Confessions of a Fitness Junkie

Half-Marathon Wrap Up

Posted on: October 21, 2011

It’s been almost a week since I ran the Columbus Marathon 1/2 marathon, and I think I’ve finally fully recovered! What an exhilarating, unbelievable experience the day was. Being among 16,999 other people, all vying for the same goal – the finish line – I can’t even begin to explain what the energy was like. But, I can try!

5:15AM
Hubby and I get out of bed, get dressed and fix some breakfast. My pre-race meal of choice? Low-sugar Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal prepared w/ skim milk and 1 tbsp peanut butter – yum! This is a breakfast-regular for me, and normally I measure out the exact amount of milk the box says to use, but today I decide to eye-ball it. Mistake. My oatmeal comes out of the microwave looking like soup. Oh well, it still tastes good!

6:05AM
We head out and pile into Hubby’s car and head downtown. Lucky us – we don’t hit any traffic, and easily pull into one of the parking garages located right next to the finish line. And the parking fee is only $5 – a deal!

6:45AM
Parked and all our gear accounted for, we start walking the 4-5 blocks to the starting line. It’s dark and cold, but somehow being with a lot of other people doing the same, seemingly unwise thing, makes us forget about the cold. We opt to stop and stand in line (for about 20 minutes!) at the first set of portable restrooms we come across, knowing this will be the last time we’ll want to stop for the next couple of hours or so. Stupid me – I totally forgot that since I had been fundraising for the Komen Marathon for the Cure Team I could use their “private” restrooms closer to the starting line. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20.

7:20AM
Restroom stop accomplished, we push our way (literally) to our corral – Corral D, 1:56 to 2:10 finish. We take this adorable pic, and we wait.

I’m amazed at the amount of people here.

7:30AM
Fireworks explode ahead of us, and the race is on! I expect to wait for about 10 minutes before we get to start, but we actually cross the starting line at 7:33.

Miles 1-2
Easy, breezy! I’m amazed at how easy this feels. I’m watching my Sportwatch like a hawk to make sure we keep to an initial pace of at least 9’40”. We’re averaging around 8’45”-9′. Wow. Must be the adrenaline. I feel great!

Mile 3
I glance at the race clock as we pass the mile marker, and I notice we’re at 35 minutes. I know we crossed the start at 3 minutes, so how can that be? My watch says we’re under a 9 minute mile. I come to the realization that the dodging, slowing and speeding up of the race is messing with the Sportwatch. And we’re obviously going a bit slower than we intended. Great. I switch the watch to the chronology setting and decide to watch that instead. Knowing we are over our 10 minute pace goal, we speed up while we still have the energy to do so.

Miles 4-5
The increased pace is starting to make this feel a little more like work. My hips are starting to stiffen, so I take a few awkwardly big, high steps to get them to loosen a bit. I do a couple of “posture checks” (thanks, Frontrunner!). I feel ok.

Mile 6.55
Halfway! I look down at my watch – 1:00 exactly! We’re back on track to finish by 2:10. One of the local high school’s drumline is there to re-energize us.

Mile 7
Yep, definitely starting to feel it. Race volunteers are handing out gel energy shots. I’ve never used these before, but figure, what the heck, and take one. Yuck! It’s like eating warm vanilla pudding. Ick! Oh well, I’ll know better for next time. About halfway through this mile, our good friends B&P are there to cheer us on. It is so energizing to see someone you know in the crowd, cheering specifically for you. I love it – I’m feeling like the 2nd half of this race is going to be great!

Mile 8
Oh, the gel energy shot was a bad idea. Sudden wave of nausea. I will not let that stupid thing take me down! I push on and concentrate on the music playing through my headphones to carry me on.

Mile 9
What’s that in front of me? Who put that brick wall there?

Miles 10-11
Pushing that wall as hard as I can. Hubby is a couple of yards ahead of me, still keeping us on track to finish around 2:10. He notices I’m not right beside him and slows down so I can catch up. I tell him to go ahead, that I may need to slow my pace but that he should push forward. He says no way – we’re finishing this together! And motivates me to pick up my pace…a little.

I also start to notice – I have to go to the bathroom. Oh well – I am not stopping!

Mile 12
My legs feel like jelly. I can feel blisters on my toes. Am I going to make it to the end? I have to – I can’t give up at this point. Once again, I tell Hubby to go ahead without me. He refuses – again. I keep pushing, but my energy is pretty much depleted. Another wave of nausea, but I push it aside. I am not giving up!

Mile 12.75 (or so)
The last turn into the home stretch is just ahead! Hubby says, “When we make the last turn, sprint to the finish!” I tell him I’m not sure I have anything left to put into a sprint, but that I will try.

Homestretch
Hubby shouts “Go!” and there he goes. I try to kick it in, but my legs don’t have anything more to give. I’m able to run a little faster, but not much.

I cross the finish line – at 2:07:07. I kept a 9’43” average pace. I’m amazed – and exhausted!

So, what’s next? We’re going to try to train for the full marathon in 2012. I’m honestly not sure I can do it. I honestly gave every ounce of energy in my body to the half-marathon. But, I will try.

And, in case you’re interested, I ended up raising just over $800 for Team Komen. They’re still taking donations through Nov. 15, so if you’re interested, you can donate here. It was such an honor to run as part of this team – I’ll definitely be joining them again next year!

I’m so proud of myself and my hubby. If someone told me a year ago that I would finish a half-marathon, I would never have believed them. The fact that we’ve come this far in just over 16 months is such an accomplishment for us. I learned so much while training for the race, and then even during the race! (Future post, perhaps?) The commitment and determination it took just to complete the training was something I’d never pictured myself doing. And now, I think I can honestly answer, when someone says, “So, you’re a runner?”

Yes. Yes, I am a runner.

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2 Responses to "Half-Marathon Wrap Up"

Congrats on a great race! Love your blog 🙂

Thanks, Tricia!

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