Sunday, September 25, 2011

My FIRST race, which happened to be a half marathon.

I'm a big fan of go big or go home, so it seemed appropriate to skip right over the whole 5K & 10K thing & go straight to running a half marathon as my first race.  
I'm now pretty sure a full marathon is not on my radar any time in the near (or distant :p) future.

Major lesson learned - don't ever say 13.1 is "just another Sunday run".  It'll laugh in your face!  
Today's run was, quite possibly, the hardest run I've ever had.  My disclaimer (excuse? :p) - I was sick for about a week leading up to the half.  I had a cold that started in & stayed in my chest.  It was awful.  While I felt better today than I have been feeling, it was still there & I think the drainage led to my stomach being very upset.  A few miles in, I started having trouble getting a good, deep breath.  Obstacle 1.  By the half way point I was battling the urge to puke.  Obstacle 2.  I never did puke, but there were a few extra troubling moments that led to me walking at probably a 22 minute/mile a few times.  I realized around mile 8 that I was working on a nasty toe blister.  Obstacle 3.  (See, 13.1 was laughing at me!)  It was hotter than I expected, it was a course I'd never run, we ran directly into the sun for several miles, yada, yada, yada...  but...  the entire time the super-awesome Denya stayed with me.  I know I told her several times to just leave me, but she wouldn't.  She's great like that.  She was dealing with her own pains, and yet found a way (as always) to not make it about her.  Holly (also her first half!) was with us until about mile 8 or 9, then she gained a little extra momentum, just as I was losing every ounce of mine, and took off.  She went on to finish about 10-15 minutes ahead of us.  Good job girl!
Disclaiming (ie complaining) aside, I FINISHED A HALF MARATHON!!!  It IS a big deal!  I really don't know *that* many people that have done it (well, not counting runner friends), and actually, most people I know haven't run a 5K...  I ran 10 miles more than a 5K!  I am proud.  Very proud.  I was hoping for a 2:30:00 finish, which was ambitious, but I hoped attainable.  I never did get the adrenaline rush you're suppose to get, which probably would've made a big difference.  :/ I averaged a 12:23 pace, which is really, really awesome considering how slow I walked several minutes, multiple times.  Pretty sure my average running pace had to be in the 11something min/mile range (we actually started in the 10s, which did kick my butt!).  I think, had I not been sick, I would've finished at, or possibly just under, 2:30:00.  So, I'll cut myself some slack!  :p
All that matters (to me) is - I FINISHED.  Complete with a toe blister, sore legs, upset tummy, and complete exhaustion.  I FINISHED.

Offical race time: 2:44:37 (this was gun time, I believe, so I was just under that from the actual line)
Official placing: 274 of 447 total, 51 of 80 in my age group

Now, enjoy some pics.  :)

My night-before prep:
(clothes, BIB #327, Bondi Band, CEP sleeves, Protein Bites (+peanut butter bread) for breakfast, 2 packs of GU for miles 4 & 8, (I also had 3 Shot Bloks 45 min before the race started), coconut water for electrolytes, water, my trusty Garmin 305, iPod, Throlos socks (THE best!), and my Brooks Ghost 4. It takes a lot of crap to run a half...  I can only imagine what I'd need for a full!)

The awesome Denya & I, pre-race:
 Christina (her first 10K!), me, & Denya pre-race:
 A big ol' group of Lesley's RIO girls & friends pre-race:
Coming in to the finish!  I was SO happy to see my sweet hubby & son waiting for me!! 
 My son loved the medal!
 Denya & I, post-race:
 Christina, me & Denya post-race:
 The hubby, kiddo, & me (I still had my iPod in my ear & going but didn't realize it, ha!):
 I almost didn't get up from this position, I was sooooo tired!
 The End.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is a half marathon really a big deal???

When I started training for a half marathon, 13.1 miles sounded both amazing & pretty much impossible. Somewhere along my training path though, I lost the awe.  Granted, I also lost the impossible, but still!  Now, I feel like it's JUST 13.1 miles. How did that happen?! 
When I started my journey to 13.1, I wanted one of those stickers for my car. You know, the oval that says "13.1". I was once amazed by those stickers & thought that if I could ever accomplish a half, then surely I would have earned it!  Now, I feel a but silly to consider buying one... Maybe when I accomplish 26.2, one day, but for 13.1?  Eh.  
I am completely shocked at who I have become during this crazy running journey.  Once upon a time 6 miles (okay, honestly, 3 miles!) scared me & now, 13 feels like no big deal - just another Sunday long run day.
While feeling a lack of inspiration about my pending half marathon this weekend (remember, it's just 13.1!), I was watching the weather channel & the anchor was taking about a triathlon that was cut to a duathlon this weekend because the weather was too bad for the swimming. When he commented about the "5K run & 27 mile bike ride", he said something about that being more than enough & then that 27 miles was a long enough bike ride for his entire lifetime. As he was saying that, I was thinking of how I'd be annoyed by 27 miles & would need to go ahead & make it 30 miles. 30 miles is no big deal to me, yet it's enough (or more than enough!) for some people to accumulate in a lifetime.
I get it!
It's all perspective, eh?
As I train, things get easier & sound less & less crazy (like, for instance, how I'm toying with the idea of a full marathon. What?!  Who said that?), but, to others the things I'm doing still sound impossible. 
It IS an accomplishment to finish a half marathon. It IS kind of a big deal. 
A few months ago I was in awe of people who could accomplish a half (or, heck, a 10K!).  I need to slow down enough to remember that I have accomplished something. Something most people never even attempt. Something most people find amazing, not just "another Sunday long run". Actually, most people don't even have a Sunday long run.  (Really?  Most people DON'T wake up long before the sun, just to run?!)  I deserve that sticker & the pride that comes with it!  If I decide I want it that is.  I may go ahead & hold out for a 26.2.  ...maybe.