Monday, March 19, 2012

half marathon recap

Yesterday I ran my first half marathon.  My official time wasn't that great (2:57 which is roughly a 13:30 pace) but I am very proud.  I trained with Feet Fleet since January and had awesome coaches.  I would highly recommend their training programs.  For our training, I was in the slowest group of about a hundred people and it didn't bother me a bit.  In my training runs the most I had succesfully done in one long run was 11.2 miles.  When everyone asked what my goal time was for the race, I said I mostly just wanted to finish the race.

Saturday morning we all got up and I ran a short distance around the neighborhood (about two miles) at a very leisurely pace before I showered and we loaded up the car.  We headed to Wrightsville Beach and it was hard to ride four hours when you're trying to take in as many fluids as possible, not to mention the very annoying whiney mood Joshua was in.  We did make it though.  When we got there we checked into the hotel and then headed to the race expo so I could pick up my packet.  We let the kids play in a couple of the bounce houses and met the FF people for a group picture.

After that we got take-out from Macaroni Grill and ate in the hotel room.  We went to bed early which worked out well because the kids desparately needed sleep and so did I.  None of us slept perfectly, of course, but it could have been worse.  I got up at 4:20 and ate a bagel with a small amount of peanut butter on it and waited for a couple of girls from my group to meet me in the lobby.

The three of us took the shuttles from the hotel to the starting line.  We waited around a while, stood in line for the port-a-pottys and then met up again with FFers for an additional pep talk from the coaches and to drop off sweatshirts, etc.

I really wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be considering how nervous I got for the first few long runs with our training group.  I was pretty relaxed before we started and I was beginning to realize that really I had three small goals: 1) to make it to the 4 mile mark in under an hour since they claimed they'd shut the course after an hour, 2) to make it ten miles without stopping to walk, 3) to finish without stopping to walk. 

The weather ended up being perfect.  It was overcast and in the upper 50s, but not rainy and not too humid.  I did the first 4 miles with ease.  I got to see my better half and kids around 4.5 miles and that helped me power through the next couple of miles when one of the girls from my group picked up her pace and pulled away from us a bit.

Then around mile 6.5 the other girl I was with got very nauseas and stopped to walk a ways so I continued on my own.  I did OK at first.  I knew I wouldn't see my family again until mile 11 so somewhere around mile 8 it started getting pretty hard.

Shortly after mile 8 I caught a glimpse of my other friend from training that started out with us and I managed to stay right behind her or with her for the rest of the way.  When I hit a small wall I just kept telling myself that I'd let myself walk a tiny bit once I reached ten miles.  It was perfect timing that I saw a couple of the coaches from FF at that point because once my coach ran up to me and said, "It's only a 5k from here on out, Courtney. You can do it!" I knew I could make it a little more.

My stomach started hurting shortly after that and I just wanted to see the kids and get out of the dang neighborhood that we were in.  It felt like we had been in that same neighborhood for hours.  Tons of marathoners had begun passing me which was inspiring instead of aggravating especially when the marthon lead came by me with the race crew bike in front of him and a big pick-up truck with a digital clock in the back of it at the 1:40:00 mark.  I knew that once I got back on the main road that I'd feel like the finish line was a short distance away.

Sure enough I powered through and made it to my family around 11.75 miles.  It was hard not getting weepy when I saw them and realized that I'd run further than I ever had in my life.  The kids were holding signs that my sweet mom had sent for them and my sister was cheering with them as well.  Jonathan ran beside me a short bit and then Josh ran up to me which totally made my heart burst.  Whit made me cry and I had to shoo her away.  :)

Shortly after the 12 mile marker there was a water station that I let myself walk through to drink the water (I usually just run through the aid stations and hadn't walked one all morning).  After that short walk my stomach seized up and I felt awful.  I saw another person from the training group and he ran backwards through the course until he caught up with me and ran with me for a bit.  I walked a tiny bit after that and let him go on since he was running much faster than I ever could.  Then I saw one of my coaches who had already finished and he joined me and made me power through the last 4/10ths.

The only other time I have been that proud of myself was right after my kids were born.  It's not the fastest time, but it's a PR for me and I couldn't be more thrilled. Hooray for another 2012 goal crossed off in the record books!

I hope to have pictures up tomorrow.

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1 comment:

merritt said...

Congrats, Courtney! I think that's a huge accomplishment, something on my bucket list.

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