Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Half-Marathon Recap: Wahoooo!!! and Owwwww!!!

Wow. Just, wow. I did it!
Oh, boy! Where to begin? In a perfect world, I would have written this recap the day of the race, when I was positively drowning in endorphins and super-successful feelings. Today, two days out, I am still super-pumped, but I am also sore and tired and back to work, and "what will I make the kids for dinner tonight" and all that other reality-type stuff.

Nonetheless!! I did it!!! I successfully completed the See Jane Run Half-Marathon. And happily, my definition of "completed," e.g. "drag my butt across the finish line at any point during the 24-hour period following the start of the race" morphed into a respectable finish of 2:49:54! I'm not going to argue semantics of a "respectable time" with all those speedy runners out there, like the first place finisher who completed it in 1:23 or so. :) Armed with all my own pre-race insecurities, like being embarrassed if it "took too long" to finish and such, I had a happy epiphany along the way: if you freaking finish, you are a rock star. That is hard! 13.1 miles is long!!

I could have written you an essay about how long 13.1 miles is at about mile 8. By then, I was too invested to quit: I was "almost done," after all. But I was too far from the end to be close: with five miles left, the finish line was as good as a million miles away. I didn't hit the wall, exactly. I never had a moment where I thought I wouldn't finish, or that I wanted to quit. I had lots of moments, especially around mile 8, where I thought I was quite possibly the stupidest woman on the planet for even trying.

Not all the mile markers were visible, at least to me. So I had some confusing moments, and some moments filled with outright terror and dread. Coming up on the Mile 5 marker, I could only see the top of the "5" as I approached, and you do not know my bitter disappointment when I expected it to say "7." And there were other times of fear, too, when I hadn't seen a mile marker in a long time, and I became filled with dread: WHAT IF I HADN'T PASSED IT YET?

There were fun surprises, too, of being surprised by the number that showed up on the next marker, when I must have missed a previous one. Clearly, I have no sense of distance or time. And someone remarked about the half-way point marker: uh, did they have a halfway point marker? I didn't see it.

At some point, I stuck my headphones on and ran, ran, ran, oblivious to the world. I played a few songs over and over and over. "Pump it Up" by Elvis Costello. "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. Not exactly power songs, but heck, they worked for me! Next time I'll have to make a playlist of songs to keep my ass in gear while I'm running.

Yep, I said next time. I'm going to do this again! Several reasons:
- I am ridiculously "gold star motivated." A medal? I want medals!
- Total zone out mindless running. I am really good at getting lost in my thoughts. :) That passed a whole lot of time. It can be soooo interesting living in my head! :)
- Oops, it brought out a competitive/aggressiveness in me that is not completely unlike why I have to make myself be nice on the freeway. I like passing people. I do not like being passed. This became quite the game for me, picking out someone up ahead and seeing if I could pass. Then once you pass, you have to keep going so you don't get passed again! Laugh - do not get the impression that I was a speed demon, tearing it up out there. I was passing walkers, in most cases. :) Hey - some people walk really fast!
- I tried to do what I really wanted to do, which was find someone to pace off of. I wasn't good at that, because I'd pick someone who I thought had a nice pace, then they'd start walking and I would be flummoxed. Refer back to having no understanding of time or distance, haha. I'll get better at picking pace people.
- I had never run outside, not since I was a little kid, and even then it was extremely limited. Hey! I *like* running outside! I did have a few moments of "You better not be looking at me, and if you are, you better not say anything to me" when we were running by cars, but that passed quickly. Mostly, I was just keeping my eyes peeled for mile marker signs, haha.
- Really fun. I had a blast, God only knows why.

I think I did really well, all things considered. My cardio/breathing never felt especially taxed. I always knew I had more steam left in me, but I intentionally kept to a consistent pace, not knowing if that steam was going to completely evaporate. It was my legs that battled going any faster, not my lungs. And not knowing if I was going to be paralyzed in pain the next day.  I think I kept a fairly consistent pace for the whole race, after a slow start at the beginning. That will be a learning experience, too! Jen at Runner Maybe helped coach me with the etiquette, as I was a bit lost as to where to go and how to do it when the race started. The pathway was really narrow, and there were lots of people going lots of speeds. I was pretty oblivious!

Oh, I'll probably blog later about the logistics and technical stuff of the race, like how Nuun energy drink tastes like crap when you try it for the first time at the expo, but tastes like juice from heaven when you are really tired and thirsty. And how at the first couple water stops, you think that runners are being rude, littering their cups all over the ground instead of hitting the garbage can that is right. there. for. you. to. use. But later, you're like, arrrghh, must not stop...must keep going (because my legs really hated starting again after a stop)! I littered with the best of them, except for the stop right on the water, because I didn't want my cup going into the water.

I bought a cool stuff-sack belt thingie. It carried everything, unobtrusively. I'll need to work on organizing it better. And now I get why those runners have "throw away" sweatshirts, because I was cold at the beginning, then my lightweight sweatshirt tied around my waist drove me *INSANE.* But I love that sweatshirt! But I did decide to leave it behind at the last switchback, hoping it would be waiting for me when I returned. Happily, it was.

Crossing the finish line was super, super cool. I was one happy camper, let me tell you. I was loopy, and I was afraid to sit down because I'd never get up again. But I was happy! I called Kim immediately - she had been texting me supportive messages along the way, as had my daughter and Greg, too. I was happy, and a little surprised, that except for that first mile or so at the beginning when we walked, and one steep hill (the only steep hill, I think), I ran the whole time. Running is a subjective term, but here I will claim it proudly, haha. It is fair to say, though, that the couple times I thought, "Oh, I'll just walk for a minute," when I tried to start running again, it felt like I was a zombie lurching along for awhile. I decided it was easier to keep running. :)

After I crossed the finish line, I staggered over to take this picture of myself. :)


  1. Congratulations! ! Woooooot!!!

  2. How Awesome!!!! Congrats on a HUGE accomplishment! I hope a half is in my future!