Friday, December 9, 2011

RACE DAY aka My First Half Marathon Part Deux

When we last left off, I had gotten my luggage, it was 3am and I was carbed up and ready for a good night’s sleep…

On Sunday morning Angela, Ditto and I all woke up around 9am. The goal had been to sleep longer, but I think we were all a bit nervous.

We decided to put on our sweats and go find some breakfast. The goal was to have a good size breakfast and then something small, but filling around 2pm.
Since most races are first thing in the morning, figuring out how and when to eat was a challenge for us. .. and for everyone else apparently.
When we went downstairs, every line was so FREAKIN’ long! When we finally got in a line at a place that made smoothies and crepes (A smoothie for Ang, crepes with eggs, ham and cheese for me and Ditto) everyone around us was trying to figure out the same thing.
The line for Starbucks was no different…long and full of people who were trying to find the best way to eat and drink for the day.
The three of us really took it easy, but you could tell both Heather and I were getting nervous. We were fidgety. Organizing our gear, figuring out our plans, etc.
The plan was to meet the rest of the gang at 4pm and then head to gear check together.
We were all ready to go about 2:30, walked over to grab a quick sandwich at Quizno’s and then finished up our preparations and headed out.

We met up with everybody and this is when I got really nervous. Here are my nervous traits:

1. I obviously over-hydrated and was nervous because I peed at least 3 times between meeting the group and getting to the corral.
2. I couldn’t talk. I was really in my head the whole walk to the gear check area. For those of you who know me, I ALWAYS have something to say.
3. When I did have something to say I would start to cry. Okay, okay…I’m such a girl sometimes. This event moved me. What I was about to do moved me. My progress moved me. But most of all my friends moved me.

All this time I wanted to stop and thank Cat and Ditto, but every time I tried I started to cry. I said what I wanted to say eventually, but I’m pretty sure I said it really, really fast so I’ll say it again here.

Ditto- I don’t know how “ready” I was that night, but every bit of ready was because of you. Training with you (okay, okay behind you…) has been both fun and difficult. Becoming friends and running buddies with you has been a highlight of this experience.

Cat- I literally would NOT have done this without your encouragement and belief in me. You have been the voice in my head every time I thought I couldn’t do something. You started this ball rolling and there is no way I can repay you for the gift you have given me. You are the angel who gave me my life back.

Enough of that mushy crap…

We finally all said goodbye at the corrals. All of my friends were in corrals 16-22.

I was in 31.
It took me about 30 minutes to get to the start line. That’s 30 minutes to stand in the cold, over think my performance and get the nervous pees again.

This race was crazy. Over 42,000 people trying to run to the same place! I have nothing to compare it to and I thought it would be crazy, but I’ve never dodged and weaved so much in my life.

Here’s my race rundown:
Mile 1-Awesome! I felt great! I felt ready! I had to pee.
Mile 2 – Had to stop to pee. Stood in line for about 6 minutes. Ruined my time. BOOOOO!!!!
Miles 3-4 – I had organized the run into 3 parts. Start to Stratosphere, Stratosphere through Downtown and Back, and Stratosphere to Finish. Getting to the Stratosphere at Mile 4 was awesome!
Miles 4-8 – I was still trying to make up my time from the bathroom. (I wanted to be under a 13:30 pace) But I was doing okay. I remembered to take my Shot Blocks and tried to enjoy the race all while dodging people. I would find groups of runners and latch on to them going through the holes of people walking.
And I looked like this…EWWW

Mile 8- I had to pee again. This time I took the time to stretch and rest. It was only a two minute stop.
Miles 9-11 – Still doing okay. When I hit mile 11 I started crying (again). I realized two things.

1. This is the furthest I’ve ever run. I had only gotten to 10.5 in training runs.
2. I only had 2.1 miles left!

Miles 11-13.1 – I really wanted to catch up on my time so I was running as hard as I could, but every time I looked at my watch my pace was really slow. It made me mad, but I didn’t stop!

FINISH- The finish line is a safe zone, so you don’t see your friends until you get through it. I got my picture taken , got some water, snacks and made my way to where I was meeting my friends.

It was really cold that night and just as I was leaving the safe zone it started to rain. I can’t imagine what it was like to run in because the rain was so cold it felt like daggers hitting my skin.
I got to the meeting place and there they were…freezing and waiting for me. It was so special and great. I love my peeps!

The rest of the evening was both eventful and uneventful.

Eventful- Overcrowded dangerous halls trying to get back to the hotel. Rock N Roll has a few kinks to work out.

This was the crowd trying to leave Mandalay Bay!

Uneventful- I wasn’t feeling well and went right to bed! I didn’t even eat.

Eventful – I had so many texts! My parents signed up to get alerts and texted me when I finished. My friend Mike had taken guesses at where I was throughout the course and written encouraging texts at 3 miles, 6 miles, 9 miles and the finish.

I’m so stinkin’ grateful for the wonderful people in my life!


2:59:42, I came in 25895th!

And I feel great. I was sore, but not so much that I couldn’t move. In fact, Cat is running another half this Sunday and if I didn’t already have Mom and Daughter Brunch plans, I probably would’ve signed up too.

I can’t wait to get back on the pavement. I’m taking this week easy and just doing yoga and walking.

Next year’s goal?

3 Destination Half Marathons:
1. Dallas
2. ?
3. Dublin, Ireland!
I think I need to find somewhere that starts with a “D” to go with my theme!

Nothing can bring me down from this “Runner’s High”.
A year ago, if you had asked me if I wanted to run a half marathon, I would have called you cuckoo. Now I can say I’m a half marathon runner!

And I have the GLOW IN THE DARK MEDAL to prove it

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