Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I finished.

This past Sunday I ran a half marathon. (The word run is used loosely here.) It was the Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg, Virginia—my first half marathon ever. And most likely my last.

When I began running a little over a year ago, I had no intention of doing long distances. My goal was to run a 5K in my 50th year, which I did in October—one with Noelle (she of the beautiful brown eyes) and another with Leah and Abbey. Somewhere along the way I was told that "If you can run 3, you can run 6. If you can run 6 you can run 10. If you can run 10 you can run a half." Kind of like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie only without the carbs.

So I took the challenge and signed up for the race last January. I found a beginner's training plan online and set off down the road to becoming a distance runner. The months of training were mostly pleasant, and I even enjoyed the long runs on the weekends, running some of my best paces on 11 and 12 mile days. If I could run those paces on race day, I would finish at just under 2:30, not bad for a 50-year-old novice runner.

Then came Sunday, the big day. The race started at 7 a.m., and the weather was cool (low 50s—perfect running temp) and clear. I thought I could do well.

Somewhere around mile 7 or 8 I suddenly realized I was cooking hot and could not get enough to drink. At every water stop I drank Gatorade and 2 or 3 cups of water, and still felt parched. The sun was beating down and burning my head and face. I don't know how it happened, but it went from pleasant to brutal in about 30 seconds. I walked way more than I wanted to, keeping my walks short and trying to get going again, but just couldn't seem to get into a comfortable rhythm. Every step was a huge effort, and I couldn't stop thinking about how far away the next water stop was.

Hospital Hill was murder, even though I had practiced running it many times in the weeks before the race. I walked about 85% of it. I wanted to sit down on the grass but there was no shade. At the top of the hill was a huge group of Marines cheering us on. I didn't want to give any of them the high-fives they offered because it would slow what little momentum I had.

In the end, I finished in 2:48, not nearly the time I anticipated, but I was happy to be able to cross the finish line running.

I said right after the race that I would never do another one. Now that I'm two days removed and the soreness is beginning to go away, I can see how a person might want to do another one. (My family is laughing at me right now.) However, I'll make sure it's one in the late fall or early spring. 

Be thankful ~


NaomiG said...

I am impressed. Very, very impressed. I have never been able to do distance. I think I might like to try though, at some point. I was talking to a friend who runs marathons and she said that after 3 miles is usually where you get that runner's euphoria--I found this to be highly amusing, since I've always stopped between 2.5 and 3 miles. Ooops.

The Bailey Family said...

I am so proud of you!!! I didn't do as well as I thought either, but I finished and lapped all those nasty beer drinkers cheering me on! :P I am super proud to have finished and I felt very good the next day. However I was VERY MAD at myself for signing up for my 2nd half before I finished my first! Oh well...here's to RUNNING! :)

Kayla said...

Good for you! This stranger is proud of you. Apparently it is a little bit like labor and having children then, hmmmm? At the time, yuo are absolutely, positively, never going to have another child or be intimate with your hubby....and then they smile or do something cute. Before you know it, you are the mother of six and still wanting "just one more". :)