Monday, March 18, 2013

A little Irish in my half

Sunday I ran a road half here in town.  Roads aren't my favorite (have I mentioned that a million times before??).  I mean, sure, I like them because I can truly zone out and not think or pay attention and just go, but they are just not all that exciting.  Faster?  Certainly.  More challenging?  Definitely not.  I mean, sure, I get to see people racing and hear spectators cheering and although that's kinda fun, there just isn't the same camraderie as there is on the trails and not the same solitude.  But I digress...

My hubs and I arrived at the venue a little early and hung out in the car since it was really chilly out (low 40's with windchill in the 30's) and we are both cold weather wimps.  We sat in the car and decided that it would be OK if we just wanted to curl up and take a nap instead of go out and run.  No judgement, no teasing.  Just grab a blankie from the back and curl up for nap time.
To say we were a little apathetic about the race would be an understatement.  We love to run and race, but the gloomy weather just wasn't getting us all excited.  Eventually we got out of the car with 5 minutes to start time and got lined up in the crowd.

And BOOM! we were off.  I always, ALWAYS, get caught up in crowds and run too fast at the start of a race.  Usually I can get settled into a pace within the first couple miles, and today was no different.  My first mile was 10:20 and my second mile was 10:40.  That is MUCH too fast for me for a half.  I'm getting faster, but that's still out of my comfort zone for this distance.  A 5K, fine, but not a half.  Around mile 3 I finally started slowing to find my pace.  It turns out there were aid stations every mile (which was a nice surprise) so I would run to each station, then stop and walk through it and run to the next.  It worked out well that way for walking breaks.  I was just past the turaround when I saw this guy running:

I immediately was humbled.  He was running in full gear (150lbs worth), training for his first marathon in a couple months.  I complain about my feet hurting sometimes, but I can't imagine how much his hurt in those boots and with all that gear.  I hollered at him as I ran past.  Amazing!!  Truly inspiring!
My friend Christy was out there and so was her husband.  He was riding his bike and taking pictures one-handed.  All the pictures you see (with the exception of the two at the end) are his. 
The professional race pictures of me were horrible (terrible, awful, scary), but I loved his shots and was glad he was out there to capture some great pics.  At about mile 10 Christy came blazing past me on the dam in her Team Becky neon shirt.  Her pace was great and she was looking good.  I hung with her for a bit until I needed to hit the aid station.  She went on to have a PR by 15 minutes.

The last 3 miles were difficult.  More challenging than the last few miles of a race usually are.  I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other and maintain a decent pace.  My legs were heavy like iron stumps.  I guess I shouldn't have done yard work and built a patio the day before for 6 hours.  Probably *not* my best pre-race workout strategy.  I was feeling it in the hammys for sure.  I kept looking at my garmin and seeing 11:13 avg pace.  I knew if I could keep that up I would set a PR, so I put in my music and just put my head down and kept plugging away at the miles.  Again, this is what is nice about roads- you can put your head down, zone out, and get lost.
At the last aid station (a mile out), I passed a bunch of runners.  I don't know why, but that always makes me feel good.  Not that I'm competing against anyone but myself, but I feel like at least I'm making progress. This turtle gets passed PLENTY by others so I guess it feels nice to pass one or three people during a race.  Just before the finish there was a hill, and no matter how good Rihanna was singing "Umbrella" to keep me on pace, I just couldn't muster the strength to run up it.  I walked and then continued running to the finish once I got to the top.  It really wasn't a big hill, and if I took a picture of it, you would laugh at it's lack of hilliness, but it was a hill, dammit.  I know it was.
It felt like one anyway...
As I was approaching the finish line, I saw the clock and it said 2:29:15.  I was really wanting to break 2:30, so I put as much hustle into my legs as I could and crossed at 2:29:32.  I was pretty happy about that, and set a new PR. 
OK- truth be told, that is not my "true" PR.  My best half time was 8 years ago when I was 40 lbs lighter and it is a 2:12.  That was my old body that I starved myself to be in, and a body I will never reside in again.  And I'm OK with that, I truly am.  I don't count that because I will not be her again- I'm ME now.  This is the body I will live in.  That body was underfed and overtrained.
I was triumphantly tired
Found my hubby and we quickly got a picture together from my sweet friend Julie (who also set a PR) and then we jumped in the car and headed home to get in the hot tub.  
I had a great time at the race, and the hubs and I decided that maybe it was good that we didn't just fall asleep in the car after all. :)


  1. What a fun morning it turned out to spite of the gloom and cold. So glad I got to run with you guys. And congratulations on your PR! You ROCK!

    1. SOOO good to race with you (as always) Julie!! Thank you for the great pictures, too! :) Congrats on your smokin' PR, too!!!

  2. Nice run and PR!
    As much as I hate to admit it...I think I need to run a road half sometime just to see where I would be. I have no idea. Also, my husband has napped in the car before a race before! It was only a few minutes but snoring and everything, lol. Hope you had a nice nap afterwards though :)

    1. Go for it! I really don't love road running as much as trails, but it has it's place in my life. And it's nice to zone out, put some music in, and let 'er rip! I'll bet you'll be faster than you think!!
      That's funny about him napping in the car. Sometimes you need a quick zzzzzz to get ready to go. ;)

  3. You did great!!!! A PR is a PR no matter what!!!! I think you are so inspirational, beautiful and just overall wonderful!!! Besides your hubby I'm your #1 fan!!!!

    1. Thanks, sweet Christy!!! LOVE you more than you know!!! Thanks for always being so encouraging and cheerleading me through so many events. You are my inspiration, too!! :)