Yesterday was my first half marathon. Well, kind of. My husband likes to remind me I did a half Ironman in 2010 which ended with a half marathon but with a still recovering shattered heel it was more of a walk than a run.
As with all races there are good and bad take-aways. There were good miles and I took the time to enjoy those miles, 3-9 were not bad at all. I had a plan and stuck to it until after the 10 mile mark. I ran through the first aid station, had to stop for potty during the second mile so picked up my pace to make up that time before the next aid station. The plan was to keep my pace around 12-12:15 until mile:75 so I would pick up the pace the last quarter before the aid station. I tell myself I am 'earning my walk'. I kind of came up with this plan during mile 2 and it worked well. The last quarter of each mile my goal was sub 12:00, preferably around 11:45.
Running during a triathlon is much more fun than a foot race. In triathlon there are no headphones allowed so there is a lot more encouragement from spectators as well as other racers. Now that I am used to running without music I get kind of lonely during foot races when everyone is in their own world and nobody is chatting.
After the potty stop I saw Karen so I ran up to her, swatted her behind and we exchanged a few words. She was doing a relay with Rachel so I would see her later in the race. When I got to the half way point I saw Rachel, gave her a hug and heard Trisha & Belinda cheering for me. This was a good mile. My half way goal was 12:teen and I was at 12:12.
Sooner than I expected Rachel caught me. When she got to me she was huffing and puffing clearly she had really pushed herself to catch me. We run together at least once a week so having her there was comforting. She told me my breathing sounded good. Another good mile.
Once we were past the half way point the sun was out and it was warm. Who would have thought I'd be dumping water on my neck and worrying about sunscreen at a December 9 race? This same race was freezing last year. My good training runs are in the 60s, today was in the 80s.
When I got to 10.1 I told Rachel this was my longest run. At this point my left IT band was bugging and I was nauseous while walking. Mile 10 wasn't horrible but it got worse pretty quick. My ten mile goal was 12:10, I was at 12:19.
I told myself I only had a 5K left but that is a big fat lie. It is a 5K after 10 miles, very different!
During mile 12 I had to stop to stretch my left IT band, this killed my pace. I wanted a 12:15 average for the day but would settle for 12:30. I remember looking down at my watch after stretching and my average was 12:28 this made me nervous because my 'running' pace was now quite slow, my feet were killing me.
Making things a bit more frustrating the mile markers were stretching out. The first 6-7 miles my Garmin and the mile markers on the course were close but later in the race the markers were further and further out. At 11 miles we didn't reach the marker until 11:20, twelve was 11:25 and when my watch said 13.1 there was no 13 mile marker in sight let alone a finish line. This messed with my head and I walked for a bit. My mantra during that last mile was "run with a purpose, earn your walk' I tried to keep my head up, shoulders back, feet under me hands at my hips. Looked at my watch and average pace was 12:31, that is NOT going to happen, I was not going to let go of 12:30!
Picked up again and the last .25 felt like a mile. There was no music and the crowd was minimal so you couldn't hear it until you were almost there. The distance by my watch was 13.35. The course being long is annoying but not a huge deal. What bothers me more is the times are based on a 13.1 mile course so my paces in the results are way off.
Laid on the ground next to Karen and put my feet on a sign for leg drains. Got up to walk to pavilion and as soon as I sat down both calves seized up BAD. I was writhing in pain. My sweet friends were running around getting drinks and food for me but nothing helped. Finally I took my compression socks down and Karen massaged the calves. There were moments it took everything in me not to kick her in the face but I knew it was helping. Once I could stand and walk we headed to lunch and then home for shower and a much deserved nap. Note to self: No stopping during Ironman.
It is done. I ran further than ever before. Next up - 13.1 March 25, hoping it will be cooler and will be looking for a PR.