You win some, you lose some. In my case, the scales tip toward the losing side when it comes to racing.
However, they easily tip toward the winning side when it comes to stepping out the front door, trying something new and roughing it out in a new challenge.
I ran my first half marathon Sunday, a challenge I assumed I would undertake someday as I've crept into the welcoming world of triathlons and endurance running. I had no idea that it would would be so much fun, though!
I had two goals: 1) to finish the race and 2) to come in around 2:45. I met my first goal and came in at 2:48 so I consider goal #2 met.
I placed 7360/7944 overall and came in 695/752 in my age group. I placed above 584 people, but we all still won over those who never started. Great job, fellow half-marathoners!
I got there 1.5 hours early, taking a 15-minute nap before walking the eight blocks to the start line. Where I parked put me right by the finish line. I figured it would be easier to walk eight blocks before the race than after the race. I was actually able to reserve a parking spot online the night before so that was a very nice option to have.
They had us separated into four separate corrals based on time. I was in corral three. It took five minutes to reach the timing mat after the gun went off.
What a fun start. I was surrounded by not a few dozen people like in a triathlon, but by 15 thousand people. There existed both an energy and a solace that I found in that moment.
I had been concerned about a pulled muscle behind my knee that's been giving me pause the last couple weeks, a strain in the ball of my feet and about my hamstrings and glutes really cramping up toward the end.
I never suffered the first two and my hamstrings and glutes didn't wait until the end to start hurting. I would say that happened around mile 2! Mile 2! They did get a little worse toward the middle of the race, then the pain stabilized for several miles, only escalating the last couple miles.
I figured I could run slowly with the pain or quicken my pace and allow the music to help with that. I chose the latter...and it was fun starting to pass people.
I had to stop and stretch at least 10 times to help with the soreness, though. I would say that added a good five minutes to my time.
I was very proud that I didn't walk hardly at all. The only times I walked were when I was grabbing a drink from my Fuel Belt and I did walk two to three minutes of mile 11 as my legs started hurting more and as I prepared to quicken back up for miles 12 and 13.
They didn't have markers at every mile and I'm so glad of that, or at least none that I could see. It would have been depressing if I had. (Yes, I'm the girl on the treadmill who covers the clock with her towel.) I was just a little more than an hour into it and, given my pace up to that point, figured I'd be coming up on mile 6 soon. The next mile marker read "Mile 5". Mile 5? Are you kidding me? I was excited about being almost halfway there. That sucked.
However, later on I figured I was coming up on mile 8 and the next mile marker read "Mile 9" so it balanced out.
As I finished mile 11 and embarked upon mile 12, that officially became the longest run of my life. I'd only gone 11 miles in training and it had only been once.
I flipped through my iPod to find some fast songs to help get me through the last bit. I couldn't believe that in a few minutes I was going to have completed a half marathon!
There had been live bands stationed all throughout the race and hundreds of spectators stood by to cheer us on. I didn't know any of them. It didn't matter.
When I got to that last say quarter or half mile, there must have been thousands of people along that finish section. That was super, super energizing. I picked up my pace and starting passing people, realizing that each of those people just a few steps in front of me would turn into numbers in the final results that I'd rather see behind not in front of me.
I crossed the finish line and I officially became a half-marathoner. There were several individuals handing out the finishers' medals. I chose the guy wearing military clothing to hand me my medal, just so I could thank him for his service.
The run is usually my best in a triathlon, so I'm a little disappointed that I was a complete BOPer, but I've slowed down with my pace quite a bit this year for some reason.
However, as a friend reminded me, there are fewer triathletes in the world than runners, so I'm choosing to take that to the bank. Thanks for those words, Alice.
Also, I just finished a half marathon and ran the entire thing. I'm going to give myself a break.
What a production! That event was a massive, massive undertaking and these guys were on the ball. I can't wait for next year! I'd had a question about packet pickup about a week before race day. I e-mailed the coordinator and the RD actually e-mailed me back...within a couple hours. Very impressive.
I suppose I can stick that 13.1 sticker on the back of my truck now. In the meantime, I'll just stick it here.