Since Dave Ramsey offers to give $1,000 to a charity of our choice if we break two hours in the Country Music Half Marathon, (and $500 if we break 3 hours), I run it every year to raise money for Young Life. Young Life is a high school ministry where I became a Christian at 15, and I volunteered with them for over a decade.
I was very pregnant when I registered back in November. I thought that breaking two hours was probably out of reach since I wouldn’t have much time to train so soon after having my child, but it was always in the back of my mind as a possibility.
However, after some great training runs in April, I planned to go for it. The race weather surprisingly couldn’t have been better and I felt great that morning at the start.
At the starting line with Daniel Tardy,
Vice President of EntreLeadership
and Brandon Kellogg, EntreLeadership Advisor
The first few miles felt good as I settled into a comfortable pace, but I quickly realized that I had to stop at a restroom. Usually it’s just nerves and that feeling goes away, but this time it wasn’t nerves. It was more likely the tea I drank on the way for a caffeine boost. With the restroom line, the stop set me back about two minutes but I was hoping I could make it up at the end and still break two hours.
About halfway through the race at Mile 7 (after I had to stop for a bathroom break and I had to stop for a 3-second selfie with my biggest fans, Matt and Carter), I realized that I was cutting it really close on time.
Coming down 12th Avenue, getting my camera ready
for a quick selfie with Matt and Carter
Carter is not impressed.
I started to pick up my pace, but it didn’t seem to be enough with every passing mile. I was still projected to possibly finish in two hours, but that was only if I could hold exactly 9 minutes per mile for the entire second half of the race. Considering the fact that there were huge hills ahead, and your legs start to get really heavy those last three miles, I wasn’t confident I could do it. But the fact that it was possible kept me hanging on.
Coming up on Mile 12, you go up a giant, never-ending hill by the Municipal Auditorium. You can actually see the finish line just ahead, but you wind around roads to get extra mileage—which is unbelievably defeating. I was barely hanging on by this point (and even did a stutter half-walk once), but I forced myself to keep running. I had chills and was pretty sure I was on the verge of throwing up. But I was so close to making it! An extra $500 for my favorite ministry was on the line!
I crested the hill on the Woodland Street Bridge and began to sprint, digging deep to kick it at the end with everything I had. I looked at my watch and had less than a minute to make it across the finish line. I went as fast as I could and just kept repeating to myself in my head, “Do not throw up. Do not throw up. There are cameras everywhere and you are wearing a Dave Ramsey shirt. Do not embarrass your company! Do not throw up!”
I held on to the sprint pace with my legs feeling completely numb until my feet passed the timing pad and I finally thank-you Jesus stopped my watch.
I did it! (I considered diving over the finish line but thought that may be overkill.) I have never run a closer race, but I did it. I broke two hours and raised $1,000 for Young Life.
Daniel, Brandon and me with
Event Producer Pete Young after the race
It wasn’t a personal record and just to give you a glimpse into how unimpressive of a time it was in the grand scheme of things, that ranked me 245th just in my division of females 30–34.
But when it was all over, it wasn’t about my place or personal record anyway. It was about the fact that for 13.1 miles, I didn’t make excuses and I didn’t give up. I truly gave it all I had and for that, I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.
So whether it’s a half marathon or just a walk around the block; whether $1,000 is on the line, or a million dollars, or no dollars; whether you’re running or working or any other thing—remember that you’ll be the most proud when you give it all you’ve got.