My first Half Marathon!!!

OKay, so I have to begin by saying this has been a very emotional ride for me.

Today was my first major INDEPENDENT accomplishment. I have gone through a lot of turmoil leading up to this event. Knowing how much I wanted to prove to myself what I can do completely on my own, yet feeling the anticipation of dejection when the support system I am accustomed too might not be there cheer me on. When I woke up this morning, I had no excitement in my heart, but I knew to just keep forging ahead with the plan, and it would come. This is my first real race, and my first Half Marathon!

I have been fortunate to have some incredible support, both running and non-running related from a few friends. I am so grateful to them all for helping me get to this point.

I made my way over to the Start with Kara & Scotty and their kiddies. It was exciting to get together with a bunch of “Running Maniacs”, talk about strategy, adorn tattoos and take photos. (Dani, Aaron, James, Scotty, Jaime, and also got to meet Jeffery and Dan!) When it was time to get into the start chute, I hadn’t made the final pee break, as the line-up was absolutely atroscious. I had gone just before leaving the house, and decided to chance the porta potties en route, plus there is a flush toilet at the trail patrol house that I run past every noon hour run, that is just a short distance (in fact at the first 3K water station).

So it’s time to start, where are the pace bunnies? I get a couple of good luck hugs from some friends that know how much I need them. I’ve been too busy with everything else that I haven’t taken out my ipod (nor have I done a proper warm-up!), so I take my time running slowly and detangling my ipod. When we cross the train bridge I’m feeling good, this is all familiar terrain. I decide to skip the first walking break and wait for the water station, when I will also pee. All goes well. Next interval… I decide, I don’t need to do 10:1’s, I am going to see how I do, just walking through the water stations (they are approx. every 3 km). If I feel I need the 10:1’s later, I’ll do them.

I’m doing well, but my mind keeps wandering back to the turmoil I’ve been going through and I’m trying to focus away from that before I’m running down the trail in tears. So I think of the maniacs, and a tip from a friend. I start composing my race report in my head! Water station #3 comes up and it’s much too soon to be 9km, I have been running about 43min. and I’m supposed to be at the 6km mark at about 42 (according to my pace band) – I’m pretty sure I’m running faster than that so I have NO idea what km I’m at. I’m watching for markers, and the pylons that I take note of all have numbers much too high to be marking my distance. (it never occurred to me those were the Full Marathon markers, since they do two loops). Not once did I see a pylon that made sense. So I gave up on the pace band idea until I got to the turn around point.

I know I’m getting closer so I start watching for all the other maniacs who are much quicker than I. James goes by, high five, Jeffery goes by – too many people to high five so we clap at each other, Scotty goes by, another high five (almost missed!), Team Diabetes guy (who must be a lurker on RunningMania.com) runs by yelling “Go Running Maniac!” and I’m stretching to figure out who he is, then Jaime goes by, one more high five – then I realize… now I am all alone. I won’t see anyone else I know until the finish line! You’re really doing this Trish, go for it!

I’m coming up to the turn around point, I down a gel, gatorade and run for the porta potty (just in case), down some more water, then head “home”. It is shortly after this that I feel a slight twinge in my knee. Then I notice the blister from last week’s run, that never quite went away beginning to bother me. No problem, I can deal with this, if it gets bad there are always walking breaks.

At the next water station, as the guy hands me my gatorade, he warns me “it’s a used cup”, I drink then it hits me and I’m thinking “what the heck”? did you not know how many runners signed up?” Whatever. (I’d better not come down with some rotten cold before the CTRR / Cabot Trail Relay Race though!)

I probably have 8K to go, is my guess when my legs start feeling tired. I think about switching to intervals, but I’m afraid my legs will just not want to start running again. My knee isn’t bothering me anymore. So I decide to stick with walking through water stations. So far, so good.

I start to feel crampy, and I’m blaming it on the gel (only second time using one), but I see a porta potty in sight, I slow down to a walk, down some water on the way out, then back to the race.

I see a friend of mine, walking (I think she ran the 10K, which means I may be within the 5K marker! – but shouldn’t that be done already? edit: postnote, Lisa did in fact run the HalfM as well) I’m coming up to familiar territory again and feel that I can step it up a notch. I start concentrating on my stride, walk through one last water station, then I am in the home stretch. 3K to go, and most of it is trail I run 3 times/week! The finish line comes up on me suddenly and I realize I could have kicked it up a couple more notches, had I realized I was so close. I gun it. I feel strong and I pass a number of people in the finishing stretch. There are my girls!!! “Hi mommy!” That brought a smile to my face. Then I see the maniacs at different points along the finish snapping pictures, smiling away. I look at the clock and I have finshed somewhere under 2:25! I was estimating 2:30, so this feels really good. (2:24:22 chip time)

Just through the finish line and here come Dani and Kara with the cameras to get that finisher’s medal photo! You know the one where you can hardly stand up, let alone smile for a picture?! Thanks guys, I love you for it! Smile

My girls make their way over with their daddy, and I get some hugs and a quick photo with them. Then I head over to the rest of the crew for some post race bonding. More hugs from the same friends! Thanks so much, I needed that! Very Happy

This emotional roller coaster has left me feeling SO good and like I can conquer the world. I knew it would be meaningful for a number of reasons. Thanks to every maniac for the support, and encouragement along the way! I feel like you’ve all been a huge part of my support team!

So what next? CTRR BabY!!! Then what? yet to be determined… so many races, so little time… Very Happy

About Trish

family legacy curator, social justice advocate, blogger, amateur photographer, reader, cyclist, runner & swimmer, mom of two

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Trish McCourt
16 years ago

Thanks deb!
The shorts came from Wal-mart!

Deb
Deb
16 years ago

awesome job Trish!! It was great to read your report! oh yeah, and love the shorts….where did you get them?