It's done! I've completed my first Half Marathon, and it went GREAT!!
The race was in Rochester where Mike and I lived for five years, it's a great city that has a special place in my heart. The race started early, 7:45, and it's about an hour and a half from Syracuse, so I was up at 4:15. I went to bed by ten, and tossed and turned for a while. I was excited and a bit nervous, but wasn't too worried about lack of sleep. Anyone with kids knows what you can pull off when you're sleep deprived! I had to pick up my sister in law J, who was also running, so I made a quick breakfast of toast with peanut butter, coffee, water, and my favorite, PowerAde Zero! I went out to the Jeep to find that Mike had written 13.1 in soap on the back windows, and made signs that said "13.1 or bust!" Inside he left more signs saying things like "Run like you did something BAD!"
I was at J's house by 4:50, and the sky was beautiful, it was full of so many stars, you could see Orion, the Big Dipper and the Seven Sisters. We had a good ride, and made it to Frontier Field by 6:15, so we had plenty of time to pick up our bib, chip and goody bag, which was pretty good! Lots of samples of pain gels, gum, shampoo, lotions, rice, granola bars, hair ties. They were out of tshirts in our size, and they were almost apologetic as they offered us a Tech shirt in our size, which we gladly took!
We got our gear stashed, the sun came up, we started stretching and hit the porta potties. We met up with my friend S, who was upset because her racing partner blew her off, no phone call, just didn't show. We headed up to the start, there were about 1,800 runners for the half marathon. The weather was nice, it was cool, and in the high sixties, with a breeze. I had my ipod, but didn't turn it on, I wanted to wait until I really needed it. I also had a fun size bag of m&m's for energy, which I held like a security blanket. Then we were off!
The course started and ended in the city, very scenic, going through pretty neighborhoods. Around mile 1.5 we ran by my old street, and followed the route I used to walk, so I reminisced a bit. We had about a 10 minute pace, my goal was to find a comfortable groove, and stay with it the whole time. I wasn't about sprinting or finishing with a specific time, I just wanted to have fun and have a strong stride. Which I did, and I maintained it well, there were a few small hills, but they were no problem at all. I also focused on keeping my back straight, with my hands relaxed down by my hips, and my head up. My mother always says I miss half my life by looking at the ground as I walk. If you were as clumsy as I am you would watch the ground too!
By mile six things were still looking good. I thought "hey, I'm doing a half marathon!!" I focused on being in the moment and having fun while we raced, I didn't want to "endure it" and just get to the end. I alternated between water and gatorade at each water station. At mile seven they offered GU but I passed. That is where the course turned onto a bike trail along the Erie Canal, lots of trees and shade. All of a sudden it was mile eight, which took me by surprise, I still felt really good, so I was happy. We came up to the campus of the University of Rochester, and passed a few students who rolled out of bed, holding their coffee as they watched us pass. I didn't envy them, I thought maybe they envied us!!
Mile 9 brought us into a park, and it was quiet, a bit too quiet, so I turned on the ipod. I was greeted with "Peace Frog" by The Doors, which then lead into "Always" by Blink 182, my pace really solidified and it was just what I needed to stay in gear. I opened my m&m's and had a couple, along with some water. I still felt good!
Around Mile 10 I got into my head a bit. I started thinking of how lucky I was to be running, and how I could do this thing. I thought of Graham, and my Grandparents, and everyone I knew who was in Heaven. That gave me another mental push to keep on.
Mile 11 brought us back into the city, J pulled ahead a bit. As we crossed a bridge, I started to feel a little lightheaded. I was looking down at the lines in the road, and just felt a bit weird. I slowed down, and told myself there was no reason to be feeling like this, I was hydrated, with plenty of electrolytes, so I started to feel better. There is something to be said for this whole mind over matter thing.
Next thing I knew we passed the 12 mile marker. I was excited, but I just held my pace and kept pushing. I passed a poor guy who was laid out on the side, not looking too well. I could see at the turn to the finish they had a bunch of drummers playing music. I was going strong, and spotted my friends K&C on the sideline, I was sooo happy to see them I jumped up and down, throwing my arms in the air and did a little dance. I crossed the finish line as they said my name as a finisher, got my medal, and saw J. We walked down the chute and saw my other friend D, I hugged her and almost started crying I was so happy.
We made our way to the food, slammed a chocolate milk, and a small piece of pizza and met up with our friends. K was laughing, he said he couldn't believe I had so much energy at the end. My legs were tired, and my right ankle was a bit puffy. I've broken that ankle twice, so I wasn't worried because it didn't hurt. But it was a bit sore on the drive home, so I put the cruise control on in the car and I was all set.
Later that day we went back to J's house for a BBQ and champagne. It was a great ending to the day. My final time was 2:23:36, I did about an 11 minute mile. I'm happy with that, since it was my first. Now on to the next race!!!!!