My first Half Marathon Race Report (a few pics with more added at a later time)...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

I wish I could add pictures right now, but my sister took the pictures with her camera, and she went home :o{

Okay, so here goes:

Last night, I put together everything that I needed to get ready, including my outfit, my Bondi Band that says 13.1, my shoes with socks, my MP3 player in the jacket and my old-style headphones, my gloves (in case it was cool, which it wasn't), Biofreeze for after, my granola bars and bananas, gummy bears, GU gel (triple berry and strawberry banana), my Zensah shin/calf compression sleeves, etc. Here is a picture of that:

I set my alarm on my phone, and went to bed, figurately, at 11 p.m. Between 11 p.m. and the time I got up to get ready, I had about 3 hours total of sleep, because my mind was just racing!!! (no pun intended) Then, my daughter woke up crying at 5. She fell right back asleep 5 minutes later, and so did I. I had set my alarm for 6 a.m. because we were heading out at 6:30 to drive an hour and 15 minutes to Fargo, so I could be there at 7:45 (the race started at 8:45).

Well, apparently my alarm was set for M-F only! So, I went to check the phone, and it said 6:15! I hustled into the bathroom, got ready, grabbed what was packed, and made it outside when my sister was pulling up (she went down with me while the hubby stayed home with Kaylee).

I ate the banana and drank water while chewing on my granola bar on the way down. Definitely had to hit the bathroom a few times before the race!

There were so many more people there than I expected! For the 5K, there were 718 finishers, for the 10K there were 636 finishers, and for the half marathon, there were 779 finishers!!! The 5K started at 8, the 10K at 8:05, and we started at 8:45.

The weather was sunny with only mild wind, and the temperature climbed fast, starting in the 60s and reaching the 70s near the end (and I sure felt that).

I lined up near the back, since most of the runners really looked like they were not only well trained, but fast. I was impressed by the outfits and the gear that they had, and took note of the convenience of some of them. Due to the nice weather, I was not able to wear my jacket, so therefore wasn't able to carry my gummy bears, Kleenex, camera, etc. The fuel belt I saw some female runners wearing looked to fix that problem...may have to look at one! I just don't know if I want to wear my CamelBak for a race.

The first mile was nice with an even pace. We saw a guy dressed up in a cow outfit (snicker snicker). I noticed this mile went by pretty fast considering. I had my headphones on, but only as background noise. There weren't many spectators out which surprised me (Fargo is kind of known for their race supporters).

During mile 2, we saw a group of ladies who had signs...One said "Run like an angry Kenyan!!" Another said "That isn't sweat, that is your fat cells crying!" and even another said "Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ass!" These were residential streets and we saw a few more people outside with their dogs, and a group of ladies and girls wearing costumes including a nun and a witch!

On mile 3, we entered the park, and had to run over a rickety wooden plank bridge, which seemed to sway as we ran over it and really freaked me out. We got some Powerade and water during this time, and I had only Powerade, but later wished I had both. I also walked during this water break. This mile was tough...I wasn't quite hitting my stride yet, and I knew there were 10 miles left to go, which seemed a bit insurmountable, though I knew I could do it.

During the next few miles (to about mile 6-1/2) we still ran through a few parks. I struggled to focus on the run, and my back started hurting, which wasn't fun. I never had that during a run. My back was hurt last week but I had rested it a lot and never ran while it hurt. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do but keep going! Not like I can cut a run like this short, right?

The turnaround point was at 6-1/2 miles, and boy was that a welcome sight!! I turned to the girl next to me and said "C'mon, we're only halfway?????" but I think she was tuned into her music and didn't hear me.

I kept running through miles 6, 7, 8, and 9 when I really started to feel more than just back pain. Now I had developed a side stitch, or cramping. I never really had problems with that in my training as I had really honed in on my breathing technique, hydration, and pace. I think what happened here is my pace was a bit faster than I am used to, because overall I was feeling more fatigued than I usually did in a training run. That side cramp REALLY, REALLY hurt, and weighed on me. I forced myself to start walking and try to stretch out that cramp, focus on my breathing, and get my pace back to a sustainable one. At this mile, I picked up a chocolate fudge-like GU and just held onto it for when I felt I needed it.

Well, then came mile 10. I said to myself "You only have a 5K to run! You can do it!!!" But my body was starting to disagree with me. Usually it is a mental focus problem and I just need to push through, but this was more physical for me. My side stitch had only gotten worse despite every effort I could put into getting rid of it. My back hurt worse. And I could feel some blisters forming in my right foot, something else I had never had an issue with before. I wondered if it was because of the hills, which it seemed here were a lot of. I hadn't done much for hill training, so that hurt me a bit.

I then decided before the next aid station I would eat my GU Gel. I shall say this now: I am never having one again. I am giving the 2 I have away. The flavor? Not bad...pretty good actually. The consistency? Like the snot that runs down the back of your throat during a sinus infection or really bad head cold. Ugh. I about gagged and threw it up. I had a glass of Powerade and a glass of water, and staggered my running and walking for the next mile.

At mile 12, I made the decision to walk a bit more so I could work up some energy to finish out the race strong. Then, a lady came up beside me and a few other girls walking, and said, "You only have 1 mile left. You can run a mile! You need to finish this race strong!" I wanted to disagree, but she was right. I started out, and felt a surge of energy. I knew we were getting to the end, but I started feeling that energy slow down. I didn't let it. I continued running, pushing myself to go faster. I saw that guy in the cow suit again, and I said to him: "Aren't you hot in that?" And he said back to me: "Not as hot as you gals are!!!"

I headed over the bridge, knowing that after the bridge, it was a matter of ONE block before the finish line. I honestly at this point had NO clue about my time since I had no watch or cell phone. I thought...just please let it be under 2:45. I felt I had not made my goal of finishing under 2:30...not with all of that walking and slowed running!

I turned, and I saw the time clock. It said 2:18:11 when I crossed the line. I started crying...I never thought about the emotions while running. I didn't think too much about my journey. And that pent-up emotion....that emotion that I didn't feel during the race, it came out right then and there. I did it! I ran 13.1 miles, and I finished strong! I picked up a bag of baked chips, a half a banana, a bun, and was given a beef stick and a beer mug with water in it after the finish line. I got my medal, had my picture taken, and just sweated my way until I sat down with my sister.

My sister took a picture of me finishing the race, a picture after the race with a couple of guys from the running group I am in, and also took a few pictures of me starting the race. I told her to email me those pictures the moment she has them downloaded, but she is out of town for the evening, so I will try to get those on here tomorrow!

The official race results:
Time: 2:17:44
Pace: 10:31
Overall place: 525 out of 779
Division place: 47 out of 85
Gender place: 243 out of 440

A picture of my medal/bib and beer mug (it is Oktoberfest in Fargo and they sponsored the event):

I also got a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt which is really nice!

P.S. Found out the blisters on my right foot were caused by a rock that found its way into my shoe!

emoticon Love you all!! Erin
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