The short of the long: I did it! I'm a 1/2 Marathoner!
If you want the long of the long, continue reading.
My ultimate goal was simply to finish (running, walking, being pulled across the line, whatever).
Secretly, my goals were:
C: 2:15-2:20 *
*I included this 'C' goal in case something really went in a way I wasn't planning for.
We arrived at the parking lot ~8:15ish, waited for Amy to pull in and then we
had to find our way to the registration tents.
Hey, look what we found on our way to the registration tent!
The 13 mile marker - if only it was this easy getting to that point...
Just couldn't help having some fun with the Start Line signs.
Here we go - packet pick up!
Race shirt - sa-weet!
Lacing the timing chips in our shoes.
Off to the start line - This is the first race I ever ran that had pacers - we got in the 2:10 pace group.
And then we were off.
I didn't take my iPhone (because of the strong chance of rain), which means I didn't have my Map My Run app to keep track of pace. We went retro and used our watches.
I wrote the mile split times for a 9:50 pace (even thought the 2:10 goal time would have us running 9:55 miles).
The weather was fine - cool and over cast. The first several miles flew by and we were actually keeping close to a 9:30 pace. We got water at every station (every 2 miles). The trail was beautiful and followed the Youghiogheny River - there was a lot of beauty to keep us occupied.
Amy and I chatted about a little of everything. Before we knew it, we started seeing runners coming back (meaning they hit the turn around point and were on their way back) - the leading guy was minutes ahead of the next couple of runners.
Eventually we hit the 1/2way mark, looped the trail and started our way back.
This is the point where the faster starting pace caught up with me.
I started to struggle - I had a cramp, I had to pee, it felt like I was starting to lose steam.
My favorite part of the race was when I decided I had to pee, like NOW..... somewhere around mile 8 - I know I couldn't continue for 5 more miles feeling like this, so I darted off the path, into the woods, dropped the drawers, peed, got my gear back where it needed to be (which was a struggle b/c I was so sweaty), and got back onto the trail. I know Amy probably thought I was crazy, but it had to be done :)
Miles 8-11 were hard. I mean h-a-r-d. There were quite a few walk breaks and quite a few times that I thought I was done. My head was spinning, my stomach hurt, blah, blah, blah.
Any time I stopped to walk, Amy would say something like, "Don't walk too long, it'll just be harder to get going again..." I needed that (inside I kinda wanted to slap her - don't worry, she knows this, but I knew that's exactly what I needed). Every time I slowed, Amy slowed, respected it, and motivated me to keep pushing.
At mile 11, we saw the boys and, although I wanted to climb in the car with them, it did give me a sense of motivation and we were able to continue running pretty consistently.
Here we come in our pinkies (notice that I ditched the rain coat. I hung it on a post somewhere around mile 2; Amy graciously grabbed it on the way back).
Mile 11 was OK. After seeing the boys, I knew it was just about 20 minutes and change till I would see them again. The finish line being that close was also a tad of a motivator :)
I was totally dehydrated by this point. I've never been so thirsty in my life. The last water station was somewhere right around the 11 mile mark. Amy didn't want/need any. I stopped to get a drink. We started up again and I decided to turn around and get more water - I was a little scared too much water would give me stomach troubles, but I didn't care, I needed that water.
Amy would frequently turn around to see if she could see the 2:10 pace group. At one point,she could see them and told me that we needed to pick it up a little; no walk breaks were allowed if we were going to hit goal. I didn't look back - I didn't want to know where they were.
Here we are just about to cross the finish line.
In all my dehydration delirium, I was trying to make a 1-3 with my hands.
I look a little like dying and Amy looks like she's ready for 13 more....
We crossed that line in 2:08:50 (ish) - I'll post the official time once I get it.
We crossed the line and all I could think/speak was, "water!!" We had to walk about 2/10 mile to the tents. Now, you wouldn't think 2/10 of a mile is really anything after all that running, but it was.
We made it to the tent and I drank 3 cups of water, a cup of Gatorade, and a container of chocolate milk. Yeah, I was that thirsty.
Once I felt somewhat oriented again, we headed back to our cars. My calves were screaming.
Amy and I snuck into a banquet hall to use their bathroom to change. I put on my new race shirt that I just earned and my compression socks. My calves said, "Thank you!" for the socks.
We did it!
It's still so surreal right now. I'm a 1/2 Marathoner!
Lots of thanks to Jeremy and the boys for supporting me through this race (and what probably seemed like months and months of training) and to Amy for being a good friend to me (and a coach when I truly needed it). If it wasn't for Amy, I'd still be out on that course.
I learned a lot out on that course today and I'll be constructing a future post on that.
For now, I'm just going to cherish the fact that I finished a 1/2 (not only finished, but came in better than Goal A!)
Thanks for reading the long of the long!