|This is the photo taken at the end of the race and sent to Sara saying "we're finished!"|
Time: 2 hours, 31 minutes, 48 seconds.
A little (ok, a lot) slower than I wanted, but I finished and that is always my first goal, so I'll take it! I want to recap the race, but I want to be clear that I'm not complaining or making excuses. I'm proud of my time, when I think that just 1 year ago this very weekend I wasn't sure I could run more than 6 miles at a time and then I think about each of those 7.1 miles past that point that I ran Sunday I am still in amazement.
While I ran my first race distance of 13.1 miles in October, I feel like this was my first "real" half-marathon. Running a race with 30,000 people in it in a city 90 minutes away is way different than one with 250 in it in my back yard.
When we started, I couldn't figure out a way to get a good pace going. It took about 5 - 6 miles for the pack of people to really thin out where you could run your own pace and not have to worry too much about others around you. I was also very distracted by all of the things to look at and see - there were spectators lining the streets. It was awesome. Just an example of how I had trouble pacing myself at one point I looked down and was running faster than an 8 minute-mile. I realized how dangerous it was for me to keep up at the pace and slowed myself down. About a quarter mile later I looked down and was running about a 13 minute-mile. I realized that this was way too slow and it was no wonder I felt like I was walking. When my watched beeped that my first mile was 10:59, I admit, I was really upset. I knew to meet my goal time of 2:15:00, I had to keep under 10:14 miles. I was pretty proud of myself for shaking it off and just determining to run my race and not get hung-up on my finish time.
Near the mile 3 point fluid station, I took 2 cups of water and swallowed a Gu (it's a gel that is full of electrolytes and protein to help keep energy up) just like I always do in a race. Well, it didn't sit on my stomach well. Not. at. all. I thought I was gonna vomit. I didn't. However, the feeling persisted until the very end of the race. For approximately 10 miles I was nauseous. About mile 5 when I realized the nausea wasn't going away, I just tried to push it out of my mind. I succeeded for the most part. I did opt to not eat any more of my Gus, and just drank Gatorade and water at the fluid stops.
Crossing the 4th of 5 bridges, I was starting to struggle, but I new I'd see my Uncle (my cousin was also running) just past mile 7, and that was coming up. This gave me the motivation to keep going, and when I saw him, and another Uncle too!, as I turned a corner down a hill, I was overjoyed. I high-fived them both and I think that excitement carried me through to at least mile 9 or 10.
The last 3 miles - most which were uphill. Big hills. See:
The last 3 miles. Knowing I was getting close, knowing what I had to go up, knowing that I was not going to make my goal time of 2:15:00, and knowing that I was dangerously close to not beating my first half-marathon time, I was tempted to just ease up and finish comfortably. So tempted.
But I didn't. I ran up as much of those hills as I could, and I forced myself to move faster than I wanted down the hills. As I headed down the final slope to the finish line, I'd be lying if I said my thoughts didn't go to Boston. I'd only run 1/2 of what those runners had, and to imagine that joy turned to tragedy - it made me shudder. As I finished my race and crossed the finish line, I felt that accomplishment, that rush of doing what I used to think I couldn't do and I was grateful I'd opted to truly race the last 3 miles and not just coast in.
As I finally got a good drink of water and ate a banana, and quit running - even moving - my nausea slowly dissipated and I ate my Smiley Cookie:
It wasn't the race I planned or wanted. But it was my race and I'm grateful for and proud of every step of it.