First Half-Marathon Race Report

I know it has been a terribly long time since I’ve posted, but it’s been a crazy couple of months. Long story short? H was sick, I was sick, H was sick, H was sick again. Between sickness, work, life, and a little running in there, it has been a long time since I’ve had time to sit down and post.
So I was gearing up to run the AthFest Athens Half-Marathon, running my slow long runs on Saturdays. I learned a little about fuel for myself during the runs. I learned that runner cannot live on Sports Beans alone! Beef jerky, applesauce packs, and Nuun water were my best friends, although I don’t have enough water bottles to go for a long run. Invariably I had to stop and purchase a Powerade at about 5 miles, but that also gave me a good potty break too. My longest training run was 12.5 miles, and I also had a good lesson on properly hydrating yourself for long runs. I was drinking plenty, had to stop for 2 potty breaks, but when I got home, I only had to potty twice before bed. I was unaware of how much I was sweating and emptying out my energy stores, due to the weather being so cool. I guess you remember to drink more when it’s hot! I also learned to bring chapstick during long runs, as my lips were so dry during that run!
After my longest training run, I tapered. Okay, in all honesty, I only went for a couple of short runs. (enter sheepish grin here) I kept getting great advice on prepping myself mentally for the race from J and C, and I knew to expect nervousness, poor sleep, and decreased appetite to said nervousness. What I didn’t expect was to wake up at 3:50AM, thinking that I had overslept! I was unable to get back to sleep, but I had packed my gear up the night before, so I laid in bed resting until my alarm went off at 5:15. I was up and out the door by 5:45, driving to the meeting spot with J, nauseated by my nerves.
It was about 48 degrees, and I’m wearing my fabulous tutu, and a short sleeve tech shirt, shivering in the cold. By the time we walked the half mile to the starting spot and got corralled up, I was starting to get warm, and was happy that I had left my long sleeve shirt back in my car. Due to being on a borrowed phone, since mine died, I didn’t get any pics. 😦
7:30AM, and the race starts. I have my GymBoss set to a 30 second – 1 minute ratio, trying to get myself going nice and slow. I lose J in the crowd of 3,000 runners, but I knew I’d be running pretty much by myself for most of the race, since I’m about as turtle as turtle runner can be! My first mile was 14:56, a little faster that I meant to go, but I was okay and feeling good. There were people all along the course, signs waving, cheering all of the runners on. Sorority and fraternity kids costumed and cheering, kids giving high fives, churches handing out gummi bears and offering runners access to real bathrooms! It was an experience.
My pace vacillated between 15 and 16 minute miles, and I was feeling really good at the halfway mark. I ran in to Baddest Mother Ever, and got a sideline hug! She asked me what my goal was, and applauded when I told her it was simply to finish. My secret goal? To not have the sweeper, C, batting me balloons to scoot across the finish line. 🙂
I was having such a good time, and such a good run! Mile 9 came along, and I took my second potty break. I was really starting to feel the run at this point, and could feel myself getting slower and slower. I started taking longer walking breaks, pounded down more fuel (yay applesauce!), but never was really able to gear back up.
As I swung onto the University of Georgia’s campus I was feeling so slow. According to my GPS watch, I was staying right on par with the rest of the race, but I was out of run. I walked the last 2 miles. At 12.35 miles, I was ready to sit down, and just wait for the sweeper van. But the mental image of H and B waiting at the finish line kept me going. And my mental images of stringing J up by her toes for ever talking me into the f@cking race! There’s a funny pic of me, with a slightly indignant look on my face, asking another runner why people keep telling me I’m almost done, when I’m almost a half mile away. At that point, I was hitting the wall, and hitting it very very hard.  As I round in to Sanford Stadium, something I have dreamed about, all I want to do is run to the finish. And I can’t. I’m dangerously close to tears, but I’m so incredibly close to the finish line. So close.
I’m limping, my feet are throbbing, and I hear J and our group who started out together screaming my name. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and kept walking. I hear the announcer saying my race number, my name, and commenting on my smile. “I think that’s a genuine smile!” So I’m laughing, giving high fives to our group, and I cross the finish! Three hours, thirty-eight minutes, and fifty-one seconds after starting. I get my medal, and I see B & H with a sign that reads “My mommy just ran her Ath off!” I hurry over to them as fast as I can, scoop H up into my arms, and promptly burst into tears. I’m hugging H, sobbing, J has her arms around me, and a very sweet gentleman hands me a bottle of water. I knew that it would be an emotional finish, but I didn’t realize just how emotional. Next year, I’ll train harder and better. Next year, I’ll do it in under 3:30. And yeah, I’ll probably cry again.

My Genuine Smile as I Cross the Finish Line.

My Genuine Smile as I Cross the Finish Line.

h and mom

Tearfully Grateful to Be Finished, and Grateful to Be Holding My Little Boy.

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