I recently ran my first half marathon (that is me, obviously, to the left, less than 100 yards from the finish line after running 13 miles. Photo credit to brightroom.com I did not buy their images but this is one of the images they asked me to buy).
The weather was chilly at the start but perfect at the finish. I had slept poorly the night before and I despise having to get up before the sun to do just about anything, so I was a little grumpy. I actually knew some other folks that were running and was surprised to actually find them in the mass of runners, two of which I saw before the race began. Seeing them helped to boost my spirit.
Before the race officially starts, you group up according to the time you in which predict to finish. I had a goal of running under two hours, so I lined up around that time. While small talking to a runner next to me, he told me I had “high expectations” based off where I lined up, considering this was my first half marathon. I told him I ran frequently, so I hoped to make my goal. I could tell he had little faith in me and basically figured I would be walking by mile 4.
I took off and felt great. Before I knew it, I was 5 miles into the race, not even phased. I did start to feel the miles at about mile 8. While running, I was looking at my stopwatch, trying to figure out my pace. For some reason, my mind would *not* let me do the math. Seriously, I would just look at the time and draw a blank. It was as if my mind was making me just think only about running, not about time. I had decided that I was not going to make my goal time, and I was beginning to bring myself to believe that it was not a big deal. I operated under such an assumption for about 2 miles.
A little past mile 10, I looked over and the guy from the start was next to me. I swatted at his arm and said, “Hey!” He was totally shocked to see me. Immediately, he piped in with a “You are going to make it!” “What?” I asked. “You are going to make your goal!” “Seriously?” I replied. “Yeah! In fact, you could just stop and walk right now and you will still make it.”
Well, friends, this was what I needed to hear, as well as what I didn’t need to hear. Knowing I was going to make it made me happy but knowing I was “safe,” I gave myself permission to slow down, and slow down I did. I was tired and just began to take it easy. From the 1/2 way mark split, I added almost 30 seconds to each mile, moving from an 8:15 to an 8:42 minute mile. I would argue that I had actually kept that 8:15 mile pace until right past mile 10, when I added well over a minute to my pace.
In the end, however, I did make my goal, slow last 3 miles or not. I finished in a time of 1:53. That time placed me at 24th in my female age group, 397th of all finishers (they maxed out registration at 2,600, I believe), and 101st of all females. The runner that won ran a 1:05 and the first female was a 1:17 (I think they both had wings). All in all, it was fun. I just wish I could somehow convince everyone that races should start at about 9 or 10 AM so that runners could get more beauty sleep!
Below is me with my finishers medal:It seriously bothered me for a few hours as to why there was so much sweat on my shirt. I just don’t really sweat. I am one of those folks that just doesn’t, and it was by no means a hot day. I certainly did not remember that wet shirt feeling while running. It finally dawned on me where all that water came from: they gave me a wet towel when I crossed the finish line. I wiped my face and then draped it over my neck so that I could have my hands free to get my food. And, to prove that fact, see exhibit A at the top, where I am 100 yards from the finish with no sweat.