I’m going to be honest with you guys, I have no idea where to start with this recap. I have so many emotions and thoughts about my half marathon yesterday that I have no clue as to where to begin.
So, I’ll begin by giving thanks to every one of you who texted, commented, emailed, Facebooked or Twittered me and wished me good luck and congratulated me after the race.
I am so lucky to have so many people that care about me and my running endeavors. It gave me the warm and fuzzies all weekend long.
I woke up the morning of the race feeling a bit panicked. Although we’d had lots of fun over the weekend, it wasn’t exactly the kind of fun that was conducive to preparing for a long-distance race.
But I was still up and at ‘em by 5:30 a.m. and ready to see what I could do out there.
I wasn’t hungry and my stomach was queasy, so I just drank coffee and a glass of water and nibbled on a banana.
Then the bf and I headed out to take the shuttle over to the start line – only to get there and realize I’d forgotten my iPod in the hotel room. Doh!
We rushed back and got it and still managed to make it to the start with about 10 minutes to spare, but it was quite chaotic at the time.
I was in the last corral because I used my marathon pace when I signed up and not my half marathon pace, so I was really antsy watching everyone else take off.
Finally it was my turn and I darted out into the roads.
I didn’t feel like I was going that fast, but when I got to the first mile marker and it said 9 minutes I knew I was in trouble (my average pace is an 11:30 min/mile).
The thing is, I don’t wear any sort of timing device when I run, so I had no idea what I was pacing until I came to the mile markers.
Still, I felt really good for the first five miles or so. The scenery was really interesting and the weather was pretty good (albeit a little hot and windy).
After the second water stop, I had to stop for a bathroom break. I had promised myself I wouldn’t stop, but running with a full bladder is just not pleasant.
Thankfully it went pretty fast, and I was back to running in no time. Not thankfully, my stomach was upset with “digestive issues” pretty much the entire remainder of the run. Ick.
Shortly after that I spotted my family and the bf for the first time. I was so excited to see them!
So excited, in fact, that I threw up some spirit fingers.
Up until this point, the course had been really hilly and it was starting to really wear me out (especially since I had been pacing too fast). Everyone had told me that the hills died down after the sixth mile, so I just kept waiting for that relief.
Well, everyone lied. The course was so freaking hilly. It never stopped. I was immensely underprepared for that kind of terrain.
I pressed on until about mile 7.5, and then the most horrific thing happened.
First, I saw a fire truck pull up along side the course and stop. I figured someone had passed out, but didn’t see any commotion, so I kept running.
About a quarter of a mile later, I noticed a huge cluster of people in the distance.
As I neared the huddle, I saw a man with his shirt off and another man trying to resuscitate him. Everyone gathered around looked as if they’d seen a ghost.
I slowed to a walk and stared at the scene in horror. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew that the man was dead.
It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I couldn’t fathom that I was going to continue running.
But I knew I had to keep going, and gawking at the scene wasn’t going to help anyone.
My spirit was broken, and I stopped really caring about anything but finishing.
I walked a lot. I was kind of in a daze.
At mile 10 I saw my family again. This time, no spirit fingers.
I was attempting to be funny in that picture actually, but I really did want to just quit and have them take me home.
My heart just wasn’t really in the race anymore.
The next three miles to the finish were terrible. It was an out and back and it felt like the out part went on for days.
I thought I’d never make it. I walked the majority of the 1.5 mile stretch out.
Finally, I reached the turning point, stopped at the water station and tried to just focus all my energy on getting to the finish line.
About half a mile later, I spotted my running buddy up ahead! It was exactly the adrenaline rush I had needed.
I sprinted to catch up with her and ran another quarter mile with her and her friend. It was so good to see a familiar face.
That was after the race, but the only applicable picture I have.
After I caught up with her and we chatted for a bit I decided to take off and just get the damn thing over with.
I was so happy to be done I could have cried. I probably would have if I hadn’t been so numb and exhausted, both mentally and physically.
I didn’t throw up like I did last time, so I considered the race a success and went to find my people.
I was so happy that they came to support me. It was the best feeling knowing that they cared and were there for me.
I left the race feeling somewhat accomplished. The course was outrageously tough, and I got through it injured and undertrained.
Still, I felt nowhere near the sense of elation and motivation that I’d felt after my last half marathon.
I was still freaked out by the death of a fellow runner and upset with myself for having to walk.
I wasn’t even going to check my time because I knew it wasn’t going to be faster than my last half marathon, but curiousity got the better of me.
And guess what? I PRed.
My official chip time was 2:30:06.
My time at the last race was 2:35:19.
I was flabbergasted. It made no sense.
This race was harder. I was injured. I walked… A lot.
How in the hell did I PR?
My first instinct was to just write it off as a fluke, but now that I’ve slept on it I realize that I have a lot to be proud of and thankful for after this race.
I proved to myself that I can make it through a difficult race.
I realized that I can be a better/faster runner if I want to be.
I learned that life is fragile, and being able to complete any race and walk away healthy is an amazing blessing.
After my last race, all I could think about was when I was going to run my next one.
Not this time. I think I need a break. I need to really assess what it is I want from running and make sure I completely heal up my leg.
I’m really looking forward to a few weeks without running.
Sorry this recap wasn’t extremely motivational, or even well-written. Like I said, I feel so many things about the race that I have no idea how to articulate it.
Maybe it will come to me later.
But thanks again so much to everyone for your support!