I ran a half marathon! I walked through all the water stations (planned) and ran the rest of the course. And my previously stress fractured leg feels good. Running the whole thing and feeling good afterward were my main goals, so I’m pretty excited.
I got up at 5am, ate a banana and drank a cup of coffee, and quickly dressed.
It was in the 40s so I wore shorts and a t-shirt with yoga pants and a throwaway jacket on top. I wore those when I met up with the training team at 6:15am.
It was cold, even after the half mile warm up. I knew I’d get warm so I forced myself to shed my pants at my car and headed to the starting line with my training team friends Jenni and Ginny and two friends of theirs.
The race theme comes from this SNL sketch. Right before the race start, they played “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and people rang tiny cowbells. It was pretty amusing.
I lined up near the back of the 10:00 mile section.
Shortly after 7:30am we were off. Almost immediately on my right I saw some signs I recognized from this blog, which was cool. I also saw this guy, who amazes me. At least he was warm.
Then we headed out toward the country.
Just before mile 5 was an area called the high-five zone, which had a lot of crowd support (and high-fives).
At some point after the high-five zone I finally ditched my jacket. I’d planned to lose it in the corrals but I never got warm enough, so I wore it for the beginning of the race.
Then we took a right and headed toward New Town.
This part of the course was an out and back, so we could see the really fast runners as they passed us. This was the first female I saw.
New Town was nice. I love running past water, and there was a lot of it.
This canal was especially beautiful; it reminded me of something you’d see in Europe.
However, I’ve got to say, New Town felt overly….new. We’d been running through farms, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, then all of a sudden there was this picturesque community of different colored houses and cute little shops. It reminded me of The Truman Show, to be honest.
We left New Town and it was back to fields.
Around this time we were approaching mile 9. My friend Jenni had warned me of a hill around this point. I saw one in the distance and figured that was it.
Around this time I saw two training team members holding these signs:
So I began to think perhaps that hill wasn’t the end of the hills on this course advertised as flat. And it wasn’t.
I’m not sure those photos give the full picture of what this felt like, 10 miles into the race, so maybe this will.
There’s really no good time for a hill like that but 10 miles in just seems mean. My legs wanted to walk so badly but somehow I kept running.
I did have a chance to recover after we passed the summit.
The guy in the gray Fleet Feet t-shirt really helped me out on the uphill. I sidled up to him and ran right next to him for the duration of it, trying to focus on keeping pace with him rather than the fact I hated the hill.
Around mile 12 we went down a sharp downhill, which sounds nice, but is almost as challenging for me as uphills because my quads are trying to keep me from going too fast and as a result it’s kind of painful.
After I walked through the last water station at the 12.4 mile mark I saw this woman in a knit hat.
She was major motivation for me. She’d walked through the water station too and was now running again. I figured if she could do it, I could, and caught up to her. We turned a corner and I saw the finish line in the distance. I passed some people and then my knit hat friend kicked it up a notch. Inspired by her, I began sprinting, and passed her and a bunch of other people. I love that feeling. I felt so strong as I crossed the finish line!
Then I got my medal.
Per usual, I was not hungry at all immediately after finishing, but I ate a piece of blueberry streusel bread because I knew it would help me recover.
Then I saw this.
Actually, most of what I picked up wasn’t all that healthy.
I would have preferred a can of beer I could have taken home but you gotta do what you gotta do. And sometimes that means beer at 10am.
My Garmin thought I ran slightly more than half marathon distance.
But here’s my official results.
What a difference a year makes. I’ve gone from not being able to run a mile without pain to running 13.1 pain free miles. Of the five half marathons I’ve run, this may be my slowest time, but this is also one of my most satisfying races.