Tuesday, September 14, 2010

half marathon recap.

I'm alive! This commuting business is eating up my free time. I flew back to the nest at the end of August, which means 1.5-2 hours of driving every day to and from work. It's worth it though, my parents are lovely! And reading this blog (Hi Mom and Dad!).

How about the half marathon recap, shall we? I wrote down some things the day or two after, and I'm so glad I did, because it was a fantastic experience. Thank goodness for blogs!!

The half marathon was in the top two of hardest physical things I've ever done. The other one was a swim team training camp, where we swam between 8 and 10km a day and I couldn't move from exhaustion. This run just trumps that experience because this run was sooo loneeellyyy. The only thing I had to latch onto were the older men in front of me who I eventually passed, and only because they were taking walking breaks.

I jammed out the first 7 km and was feeling lovely, and even passed some ladies while I was rocking out to Glee's Journey mashup. This speedy spurt turned out to be a bit of a mistake, as those two ladies passed me and were long gone by the 15 km mark.

P.S. Thanks to YouTube, I can totally rock that hair. Now where did I put my gold dress...?

I lost my mojo and wanted to be done when the 12 km mark hit, so I listened to some Russell Brand comedy to distract my mind from my legs. This definitely slowed me down and at least 5 people passed me (although two of them gave me encouraging thumbs up on their way by!). It wasn't a large race, so having 5 people pass me when I knew I was in the back of the pack to start with was a little discouraging. I tried my best to block those feelings out and concentrated on giggling from the comedy and the warm sunshine on my face, and kept on chugging. Russell was just what I needed to regroup, so I put my music back on and continued to blow kisses at each kilometer marker that I shuffled by.

This run was a lot different than my training long runs, because my longest runs were done with Josh, and talking while running helps you ignore the time ticking away and the ridiculous distance you are running. This time, it was me and my iPod, and I was hallucinating trying to see the next km marker ("Oh, there's another one! .. oh crap, that's definitely just a flower."). There was a lot of grunting in those last few kms. The water stations were a huge blessing (4 along the trail and we hit them all twice), and the volunteers that encouraged me were AMAZING. When everything from your hips to your toenails are hurting, an enthusiastic, "You can do it! Keep it up! You're almost finished!" goes a loooong way. I carried a water bottle the whole time, which I finished and then some. At the last water station, I poured a cup of water in my water bottle, and once the volunteer saw what I was doing she quickly dumped in another cup without me even asking. She was so sweet, and it was the boost I needed to make it to the end.

When I saw the finish line, I sped up, and sprinted the last 100m. The funnel at the finish line was short and narrow, and I had to stop dead to avoid smashing into the volunteers. That, my friends, was a mistake. You do not run for 2 and a half hours, sprint, and then stop all of a sudden. My legs sort of gave out, and I crouched on the ground and caught my breath. I think I scared the volunteers because there was a first aid lady over my shoulder telling me to "breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth". I couldn't really tell her at the time, but this is normal for me at the end of a race and I just needed a minute. I did what she told me so she would go away, and I stood up and walked away (I hope I said thank you!). By walked away, I mean I took four steps and then sat on the ground because I couldn't feel my legs.

The whole time I was on the course, I was thinking, "I am so lucky to be able to run!" It's true, I was ill prepared and aching by the time I finished, but I am still so blessed to have full use of my legs. There was no way that I wasn't going to run this race because I missed some training runs. Now, this attitude is by no means sustainable, and I fully realize that - I can't continue to treat my body this way because it is very irresponsible, and I'm risking injury by undertraining. But I'm viewing this one time as a learning experience, and refusing to take pain medication so I can feel the full effects of my decisions.. and talk about incentive! Avoiding pain and injury is a big one!

Edit (Sept. 14 2010): I'm definitely having some knee problems now. I was feeling it a bit before the race, but I think that exacerbated my problem.. I'm sticking to short runs (less than 5km and icing my knees after), walking, maybe some swimming, and some yoga. Hopefully it will go away on its own!

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