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May 09, 2006

Surviving A Half Marathon

Oy!  ... Or maybe I should say Oy Vey!


Yes, I survived thirteen point one miles of torture during my very first half marathon, but let me give you the low down of my adventure.

The day before the race, my husband and I went to the "welcome booth" to get our numbers, timing chip and sign away all our rights that we couldn't blame the officials if we died during the race.  I also learned that I could be part of an early group for the slow half marathon and full marathon runners.  This group was called the "Early Turtles" (catchy name for us slow pokes) who would need just a little bit more time to finish the race.  I was overjoyed to be part of the slow poker turtle group!

The night before the race, I was anxious and scared as hell!  I knew that I could make it half way, but was DETERMINED to run the entire race without passing out.  Yes, I had HIGH HOPES and wanted to prove that I was not this big loser who would wimp out.

Sunday morning I woke up bright and early (6am), put on my running clothes, filled out my bib (which gave all my information in case I passed out during the race), braided my hair and got the hubby to drive us to the Redwood Forest.  The adrenalin was pumping, the goo bars were in my pack.... and the illegal IPOD was wrapped around my arm.  (I learned on Friday that IPOD's were NOT allowed during the race - but I did not care.  I NEEDED my IPOD to run, and that was that!)

The Early Turtles gathered at the start line bright and early - 8am.  Most of this group planned on walking, but I was still determined to run.  As I chatted with my new found friends, I learned that many of the runners/walkers were there with Team In Training, which benefited the leukemia society.  It certainly touched me to see many people running because they lost a loved one.  I asked them if I could be an honorary Team In Training Runner, and they said "Yes".  (thanks!)

8am arrived and we all took off!  The first song on my IPOD was "Eye Of The Tiger" and it gave me that "Rocky" feeling -- I could do anything!  Mile One was a breeze - I kept at a steady pace and to my surprise, I was much faster than most of my fellow turtles.  Mile 2 through 7 was also fine.  I walked a few moments to get water at the mile markers.... but THEN a few things started to happen.....

The runners who started an HOUR AFTER I left the start lines began passing me.  Yes, I felt like a big loser because I started one hour before them.... and now they were passing me!  But still, I ran and got to see my husband who started in the later group.  Ok, now mile 9 came up.... I am still running, but in my mind, I only had three more miles to go - in reality, I had four!  Uggh.  So when I came to mile 10 and realized I STILL had three miles, I got super pissed off. I also cursed each and every person who passed me.... but yes, I kept running.

With just two miles to go, my legs started to tell me that this race finally sucked big time!  (Sorry for the lack of grammer - my husband is horrified that I said "sucked big time" - but that is the only words I could find to truly express how I felt.  Mike, next time I will use better grammer!)  They hurt and did not want to run anymore, my lungs wanted to collapse and my feet begged me to stop moving.  That is when my brain took over and told my legs to take a hike... (Mind Over Pain!) and a running hike! Those last two miles I ignored the excruciating pain and just kept running.... Somehow, someway....I was able to finish in three hours and 48 seconds.

Yes, my goal was to try and finish thirteen point one miles in less than three hours.  Maybe next year I will be able to beat that time (damn those 48 seconds!).  All I know is that I finished and for the rest of my life, I can claim that I ran a half marathon.

(So let me brag for a moment.  I am so PROUD of my husband who ran the half marathon in one hour and forty eight minutes.  That is around eight minute miles, if you are trying to figure it out!)

Believe me, if I can run a half marathon, YOU can do it too!