Well I’m back bitches. I’ve had an extended vacation so I thought I would update you on my shenanigans. Let’s discuss:
Remember when I mentioned that I was going to run a half marathon. Well the date came and I ran it. Yes! Eight weeks of training and the day arrived. I spend the week doing small runs and stretching and drinking tons of water. The night before we had a few people stay with us who were going to cheer us on. Lauren ran the half as well. My Sister ran it along with several other friends of mine who graduated college around the same time I did. We carbo loaded and stretch and I was up at 5:00 in the morning. I downed a light breakfast (I didn’t want a tummy ache while running) showered and before I knew it we were ready for the race.
The weather was perfect. It was overcast and cool. I was worried about the morning run, considering I’m an evening runner, but I think the excitement and the nervousness helped me in the long run. Before I knew it the gun sounded and we began the run around Presque Isle. Yes we had had to do an entire lap of Presque Isle.
I had decided a while back that my two goals for this little feat was 1) Finish the race. Plain and simple do it. 2) Run the entire race. This objective scared me some. I had never run that much before. I decided that to reach both these goals I had to have comfortable pace that wasn’t to fast. I ended up setting my pace at 12 to 12:30 minutes a mile. Slow yes but I wasn’t out to break any speed or time records. During my training I was able to keep the pace steady and estimated on race day, at this pace, I would finish in 2 hours and 45 minutes (roughly excluding injury or death). Well the gun goes off and I am running next to Lauren. We begin to find our paces there are people everywhere and I am concentrating on my breathing. As we come closer to the first mile the runners begin to thin out a bit giving us room. A woman at mile 1 is yelling times 10:58, 10:59, 11:00, 11:01. I realize that I’ve run the first mile around 11 minutes. I’m thrilled that I’ve reached mile 1 in 11 minutes with minimal shin splint pain but I am also weary that running this fast can cause you to tire quickly making the race much more difficult. I suspect it is just race day jitters and at some point I would pace myself out and slow down a bit. So I settle in for 2 hours and 45 minutes of pure running.
Up to this point my trainings longest run was 10 miles; the training indicated that I would not run a race length in the 2 months I trained. So I was a little worried about those last three minutes. After running the 10 miles I was exhausted and the last mile took a lot of mental pushing telling myself, “I could do it; and it was only one more mile” etc. As I ran I passed all my trails and paths I ran on the Isle. I could pick out the distances on the paths as I ran. I concentrated on my pace and my breathing and at time let my mind wonder. I lost Lauren at one point and it was me and the other runners. I paced with a young lady who exuded a certain peacefulness as she ran. It was reassuring. We didn’t say anything but you could feel us feeding off of each other’s pacing and breathing. It was incredible. As I ran I could look across the bay and see the City of Erie beginning to wake up and start their day. As I passed mile after mile I thought about each week of training that took me farther and farther in my running. Eventually the young lady I was running with lagged behind a bit and I found myself looking for other runners I could pass as I ran. It was the Serengeti and I was on the hunt for those I could over take!
I knew there would be a total of 10 water stops on the race. But, I wasn’t stopping so it was running and drinking. It was quite the new experience. A friend of mine who ran the Pittsburgh marathon told me to be careful not to splash sports drinks that were offered on me because the ensuing stickiness would make the run an awful mess. I stuck with water. I would grab it and try and drink the water and wash out the stickiness in my mouth. I wore most of the water but it worked.
People were cheering for us and shouting encouraging words. As I passed mile 6 a group of people had set up a few speakers and were playing music for us. “Born in the USA” was playing and I got weepy as it reminded me of my Mother (who was unable to make it up because my Father’s truck had to go to the mechanics). But it was amazing how a few encouraging works a small glass of water and some music and makes you want to keep running. I kept running mile after mile (miles 7 and 8 seemed to be the longest) and when I hit mile 10 I knew it was time to dig in. It was now or never. 10 miles had been the longest run I had ever run and now I was going to add three to it. I was doing decently. Don’t get me wrong my body was like okay you can be done now but that wasn’t an option so I pushed through it. The two things happened to me at mile at 11 1)I’m pretty sure I saw the baby Jesus (j/k) and 2) There was a lady counting out times again 1 hour 57 minutes she yelled at me as I passed. I had been running under two hours and had 2 more miles to finish! I was stunned to say the least. 2 hours and only 2 miles to go. I knew I was running faster than 12 minutes a mile and it made me push ahead. Mile 12 came and went and I knew the finish line was on it’s way. I finally saw the sign and the timer I picked up the pace and ran panting and praying I would pass out in front of all the spectators. I ran down the chute and over the finish line completing my first half marathon in 2hours and 23 minutes!
As I slowed and the works snipped off my running chip I noticed that the world seemed to still be moving. My legs wobbled, I was covered in sweat, I could feel my heart throbbing in my throat, and all I wanted to do was sit down. A friend shoved a gallon jug of water in my hand I gulped it down. I tried not to pace my water drinking. Soon I found my Sister who finished 17 minutes before me. I even managed to see Lauren finishes 11 minutes after me!
And like that I was done. Two months of training and I did it I finished my first half marathon and ran the entire thing achieving both of my goals. 13.1 miles of running and I was done; I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy that the race was done.
Today I still think it’s amazing that I finished. What wasn’t amazing was the fact that I could barely walk two days afterward…let alone walking up and down steps. Up not so bad down was awful. I had to take steps going down one at a time backwards to ward off some of the pain my quads felt. My shin splints weren’t too bad afterwards my left leg shin splint was weird it curled all the way around my leg and into my calf.
I was rewarded after the run not only did I have a week of vacation (I ended up spending the week with Lauren and her family at their cottage and it was lovely) but I also will be purchasing a record player (I pilfered all my parents old records recently) that I’ve been wanting for some time!
In the end I found out that I finished in 2 hours and 23 minutes a full 22 minutes less than what I had estimated. When I looked up my running statistics I learned that I had run a 10 minute and 57 second mile (I believe that was on average); which means I sheared off something like 1 minute and 33 seconds off my training time which I was stunned by. My Sister finished in two hours and 5 minutes and between her and I (only17 minutes difference) 164 people crossed the finish line! I also found out that when you finish a marathon you can eat like 3,500 calories because of all the energy that was spent! A-M-E-N!!!!
Overall my half marathon experience was an amazing one! It was incredible to even be on the same course as people who can finish a half marathon in an hour and fourteen minutes (that was the first place runner’s time)! It was incredible to see people cheering you on and being with the other runners who have struggled and worked just as hard as you had. If you get the chance to run a half marathon do it you won’t be sorry. And for your enjoyment here is the only photo I will post of me!
Yep that’s little ol’ me looking pained as I approach the finish line!
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