I completed my fourth Half marathon yesterday. It was a great day for a race - just this side of cool and crisp in the morning, ending up in the sunshine when I finished. It wasn't too hot or too cold.
This was my first experience with the Portland Half/Marathon, and I was impressed. They put on a fantastic race (after 40 years they've worked out the bugs!). Let me back up a bit though.
We had a good productive weekend, putting in a total of 8 hours at OHS - 4 for dog walking, 4 for groundskeeping. We ran errands and wotnot, and I was feeling pretty good for Sunday. At least, until Mother Nature decided she wanted to give me a little something extra special for the day.
Ok, fine, I'll make the best of it anyway. And I did!
I was snappy and short at the house, but Bill was gracious anyway and drove me downtown. Were I him, I would have said no, but he's nicer than I am, fortunately. I got a bit weepy on the ride in, apologized for hormones and nerves, and bounced out of the car while still on the bridge (yes, Bill had stopped due to traffic being backed up) and walked over to my starting area.
I just happened to run into Roxit22222 at the corner! Pure luck, and I was glad to see her. We were in the same corral, although I was starting as far back as I could, knowing I wasn't going to meet my projected 3 hour time.
I dropped my bag (even though the line was long, it moved pretty quickly) and meandered toward the back of the crowd. A cheer went up at some point and we knew the first corral had been released out into the wild to take Portland by storm!
Finally, our corral surged forward, and I got a bit weepy again. It was time to go! It took us a while to get closer to the starting line. Another first experience - there were volunteers spread across the street that we passed on our way to the starting line. They were checking bibs to make sure everyone had one on, so that no bandits made it in with our corral.
I kept glancing around at the people in my group and wondering if I'd see any of them after we crossed the finish line. I didn't know how well or poorly I'd do, but I was going with a plan to alternate intervals with walking for as long as I could.
I interval-ed the first mile, then walked the next as planned. We were heading up an incline, so I stuck with walking and hot-footed my way up. My walks up and over Rocky Butte paid off. I didn't feel stressed or winded as we made our way along, and as soon as I hit the top of the rise, I took off intervaling again. We cruised back into downtown, then headed out NW. It seemed to take forever to get to the turn around, but once we finally did I was excited, knowing we were almost done.
I sent a few text updates to 4My2Kidz and Karen42Boys and my sister and Bill, keeping them apprised of my progress. The last one I sent before finishing ended with "boy I'm hungry!" LOL
I was a dolt and did not eat breakfast before leaving for the race. I had a banana, but I usually have either cream of wheat w/ p-butter and banana or waffles and p-butter, something substantial. I didn't do that this time, and was pretty ravenous even after my Honey Stinger chews and gummy bears along the way.
I interval-ed as long as I could, but finally had to accept that running took more out of me and made it harder to keep walking than just straight walking did, so I gave up the intervals and kept on jiving my way along. My music helped to keep up my pace and I repeated a few songs as the beat was just right. My body got tired, but I never once thought "Ok, I'm done" or "Why?" I just kept going, enjoyed the shade when I was lucky enough to cross through some, and made it back into downtown.
I've walked the 10K walk before, but I haven't done the Half. It was really much more emotional for me this time, having my name on my bib, people yelling it out, cheering me on. I got choked up as I rounded the corner to head up the street before the finish. I had done it, I was almost done, I hadn't quit or given up on myself, I had adjusted my plan and I had triumphed in spite of myself!
The finish line was sweet. A beautiful medal, a nice rose, a mylar blanket LOL all gratefully accepted. The photog said "Candy, hold up your medal" and my fingers felt clumsy and I fumbled with it, but finally lifted the bling. I gratefully accepted water, and chocolate milk and ginger snaps and grapes and part of a string cheese. I felt a little sheepish with the snacks - the Marathoners needed the recovery goods much more, but I figured I'd put in my 13.1 miles, I deserved a little of it after all.
I wound my way through the finisher's area, picking up my shirt and coin and pendant, passing on the sapling, or getting my picture taken. I wanted to find Bill and get my bag and sit down! LOL It was nice to slow down, and finally locate the Man for a congrats smooch and a 'I'm proud of you' from him. That was even nicer than the medal. Well, almost!
This was my fourth Half, but I think it was my best. Not time-wise (3:21:59) no, but attitude- and enjoyment-wise. I had looked forward to the race. I had prepared for it, but without going overboard, or shutting Bill out completely from my plans. I completed it by myself, but I wasn't totally alone. I was happy to do this race, and even happier to finish.