The total number of miles I ran on Saturday morning.
I'm still a bit in awe and feel like it didn't really happen. I've been training for this for about 9 weeks. I went into it worried that I wouldn't be able to hack it, but hack it I did!
As I said, I've trained for about 9 weeks for this. I picked this particular course, the Windermere Marathon half, because it is a nice senic course along a paved trail and pretty much flat with a net -105ft between start and finish.
You can read about some of my training on my other blog through my profile. I initally set out to do some speed work as well as distance training. After a few weeks, I began to dread the speed workouts and worry that, as a newer runner, I'd get injured trying to build endurance and speed, so I gave up on speed.
I started with a comforatble base of 5-6miles. My first LR (long run) was 7miles. Each week, I added a mile, until 11. Then I hit a wall. I was supposed to do 12 miles the week before Bloomsday and just couln't muster it mentally. My 11 mile run didn't go so well. It was hot and in direct sun between 0930 and 1130. I knew it was mental, but I gave it up. Then I ran Bloomsday and trashed my legs. And ran the next day, and the next. Then my legs were really trashed.
The next week, I was nervous. I never did the 12 miles, and I worried that was going to be a mental hurdle in the race. I desparetly wanted to run 12 before the big day, but knew that would probably be a mistake. My left IT band was bugging me as well as my sciatica on the left had been flaring up. On Monday before the race, I ran a fairly speedy-for-me six and called it good.
Then I rested. I heated, iced, stretched and heated, iced, and stretched some more. I hoped and prayed my legs would show up ready for race day!
Friday night, I grew very nervous! I had butterflies about everything. I worried about making sure I had everything ready, would wake up on time, wouln't be too warm, or too cold, was my Garmin charged, would Ben wake up on time to come pick me up, would I find the race start, etc, etc, etc. I tried to go to bed early, but I had a hard time sleeping. I woke up several times and looked at my phone...despite the fact that I had 3 alarms set!
I finally woke up around 5:15 and drank a bunch of water, had my peanut butter and jam toast and got dressed. I went over everything in my head, made sure I had my Garmin, my headphones, gatorade, and Ben's car was packed with a diaper bag, stroller, and my post race bag. I grabbed a banana and headed to the race start around 0600.
I got there and sat in my warm car for about 30min. I used the porta potty, then met with my friend and coworker, Sarah. We hung around the race start trying not to get cold, used the bathroom again, stretched some, then hit the road at 0700 when the gun went off.
I started running and was thrilled to realize my legs were ready to rock 'n roll!
Mile 1: 10:34
Mile 2: 10:45
The first aid station was just before mile 2. I grabbed some water and kept on trecking.
Mile 3: 11:00
I kept trying to get out of my head and take it one mile at a time. Each mile that ticked by, I felt more confident that I could finish and finish well (at least within my goal time). I tried to keep the postive self talk up as much as I could. Anytime I felt any sense of doubt creep in, I reminded myself that I had trained for this, my legs felt great, it was a beautiful day, beautiful surroundings, I had this.
I turned on my headphones at mile 3 and zoned out a bit.
Mile 4: 11:02, right on pace
I grabbed some water at the next stop and sipped on my Gatorade in between. I ate two m&m's around mile 3. The aid stations were about every 2 miles along the course.
Mile 5: 11:03
Mile 6: 10:42
Mile 7: 10:39 and happy to be past the halfway point!
This song really carried me through the middle set of miles. Not sure why, but it made me feel inspired and grateful to be out there.
Mile 8: 10:59
Mile 9: 11:16
Mile 10: 11:24
My mental game started lacking. My miles were getting longer and that was tough to swallow. I ate m&m's at miles 5 and 7, then finally had a gel they were handing out, around mile 9. I traded water for HEED (the energy/electrolyte drink they were handing out at aid stations). When I ate the gel I was glad to have my bottle of gatorade to wash it down with!
When I hit mile 10, I was certain I had three miles left in my legs. My mind was beginning to falter, somehow. At mile 11, I hit familiar territory and was nearing the park. This part of the course was the second half of the 10k I ran in October, my confidence grew.
Mile 11: 11:23
My legs were getting tired.
Mile 12: 11:07
Then I hit a wall. My legs were tired. So.tired. I knew I would keep going, because I had to and was so close, but I was so done. I kept trying to pick up the pace, but when I tried to run faster, I'm pretty sure I only got slower. So, I gave up on trying to run faster and just keep running.
Mile 13: 11:20
I finished!!!!! My Garmin time was 2:24:20. Average pace 11:00....my exact goal pace!
And, I, am an official half marathoner!
Overall, I'm thrilled. I'm also so glad it's over. Now I plan to work on speed for a while! My legs are a bit sore today. I got blisters on several of my toes, which has never been a problem before. Everything is generally a bit sore, but actually less sore/different sore than after Bloomsday.
I'm a half marathoner, NBD. Really, though I'm grateful, more than anything else, that I am capable of running. I'm grateful to have a body that functions. Every mile, I tried to remind myself that I owe it to all those who have physical limitations and can't physically run. I am so grateful, humbled, and blessed by this experience.