Last Saturday (2 weeks after I ran the Red Rock) I finally got the chance to run my 1st half marathon. I drove out to New Hampshire with my friend Jennie so we could run the race with my brother-in-law,Taber.
My sister Becca made sure we were well taken care of the night before the race. She invited over some friends of hers who were also running the race and together we loaded our stomachs with spaghetti, french bread, salad, and Gatorade!
The race didn't start until 10am, so when we woke up in the morning we didn't have to rush. However, the late start and some strange weather patterns left us running 13.1 miles in 86 degree temperatures with 65% humidity. Basically it felt like running in 95 degree weather! Also, the race directors made a last minute announcement that we couldn't run with our I pods so I started to feel pretty stressed before we took off.
When it came time to run, Jennie and I (mostly me) decided to start at the VERY back of the line so that no matter how slow I ran, nobody would ever pass me! It also helped boost my confidence a little to FINALLY have the opportunity to pass someone else while running.
Once we started running I realized that I needed to do something to distract myself from my running pains since I didn't have music anymore. So...I started to talk to people. ALL the people! Anyone who would listen and even some who wouldn't. I was cracking jokes, begging for rides on people's horses and bikes, and pretending that I was racing against the walking spectators since they were the only people I was passing at first. I got some good laughs out of other runners and even a few cops and it seemed to keep me fueled at first. But then the heat started to affect me.
At about mile 5 I started to feel my energy draining so I told myself I would try out the Chocolate GU Becca gave me as soon as I hit mile 6. When I finally got there, I drained the GU along with some water and Gatorade. To my glorious surprise, the GU tasted like a warm Brownie oozing down my throat on Christmas morning! Could anything be more wonderful? NO! I stopped running at this point and began prancing. I wanted to sing and dance and I couldn't stop shouting praises to the chocolate GU that had so blessed my life!
By now I could see the midpoint clock and realized I was right on target to finish in my goal time of 2 and a half hours. I felt good...and I kept feeling good until mile 9. Then something weird happened. I was quite aware that it was blazing hot outside, but for the life of me I couldn't stop shivering. I kept having waves of cold chills and clamminess. How bizarre. Well, I wasn't gonna let some out-of-place cold chills stop me so I kept pushing myself until I saw the infamous and dreaded hill on mile 10. It was steep as you can see below:
By now Jennie had convinced me that I was probably suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration so I decided that no matter what, I would run that awful hill, and then I would try walking a little to see if I could beat my chills. I pounded my way up the hill and even managed to pass a few people. By the time I got to the top I NEEDED to walk...
So I did. I walked about 3/4's of a mile before I couldn't handle my wussiness anymore and then I started to run again. That lasted until mile 12 and my last hill. Then I walked another 3/4's of a mile before I felt like I could run again without evaporating. I only had a little distance left so I gave it my all. I passed about 10 people and then saw the finish line. Another lady who had been bunny hopping me the whole race suddenly burst in front of me. She was about 5 foot 10 and had much longer legs than me, and thus, ran faster than me. I knew she was fast because no matter how much longer I ran than her, or how many times she stopped to walk, I just couldn't stay in front of her. When I saw her slide past me I knew that no matter what, I had to beat her and her ridiculously long legs.
So I did. (She's the one in the pink tank top.) And because of it, I get to have a cool sprint-to-the-finish picture to remember it by! I didn't hit my goal of 2 and a half hours, but I did hit my goal to finish despite the horrible weather. I came in at 2:55:28 and though it may sound slow, I'm actually quite proud of myself. That was a HARD race! And I completed it without taking a ride in an ambulance. That's victory if you ask me! Plus, I passed over 30 people before I finished! :) Woohoo!
As a reward for finishing, Taber, Jennie and I got apple-fest medals to wear whilst eating YUMMO apple crisp! And you know what, I think it was actually worth running that race for the apple crisp. It was good stuff!
When all was said and done, we went home, showered, grabbed our kids, and headed to Outback Steakhouse to replenish our missing calories. Thank you Taber and Becca for treating us! It was an awesome meal to end an awesome day!
Oh! And as a random side note, I was just thinking how awesome it will be to run my next half marathon because now I'm pretty much GUARANTEED to beat my previous time! YIPEE!