Monday, September 15, 2008

My Half Marathon Experience/Race Report

Let me start on Saturday night. It was about 830pm and B-Rabbit needed to go to the store to pick up a few things, so I decided to tag along. I didn't really need to go to bed super early and I wanted to get some post race treats! As we meandered around the store I nonchalantly placed a large pack of sugar cookies and Swedish fish into the basket. When we came to the checkout, he was quite surprised to see them in his basket. How did they get in there he asked me? The Half Marathon gods were looking out for me was my response!

I had laid out everything I would be needing for the race on my bed - shorts, shirt, socks, sport beans, bib, etc etc. That morning Winkly and I had picked up our race packets at the expo, we were very surprised by our numbers - she was 2176 and I was 1276! With everything ready to go I went to bed. I have a nice big water bottle that I was drinking out of all day so I knew I would be hydrated. I even woke up at 1:31am and when to the bathroom (i never to do that!).

My alarm went off at 5:15am and I clumsily grabbed my water bottle and my phone. I hit snooze and start sipping water then fell back to sleep. 5 minutes later - I was awoken by my alarm, still holding the water bottle, so I drank some more. This continued until I pulled myself out of bed at 5:35 and got into the shower. If nothing else this shower helped to wake me up and get excited about the race! I made myself toast with peanut butter and got into my racing clothes.

B-Rabbit showed up at about 6am (he did not look as excited as me) and we left my apartment at about 615am and headed downtown. Apparently my excitement was a little out of control as I had trouble giving good directions.

Once we parked I met up with Winkly and we picked up our timing chips. We then made our way to the start with B-Rabbit following behind. He wanted to ride his bike on the course and basically stay with us but he wasn't sure that was possible. Once we got down to the start line, there were bikers all over the place (some for riding with the leaders and some just random bikers) and so he decided after we started he would go back and get his bike.

While Winkly and I were stretching the marathoners started at 730am and then we started walking up to our start line for our 745am start. There were about 1500 registered half marathoners and 600 marathoners. It was a pretty amazing feeling standing in the middle of the pack with all these people on that bridge knowing that we were all about to run over 13 miles. There were clouds in the sky and it looked like it might rain BUT it was almost 80 by that time and boy was it humid!!

I don't even remember if a gun went off or what, but soon everyone started moving and we were off!! We were going with the flow, trying not to get caught up on the start of race adrenaline kick and we mostly succeeded. The first half mile twisted through the downtown streets and then we turned onto East Ave. Now I love East Ave for many reasons - alot of old houses, great scenery. Basically its just peaceful and beautiful and straight and flat. All i could see ahead of us and behind were people running! I was carrying my camera so I took pictures, although I was running they still came out ok. There were a few spectators cheering us on - we saw a guy in a gorilla suit and also a few little kids in their PJs! Very cute! We were about a mile and a half in when I heard a very familiar voice behind me. It was Mr. McBride (the father of a classmate from high school) and he was running the race with one of his daughters!

Just past mile 3 we turned (the course split - Marathoners to the left and Half Marathoners to the right). I took a picture of the guys holding the signs and as I passed they were making comments about how weird I was! Winkly and I continued on and we were feeling good, I basically was smiling the whole time.

I knew that my mom was volunteering between miles 4 and 5 and I was excited to see her; Winkly and I were also waiting for B-Rabbit to catch up on his bike! At 4.5 miles I saw my mom just ahead and I took a picture of her and then ran over to give her a hug. I was instantaneously filled with emotion and I could feel the tears filling my eyes. There is only one other time I have been overcome with emotion like that (after beating the #1 team in our conference for the first post season berth in Womens Basketball history at my college) and it is a wonderful feeling. Winkly and i continued on and made it to the halfway point and then onto the canal path.

Once on the canal path we met back up with the marathon race but of course we were ahead of those runners. This part of the race was very scenic and shady - we continued running and came upon a cross country team cheering runners on. It was very motivating and definitely helped us along. We stopped to drink at a water stop right by mile 8 but then started up again. I was really happy with the progress we were making and our time looked good. We ran into Mr. McBride who was running with the Mayor!! We jogged along and Mr. M and I chatted about things. I had started to eat my sport beans because my knees were hurting. Soon the pain seemed to disappear but Winkly and I did stop to walk for a bit after the nine mile mark. We continued to run into Mr. M periodically along the course as he stopped and stretched and then passed us again. I think we ended up beating him in the end but I am not sure.

Soon we were in the park and I was totally surprised! I had not known exactly where i was once we started running on the canal even though i had looked at the race map many times. This part was also beautiful as it went right next to the river. Winkly and I took another walking break and I could tell that she was getting tired. We had just a 5K left but it was still a lot. At this point things seemed to blur together - I remember each part but all I was thinking was just keep running, just make it to the next mile marker.

After mile 11 Winkly needed another break and I knew she was hurting bad - I also knew she would never admit to me how much because I knew she had a great desire to finish the race no matter what. Just after mile 12 we came upon B-rabbit and his bike. He had had some troubles but he came at the perfect time. He rode along with us for about a quarter of a mile and talked to us which helped Winkly to get her mind off the race and the pain. Soon we only had 0.2 of a mile left go. I could hear the announcer at the finish and at the same time I saw my track coach on the sidewalk so I waved at him (I'm not sure he knew it was me though).

Winkly and I turned onto the final stretch and started to pick up the pace! She was really moving and I still felt great (all smiles still!). The photographer took our pictures and as we crossed the finish line over the loud speaker we heard our names being announced!! It was a great moment and soon we were awarded with our medals and people were helping us take off our timing chips. We had done it! Our finishing time was 2 hours and 19 minutes! We immediately got some powerade stuff and then Winkly needed to hit the bathroom. I started drinking the powerade stuff and it was totally gross. Soon after that Winkly and I were stretching and I began to feel sick. I quickly downed a bottle of water and made my way out of the runners area.

As we were walking I saw my professor from college and he was very happy that I had finished. Monday morning in my email i received this from him -

J,

You should be very proud on how well you did yesterday. You have achieved something that 99% of the people in the country cannot. And you looked like you were feeling well when you finished. Great job!

Dr. H

It was so nice of him to send that to me!

Right after meeting up with my professor, B-Rabbit was right there. We stayed a bit more to watch the first woman marathoner come in but I still wasn't feeling well so we said goodbye to Winkly and went back to my apartment. My mom was waiting for me there and helped me up the stairs. I took a shower which made me feel 100% better.

B-Rabbit finally got to explain to me what happened and why it took so long for him to meet up with us. Once he got his bike and had changed his clothes he started out from the finish line (working backwards) and got to about the 8 or 9 mile mark i think but then he remembered he forgot the camera so he biked back to the car for it. He then got a flat tire at mile 12 and that's where we found him! Such a crazy boy - I am so glad that he was there. He told me he was very proud of me after the race and kissed my forehead and that just made me melt.

I spent most of the day in bed watching football or waddling around drinking water! Overall it was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life. I don't know if my body is cut out to run such long mileages as today my quads are sore (normal apparently) as well as my knees. I do know that I would like to run this half marathon again next year with Winkly - maybe we can make it a tradition. One advantage to running it at Winkly's pace was that I was able to enjoy the scenery and remember all these details because usually I miss a lot of things. Now all i am waiting for is the official race photos to come out! Thanks for reading this super long race report!

B-Rabbit at Mile 12

THE FINISH!!

The official Stats: (Me/Winkly)

Time: 2:19:37 (10:41 Pace)

Place: 815/816 out of 1378

Age Group: 46/47 out of 83 (AG F 19-24)

10 comments:

kara said...

What a great race report! Thanks for sharing.

Marcy said...

CONGATS!!! What an excellent race!! Running with friends is always the BEST! You both did a fantastic job! ;D

Running Knitter said...

Amazing job! Congrats!

tfh said...

Thanks for taking the time to write the race report! It was great to read. And that note from your professor was so sweet-- and true. You did a great job and I love thinking of you snapping photos along the course. :)

*aron* said...

GREAT race report!!! CONGRATS!!!! sounds like you guys had an amazing time!

Julianne said...

That is a great race report! And love the photos. How sweet is that your college prof sent you a memo about your race? That is really thoughtful and encouraging. Ok, what half marathon did you run? :-)

Julianne said...

Rochester, like New York Rochester? I lived in Manhattan for almost 2 years (and worked in Tarrytown) but I never made it up that far!

Danica said...

I love your pictures! It makes me excited about my first 1/2 coming up :) Thanks for writing out everything! It was helpful :)

Sassy Molassy said...

Nice work! Sounds fun.

The Happy Runner said...

Congratulations! Great race report.
I'm a peanut butter on toast (or english muffins) before a race kind of gal, too!