Ok, so it has been a little more than a month since I last updated this blog. The past month was spent fussing over my short and long runs in preparation for the half-marathon, which was this past Sunday.
The day dawned not-so-bright and too early for me, I was up at 4:00am, much before my 4:30am alarm went off. To say I had butterflies in my stomach is an understatement, I had whole colonies doing a dance there! I got dressed in my favorite tank top, ate 2 eggs with a slice of brown bread, visited the bathroom one last time and drove to the race location.
Finding parking was a pain in the a$$, with the biggest free parking lot full, I had to park in a paid lot, and run to the start line because there were just 15 minutes left to start. I found the start line and lined myself behind the 2:40 corrals, feeling a little too enthusiastic. I tried chatting up with my neighbor but she was too focused to care, and made me think if I should be less perky!
The race started at 7:00am, but by the time our pace group was flagged off it was 7:12 or so. I started running nice and steady, no sign of the knee pain that was bothering me the past week, I sprinted up to the 2 hour 30 minute pace group and stayed with them. At around mile 3 we hit the Rock Creek park trail, I was feeling great, until we came upon a HUGE hill, aptly called the silencer – because there is no way you can chat people up while walking(forget running) that monster. This was the first time I slowed down, it was about half a mile long and it broke my pace down considerable. I fell back with the 2:40 group now, and as the distance progressed I started feeling it in my feet. As I passed the 7 mile marker, I felt like there was nothing left in me to go on, and the thought of running 6 more miles made me cry. I said the same aloud, and one woman after another started pushing me on, saying nice things, motivating me to keep moving. I had now slowed down to a very slow jog, my runkeeper app on the phone was now showing I was doing 13 minute mile, jeez, from 11:30 a mile to this was pathetic. But that was the best I could do. At mile 9, I stopped at a Gatorade station to drink 2 cups of the awesome stuff, and when i tried to start running again, my legs refused to cooperate, so I started walking, slow at first and then I made it a brisk walk, still only at 14 minute mile according to my app. At that time I saw the 2:45 pacer run past me – 2 hours and 45 minutes(a 12:37 minute mile pace) was the target for this race, the organizers were not expecting too many people slower than that, and it seemed like I would definitely be slower. It broke my heart and I became even slower. As I was thinking this, a really big girl walked past me – she was more than double my size and was huffing and panting and looked like she was in pain, but she kept going. This was the motivation I needed to start back again, and off I went, 4 more miles, that’s it! At that time there was also a group of women running together, one of them was a trainer and motivator of that group and she asked me if there was anyone waiting for me at the finish line. I said my baby and my husband – she said think about how ashamed your son would be of you if you quit – I ignored her comment and kept walking – because if I did quit and went to him early, he would be oh so happy! Just kidding! Mile 9-11 were a blur. After mile marker 11 hit, one girl running alongside me asked me if I wanted to run all the way through – I said hell yeah! So we ran, for the rest of the 1.1 miles, my runkeeper said I was doing 11 minute mile, with hopes that I would finish decently, if not within the 2 hours 45 minutes I originally hoped for. As I saw the finish line, I saw my husband and son, waving at me – I crossed that like, went over to them, hugged them and broke down crying. I remember telling my husband, between sobs, that I have never felt this weak physically and emotionally, that this almost broke my resolve.
What time did I finish in? 2 hours and 55 minutes, a 13 minute 20 second mile average pace. Not to shabby for a first timer, eh?
Now I am thinking of signing up for 5 mile, cross-country race that has hills, and grass and water along the course!