Last night I was both remarkably calm and totally freaking out about the half marathon that I knew was on my horizon. I gave myself a pep talk, telling myself that I was capable of doing this. That I always say I can run for hours if I go slow enough. This was my opportunity to put up or shut up. I told myself that it has always been my belief in myself that keeps me moving forward, so I wrote that on my arm, in preparation for my weak moment: she believed she could, so she did. I used it in defense of my wall. My Blerch. So this morning, when I was finally able to hop in the car and head to the event, I was pretty excited and positive that I was going to run the entire thing. I gave myself allowance to stop if necessary and not beat myself up about it, but I really did want to be able to run it. All of it.
***I just want to quickly note that there are a bajillion typos and stuff in this post, but WordPress is being annoying and every time I try to fix the issues it doesn’t update. Sorry.***
And I totally did. I ran all 13.1 miles of that thing!
There were a few sweet moments that I particularly enjoyed:
- I loved it when I ran past the point where I would have turned around for the 10K that was happening simultaneously, had I run that instead. I suddenly felt like a serious runner. It was like a moment of no return. It was delicious and it made me feel proud.
- While my family stayed at home, I included them in the race by texting them each mile marker as I passed it. In return I would get a flurry of supportive texts telling me I was burning up the miles and that I was amazing. I felt amazing.
- While I was definitely at the back of the pack, I wasn’t at the tail end either. And the people who were using me as their pacer (there are always a few people who seem to walk until I pass them and then they run ahead and we do that over and over) got worn out in the last two miles, and though I was exhausted by then, I passed several people who had been catching up to me up to that point. My slow little turtle ways paid off a little in the competition part of the race.
- It was kind of cool to be in a race with real runners. This wasn’t a fun themed run designed to capture the attention of new runners or runners who like flashier events, this was a beautiful run on a dewy, October morning along the Snohomish River, made for people who like to go outside on exactly this kind of morning for a lovely, long run.
- My friend, Jessica, ran the race with me. It was so nice to have a friendly face there to start the run with and to commiserate with after it was over.
- I learned that the running gels can REALLY make a difference in my energy level! When I got a little tired, they definitely added a little skip to my step.
- The food afterwards was a vegan pumpkin/squash soup with bread. Vegetarians usually get the shaft when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I was all in when I saw vegan soup was an option! But it wasn’t just edible, it was AMAZING! I totally want to visit the Hungry Pelican to see what other yummy stuff is on their vegan and gluten free menu!!
- Post-race water was heavenly. Usually I can’t drink or eat for 5-10 minutes but I easily guzzled two bottles within minutes of finishing. This race was really different for my body.
- My arm quote and pep talk ended up being instrumental in helping me to run the whole way. Whenever I wanted to give up, I reflected back on that conversation I had with myself last night. More than anything I didn’t want to disappoint myself. And I wanted to be able to really wear that sweatshirt knowing full well that I really earned it.
- The designated parking was five blocks away and the instructions said to go to a store to pick up the packets. It took me forever to find it, so by the time I finally got everything all sussed out, I had 10 minutes until the race started! Good thing I got there an hour early!!
- There were only 4 port-a-potties at the race start and the line was huge so I decided to wait until the first care stop to pee. Jessica was smart and trucked down to the finish line where no lines existed, but I didn’t. When I arrived at the potty I headed in and realized ther was a lot to manage and the potty was already decidedly un-fresh and filthy. The toilet paper was so thin that it just shredded rather than pulled off in a clean sheet, so I ended up with this small wad of toilet paper shreds that I had to use while I dropped my phone and my gels and… Ugh. By then I was all sweaty and it was like getting dressed after swimming, except in a disgusting port-o-potty. Bleh. So I pulled up my pants as well as I could, announced on my way out that the toilet was nasty and went on my way. That toilet paper was not my friend. It stayed in place all during my run and I had a nice, rashy surprise at the end of the whole thing. Lesson learned- pee before the run no matter what!
- The run organizers left allllll the roadkill there for our viewing and smelling pleasure as we ran the route. Frogs, possums, birds and a variety of unidentifiable, furry animals were all there, displaying their innards. That was pretty bad. No joke.
- Gu tastes like you’re practically mainlining frosting. Like, you took the tube of frosting, squirted it in your mouth and just started swallowing. Shiver. I could hardly swallow it and could only get half of the shot sized gu down before I tossed the rest into a handy garbage can. I was really glad I opted for the gels over the gu, but I really hated having that much sweetness in my mouth for that long. You’re supposed to let them melt in your cheeks and absorb the glucose, salt and vitamins, but I got sick of lemon-lime sweetness taking over my mouth. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again. They changed my race.
- The last two miles. They were not sweet. Except for the last 200 yards or so. And neither was the walk up the hill to my car. Five blocks. Uphill. After I ran 13.1 miles. That was harder than the run. Even harder than that though, was when I had to step in the brakes for a red light and my entire right leg started spasaming! I actually had to pull over to the side of the road, get out of my car and walk around it a few times. I must have looked so weird, stiffly walking around and stretching, bending over, and the faces I was making…
- My two most middle toenails are halfway off. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I also understand about runners who have chaffing issues as well. Thank you, runners bra, for the lovely friction spots I have under my boobs. Loooovely. LOL!
I don’t think I need to run a whole bunch of half marathons or anything. Who knows, I may change my mind, but for now I think I’ll run one or two per year just to keep in condition. I definitely don’t think a full marathon is in my future, but then again, you never can tell with bees. 😉