Since I am taking it easy this weekend with running and won’t have any good stories to share about my training, I think I will type up a little something about my first “official” half marathon, the 2010 Fox Cities Half Marathon.
Last spring, I decided to sign up to run a marathon. I have wanted to run one for years and really wanted to be able to check this off my bucket list before I was 25. I started training in April and did fairly well for my first few weeks. Then I hit 16 miles. And I could not do it. I tried for about a month to successfully complete a 16 mile run and I just could not. I would run out of gas right around mile 13ish and then barely drag myself home the last 3… it was bad. So bad I almost gave up running long distances… (Looking back, I know this was a fueling issue and also too big of a jump for my body so hopefully someday I can look back at this and smile because I have run further than 16 miles!)
After I finally decided to give up on the full marathon, I found I could switch to the half marathon held the same weekend. I was very disappointed by this turn of events but figured at least I would be able to say I completed SOMEthing, since clearly the full marathon was not going to happen. So I went into the last few weeks before the race, with a negative, disappointed attitude (I mean, half marathon training is hard and all but when compared to a full marathon training plan, it just felt like a let down.) Add to that the fact that I had already run more than 13 miles so it just didn’t seem as special as I wanted it to. But then race weekend arrived and I realized even though this sounded easier, it was still going to be running 13.1 miles and that is NOT easy!
My mom and I headed to Appleton Saturday afternoon to do a little shopping and find a place to eat dinner the night before. We ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant and my stomach felt so horrible, I could hardly even eat. (I now realize this was probably related to my newly discovered Gluten Intolerance…blah!) But somehow, I managed to get some fuel in my belly to try to get through the miles the next day…
I honestly don’t remember much about Sunday morning of the race. I remember being super nervous and also super excited at the same time. We got to the starting line around 6am and I distinctly remember not being able to pin my bib on and asking my mom to help me!! The weather was quite cool that morning but the sun was also not up yet so it turned out to be absolutely perfect running weather. I also remember standing in the line waiting for the gun to go off and some girl came up to me and was like “Oh, I have not run longer than 6 miles, can I run with you?” and I was like, umm.. huh? (Luckily, she bolted out of the gates and I never saw her again… pacing much??)
I also don’t remember much about actually running the race except I remember a severe bout of nausea that started at about 8 miles but then passed a few minutes later. During this race I was also not able to eat or drink anything so that did not help much, I am sure.
The last 2 – 3 miles, I came upon the leader of the Competitive Walk division and sadly kept pace with him until the very end. He was 70+, he was walking, I had a 5 minute head start on him and he BEAT me! I was so annoyed… he literally crossed the finish line 2 seconds before me but somehow also managed to block my finish line crossing picture – arg! My sister drove up that day to watch me race also and I remember being so happy to see her and my mom waiting for me at the finish line!! It was so nice of them to support my crazy hobby!
I finished the race in about 2:12, which is not too bad for a starting point and I know I have room for improvement in future races. But I guess only time will tell, just how much. I also was not able to eat much after this race so I felt AWFUL for days after. Lots of things to learn and put to use in future runs for sure.
2011 Half, here I come!! 34 days, 12 hours, but whose counting!