So today is what it all boiled down to. 371 miles in 16 weeks, all in preparation for this moment. I could not have possibly been more prepared. I felt strong and capable. I don’t even know where to begin talking about this race. My very first half marathon. On pretty much the same course I run every weekend. A few different turns, but I knew what to expect.
I had dreams last night that I wouldn’t be able to finish. I’m always anxious about being able to perform. Not usually in dream form, but i’m not surprised. I had to keep reminding myself, that I’ve worked hard and know that I can at least finish, no matter the time. I was worried about my knee so I picked up some rock tape at Road Runner and taped it up, best decision I’ve made all year. Never felt anything in there. Smooth sailing all the way as far as my knee is concerned.
It was cold this morning, I decided on shorts, because it’s usually pretty warm, and sunny. I didn’t want to regret wearing too many layers, I needed as little irritation as possible. Forgot to get more chomps yesterday, so I had to run with what I had on hand, which was kind of a bummer, but I tried not to let it get me down. It didn’t turn out to be too big of a problem. I just didn’t eat as much. In the beginning I noticed they had pacing groups, and was pretty nervous to jump in one. But when Tracey took off to find the 2:30 group, and I started off running by myself at an easy start up pace, I got warmed up, and caught up to the 1:50 group. I told most everyone that I wanted to get under 2 hours. But I really wanted to get 1:45, which I know was out of reach, and hoped 1:50 would be within my range if I pushed myself. So when I caught up to them, I stuck with them, It was manageable around 8:30 and for some reason I could keep it up easily. It’s pretty amazing at how easy other people make it look. Like they’re just gliding along. I try to look like that, I know I don’t, but I try. Glide along like a cat, keep my face soft and calm, and smile.
All the way up, I enjoyed the sights, Even though it was the same path, it was a whole new experience. Being in the road, running with everyone around me. It’s enough adrenaline to keep you going on forever. Or at least until you do like I did and think you were cool enough to try to move up into the next pacing group. I was wrong. I got up ahead, and tried to do it a little too soon. Spent my energy in the wrong place. Even if I had made it up there, I would not have been able to hold the pace they were doing. There’s a point where you turn in onto a military installation area and run all the way down and back around and it says you’re at 11 miles, and you have to go all the way down there, back around and through IB, and I’m like… that looks way longer than it should. I struggled to keep up with the pacing group and fell behind about mile 12, when I got to the turn around point, I knew there was no way I was going to catch up to them. I can see where it happened too in my pace chart, I sped up, had to slow down, sped up, repeat. It was hard, eventually I knew that I needed to just focus on finishing at a speed I could keep up.
I found myself questioning if I really had it in me. If I could really do this. It was hot, it was a little bit boring, no one cheering, nothing to look at. The road was long and hard. Uneven concrete, my least favorite ground to be running on. I thought that I might need to slow down, I didn’t know what to do. I looked down at my watch and just kept going, don’t stop. Just make it through. My brain was fighting it’s self, each doubt, I’d say to myself “you got this.” I don’t know how I managed to finish that.
Once we got out of the base area, we were back in IB doing the final leg, and I’m looking down like… this is longer than 13.1. OMG. Garmin put the race at 13.26, not much longer, but if you were there, you’d have seen it too. It lasted FOREVER. Got to the last little bit of the race, and I hauled ass, sprinted as fast as I possibly could into the finish area. My kids and my brother and friends waiting for me at the finish line. Best feeling ever.
During those last 2 miles, I actually asked myself, why I was doing this. And then when I got done, I remembered. How can I feel this good, without challenging myself. What a huge sense of accomplishment. No one can put in the work for me, there’s no cheating, no shortcuts. Not everyone can get out there and run 13 miles. It’s amazing.
For the rest of the day, I pretty much sat around resting my legs. They feel great. Great as in, not painful. The feel like any other hard workout. They aren’t extra sore, just the normal kind. I do have a blister on the bottom of my foot, but it’s not bad. I should have stretched, and drank protein, and kept running after. But in all the excitement, I didn’t do any of the things I knew I was supposed to. I’m sure I’ll pay for that in the long run. I’ll also have to decide if i’m running on Wed or not. Seems like an easy question, YES. But I’ll see, rather than risk injury, if I’m sure, I’ll sit it out. If I’m not, I’ll run easy.
End result, I am so proud of myself! I did pretty awesome! Can’t wait to do many, many more! And a consistent 8:33 pace?! Fuck yeah! I don’t know how I did it, but I know I did. I DID. WOW.