Monday, September 14, 2009

13.1 Miles

Yesterday, I ran farther than I've ever run before. I ran my first half-marathon. Yeah, I'm still tired.

The hubs and I left Saturday afternoon and headed down to my best friend B's apartment in Gaithersburg. Then, we got up early on Sunday morning and B and I joined 2500 other runners for a early morning run.

The weather was perfect. Yes, it was humid, but the temperatures were only in the 60s so it wasn't anything to complain about. I did feel bad that the hubs had to get up at 5:30 in the morning and basically stand around and do nothing. It probably wasn't the most fun for him, nor very tiring, but I still felt bad.

I had three main goals for this race:
1. Finish under my own strength. No stretchers or oxygen masks for me!
2. Run the entire time.
3. Finish somewhere near 2 hours. Yeah, a sub-2 hour finish was my real goal, but everyone and their mother told me to be a bit lenient for my first half.

B and I are somewhere in that grouping.

The hubs saw us gliding past him and he didn't have time to snap a picture. Of course I asked him to take a ton of pictures and that translated into thirteen pictures. That included the pre-requist pre- and post-race photos that I demanded he take. Yay, I'm still working on the hubs and his anti-picture taking stance. Seriously, I ran 13.1 miles and the hubs didn't take a single picture of me actually running. That's probably a good thing, because I'm sure I wasn't a very attractive runner yesterday.

Anyway, I made a few rookie mistakes. You know that expression, "less is more." That expression doesn't hold true for certain things, like Body Glide (an anti-chafing application). I have chafing in areas that a person should never experience chafing. Rookie mistake number 1. Then, B and I went out way too fast. I wasn't strong enough to tell her I had to slow down. I told her I had to slow down and then I didn't. Going out too fast really killed my energy and every step past mile 10 was a battle. My final rookie mistake was not slowing down during the water and Gatorade stops. For the first 8 miles I would just cruise through the aid stations and whatever liquid I was able to throw back was all I got. At the mile 8 aid station I tried to drink some Gatorade and it ended up going up my nose. For the last two aid stations I actually had to walk through them in order to drink my Gatorade and water.

I was thoroughly confused once we crossed the finish line. B and I saw the guys, yet somehow my legs weren't ready to make a turn. Basically I did what can be described as a drunken stupor over to the guys. Thankfully, I had a better excuse than being drunk at 9am.

I think I did pretty well. I've had a cold for the past week and I didn't run at all because I didn't want to risk making myself sicker by running. I took eight days off from running right before the biggest race of my life. Probably not the best idea, but I finished the race so it couldn't have been that bad of a mistake.

Back to my goals:
1. Finish under my own strength- Check! I'm not going to lie, those last three miles were the most difficult miles I've run in my entire life. I really, really, really wanted to start walking, but I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't have made it without B being there for me every step of the way. I kept yelling at her to leave me and run faster, but she wouldn't listen. I'm so happy she's stubborn and wouldn't listen to me.
2. Run the entire time- Check! I'm going to count a check on this one. At first I didn't because I walked through two aid stations and then a bunch of people told me I was crazy! One guy actually countered that since I started well behind the starting line and ran up to the start line, that made up for walking through two measly aid stations.
3. Finish somewhere near 2 hours- Check! Yes, I really wanted to get in under two hours and up until mile 9 I was on track to do so. Then, after mile 10 I fell apart. Everything hurt all at once and each step was a struggle. It was during these miles that I realized I had to re-evaluate my goal of ever finishing a marathon.

So, I did it! I survived to tell the tale and I plan on doing another half sometime soon. I didn't sign up for the Baltimore Running Festival because I wanted to see how I felt after my first half-marathon. Of course, now the half portion of that race is sold-out. I need to find another half for B and I to do this year. The hubs made a verbal commitment to run a 10k with us, so now I just need to keep him honest.

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