Sunday, March 16, 2008
That's me and my friend Diana finishing the race. Wow it was tough. Tougher than last year, I can't lie!
The first four miles were great - I was keeping a 13:00 minute-per-mile pace or so. And then my back started to hurt. I'd walk a little bit, maybe 20 seconds or so, and get back to running. And I'd repeat the cycle because my back was killing me. I ran into Diana around mile 6, and she kept me going. We BSed the rest of the way and the miles went by quickly, even though we weren't going very fast (if that makes sense). She was sick with a cold and was just looking to finish this race, no PRs or anything.
With about a mile left, a marathon wheelchair racer lapped us. (The marathon started an hour after us and went on a completely different loop, of course - where I was at mile 12 and the wheelchair racer passed me, he was on 25. That sort of thing.) Then, without about six blocks to go, an 'official race car' and police motorcade passed me on my left. It was the leader of the marathon race - a man from Ethiopia who ended up winning. It was very humbling. In fact it was totally inspiring to see all the marathon runners - as we were running the last three miles of the half marathon, they were heading the opposite way. All those incredibly fit people. There was a female runner whose right leg was amputated and she had a springy prosthetic. Amazing.
I ended up with a 15:29 pace. Slower than last year, but that's what I expected.
**WARNING: GROSSNESS ALERT AHEAD**
At the finish line, I felt really, really sick. I stood over a trash can instead of socializing with Diana and her boyfriend and a co-worker who came out to see us finish. I retched but nothing happened. Josh insisted I sit on the ground until I felt better, so I did, and after about five minutes, I felt well enough to walk to the car. I felt OK on the 25-minute drive home so long as I kept my eyes clothes, but as we approached downtown, there were lots of bends in the interstate, and I felt sicker and sicker. I had nothing to be sick in except a newspaper soooo that had to do. I was sick twice, and luckily we were exiting the interstate, so I could open my door and get rid of the mess (though I felt horrible for doing so). It was hard to balance the saggy newspaper, so a little bit spilled on me, Josh's arm, and the center console. Horrible. I actually cried, I felt so bad about barfing on him. Being the kind boyfriend that he is, he said not to worry, and that if he could clean up my dog's barf, he could easily clean the car. Throwing up definitely helped because I felt 100% better after that. So I came home, showered, washed clothes and passed out for a few hours. I even felt well enough to have a celebratory late-afternoon meal at Cheesecake Factory.
So what did I learn from this race? Well, I'm definitely going to keep running. Last year, I was burned out after the race and stopped running for about four months. I put on weight and have been fighting it ever since. I'm not going to run another half marathon in a month, but I am going to train for a 10K that's about six weeks away. I'm excited to see where running takes me, and I am honestly looking forward to focusing on some speedwork and running more frequent, albeit shorter, runs. Oh and I'm going to invest in some better sports bras so I don't have as much back pain. (Recommendations are welcome.)