So tired, but I have so much I want to say about this race. Before I begin I would like to thank each and every one of you who are reading this. Thank you for taking the time to read it, thank you for following me on my journey, and thank you for motivating me. Over the last six to seven months I have met some really amazing people. When times got rough today I thought of all the amazing people I have met, the kind words they have shared with me, and the motivation and love they have for running.
As for the race in general, I think they hyped it up too much. It definitely wasn’t as fun as I was expecting it to be. The best part was seeing everyone in their costumes! No costume for me, but I did buy a new pink running jacket. I also bought some knee high black socks with skulls on them! I thought I looked pretty cute, but I will definitely be thinking of a fun creative costume for next year!
I lined up pretty much at the very back because I had originally planned on walking the first mile to warm-up my shins. That didn’t happen…I tried! The good news was that I had no pain with my shins! I am going credit this to my knee high skull socks. I think they kind operated like a pair of compression socks, just not as tight! They were awesome and they kept my legs warm. Definitely think I will be investing in a real pair of compression socks…must find them in pink (my signature color)!
The first half of the race was amazing and I felt great. I was on track to beat my first half-marathon time. My first half was slow but steady, my only goal was to finish. I secretly wanted to finish in under three hours, which I did…2:57:06! So I had a lot of room for improvement. My average pace that race was 13:32 per mile. My first seven miles were faster than that pace…13:05, 13:03, 12:41, 12:46, 12:26, 13:05, and 12:49. I was pumped! I even stopped during the third mile to stretch and talk with my mom for a minute or so. Then all of the sudden I just felt so tired. This could be due to a number of things: not enough sleep, poor nutrition, poor hydration, and minimal training and stretching of my muscles. I know for a fact that I was dehydrated as I didn’t go to the bathroom until 2:00 this afternoon which was six hours after going before the race, and it was yellow! Not so good. I didn’t bring my hydration pack with me this time, nor did I stop at the first two water stops…I didn’t want to have to stop to use the bathroom.
So things started to go downhill in the middle of mile seven. I think I went out too fast the first half. My mile times are an average of my walking and running. My running pace was anywhere from 9:30 per mile to 11:30 per mile. I think this was a little too fast for me, especially for the first half. This winter I really need to work on maintaining a steady pace, among other things…such as running without walking!
This course was a ten mile and half-marathon combined. So when I came upon mile ten part of me was thinking it would be really nice to be done now, and the other part of me was thinking I only have a 5k left, you can do this! Also, at mile ten I finally found a first aid station. I had been watching for one for a couple of miles as I had some chafing going on! I needed some Vaseline. I had applied Body Glide I guess I just didn’t use enough! At mile ten I knew I had to finish in less than 47 minutes to beat my previous time. I was still feeling optimistic at this point because I knew I could do three miles in less than 47 minutes. Turns out those last three miles actually took me 49 minutes.
Shortly after the last water stop at mile 11.5, my hopes seemed to be crushed. My entire right side: lower back, hip, glutes, hamstring, and my knee were in incredible pain with every step I took. Then because I was running funny because I was hurting my calf and foot started cramping up. I was pretty sure it was my IT band that had tightened up, as the pain was very similar to what I had experienced earlier this summer when I had issues with my right IT band. I was devastated, disappointed, and in tears. I had been on track the entire run, and now a mile and a half from the finish I felt like I could barely move. Part of me just wanted to give up on beating my previous time, but the competitive side of me still thought I could pull it off. Mile 11.5 to 12 seemed to take forever because it was uphill…talk about hitting you when you are down. I was not expecting this hill, and it was the larger of two unexpected hills in the second half. I walked slowly, this mile was my slowest at 15:40.
At mile 12 I still thought maybe, just maybe I could pull it off. I was over the hill and it was pretty much flat to the finish. I was trying to run, but felt more like I was hopping! I’m sure I was a sight to see. It was probably around 12.75 miles or so that I realized I wasn’t going to make it. So I just walked. I saw my mom around mile 13, and started crying again. She told me she figured I was hurt because I was walking. She walked with me a few steps, and then I tried to run across the finish line.
(My mom and I. I was running and she dressed up! I look pregnant here as my pockets are stuffed with gloves, Gatorade, my phone, and some Kleenex.)
My watch actually measured the course at 13.22, and the last .22 my pace was only 17:15…I was barely moving! I was just so happy to be done. I must have looked like I was in pain, because I was immediately approached and asked if I needed medical help. All I really wanted was some Ibuprofen and water! All they had to drink were some flimsy little cups of water that they had along the race course! Are you kidding me? I just finished 13 miles and all you have is a half-filled cup of water for me to drink! The only thing they had to eat was a banana, which I ate about half of because it wasn’t even ripe. Maybe they had more for the early finishers, but they knew how many were running so they had no excuse not to have enough for everybody. The two things I liked about the race were the cool medal and tech jacket I received!
I received a lot of encouragement and support yesterday from friends and family, and I am incredibly grateful for that. One of my friends told me that I was a winner when I got to the start line, and that is absolutely true. Most people won’t even make it that far! So finishing, regardless of my time, is a true accomplishment. On the way home my mom had said my time didn’t matter, even if I had walked the entire 13 miles, that would have been an accomplishment. She asked me, “how many people do you know that even go out and walk 13 miles?” So true. I am just a really competitive person, even though I am only competing against myself. I just feel that I should have improved since my first half in July, and that was not evident in the 10 mile earlier this month or this half. I have to remember that not every race will be great, some of them are meant to be learning experiences.
As disappointed as I was feeling yesterday, I am actually really proud of myself. I ended up finishing in 2:59:48. Yay, for finishing in under three hours! It is kind of disturbing to think people finish a marathon in less time than it takes me to finish a half, but I am not competing against them…I am only competing against myself. My first half-marathon finish was 2:57:06. It only took me 2:42 longer this time around and I stopped to talk to my mom for close to a minute early in the run, I stopped at the first aid station around mile 10, and I was injured and walked the last mile and a half! Had I not gotten hurt I would have had a great run with a new PR! Even though I didn’t get a PR, I finished!
Yesterday I couldn’t figure out how I had incurred a new IT band injury in my right leg, but I didn’t have any issues with the pre-existing one in my left leg. I must have been thinking about it in my sleep because I woke up in the middle of the night and it all made sense. For most of the course I tried to stay on the right hand side because I am slower and I do take walk breaks. Well for the first three to five miles there was a very small slope in the road. I have no doubt that this is what caused the issue with my right leg. I was even cognizant of it while I was running. I kept thinking I needed to move more to the middle of the road so I could be on more even terrain. A lesson learned!
This year has been quite the journey. I just started running at the end of January. Since July I have run a 5k, a 10 mile race, and two half-marathons. My original goal was a marathon, and that is yet to come…maybe next year! I have done things I never thought I would be able to do. I have come realize that I am STRONG and I am not a QUITTER!