13.1

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.

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2 thoughts on “13.1

  1. Congrats. You should get one of those car stickers that says 13.1! If you ever want a running partner for a marathon, I’ll tell my sister. She says it’s much easier to run that long when you have someone to talk to and her running partner might have to drop out of the St. Jude Marathon this year due to her knees. Julie has a 4 hour goal this year. Glad you got your goal of 2 hours. Very impressive. Although I still think you runner types are CRAZY! :o)

    • Jennifer: I hope Julie makes her goal! That is a great one to have, especially for 26.2 miles. If we lived closer, I would totally go on some runs with her, for it sounds like we keep a similar pace. Tell Julie “Good Luck!” in December. And, yes, we are crazy :O)

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