I was drafting this blog shortly after I finished my first half marathon in May, but between getting married and breaking bones, I forgot to post it. Enjoy!
White Rock Lake Centennial Half Marathon - May 2011
I DID IT! I finished my very first half marathon. I'm not gonna lie, it was hard. However, it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Probably because I was properly trained, and I've done several relatively long races (15K and 20K).
I've been trying to complete my first half marathon since December. I was signed up for the Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, but I tweaked my achilles after a half marathon relay in November and was unable to run in Vegas. I did, however, get my $150 shirt that comes with registering for a Rock 'N Roll race. One of these days I have to do that race. It runs you right down the Las Vegas Strip!
In January, I decided my achilles was healed and it was time to start training for a half again. I am a member of DRC, so I joined their spring training program. My very good friend TE is a pace leader for DRC, so the thought of running with her and then having breakfast at Barbec's every morning sounded good to me! I ran the Frigid 5K in January so we could accurately gauge my pace (I PR'd!). But, I was only able to run with them for about 2 weeks before my achilles starting acting up again. Dammit! I took a month off from running altogether to let it heal a little more. I started running again about mid-February because I'd signed up for the brutal Catalina Marathon 10K in March. Yeah, I know it was just a 10K but it was really hard!
By mid-March the achilles had settled down considerably, and I was able to put in some major miles. I had to train on my own from that point forward because I'd missed out on so much during the 2 months I hadn't been training with DRC, which was ok. I like running alone. It clears the mind, and I don't have to keep pace with anyone or chat. I like running with people too, but when the miles start getting longer it's easier for me to focus if I'm alone.
DG signed up for the Hogeye Marathon in April, so I got a team together for the marathon relay. I needed the miles for my training anyway. TE and I and two old college pals from Fayetteville teamed up. TE and I were the 3rd and 4th legs, which sounded like a good idea at the time. I chose the anchor leg because it had the most mileage (~8 miles). However, I didn't begin my leg until about noon. Dude, it was hot. It was hot and windy and hilly and it sucked. It really did. About mile 5 I came to a water stop and one of the ladies handing out snacks and whatnot said to me, "Honey, I've got peanut butter crackers, gummi bears or a cold PBR. What would you like?" The ice cold beer, duh! It was delicious and just what I needed. Although, something can be said for PB crackers and gummi bears. I love them all! Only 3 miles to go, no problem. Well, until I saw the last 1/4 mile or so that was a near-vertical ascent to the finish. Oh wait, it's not the finish yet, you have to run around the town square first. I have photos of me running up this hill and they aren't pretty. I look homicidal, so I won't post them here. But, here's a very nice photo of TE and I with our medals! I look much happier!
With the Hogeye behind me, it was time to focus on the half...The White Rock Lake Centennial Half Marathon. I rocked its face off! Well, I finished it and I wasn't last. That, my friends, is how I measure success when it comes to running.
A little past the first mile, I saw Plain Jane Dough and her Blueberry cheering and heaving a sign that read "On-On MJ!" Yay! Thanks, guys! In hindsight, Plain Jane and I have thought of an even better, more fitting sign for my next race. Anyway, I spotted DG and my cheering entourage of beer and GU at mile 4, and I was still feeling good. Bumper passed me a beer and I hung around for about 30 seconds. I had to hand DG my MP3 player because it shorted out from my sweat. Oops. Oh well...onward! I kept well-hydrated and GU'd up every few miles. Everything felt good until mile 11. Then, the dreaded wall. UGH. The temperature was rising and I was nearing the 2:30 mark. I had a goal of finishing in 3 hours and I'd really have to pick it up if I was going to make it.
I spotted the cheering entourage about mile 12.5 and apparently I was in no mood to chat. I vaguely remember saying anything, and I don't really remember if I grabbed a beer or not. I'm sure I did. But, I was in the zone, and I knew I couldn't stop. If I would've stopped, I might not have gotten started again.
I crossed the finish line at 3:13:21. Not a terrible time for a first-time half marathoner that only started running seriously in the last year or so. I believe a major factor of me not being able to meet my goal time was the temperature. It was hot. We took some pics at the finish and headed up the hill to pizza and beer.
DG had the greatest t-shirt made for me as a gift for finishing my first half. It says "I run half marathons. I'm lazy like that." He really is my biggest fan.
UPDATE: Since I have a broken ankle, I probably won't be running any races until late in the Fall season. I'm signed up for a couple trail runs in October and November, but I may be walking those! We'll see. However, I got a new bike and have only put 30 miles on it, so that will be my primary training as soon as I get out of this boot...3 more weeks! I really, really can't wait.