PF CHANGS HALF MARATHON GOAL: Jan 18, 2009 DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I DID IT! Today I RAN ( no stopping no resting no walking) 13.1 miles! I ran an 11:44 pace in 2hrs and 33 minutes.
This weekend was nerve racking. I was out of my usual routine b/c it was a "taper" week. I was oversleeping for my morning workouts...a friend told me it was probably psychological but it was still frustrating. I finally realized I had done all I could and well this was it...24 weeks of training were coming to an end...so instead of stressing about the race I stressed about the details: who was going, how I was getting there, how were they going to find me on the run, where was parking...etc..2 days before I laid out all my clothes. The day before I got a short early run in and then headed to the expo to pick up my packet.
The expo was crazy busy...but there was free beer...and I got a new race belt, a halo sweat band, and this boob strap thing that helps larger chested women (uh me) keep the bounce to minimum...SWEET! I was surround by all these REAL runners...the ones that run all the time and were actually competing for the win! After the expo I went to Chili's and ordered a CHEESEBURGER -- seriously I think that makes 2x this year that I have had one - but I figured if I earned one ever - this was the weekend. Then I met up friends for the evening for some carb loaded pizza (on a wheat crust) and came home to relax. I reread all the booklets and info, triple checked that I had everything. My best friend came over and he rubbed my legs down to get the aches out of them. (very sweet) Then I tried to sleep - and nope - couldn't do it - everything time my head hit the pillow I thought of something else, parking directions, hair band for the morning, my toesnails needed to be trimmed (icky I know but it's a must on a long run!)...I finally get to sleep around 11:30...to wake up at 5:30!
HOLY CRAP it's race day! I'm nervous...we leave to get to the race 2 hours early b/c it's a zoo...there were 25,000 people running the in full and half marathon today! We get there find parking and I had signed up for this pre-run VIP thingy that had coffee, bagels, hand warmers, GU, and most importantly HEATED port-a-pots!!!! Met up w/my friend who was running it also...we stretched we ate, we peed, we did our last minute outfit checks, and adjustments and then *GULP* race time...we headed over the corrals - I was in number 17. We stood there while they sang the National Anthem for us...my heart was starting to race. I look at my heart rate monitor...it was jumping from 88-112 as my nerves would kick in...I breathed I joked w/my friend...it took 35 minutes to get to the start line...and all of a sudden we were running...I had what's called a pace band on my arm...it's a piece of paper w/my projected time (12:01 pace) and then what time I should hit each mile to know I was on pace...I should have crossed at 2 hr and 37 minutes per the pace band.
We start together...we start the first mile and halfway in I get the stitch in the side...CRAP...i push my fist into it - it doesn't lessen...I'm pacing off my friend right now b/c I can't focus...I'm trying to get rid of the stitch...we round into mile 2 and see the first band and group of cheerleaders...my friend and I are still on pace at an 11:30 but my side is hurting...long breaths...focus...in out in out....my friend has to go to the bathroom...I'm not stopping...she takes off and now it's just me...I realize the stitch in my side is gone...i'm running alone...I try to imaging the canal where I've been training...as I hit the next mile marker I try to remember where on the canal I'm at...check the pace band - little slower but still 2 minutes ahead of the pace...I feel strong...my music is playing but I'm taking in all the people cheering...the bands playing...my hands are getting hot...I take off the gloves...it's getting WARM out - warmer than I thought it was going to be...I'm in a long sleeve black wicking shirt...I'm worried it's going to get too hot...the sun is bright. I'm eating my luna chews for the electrolytes...I'm drinking by G2 faster than I thought I would b/c of the heat...it's mile 5 and my heart rate is around 160 I'm still 2 minutes under pace...I'm passing walkers and other runners...me passing people? I felt strong...mile 6 I'm HOT...I'm overheating...my heart rate is up to 179 I'm having trouble focusing...next water station I grab a cup and the girl next to me bumps my arm spilling water on my sleeve...it felt GREAT so I took the rest of the cup and dumped it down the front and back of me...AHHHHHH now I was back in business...my heart rate slowed back to 160 I could breathe...I was still on pace...I get an overwhelming chill...then an adrenaline surge...I smile...I'm REALLY here doing this...Mile 7 I step in a crevice on the road and almost turn my ankle...phew close one...realize I'm halfway!!!! I loose stride a bit in mile 8...more water to cool off but I'm tired now...can i push myself at this pace for the rest of the race? I'm getting lightheaded...then GU - magical goo -they handed the packets out at one stop...not a moment too soon...I sucked it down and felt it kick in right away...my muscles felt a jolt then a water station - more water down the front and back...picked up the pace a bit...I'm doing ok again...more bands more cheerleaders...they tell us to go go go - only a bit more left...Mile 9...HILL - who put a hill at mile 9??? UGH - take it no problem - heart rate was steady...up I go b/c the other side has to go down....yup down and the back up to another hill...then the knees start getting sore...running on the pavement is making them hurt! I try to breathe deeper to get them oxygen...not helping...oh well i've come too far to let this stop me...keep pushing...then mile 10 my ankle that I thought I didn't turn starts to ache...it's sore and feels like it needs to pop - but I'm NOT stopping...girl next to me trips over a curb and falls - luckily she gets back up and ask if she's ok...she says yes and keeps running...this distracts me from my ankle and knees...but only for a bit...then I see mile 11...only 2 more miles left...it's on an uphill again...I'm pushing - I want to pick it up last 2 miles...can't nothing in the reserves...I reach deep and get enough to hold pace but not enough to push it...that's ok I figure I'll push last mile...we're on the bridge...it's mile 12...1 last water station but I pass it up -- nothing left to do but finish now...I start to push a little harder...can't hold it...SWEET a downhill I use gravity to push me a little faster...I can't see the finish...it has to be close...my strides are longer but I'm paying for it w/my breath...starting to suck in air too fast...cut speed a bit...then I see the street we turn on...start to pick up pace a little...WHERE is the END???? I see mile marker 13 at the same time as I see my friends! I wave...they yell....it's what I needed...ALL out sprint...I only have .1 of a mile...I see the finish...I look at my watch for the last time and then I make sure I look right at the cameras as I cross that finish line...FAST STRONG and no pain the last 30 feet...as I cross I get a chill of adrenaline surging over me...it's powerful and I think "holy sh*t I just ran 13.1 miles" I get choked up...I feel every part of my body...my knees my ankle my back...I have a lump in my throat I'm about to cry from the relief and stress and pain...then someone shoves a water in my hands...moment gone for now...I follow the stream I get my medal...I get my picture taken...i suck down some oranges...grab the "freebies" handed out...can I find my friends...it's a zoo so many people...oh there's his hat...I find them...I hug them....I'm excited and wound up and exhausted!
I hung around and found some friends...took a few pictures...start walking to the car...my tummy is queasy...it's hurting...I start to slow my step but I get to the car...change into drier clothes..feel better but not tummy...my friend makes me eat a protein bar...feel better...the lightheadedness is gone...we get stuck in traffic....my legs are cramping from being in the car...we get to Chipotle...my reward to myself for this race...it tastes SOOO good!
After the race my friend rubs my aching legs again for me and I stretch out and try to keep from being sore...it was a long day...he looks over at me and says...Do you realize what you did today? I do (I couldn't help it this time - a tears slips out - but I turned so he didn't see)...I realize that today is officially the end of my fat days...there will never be a time when I am not in shape and healthy...I can do this...I'm not the last one in anymore, not even close...I can do anything...I focused I trained...I was strong and ready for this race...My original finish time I had set at 3 hrs 12 minutes before I started training....my pace time of 12:01 min/mil would have brought me in at 2 hrs and 37 minutes...I crossed at 2 hours and 33 minutes...during the race I thought I was around an 11:30 pace I was at an 11:44...I'm not sure it's all sunk in yet...but maybe tomorrow when the muscles are talking to me a little more it will...this was a huge accomplishment to the old me...but the new me...this is just the beginning...we'll see where I take it from here...the pain is worth it...I'm already figuring out races for feb! i have to take it easy the next week or so to let my body heal...but then it's back to my regular schedule...I still have more to do to get where I want to go...but if I did this...anything is possible!