For those that don’t know my background. I started running in 2009 to enter a very popular 10k here in Richmond thinking I would walk most of it. I took a liking (or rather became addicted) to the race atmosphere and just kept going. In addition I was very overweight and diagnosed with high cholesterol and had to be medicated at age 29. In 2011 I decided to take my weight loss seriously and join Weight Watchers. I also have fibromyalgia and running has helped keep those symptoms in check.
I weighed about 195lbs when I ran my first half marathon in 2010. This very same race with this very same training team. I came in last for most of our group runs. My time in 2010 was 3:28:09.
Yesterday I weighed myself at 162.4 lbs. With 30+ lbs down, my main goal going into this race was to take 30 minutes off of my time, or just 2:57:xx. My middle goal was a silly challenge to a fellow poster on the Runner’s World Online forums who had taken 35:04 off of his 1 year half marathon anniversary. 2:53:04 ended up as my middle goal and then my long reach was 2:50:xx.
So with that background, let me get to the race. Yesterday I started my race weekend by volunteering at the expo with the Richmond Road Runners Club. We talked up the club and helped folks figure out how to meet up with the pace group leaders for the marathon since the club provides that service. I went home for a rest and got my race gear together before I hit the town again to meet some Runner’s World forum friends for dinner.
We met at Bottoms Up Pizza in the Shockoe Bottom area of the city. It’s one of my favorite places to take out-of-towners so I’m glad we ended up there. I think we all had a lot of fun just chatting and relaxing with limited adult beverages before the race. Everyone was super nice.
I was in bed by around 9:45. I slept okay for the most part, I woke up about 3 times to check the clock and tossed and turned for about 20 minutes at 3:00. But had fallen sound asleep by the time my alarm woke me at 4:35. I wandered around the house and played on Facebook trying to wake up so I could leave at 5:45. It took me a long time to eat my peanut butter toast, as I just wasn’t hungry yet. I drank my morning Diet Coke. Took TWO poops. Then drank my preemptive shot of Pepto Bismol that I take every morning before a race.
Drove downtown and found one of the best street parking spaces available, 1 block away from the finish area. Met up with my training team for some pictures and a pep talk. Then I got in line for the port-o-potty, check my bag, and then got in line for the port-o-potty again just in case. Not too long after that I got in the corral hanging out with a couple of my training team buddies and we were off about 15 minutes later. It was super cold for that 15 minutes. I had checked my track suit. I was left in a skirt, singlet, thin throw away gloves, and a throw away sweatshirt. I threw the sweatshirt at the gun and kept the gloves.
This time I was closer to the middle of the pack. I didn’t feel as scared or isolated as I did last year. My negative thoughts from last year tried to creep in my head but I was able to push them away for the most part. I chugged along with my walk the first tenth of a mile and run the rest of the mile method that I used in training. At mile 5 I stuffed my gloves into my fuel belt band and took 3 Shot Bloks. We entered the park which is pretty hilly right after that. I hit the 10k mat realizing if this was a 10k I would have PR’d and I’d be done. I kept on chugging along out of the park and into this really great neighborhood that makes everyone feel so amazing as they run through. They are always so excited to see the runners (and pass out shots of whiskey and cups of beer). An older lady in front of me took a shot but I passed. At the end of the neighborhood I saw that there were two port-o-potties and one was not being used. I took it as a sign to use it really quickly as I had to go since about mile 6 and we were now at the end of mile 9.
As soon as I came out of the port-o-potty I saw a cup of Powerade coming straight for me. Funny enough, it was a training buddy of mine and she had no idea someone was coming out and that it was me. It didn’t hit me, just fell at my feet, but I found it hilarious and that laugh got me through miles 10 and 11 which I really do not like one bit at all. This is also when the inside of my left arch started aching loudly. I took my last 3 Shot Bloks at mile 10 and ran into one of my coaches who said, “Holy shit!!” when I told her that I was on track to at least get a 30 minute PR.
My little walk break at the 12 mile marker I took for a little over a tenth of a mile because I knew I was going to run it all the way in when I started back up. And I did. I took off. There were so many people cheering us on that last mile and it was needed. I felt great. I also found my theme song for this race which was “Magic” by B.O.B./Rivers Cuomo on my shuffle and cranked it (say what you will, it felt so amazing). By the time I flew down the hill all the screaming spectators drowned out the iPod anyway. I heard someone scream my name and it was my training partner from last year, who had been volunteering at a waterstop with her tri-club. Then the announcer called my name as I sprinted over the finish line. I looked down at my watch. My eyes filled with tears and I put my hand over my mouth, to which two volunteers asked, “Are you okay!?!?!” thinking I was going to barf. “I’m fine, just emotional!” A guy handed me my medal and I went through the food tents.
2:48:12 Garmin time.
I got my bag from the UPS truck and texted my husband to let him know I had survived. Not long after that the tracking text sent me a message with my official time of 2:48:03. Putting me just over 40 minutes for my PR. I decided I wanted to get the free post-race massage because my calves were tightening more than I have ever felt before. The massage was about 15 minutes and it was absolutely perfect. She stretched me out really well.
Now I am back at home nestled in the bed in my pajamas with my dog and waiting for my husband to get home from work. I did go back out to get some Arby’s a bit ago and felt okay walking. Just a little ache on the sides/bottom of both knees.
Garmin link: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/128151919
Mile 1 – 12:45
Mile 2 – 12:50
Mile 3 – 12:34
Mile 4 – 12:43
Mile 5 – 12:41
Mile 6 – 12:45
Mile 7 – 12:42
Mile 8 – 12:51
Mile 9 – 12:33
Mile 10 – 13:18
Mile 11 – 12:56
Mile 12 – 12:54
Mile 13 – 12:16
.26 – 2:19 (8:56 pace)
I am really stoked to run the Houston Half in January. I’m not going to make any lofty goals for that one since it is my first major destination race and I’ll be busy oogling over the elites the day before. I am more confident about that race now, though.