My incredibly long and slightly wordy Race Report:
I realized something this weekend. I have always wanted to do a half marathon. It’s one of those dreams that I’ve had, but have never allowed myself to admit, because once I admit it, and then I actually have to try.
This weekend I completed my very first half marathon.
I ran the Colfax Half Marathon in Denver, Colorado. The race started at 6am at City Park, right next to the zoo. My morning, however, started much earlier than that. Come to think of it, I had been go go go since Friday morning… I worked 12 hours on Friday, getting off at 10pm. On Saturday the team that I’m going on a mission trip to Mexico with had a work day with Habitat for Humanity. It was a lot of fun and good team building, but also very tiring. I left the build an hour early so that La Nae and I could hurry and get downtown before the Expo was over- there would be no packet pick up Sunday morning at the race, so if we missed the Expo, we would not be running the following day. After the Expo she and I went to the 5:00pm service at church and then I went straight home. I ate a fantastic dinner of fish sticks and tater tots (I know spaghetti would have been a better choice, but I did not have the patience or energy to boil water- it was easier to turn on the oven, stare at the tv while it cooked, and then eat). After dinner I promptly went to bed; it was about 7pm.
At 3am my alarm went off and I got up like a shot. I was so glad that I had set my clothes and supplies out the night before, cause I was awfully foggy when I woke up. I got dressed, and got all my stuff gathered by the door and took my dog out before La Nae and Brad arrived. I opened my door and it was drizzling rain. Crap. This bummed me out, not even a little- like, a lot. I didn’t train in the rain. Up until this point I did all of my fantastic little intervals in nice breezy sunny weather.
At 4am we got in the car and headed downtown. I was so glad that we followed Janet and got great parking. We sat in the car, warm, while people filled in all the spots around us (there were 7,000 racers total). At some point we got out of the car and started to make our way to the port-o-potties. It was still drizzling and really cold and I told Brad that I didn’t think I wanted to do this anymore. I was nervous. I hadn’t trained more than 10 miles and they were a really hard 10 miles. I didn’t bring my watch to do my intervals (and on my last run my intervals sucked anyway.)
The whole walk to the port-o-potties and then the walk to the bag check and then the walk to the starting line for my wave I was telling myself that this was a mistake and that I just wasn’t ready.
Then my friend’s voice popped in my head- she’s my coworker and when I was going through a really rough patch a year ago, she told me “It’s ok to do it afraid.” So I loaded up my music, kept that phrase in my head and started going.
The most amazing thing happened. I was fully prepared to do my best with intervals even without my watch, and suddenly I found myself in a good, comfortable pace. I was breathing great, I wasn’t fatigued, and I WAS RUNNING. It was as if Jesus was running next to me, breathing with me, reassuring me that, as always, I’m worth it and I’m SO going to be ok.
Before I knew it I was at mile marker 4 (still running!) and I had to force myself to stop and drink some water and eat my sport beans. I also got a rock in my shoe around this point, so I pulled myself over and got it out, then kept on going. Around this point I also noticed a man on his bike was there supporting his lady; every mile or so he would race ahead, get her water, energy, or whatever she needed ready or hold up a sign etc. What a good cheerleader- he had her back through the entire race!
I continued running along at my nice slow pace, breathing through my nose mostly, not using my intervals because I didn’t need them yet, and I kept right on going until I hit mile 8. It was a little sad and eye opening, because around mile 6 I saw a guy about my age get into the medic van and ask to be taken to the end. It was a stark reminder that this isn’t for everyone, especially if you didn’t train or equip yourself properly. At mile 7 or so they had us run through a fire station, which was really cool because all of the firemen were high fiving us and being very encouraging.
Anyhow, at mile 8 I was starting to get tired and I walked through my water break and ate a few more beans. I was bummed because by the time I was ready for Gatorade, they were all out of it, and like me they only had water left. Every time I wiped my face my black sleeved jacket had white powder all over it from all the salt on my face. I finished my little breather and got back into my groove.
Running along until mile 10 I was great, but at 10 I realized that I was starting to get stiff in my legs, so at mile marker 10 I took a walk break and tried to do some knee and leg stretches while I walked. This helped a bit and I made my way into the park area.
At mile 12 I took my last walk break, and it was well needed because my knees were killing me. It was as if someone were driving a peg or a pin through them. Pavement can be so unforgiving!!! I rounded the corner of the final turn and I could hear music and see the crowd off in the distance. As I looked up I could see the clock and did some quick math (my start time was a few minutes different from the gun time because of my wave). I was within a minute of my 3 hour goal!!!! Out of nowhere I got a burst of energy, like someone was pushing me through the finish.
My official finish time was 2:59:16!!!!
Mile 1: 13:22
Mile 2: 13:00
Mile 3: 12:24
Mile 4: 12:29
Mile 5: 14:00
Mile 6: 12:48
Mile 7: 12:34
Mile 8: 12:43
Mile 9: 14:23
Mile 10: 13:37
Mile 11: 13:59
Mile 12: 13:19
Mile 13: 15:04 (Dang knees!)