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
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.