well, thanks to T, i finished my first Half-Marathon this past saturday afternoon!
the morning was gloomy and very rainy. that slow, constant kind that makes you long for grilled-cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, and an ABC After School Special. But I digress....
The rain stopped about 15 minutes before the race started, which was particularly nice. When the gun went off, i think that my heart rate INSTANTLY jumped to 170. wow. Turns out there were only about 430 people in the race, but it seemed like many, many more. I can't imagine what it must be like to start with 5,000 other racers. yowzers.
Before we got through the first mile, there was a car PARKED in the travel-lane, smack in the middle of the road. Dunno how he managed to get stuck trying to swim upstream, but at least the driver was kind enough to just sit there.
First water station was just before Occum Pond. I needed it, too! Thing is, i still haven't figured out how to run and drink at the same time. I cruised around the pond and joined the masses as we headed back to the green for the first relay transition. As we ran along the green, it seemed that there were MOBS of people. Yelling, cheering, waving. I lost count at 35 Super Heros. It was cool.
Now we were on 'familiar territory', as this was the leg that i ran last year. I was fully ready for the hill after Big Ball Bridge, and it seemed like it did't even exist. At the next water station, i grabbed my cup and then pulled up on the curb to drink. MUCH easier that way. Didn't matter that it takes more time, as I was not in contention for the win. Just the FINISH. Memories of T, B, and Z pulling along side last year filled my head and heart and kept me going along this middle section. I had planned to eat my Clif Shot around mile 7, but opted not to do so just yet.
Also around mile 7, the big toe on my right foot started to feel like it was hosting a blister. Not hosting, cultivating. I hadn't noticed that my shoes were slipping, and they weren't wet, so I am not sure why I was blistering. Maybe my speed.
Garmin (p.b.t.n.) was VERY helpful to me, especially that it showed my pace. It helped me make sure that I was on track to finish in less than 2 hours. It would have been nearly impossible to figure it out on my own. Yea, yea, every 2 miles there were time clocks, but that means MATH, and I don't do math while running. That's what gadgets are for. jeeze.
Tuck Hill was a challenge, but as I was running it, yes, running it, i remembered LAST year. Last year I walked most of it. And i was only in it for 6.something miles. The hill comes around mile 9, i think, and it was refreshing to be able to run it. It was on this hill that one of the med students that has been in the ICU for the past two weeks passed me. She (yes, she) went on to finish 3 minutes ahead of me.
Running through the green to head out to the last leg was energizing, and off I went on the last, hilliest loop. Around mile 10, my right calf cramped. OUCH! not the whole thing, as i has in the past (1998-2001), but i could feel it headed in that direction. I blamed it on LOW, LOW e-lytes and an altered gait. who know. most likely the e-lytes, as i had only had water to drink thus far. at the next water station i took some gatorade and drank it. no real cramps after that. Psycho-somatic? who knows. who cares?
The last section, from the round-about to the green, was L.O.N.G.
But I made it. I could see that I was under 2 hours, and I did not kick it in for the last quarter mile. I s'pose that I could have, if necessary to meet the goal, but I didn't. Not quite sure why.
After I crossed the line, I was pretty choked up. I grabbed a bagel, some orange slices, and a banana. Bottle of water, too, and then staggered across the green to my awaiting bag. Another runner was there who offered me some Motrin, and I took two. I called T, but got vmail, and managed to almost get through the message without getting choked up. Almost. I sent a picture of my toe (seen here) and she called right back, wondering if I needed a ride home. She is always thinkin! I told her that I would be fine, and that I could get M to drive after work if necessary.
Which he did. Whew. In the truck, even! Got home, tried to sit in the kiddie pool (which is ice cold), but wasn't able to keep my butt in it long enough. Took shower, joined the fam for the rest of the evening.
Very much looking forward to doing it again next year, this time with MUCH more prep. Just read that one of my cousins (and probably more to follow!) have signed on to do the Disney Half in 2010. Major cool points!