RUNNING THE CHARLOTTESVILLE HALF-MARATHON -- TOGETHER!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
My Ryan ran the Charlottesville Half Marathon with me last Saturday -- personal surprise of the YEAR. I'd been planning to run it since January, and I started seriously training in February. Ryan, on the other hand, decided to run it last Thursday night...

Kind of insane, we know, we know. After mulling his crazy-amazing idea over for a bit, he spent every free minute on Thursday researching "How to run a Half Marathon without training," and with some strategies in his pocket, a million positives vibes coming from me (I wanted him to do it so badly!), he threw caution to the wind and registered Thursday night at 11:50 PM, just before registration closed forever. We both knew that the experience had potential to be one of the best things we've ever done together --- and it was!

And so! Our Friday night date found us carbo-loading...

...and our Saturday found us up bright and early at the starting line downtown! Three of our friends were running it, too - Joanna, Katie, and Candice (such a party)! We all split off at the start, sans my man and me, and met up again at the finish. The course was HILLY but its absolute beauty made up for it. I didn't know this beforehand, but the Charlottesville Marathon is a destination race - so people travel here to come run it - and I can see why! I'd do it again tomorrow if I could. "Insane," you say, but I'm serious!
This was my third Half, and while it was by far the best one, it was also my most painful. I switched shoe brands in January, and it turned out that this new brand and I aren't BFFs. While training, my knees started tightening up if I ran 5+ miles in them. Dumb, I know, but (even dumber, I know) I trained through it because I couldn't go buy another pair of top-of-the-line shoe. That factor slowed me up a bit on race-day, but I knew it would, so I wasn't disappointed. Rather I was pleasantly surprised that my knees didn't hurt too bad!!! Yay!

*Sneaky pic credit goes to my girl, Candice. Obviously didn't know she snapped this -- so glad she did! Thank you, C!
Ryan and I had so much fun being together. More than once mid-race, I turned to him and said, "I can't believe you're here...ah I am so glad you are here!!" Especially at the race's end. Mile 12 was long, uphill and rough, but Ryan kept telling me how proud he was of me and that I could finish strong. He also told me that I could run through my need to go to the bathroom at mile 12 ("Jeni that's ridiculous, you are SO CLOSE!"). Okay FINE, Ry. ;) I forged through and finished strong. He was right. 
We found our runner girls a while after we finished!  I forgot to mention it was raining the whole race -- it is more than obvious here that we're a tad soaked. :)
Some post-race GRUB! Most people don't take three of each food item, but hey, no shame here. I paid a lot for those cookies and chocolate milk! My baby girls would love them, too, so 2/3 of that was for them. I'm a cool mom. ;)
And that was that! We went home, took the girls swimming, Ry and I took turns decompressing in the hot tub, and then it was back home for the first session of General Conference. I think my face had that insane grin below slapped to it the rest of the day. The combo of running that gorgeous race - with my Ryan (I'll probably never get over that) - plus spiritually feasting back at home left me floating on a special, grateful little cloud. 

Life is so dang good.

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