Grandma's Marathon 2012 is in the record books.  Runners, volunteers, spectators mark your calendars for June 22, 2013.  The 37th annual Grandma's Marathon.

Last year I ran my first 1/2 Marathon, and wrote about my experience.  This year was entirely different.

After running my first half marathon without training in 2011, I knew that I wanted to train for the 2012 half marathon.  I mean, 13.1 miles without training again?  I wouldn't recommend it.  At all.  Going down stairs and trying to sit was nearly impossible for weeks afterward.  Every inch of my body was sore.  What was I thinking?

This year I decided to follow the Grandma's Marathon Garry Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon Novice Training Program.  Thankfully I had a co-worker who was also training for the half, and we trained together.  Now, even the novice training program suggested running 6 days a week.  Which I didn't quite make.  Six days a week is a lot of running!  I diligently kept track of how many miles I ran and almost always made time to run at least 3 days a week.  Not quite the suggested 6, but as a wife and mother of three with a full time job I did what I could.  After the first couple weeks of running, I knew I was hooked.  I actually started to look forward to getting to the gym and hopping on the dreadmill treadmill!

As June 16th quickly approached, I set a goal for myself.  I knew I'd try to run most of the 1/2 marathon, and I wanted to finish in less than three hours.  For most runners, that would be a pretty easy goal.  But I'm carrying a few extra pounds than most runners.  But thanks to my running I dropped a few of those extra pounds!

Saturday morning I woke up at 2 am.  On the couch.  I don't know what happened, but my husband and I sat down to watch a little TV before bed, and next thing I knew my hip was killing me and I had a horrible crick in my neck.  I rolled over, set my alarm for 4am, and tossed and turned for a couple hours.  (Yes, on the couch.  I knew that if I climbed into bed I'd never want to get out.)

I felt a lot better than I did last year about running.  I knew that I had trained this year, and that I'd do better than I did last year.  My goal last year was to avoid being hauled off the course for being too slow.

As the bus pulled up to the 1/2 marathon starting point at 6:05 am, I was more excited than nervous.  I had someone to run with this year.  I was wearing an amazing lime green shirt.  I had some pretty awesome shoes.  And I felt ready.

Next thing I knew, the people ahead of me started moving.  We were off!  And I was so far back, I didn't even hear the gun.  I wasn't scared or nervous this time. I was ready.

By the time I hit the 5K mark, I knew we were going at a pretty good pace.  I actually crossed the 5K mark with a time comparable to my Fitger's 5K time, and I still had 10 miles to go!

Unfortunately, I had to make a porta potty break about 5 miles in.  That added about 7 minutes to my time.  I stopped and said "hi" to my kids on Superior Street.  Gave them all a sweaty hug, took a picture, and I was off again.  That added a few minutes to my time.

The first time I really walked was through a water station downtown.  I knew that my ability to drink water up to that point was bad.  Not because I couldn't, but it's hard to run and drink at the same time.  But I also knew that if I didn't, I could end up seriously dehydrated.

As I came around the corner by the aquarium with the Vista in sight, I knew my spirits would be lifted by Jeanne and the sweet sound of Mix 108!

I ran past the William A. Irvin, and knew that I was less than a half mile from the finish.  I allowed myself to walk for 30 seconds, so I could finish strong.  Once I passed under the Lake Avenue bridge, I knew it was almost over and I picked up my pace.  I felt so much better at that point than I did last year.  The cheering down the last stretch was so loud I couldn't hear my music.  Although I am not an elite runner, or even considered a "great" runner, the crowd was still cheering for me and everyone around me.  It was awesome!  And just like that, it was over.  I was done.  After running almost every single step of the 13.1 miles, I was done, and I felt great.  Better than great!  I stretched, got my finisher shirt, and made my way to the food!

I made my goal of a time under 3 hours.  My official chip time was 2:46:20.  Last year I finished in 3:09:12.

I'm officially hooked on half marathons.  Now with my second ever Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon under my belt, I'll be back again next year.  With a goal of under 2:20!