Monday, April 30, 2012

My First Half Marathon

Throughout high school I would run 1-2 5K's a week during the summer and fall. I remember when I completed my first 10K I was so proud.  Well I have added a new distance to my name.  On Saturday (April 28, 2012) I successfully completed the Thanksgiving Point 1/2 marathon.

Leading up to this I was planning on training properly, but I let life get in the way.  Trying to run with 2 kids usually resulted in a few 3 mile run a week. Occasionally I would go a little farther.  I think I did a hand full of 4 mile runs.  I did do about two 6 mile runs, and one 9 mile run (that I walked the last 2 miles).  The two weeks prier to the race I ran a total of 3 times that resulted in 14 miles. Needless to say I didn't feel really confident going into the race. 

My goal for the race was to finish.  The race required that you maintain at least a 16 min/mile pace.  I figured if I ran the first 10 miles I would be able to walk the last 3 and be just fine.  I figured I would finish in less than 3 hours.

I told Troy although it would nice to have him there to cheer me on.  I didn't think it would be practical to have him get the two kids up before 6am and then entertain them while I was running.  I knew it would be sheer torture for the three of them.  So I was all alone at the race, but that was OK, because there were 2500 other CRAZY runners.

Driving up to the park I saw a sign that said "Marathon parking" with an arrow pointing forward.  Up to this point I hadn't really thought much of what I was about to do. But when I saw that sign.  I thought, "I'm really doing this."  I almost starting crying. I have had a goal to do one for many years, and I couldn't believe I was finally going to accomplish it.

After parking I went and picked up my race number and electronic chip.  The race started at 7am and at this point it was 6:15.  Since it was only about 35 degrees I decided to go listen to music in my car until it was closer to the starting of the race.  I waited until 6:45 and then headed over to the starting line.

They did what is called a choke start, and had people line up according to their self proclaimed speed. I got in near the 2:45 sign.  There I saw a girl I used to run with in high school.  We chatted a little until the start. Slowly the crowd moved forward.  Because of the chock start once I passed over the starting mat I was off.

The race provided pacers so I would know about how I was doing.  I ended up passing the 2:10 (9.55 mile pace) pacer. I figured I would stay in front of that pacer for as long as I could, but didn't expect to finish in front of that pacer.  The race started with a run around Electric Park at Thanksgiving Point and then went into their garden area and then all around the golf course before heading back to the same area the starting line was.  I LOVED running through the gardens. It was pretty and unique.  The golf course was OK at first, but after a few miles of running through greens I was pretty tired of the same old thing.  The course was really hilly, but the hills were short, and I guess because I'm used to pushing a double stroller while I'm running they didn't seem to effect me as much as the people I would pass :).

The race was really well staffed.  They had water/power aid ever 1 1/2 or 2 miles.  They also had GU, oranges, and bananas at about every other aid station.  I would switch off between power aid and water at the water stations, and then every 4 miles or so I would take a GU.  I learned after the first GU to not try and ingest it all at once, but rather nibble it from the pouch.  The first time I squeezed the whole pack of GU in my mouth and about gaged.  I would walk at each aid station until my water/Power aid was gone and then I would start running again.

As I hit mile 2 I thought . . ."There is no way I'm going to do this."  By mile 4 I was feeling really good.  At mile 6 I was thinking, "Man I wish I was doing a 10K.  At mile 7 I though, "SWEET . . .more than half way done."  At mile 8 I wanted to stop, but I knew I shouldn't, because if I did I would never be able to start again.  By mile 10 I was thinking, "I have NEVER run this far before."  At mile 11 my muscles were really tired, and were cramping.  At this point the 2:10 pacer still hadn't passed me so at this point I made it a goal to not let him pass me.  For the next two miles I just put one foot in front of another until I was about 1/2 mile from the finish and I could hear the pacer behind me saying something.  I looked back and there he was. I picked it up and decided to finish strong. 

At the finish line the race clock said 2:10.19. I then went into the sea of delicious after race snacks.  I got: chocolate milk, bottled water, great harvest bread, oranges, bananas, chocolate chip cookies, and white bean and ham soup.  I know I shouldn't have felt like eating, but it was so delicious.  I then checked my official race time and found out I had run it in 2 HOURS 8 MINUTES 19 SECONDS. I finished 512 out of 1109 finishers. And was 45 person in my division and the 265th female finisher.

I walked around for awhile, stretched, and then headed home.   When I got home I told Troy how it went, took a shower, went shopping and then came home and then took a nap.  I wasn't really tired, but my leg muscles were and it hurt to sit, stand, or walk so I figured if I laid on my stomach and took a nap it would give them a little rest.  It felt nice.

In the end I really enjoyed the experience.  I would like to do it again in the future.  The weather was great.  I also learned that I CAN DO IT!  I was once again reminded that I love to race, because it reminds me that I'm not the only crazy person out there that likes to run.

1 comment:

Kristen and Erik Cambridge said...

I am so glad your half went so well. Congrats on a great race, especially without being able to get many long runs in. Makes me feel a little better about the half I am signed up for in June. It will be my first half as well.