Monday, June 28, 2010
I did it!
This past Saturday I completed the Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 21 seconds. My average pace was 12:19 mile minutes. I only stopped through water stations, at the top of this HUGE hill and for about 50 yards around mile 12.
I set out everything I thought that I might need the night before the race, including my clothes, GU, Advocare Slam, Advocare Spark, Catalyst and post race Cytomax. I uploaded new songs on my iPhone and edited my "gym/running" play list. I didn't go to bed any earlier than I normally would, I went out to dinner and had Mexican food (yum) and just watched some TV and tried to relax as much as possible. I didn't have any wine Friday night or Thursday night and made sure to drink lots of water both days. The last thing I needed was to be dehydrated on top of this being a huge physical challenge. All I could think was that I was going to have to call my boyfriend at mile 8 to pick me up because I wasn't going to be able to finish. I know this wasn't the most positive approach to take, but I hadn't done all of the required training and had also never run in a race before. I didn't know what to expect. One of my friends said to me "wouldn't it be cool if you surprised yourself and ran the whole thing?" Yeah, I thought, that would be cool but isn't gonna happen! Wow was I wrong!
The morning of the race I was terrified. I got up at 5 a.m., took a quick shower, ate an English muffin with almond butter and one egg for breakfast, had my Spark and it was time to leave. Lincoln drove me to the starting area. I kept telling him how badly I did NOT want to do this race. Traffic was unbelievable. The race started at 7. I was in corral 30 so I was pretty far back. By the time I got to the starting gates I was late and my corral had already left. I hopped in the next corral to go and off I went. Miles 1, 2, 3 and 4 were a breeze. I don't even remember anything significant about this other than the terrain was pretty steep. Around mile 5 I was starting to think, only 8 more miles.... Only 8 more miles.... I whipped out a GU energy gel around mile 6.5 and the caffeine/calories helped me power through. My play list was jammin' and there were bands every mile or so. About mile 8 I was struggling a bit so I high fived some cheerleaders and actually jumped! Where I got the energy for that, I have no idea. Every time my brain began to drift to how hard this was I smiled. I physically made myself smile and I kept going. Like a train by now. Miles 9-10 are on I90, one of the major interstates. I kept making myself think positively and only happy thoughts. I would think "how cool is this the interstate is closed and I get to run on it!" and "pain is temporary, pride is forever." Mile 10 I whipped out the Slam I had stashed in my bra (yes, in my bra!) and that gave me the burst of energy that I needed. I whizzed through miles 10 and 11. At about 11.5 as I was coming around the corner I saw Lincoln and Beau (the dog)!!! This was such an amazing surprise because I was only expecting to see them at the family reunion area after the finish line. The end was NEAR, I could feel it. Then, my knee all of a sudden was KILLING me. I thought it was going to give out. And, at mile 12.5 I decided to walk. That lasted about 50 yards. The streets were packed, people were cheering, there was no way I was going to let myself quit now. Less than a mile to go. So, I sucked it up and started jogging again. With the finish line in sight I pulled it together and sprinted, yes, sprinted, across the finish line.
Running this half marathon was one of the best experiences of my life. I was terrified. I had never run a race before, much less such a long distance. After the race I was exhilarated. If I could do this, I can do anything. My body felt strong and healthy. I was so proud of myself for not just finishing, but also for running. I told Lincoln that morning that I expected my time to be around 3 hours 10 minutes. When I initially put down my expected time for the race in January I had hoped to run it in 2 hours 40 minutes. I was sad that I was going to be half an hour longer than my goal. Even though I was one minute over my goal, I consider that achieving my goal. I consider that, based on what I thought I would do that morning, blowing my expectations out of the water.
I normally don't "brag" about myself or boast about my accomplishments, but this was awesome. It was an awesome experience and an incredible feeling to have actually done it. I know I am far from the only person who completed this race (27,000 people ran it) and some of the crazier full marathoners were finishing at the same time as me! But for me, this is a big deal. My first race. The first time I have ever run more than 8 miles.
The weirdest thing about all of this... it was fun. Yep, I said it. FUN. The feeling I got from all of the people cheering (obviously not just for me, but still!) and the feeling I got from finishing. Not to mention, I really enjoyed running.
Today I am still sore from the race. My feet hurt and my knees are achy. I love it. I cannot wait to do another one. And another thing to cross off of my 30 before 30 list! Yeah! Bring on the next race and bring on the next challenge. After completing a half marathon, I know I am capable of a lot more than I normally strive for. We all are, we just have to push ourselves to an uncomfortable limit sometimes. Amazing!