I’m a HALF MARATHONER!
It’s all happening!
Pardon the slight delay of the race recap (and 100th post!) I wanted to process yesterday’s events and I also needed to work my way through this:
Yes, that is a birthday cake that looks like a hamburger. I joyfully LOST IT when presented with the hamburger cake. Bold, all-caps, nothing can express my love for this man and this cake.
Anyway, I digress…
If you just want the down and dirty stats:
Chip time: 2:16:45 (10:26/average)
So there that is.
Pre-race went smoothly. I woke up before my alarm with lots of energy. It barely registered that it was my birthday because I was mechanically going through my morning routine. We left around 6:30 to head down to San Jose where we picked up Rachel. Sweet man dropped us off near the start about a half hour before go time.
Everything was very well organized and surprisingly not packed, considering there were about 14,000 people running the half and the mini marathon. Potty lines were long but not insane and the gear check was super-efficient. Well done, RnR. After a hug, we parted ways and squeezed into our corrals.
I had an emotional moment at the very beginning of the race. It was finally here! I was doing it! I’m sure I had the goofiest grin on my face as I blinked back a few tears.
My strategy was to go slowly for the first 5K (around 10:20) and then allow myself to cruise for the majority of the race. I expected that cruising pace would be somewhere between 9:45-10mm. Faster than my long runs but sustainable over a long distance. According to RunKeeper, I executed this strategy exactly as I planned:
The run felt exactly like what the splits reflect. My body felt strong and capable. My heart and lungs were easy and responsive.
But my mind…
My mind really challenged me from the first mile. I was constantly assessing whether or not I was feeling good, going at the right speed, making the right choices. Even though the answer to every question, every time was YES, I behaved as though the answer was no. My body felt great and yet, I feared it. My speed was right on pace (according to RunKeeper – we’ll get to that in a moment) and yet, I second-guessed it constantly. The best moments of the race were fleeting thoughts I would have of family, friends, the training that got me to the race, and the incredible changes that have occurred. Unfortunately, those thoughts were brief and infrequent. It was mostly two hours and sixteen minutes of unrelenting pointless strategizing.
The only other thing that got me out of my head was anticipating seeing my great guy. He found a spot where I would see him around Mile 5 and Mile 12. I spent a good mile looking for him and that was a wonderful boost during Mile 4. I did the thing that you’re absolutely NOT supposed to do and cut across the ENTIRE street to yell hello to him. We almost missed each other but he heard me at the last second. Being a professional voice user comes in handy sometimes.
I can’t say that I ever hit one low point. It sort of all felt like a low point. I HATE to admit that because I looked forward to this event so much. I reminded myself several times that it was supposed to be hard. It was supposed to be harder than a casual long weekend run. It’s a race and I was there to be challenged. That helped a lot more in the second half of the race than the first.
Around mile 9, I started to need bathroom time. That tends to happen to me during periods of prolonged heart rate elevation. I told myself to slow down a bit and it would be fine. It wasn’t. I kept running and began seriously considering a potty stop. I was into the 10th mile and didn’t like the idea of stopping so I kept going. I ran two more distracted, annoyed miles before I spied a single potty with no one waiting. I dashed in, “evacuated” and immediately felt tremendous relief. I was about 15 degrees cooler and ready to RUN the rest of the race with no fear and no excuses.
At this point, I was way tired so I just kept telling myself “run to Tim, run to Tim.” I ran to Tim, screamed “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!” and booked it towards the finish. Sweet crackers, that last mile felt so long! I kept willing the finish to reveal itself and it just….wouldn’t. I kept running, taking pride in all the people slowing and walking around me as I pushed with everything I had. Finally the finish line came into view and I kicked it in.
I had one more tearful moment realizing that I was about to become a half-marathoner. And then, I WAS!
Rachel found me almost immediately after I crossed the finish. I grabbed a bottle of water and managed to ask her how her run went. She didn’t hit her goal but since she’s about to taper for her first full on 11/10 and had trouble sleeping the night before, she wasn’t terribly disappointed. We had a sweaty finisher picture taken.
I felt quite nauseated. I knew I shouldn’t sit down so I drank water, ate a leftover shot blok and stretched. Then I had to sit. Each time I tried to get up and walk, I knew I wasn’t ready. My fueling plan worked well during the race and I clearly used up everything I had to get to the finish. Surprisingly, my body felt great. No significant tightness, no pinching or whining. Just the overall level of fatigue one would expect. We found Tim and I just curled up next to him for a moment on the ground. We had left the “secure area” so there was no more free water available but I began to feel better after a few minutes of rest.
So, if you haven’t been able to sense it yet, I was not thrilled with my race. Based on the pace RunKeeper told me I was keeping, I should have come in between 2:10 and 2:15. Why, with sub 10mm splits 9 out of 13 miles did I end up with a chip average of 10:26? Well, because I can’t run in a straight line, evidently.
How in the F*CK did I manage to add over HALF A MILE to my course? Well, some of it might be GPS inaccuracy but I also didn’t effectively run the tangents. In retrospect, I realize that I was on the outside of the course most of the time. I had more room to breathe which felt great but had I known it was going to completely f my time, I would have stayed in the middle and the inside of the turns. I don’t regret my bathroom stop at all because it was necessary and allowed me to run the end of the race. I majorly regret giving up time to something as simple as course positioning. The dull, slightly bummed feeling I have is reminiscent of the math error I made in my 10k. If my time reflected my effort, I would be thrilled. In this case, I ran around a 10mm over 13 miles and my time doesn’t reflect that. Sigh.
BUT. (and I’m almost done, I swear.)
I trained for this race. I ran this race.
My initial goals were to finish strong and get through the training without injury. Check and check!
I am a strong, healthy, and improved woman as a result of the preparation and execution of this event.
An enormous THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me every literal step of the way. I love you and I’m grateful.