emotional, she admitted that she was too, but it made it to hard to breathe so we stuffed those feelings down until a later time and pressed on.

We got to about 50 yards before the finish line, and there was only one lady in front of us before the finish line.  Throughout the last half of the run we were deciding who we needed to make sure to pass and beat to the finish.  The one chick in the white who ran weird,  the one guy in the green that had a walk/run form, the foot scuffing old lady, the hard breather, the guy who looked to be in extreme pain, the really big lady in blue, the really tall chick in pink, and the one with 13.1 on her back.   We lost track of a few of those runners along the course and we are sure we conquered all but two people.  But here we were at the finish line and there there was only one lady in front of us right then so Sarah said, “Let’s take her!”  and we took off in a sprint to the finish line to finish our 1/2 just a few seconds in front of her.  That felt awesome to have beat one more runner, one last one at the last possible time.

I didn’t even have the time to look over at the clock and see our time.  I had no idea how long it took us to run the 13.1, I just knew we were finished.  WOOHOO!! Huge smile.  No tears, no hugs, just a humongous sense of accomplishment and excitement.

I must say running my second 1/2 marathon was much more enjoyable because I had someone to run with the entire time.  Someone to push me when I needed pushing and someone for me to push when she needed it back.  I’m so thankful to have Sarah as a friend and as my favorite running partner.

Anyhow, here’s a few pictures of the awesome day because I’m sure you’re super bored from reading my race report.  :)

Here we are keeping warm in the car before the race.  Brandon joked about me writing on the back of my shirt, “I’m here for the 13.1 mile wet t-shirt contest.” It stopped raining, thankfully!

Bridget, Sarah, and I pre-race.  Getting ready to line up and freeze for a few minutes before the start.

Here we are crossing the finish line.  Sarah’s husband, Robert, caught us AT THE EXACT moment we went across the mat.  How awesome is that.  Official finish time 2:46:46.

The Bling!  :) Best Bling EVER!

Brandon and I after he finished.  We rock.  Just sayin’.

Here’s me. All cute.  Wearing my bling, Zensah Sleeves and my favorite SweatyBand.

I have to say, I’m super proud of my bling.  Can you tell?

Here’s my awesome marathon family.

Lily was able to run the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids Kids Marathon on Saturday where she finished the last 1.2 miles with all the other kids.  She was VERY proud of her accomplishment of running the entire way. Many thanks to Jennifer who allowed Lily to join her family to do the marathon while we photographed a wedding. This was her third time doing the kids marathon and she loved every minute of it.  :)

Yup,  we are the Mulnix’s (Mulni) and we’re a running family.


Related posts:

  1. Eight Days till Grand Rapids Marathon
  2. Naked Foot 5K – Grand Rapids (I must be crazy)
  3. NOT Last Place Emily – Lowell 10K Quiver
  4. Mercy 8 Mile Run – Emily
  5. 50 Miles with my jaw wired shut- North Country Run Report

One Response to "2nd Half Marathon – Grand Rapids"

  1. I am so proud of you Emily for running this race. When you signed up for it I thought I couldn’t be prouder of you, but when you finished… That is a proud moment. I am glad there is a photo. I am glad you were not alone. Thank you for being an awesome wife and supporting me! You are amazing!
    Brandon recently posted..2nd Half Marathon – Grand RapidsMy Profile

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