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My First Half Marathon

Monday, March 10, 2008

Becky's First Half Marathon:

Original goal when I started training: 2:10
Realistic goal this morning: 2:05
Stretch goal: sub-2:00

*Travel to Scottsdale Friday with best friend and running buddy.
*Get drunk Friday night.
*Expo and day at the pool Saturday--hydrating and fueling.
*Today, up at 4:15am. Coffee, oatmeal, and water.
*Well-timed potty action. (thank god)


It was pitch black at the shuttle stop in the middle of the desert in Mesa Arizona. Shuttle to Start. 8 porta-potties for 1,000 people. Pee'd in bushes. Things moved fast from there--they herded everyone to the start (1/4 of a mile walk--just right for warm-up b/c it was COLD)--and the gun went off 5 minutes later. No time for self-doubt.

It was a fast start down a hill.
Mile 1 8:47
Mile 2 8:40
Uphill starts
Mile 3 9:15
Mile 4 9:32
Though slower, the near-2-mile hill didn't feel too bad. I felt strong and positive. A friend had sent me an email that said "You will dominate." And that was stuck in my head from that hill on through the rest of the race. I could hear all of your cheering and encouragement. It meant so much!
Downhill starts again
Mile 5 8:39
Mile 6 8:44 (New 10K record: 56:15)
Mile 7 8:45
And then "King Kong" hill--a wondeful steep drop
Mile 8 7:55 (a new mile record as the hill brought out my inner Kenyan (ala Lori))
Things level out
Mile 9 8:51
Last sharp uphill
Mile 10 9:38 (as I struggled, I pictured Lori half-way up a rock wall, cheering!)
Hills are over, but I'm spent and guts are cramping
Mile 11 9:27
Mile 12 9:16
Mile 13 8:44

My friend and I were well-matched in the beginning. She doesn't handle hills so well, so she dragged a little up the first long hill, but we stuck together. As we were starting, there was a cute gal in a VERY short running shorts--her tanned butt cheeks fully hanging out. As cute as she was, I couldn't bear to have that be my scenery for the rest of the race in the beautiful segura cactus desert, so I decided we had to pass her and stay ahead. We played tag for the first 6 miles. Every time she tried to pass, I sped up. Unfortunately, that meant creating a gap with my friend. I had second thoughts and dropped back to join my friend. She yelled at me for doing so, but we hung together for a while. Then I couldn't stand "Cheeks" (my affectionate name for my running nemesis) ahead of me anymore, I kicked it in and passed her on the next uphill. She audibly grunted and moaned as I passed her! (hee hee)--my friend later told me she was visibly frustrated every time she had tried to unsuccessfully pass me earlier. I didn't see her again, but fear of her catching me kept me moving.

At the end of the last tough hill my guts started screaming at me and I thought I was going to SERIOUSLY have an accident. But I plodded through it--even passing a porta-potty--for fear of Cheeks catching me after my earlier victory. So, yes. . . I risked crapping my pants so I wasn't passed! LOL! I know there are a few of you out there who aren't totally disgusted and can actually muster a little pride as such an action! (Lori. . .??? Rich???. . Steph??? Gail???)

The last few miles were tough. And a little lonely. I was just surviving--but I could see the finish a half a mile out. Perked up a little. At the last 1/4 mile, I saw a guy as whipped as me. I caught up to him and challenged him with a "come on--you're not going to let a girl beat you this close to the finish, are you?" He laughed and said "Uggh. Don't do this to me!"--but he kicked it in and we raced to the finish. I finished strong and am hoping for a good finish-line picture to share!

Finish time 1:55:57!!! Significantly beat even my stretch goal!! :) My Garmin tells me it wasn't quite 13.1 miles, but I guess I have to trust the course. Puts me at 8:50/mile. That's nearly 10 seconds faster than my 5K pace from last September! How can that be possible? I could barely sustain 9:22/mile for my toughest 8-mile tempo run!! My last 2-mile tempo run at 8:41 left me near-dead!! It's amazing what a little oxygen and the race environment can do. Oh. . . and as nervous as I was right up to the start--it seems the taper worked!!

So--if anyone is still reading. . . thanks! And thanks for being part of my running life and getting me to this point. I am absolutely positive I never would have done this if it weren't for Spark in the Dark. I get choked up just thinking about it. You guys are the best. The best.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • WESTSLOPERUNNER
    Becky, I loved your recount of the half! Congratulations! I just finished a half in February and am just now coming out of a bit of a hiatus from two self-induced injuries.... your blog was just what I needed to get back out there! Thanks! And congratulations on your sub 2 hr time! That's my goal for my next half... June 14!!!
    4593 days ago
  • LORI-LU
    Becky - I don't know why I didn't comment on this blog. I read it when you first wrote it. I had a good laugh about "Cheeks". Thanks for posting the link to the race photos of you, and of "Cheeks", of course. It was nice to put a face to the booty you ended up watching for 6 miles. hehehe.

    Your time was impressive -- I knew you'd do well. And, so glad you didn't cr@P your pants!

    Lori
    4598 days ago
  • SUNSHINE4ME
    Becky!!! I am so so SO very proud of you. I've been thinking about you!! Congratulations on a wonderful half marathon. WoW, what an amazing time to, a sub 2 hour on your very first attempt!! Congratulations, I hope you have picked out a very nice reward.
    (((hugs))) Julie
    4601 days ago
  • LUVNMTUS
    That is am amazing blog I love to read about other peoples race's... You did great and now knowing you did it with a bum leg! What a woman!!! This makes me more exciting for my first half.
    Shala
    4605 days ago
  • KARYNWAGNER
    Becky,

    I am so proud of you :) You kicked butt...how exciting to finish under 2 hours...and setting a few new PRs to boot! Take it easy on that heel and give yourself plenty of time to recover. So, what's your next goal???
    4605 days ago
  • SUEDEMKO
    Becky - What an awesome running story! I'm so glad that you didn't let cheeks beat you! An accident is worth it when you are racing! I'm glad you "ran" through it without any mishaps! Your time is amazing! So what's next???? ~ Sue
    4606 days ago
  • IVETTE_S
    Congratulations, Becky!!! YOU DID IT! And you did great! Two PR's in one race, sweet!! You did the work, put in the training, and it paid of on race day. You only get one first Half Marathon, and you rocked yours!
    4607 days ago
  • PETRATX
    Good job Becky! Always trust the training. Most of the experts that put them together know what they are doing even when it doesn't "feel" right. Take a little break, you deserve it.
    4607 days ago
  • BUCKYCPA
    Hey Beckie! I just got back on SP after a long absence and I'm so pround to see your accomplishment. That first half marathon is such a great experience! I remember being so proud and feeling so strong after having completed mine. Major kudos to you! You rock!
    4607 days ago
  • KATHJSMITH
    YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING!!! I ran a half marathon a few years ago and I know how very hard it is. I'm proud of you! Way to go! Hip hip hooray for Becky!!
    4608 days ago
  • SWEATONCEADAY
    congrats becky! what a great time for your first.
    4608 days ago
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