Because I can now proudly say that I am a half marathon FINISHER!
Here is how I did it:
- Support – Team in Training, my patient and compassionate husband, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and my encouraging Twitter peeps:
- Tools – RunKeeper app, Nike+ app, Reddit Running discussion forum, Runner’s World online resources
- Assistance – Physical therapy and visits to a sports medicine doctor
I finished in 2 hours 33 minutes, so a little slower than I had hoped but better than I expected. I am ok with that! And since I think every mile tells its own story, here is my play-by-play of the race:
I got off to a weird start. I felt great, and I had enough adrenaline pumping through me to fuel a small city, but I quickly ran into technical issues. Less than a quarter-mile in, my RunKeeper iPhone app – which has never failed me before – informed me I had already gone over a mile. Obviously that was wrong, so I tried restarting it three times to no avail. For some reason the GPS tracker couldn’t locate me, so I gave up and let it be. By the end of the race, I had logged an impressive 21.5 miles! Woo-hoo!
Feeling awesome! I stopped for water and Powerade and watched the guy in first place fly past (I’m pretty sure he is part gazelle). I remember feeling inspired and honored to be around such elite runners.
I made the first turnaround and stopped again briefly for water and sports beans, thinking I was further along than I was – I need my mileage notifications!
I was still going strong but annoyed that I ate my beans too early…
All I cared about was getting to mile 6, where I knew my husband and friends were waiting. It was starting to get hot out, but I didn’t want to stop and walk (too soon!). I also had one of those “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” moments.
I spotted my crew and felt invigorated after seeing them. I stopped for water again and then tried to calculate when I would hit the halfway point at 6.5. I saw the man-gazelle fly by again and realized that he was almost finished. This time, I felt more jealous than inspired…
I kept trucking along, slowing down my pace but still running. I came across the Team in Training cheer squad and gave them a thumbs up and a smile – this became my automatic response to every purple shirt I passed. Honestly, it was nice to have so much support on the course.
I spent most of this mile convincing myself I could make it to mile 10 without walking and then trying to figure out where the dang turnaround was! Also, right on cue, my feet started hurting.
I passed on some water and gel packs and finally made the turnaround. Only 4 miles to go!
The crazies hang out at mile 10, apparently. I passed a woman dressed as a banana and some guy trying to hand out bags of oranges…
I was starting to feel rough now – my feet and legs were aching, and I’m not sure how I was still moving… I passed more funny signs, though (favorites: “Where is everyone going?” and “It’s ok – you can go in your pants”). They kept my spirits up.
This was my favorite moment of the entire race. Just before I passed the 12-mile mark, my power song (“All These Things That I’ve Done” by the Killers) started playing, and I immediately got chills. I also teared up a little, and I had a big, goofy smile that didn’t leave my face. Spectators cheered when I ran by because of how happy (or crazy?) I looked. I ran almost the entire last mile, only stopping to walk briefly on an uphill stretch.
I could hear the crowd before I saw them. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but it was big enough. For some reason my iPhone stopped playing music right at that moment, but I didn’t mind, because I got to hear everything. They announced my name as I approached the finish line, and I saw my husband and friends at the very front. I cheered to them, they cheered to me, and I sprinted across that finish line feeling like I just won a gold medal at the Olympics. Best. Feeling. Ever.
So… Now What?
Now, of course, I want to run a full marathon, even though that was the furthest thing from my find when I finished on Sunday. It’s funny how quickly we forget the agony of training and running DURING the race because of how amazing we feel AFTER we cross the finish line. But that’s because the “after” feeling outweighs the “during” feeling, and it lasts for days, whereas the race only lasts a couple hours. I can tell you for certain – the end is worth the means. In fact, I tweeted this later Sunday evening:
All of the Team Devon runners did AWESOME, and it was truly an honor to run with them. I even spotted Devon right before starting the race, and it was just the inspiration I needed. I admire him so much for staying strong and positive in the face of obstacles much greater than shin splints and foot pain.
What do you think – should I shoot for 26.2 next? And what is your greatest fitness accomplishment?