I thought about typing up a full race report for you (is there anyone even reading these??) but then figured just some highlights would be good enough. No one needs to know that my feet went completely numb at about mile 4 and didn't get back to normal until we hit mile 5. Oh wait, now I guess you know anyway ;)

So yes, I ran my very first half marathon yesterday.

Let's start with some positives:

- We finished the course in less than 3 hours. That was my goal. It's nice to meet a goal you're not quite sure you're capable of.

- The course is beautiful! Parts are in farm land, rolling hills of grass and big red barns on the horizon, parts are in areas that feel like a forest, deep woods with tall trees, ferns, SHADE! Really a stunning place to run.

- I didn't die. Nope, I didn't. Hence me here typing right now. I didn't even hurt myself! I'm sore today but normal long run soreness. Even my hip flexors behaved. Hips + hills = lotsa pain...usually. Perhaps it was adrenaline? Perhaps my hips are used to the beating? Perhaps He intervened on my behalf? Even my allergies held off until we were done.

- Scott and Cheryl and Aaron came out to cheer us on. Due to multiple road closures they had trouble getting close to most of the course so picked a spot where we had about a 1/8 mile left to run. It was the perfect spot. I was starting (not really, it started well before 1/8 miles left) to drag and was even feeling a bit pukey from being so hungry. Charity had already said "When we get to the white gates we're just going to run and not stop", I'm sure my need to walk was frustrating her. But  then I saw Scott and Aaron holding signs and I just felt better. I started to run and didn't stop. Into the stadium we went. Cushy ground in there! Hooray! And we finished. Running, nearly sprinting. It's amazing what speed you can find when you can see the end.

Now for the challenges (yes challenges, not negatives):

- Hills. I know everyone knows about the Helevtia Half Hills. It's par for the course. Hahahahaha, get it, the course. Yeah I crack myself up. So yeah, hills. There are a few of them. I don't run them often. See above hip flexor comments. I didn't exactly train for these. We walked up them. I would try to run up the starts and just lose all energy. Had I been able to run more of them our time would have been oh so much better. Next time. Wait. I did not just type that. I don't intend on there ever being a next time. At least for Helvetia.  Dudes, I am not a runner. I am a reader/gardener/baker. Next time....pffft.

- Hitting the wall. Somewhere between mile 9 and 10 I hit it. My brain had been mush at mile 8.5 when I turned to Charity and said "We only have a 5k to go!" You should have seen the look on her face when she took pity on me and explained that, no we actually had about a 10k to go. Ability to do math lost at 8.5. Another mile or so later and I was tired. The sun came out and it zapped the little energy I had left. I wanted to conserve some for the finish so we walked more than I would have liked. That was frustrating.

So that's the story morning glory. Yep, only two challenges that are signifigant enough to mention. If I ever run another half (there is a plan for the Princess Half in Orlando right now) it will be better because I'll know what to expect.

I do take a few things from this experience.

1. If I decide that am going to do something, no matter how improbable, it is possible.  It is extremely rewarding to know you can do something so physically demanding, even when you are an out of shape, former mediocre athlete. Seriously folks, if my fat ass could do this, yours can too. Not that you have a fat ass. I'm just saying, well you get it.There were people on that course with broken arms and canes!! As an able bodied human I have no excuse not to be out there getting my exercise on.

2. Running is not really the most evil thing on the planet as I had previously thought. Pollen has now taken top spot in that category. But running, well it can be enjoyable. When done in moderation and not in an all out, hurt yourself, kind of effort. Slow and steady actually feels nice, up to about six mile...

3. I have some really kick ass friends. Charity, who is a runner, a real honest to goodness runner, stayed slow and steady with me right from the get go. She was right when she told me that if you have to do this kind of training alone you will probably stop. There is accountability involved but also the shared misery comradery in completing something so grueling.  Not everyone would hang in the back with you and stay patient when they could surge ahead and have fun passing all the slow pokes. Cheryl and Aaron are pretty darn awesome for coming out to cheer us on too (Scott gets points too but he's my husband so it was kind of required). It's a drive out there, it's a few hours out of a gorgeous day to find a spot then stand and wait with signs. I don't know if people really understand how much it means to have people on the sidelines. It's HUGE! Scott (you didn't think I'd leave him out did you?) was a constant support. He let me bitch and moan, but never once made any comment that would imply he didn't think I could do it. In fact, when I wanted to skip a long run it was just one look from him that said "Get out there, you can do this". So yeah, I have some pretty awesome people supporting me. Imagine what else I could do with that kind of support???

I plan to back off from the running for a week or so, maybe just a few itty bitty runs for a few weeks, then head back into some longer runs topping out at 6 or 7. Just to stay in shape. It's so much more work to build up to that, better just to maintain it.  But now I won't bore you (if there is anyone still reading this!) with running stuff all the time.

My finishers medal! The whole reason for agreeing to this in the first place!

Okay, so this was a huge much for keeping it short and sweet with highlights! I gots the word vomits!


Mary Cressler said...

Hooray!! Doesn't it feel amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it? I NEVER imagined I could run a 1/2 marathon and was always envious of those who did it. Then, when I started training for my first half it just came together! Now I'm about to embark on my first full. I would think I was crazy if I didn't do a half first! It's addictive.

Congratulations! I hope you're still celebrating your accomplishment :)

Life With the Crazies said...

I am seriously impressed. I want to be a runner, but my brain just doesn't let me, it is so scary for some reason, like I don't have the guts to go for it, to push through the tough part. I am so proud of you, this is awesome... keep going!!!