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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 201 ~ 1/2 Marathon Race Day!!

 I'm finally back home, with a good heat-induced headache, bloody sock (from a blister), and an awesome feeling of accomplishment!  That was a tough run, but what a rush!  I had so much fun, and I'm now even more excited for the marathon, though now realizing I need to buckle down heavily during these last couple of months of training, or I will probably die!  I guess I thought that because I had run the 13.1 distance twice before, I would be fine.  But all the rumors are true: rookie mistakes can really come back to bite you in the end.  After a restless night's sleep, I woke up at 4:50am.  I had to be in Pocatello (10 minutes away) by 7am to catch a shuttle to the starting line.  I had plenty of time, so I took a shower, got dressed, ate some watermelon and then did about 20 minutes of Pilates.  I felt really good as we left home to head to town.  At the starting line we had a wait of around 40-45 minutes.  It was cold, but there were over 400 people and the excitement was buzzing.  Then, boom...we started.  In my head I knew not to go out too fast, and I had been telling myself all week to mentally block out the other runners, focus on keeping the pace I am used to, and think of this as a training run.  But, of course, I couldn't help it, and I went out just a tad fast, and I knew it right away.  It was hard to bring the pace down, too, because there's this kind of push of momentum from all the people around you.  I felt a little "huffy and puffy" for the first 5 miles, and I knew all along I was going to have a rough time at the end if I didn't slow it down.  Once the runners had spread out some, I was able to get to a comfortable pace, but about the time I needed to fuel, I really wanted to walk!  I didn't, though, and just slowed enough to gulp down a gel that a volunteer handed me and drink some of my sports drink.  The other issue I was having was with the heat.  Our weather has been considerably cool, and I usually do my long runs starting between 5:30 and 6am.  Since the 1/2 didn't start until 8am, and of course we were having a beautiful, warm day - I was hot!  I could feel the sun burning into my back for the first 12 miles, then we turned to make the last 1.1 miles to the finish line, and the freaking sun was right in my face!  At the mile 11 aid station, after I realized that the liquid in my water bottle had turned disgustingly warm, I took a paper cup with ice cold water from one of the volunteers and sloshed it down, and slowed to a walk for maybe 30 seconds.  Then, the test of mental toughness kicked in, and I knew I had to finish as strong as I could.  As I approached the finish line, the spectators cheering me on were what kept me going.  It feels great to have a crowd of people saying: "You look great!  You're almost there!!"  All I could think of was my husband and kids - where were they?? I heard someone call my name, but I was in a bit of a confused and yet focused state at that point, and as hard as I looked, I didn't see my family.  Apparently they were there, but it took a few minutes after I finished for me to find them!  When all was said and done, I ran the 1/2 in 2 hours and 34 minutes (I will get my official time when it's posted on the website, because I couldn't see the clock and I forgot to stop my Garmin as I crossed the finish line).  That's a couple of minutes faster than I ran the same route as a training run, and considering I've been sick all week, I'm pretty pleased with how it went.  I am glad to have this experience finished and I would consider it successful...now on to prep for a 15 miler later this week!  :}

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