another race down
Monday, April 26, 2010
So, yesterday was my second half marathon. I wish that I could've worked one in sooner than a year plus from my last, but I am happy that I can run again so I'll take it. My biggest thought yesterday was that my first race should not have been at Disney. My expectations were just set way too high! I expected organization and bling. I was disappointed.
We set off for the designated place to catch a shuttle to the park where the race was starting and finishing. When we were going from the expressway to the highway off of which the place was located, we were suddenly stuck in a line of cars. Practically parked cars. Unfortunately, they were all in the same exit only lane we needed to be in, so I tried to remain calm. I figured we might miss part of the warm-up for the 10Kers and HMers. Not a big deal, we'd be fine. As we finally creep to turn on the street to the parking lot, we notice a lot of runners walking/running the mile to the park. I commented that it was weird that they weren't taking the shuttle. Once in the lot, it became very clear. There were hundreds of people in a long line for the shuttle. At that point there was no shuttle. We parked, and debated what to do. We decided to wait for the shuttle. We got in line, and I wished I had thought to bring an umbrella to try and protect us from getting soaked before we even started the race! We made it onto the school bus shuttle about fifteen minutes after the race start. We noticed when we boarded that the line to get on was just as long as it was when we arrived. Yuck. We also noticed an awful lot of runners still walking to the park as we made our way on the shuttle. What a drag! There were some people who just plain gave up between waiting for the shuttle in the rain and/or walking to the park, and went home. I thought that seemed a little sad to get that close and not race.
So, we get to the park, and I had planned to check my hoodie. Unfortunately, the line for the check was as long as the bus line, and since it was well after the race start I figured I would tie it around my waist and make do. Had I known, I would've worn a "throwaway" shirt. We tried following the mass of racers to find the starting line, but they were heading in different directions. I realized that there was supposed to have been people at the shuttle site with maps and telling people where to go at the park, but there weren't. So, we hustled back to the info booth to find out where to start. Fortunately we did, lest we would've been on the 5K route instead. So, we started nearly half an hour late. The alloted time to finish was from 9am-noon. So, instead of three hours to finish, I had two-and-a-half. I was a little freaked out. Originally, I figured that if I had to walk a little more, so be it. I did not have that luxury now. So, I tried to push a little harder than I should have at the beginning. This was a little difficult because there were already runners finishing the 10K and coming at us. Then, the whole mess of 5Kers started coming at us. So, I had to also compensate for trying to get out of the way with minimal success.
Somewhere in there I lost the hubs, which is okay since we have different running speeds. I continued to make my way through runners and walkers, and was pleased that at least we didn't start out completely alone. I was less pleased that non-race participants were using the road closure as a free pass to walk their dogs and strollers and ride their bikes in the street. Hello, race officials? However, once the split from the 10K came, I found myself pretty much solo for quite a stretch. Luckily, I hit the point where the other HMers had already turned around and unlike when the 10Kers and 5Kers were coming at me, the course was split in the middle. Lots of the HMers who were further ahead than I shouted out lots of encouragement, which was heartening. When I finally hit the turnaround, I was relieved, but also starting to lag. I saw another HMer coming for the turnaround and shouted some encouragement. Pushing myself in the beginning was starting to catch up to me. Just after the turnaround (which was right around mile nine) I was trying to remind myself that I was practically there. As if on cue, I noticed a large raven sitting in the road ahead of me. As I approached, she hopped off to the median. It was as if she was there to remind me that I could do this. I hit the water station just before mile 10, where the group of volunteers proceeded to do the wave. It made me giggle, which I needed right about then. I crossed a chip mat at mile ten, where the clock told me that I had forty minutes until the street opened up again. With 5K to go, I knew I should be fine. However, to avoid getting stuck walking the rest of the way, I adjusted my intervals to shorter runs. It definitely helped. With just over a mile to go, I came up on another HMer. She greeted me, and asked if I started late. I told her that indeed I did, and she replied that she started on time, she was just slow. I told her that it was only about the distance, and that she could do it. She told me that she almost didn't sign up, because she was afraid she couldn't do it in the alloted time. However, with barely over a mile left, she was sure she could do it. I wished her luck, proud that she decided to try. I continued on toward the finish. Soon, I was heading up the hill to the bridge that crossed back to the finish line. As I crossed the bridge, I looked back to see the sweepers behind the girl I'd just passed. I saw no sign of the woman I saw at the turnaround, and was worried she'd been pulled. That sure lit a fire under me! I didn't want to be pulled. So, I pushed myself a bit more. I wove around toward the park. The roads were already open, but there were some police to direct the last runners, like myself. I was on a walk break when I saw the finish line, so I dug in to run across. I was a little worried, since it looked like they were already dismantling it. However, it was intact enough to register my time, and I even had time to spare based on the noon end. My hubs was waiting for me with snacks and coffee. I quickly did some math based on the clock time and what time we started and told G that I just might have a PR! I guzzled some water, and G told me that while I was hot then, he was ready with the coffee for once I started to cool off. I asked if we could check to see if any of the vendors or the massage tent were still open. Alas, they weren't. He told me that they started tearing everything down at 11:30. I thought that was kind of a drag if they were keeping the course open until noon. Apparently slow runners (and late starters) don't need massages or treats. So, we made our way back to the shuttles. G said that he noticed there were only three shuttles. These were school buses. There were 9,000 registered runners. No wonder they were backlogged. This was the 33rd year of this race, you'd think they would have their stuff together after this long.
We got home and changed out of our rain-soaked gear. When the results popped up, I was thrilled to see that I indeed had a PR, despite me feeling like I was running at a turtle's pace. 2:32:59, or an 11:41 pace. Not amazing, but better. So, I just need to keep improving. If I can at least manage to hold that pace through marathon training, I should be golden!!