I have to start by saying, I FINISHED! I am so incredibly proud that I finished and finished with a decent time yesterday… 2:22:40 to be exact;)
The weather conditions were pretty much, well, awful to say the least.
It’s officially 24 hours (plus or minus) after the race and I am still chilled to the bone. This was BY FAR the coldest/hardest race I have ever done. I have done one half in a light mist/light rain in St. Louis, but it was NOTHING compared to yesterday’s race.
All those “mixed emotions” I was having on Friday turned into feelings of flat-out scared as the news of the weather played ALL DAY on Saturday. Every time I turned on the TV or even changed the channel they were talking about “the weather conditions for the marathon runners.”
I ended up putting it out of my mind for the night and actually got a decent night’s rest… I definitely needed it.
The race started in a rather chaotic way… simply because of the rain. People were standing off to the sides under anything with an overhang to stay out of the rain as long as possible. I wanted to snap a picture for you all of the corral… it looked like a ghost town and it was rather eerie. After the national anthem played, I headed out to get as close to the start line as I could. I was going nowhere fast… just standing there in the cold. I didn’t make it to the course until 7:22-ish. BUT, by the time I made it there I was so happy to be moving, the 13.1 miles ahead of me thought didn’t even cross my mind.
About half way into mile one, we were hit with a downpour. I was soaked half way into the first mile. I really wasn’t thinking about it, though… which is weird. I was thinking about getting to mile 2.5 to stop by the Epilepsy Tent and say hi and thank you. I made it there, stopped to give Sara (the organizer) a hug, and say thank you (all quickly so I wouldn’t mess up my time).
Around mile 4, I was getting extremely frustrated. There was so much traffic!!! I think people ditched their hopes and dreams of PRs, because there were tons of walkers. To be completely honest, I really haven’t ever seen as many people walking in a race before. It was hard not to follow suit, but I told myself I knew I could run at least eight miles without stopping, so I was NOT going to start today. You’ve run eight recently…if you are going to stop, you can’t stop until after mile 8!!!
Needless to say, around that time I was having the thoughts of wow, I’m never doing this race again. This was so stupid… why am I out here? You can’t stop though. My breathing feels good and so do my legs, that’s a really good thing. Thank goodness I can’t feel any blisters. I am so glad I grabbed this trash bag. I need to ditch this jacket, but I don’t want to slow down.
Needless to say, the first 5K was by far my worst. My average was 11:01 per mile. Even though I didn’t know the true split at the time, I could see my watch creep past the 11:00 per mile mark every once in a while and I knew I could do better.
I finished the first 5K in 34:13. I have walked in 5Ks and done better than that. I blame it on stopping by the Epilepsy Foundation tent (which I would do over again a million times), stopping to tie my shoes twice and ditching some clothes, but keeping the trash bag.
It’s funny that the random thing I grabbed before I walked out the door (yes, a trash bag) ended up being a saving grace throughout with the rain.
Around mile 5/6, it started pouring again. The raindrops were huge. We actually were getting some thunder at that point. We were warned, with lightening, they would stop us. At that point, I had made it far enough to be super disappointed if that were to happen, so I prayed for it to miss us.
By mile 7, I was looking for my friends, Lincoln and Marty. I knew I was going to see them around mile 8, so I was all excited for that. I was feeling really good, so I was actually excited for them to see me, I wanted to make sure I was smiling. The course is designed, so that I would see them twice because of a turn-around.
I saw them and screamed “HI GUYS!!!” Then, I did the Forrest Gump dorky wave… Remember that scene when he sees Lieutenant Dan… yeah, that wave.
Then, I screamed… “Be right back okay, stay here, don’t move!”
And in a flash (or more like 10:50-ish pace), I was back again and still smiling!
After I saw them, for the second time, I felt like I had nothing to look forward to… except for the finish line. For some reason, at mile 10.5, that felt REALLY far away, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about something totally different. I knew my second best time was 2:23:46, so in the back of my head I was thinking I NEED/HAVE to beat that. I’m on the right pace I just CANNOT slow down… like, at all. I had, absolutely had to go to the bathroom, though. I stopped MY watch, but of course, the actual course clock does not stop. I waited in line (two people ahead of me to be exact) went quick and headed back out. Stopping wasn’t smart, because then, my knees were in pain.
A lot of people have different places that bother them on long runs. For some reason (for me) it is ALWAYS my knees. By mile 11… they were killing! I told myself (and I was right I figured out afterwards) they were going to hurt no matter what (walking or slow running) so I kept on going. The last half mile was really painful. All I was thinking about was getting done, beating 2:23:46 and being able to call Evan and hear his excitement for me too! I knew I had signed up for the text messages, so my Mom and Evan would know how I was doing, but I didn’t realize it told them when I finished! I guess that makes sense, but getting all the congrats at the end felt really good;)
Evan actually texted me throughout the race, so I got to read all of those when I finally sat down:) I ended up stretching my legs for a good 20 to 30 minutes before even attempting to walk to my car. This is half marathon number six, and the first time that I felt like I couldn’t walk to my car right away. My legs needed a break. I honestly have no clue if it’s because of the cold, or because of the lack of preparation time. I really have no idea. All I know is, that difficult race was worth it! I felt so HAPPY after it.
Moral of this long-winded story… it was an amazing race. It was a HUGE accomplishment for me to race in those difficult conditions and do so well. I’ve never been able to sum up a race in just one word, but this one I can. I feel PROUD.
Finally and most importantly, the other thing that I absolutely have to say is THANK YOU! Thank you to the race committee, thank you to the volunteers and thank you to the spectators. Those weather conditions were less than ideal, but still sooooooooooo many people showed up to support all of us runners and I just want them all to know, we so appreciate it!