Monday, September 16, 2013

We're only half crazy

Yesterday I ran my first half marathon in 2 years. It was the worst time I've ever run. I don't even care. I was 3 minutes slower then my last half marathon in Atlantic City, which was almost 10 minutes slower then the first one I ran, this exact race in 2011, the Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon.

I'm not even going to blame it on the literally only 8 weeks I had to train. Granted, I've taken off 20 pounds since January, but this summer I've been slacking. Beer, BBQ's, and lots of side dishes. I won't apologize because I know that summer is always the hardest for me to take off weight. I LOVE that grilled food and visiting with friends over a few beverages. In fact I'm thrilled that I was even able to just maintain my weight!

Kristen and I decided to do this race last minute, she found an 8 week training program, and off we went with our training.

Kristen drove down and spent the Saturday overnight with me. We were ready that morning having had a healthy, home cooked meal the night before and good night's sleep. We had breakfast and left for the race with plenty of time to spare. However parking ended up being a complete fiasco. I'm lucky in that most of the races I do my parents end up dropping me off at the start and meeting me at the finish. This was the first race I've ever had to park for myself and I thought I was prepared.

The first parking garage we got to we were told by the attendant still had about 5 open spots at the top. We drove in circles to the top floor but got an uneasy feeling as we saw about 7 cars on their way back down as we made our way up. Needless to say the top had no spots and we had to exit. We sat in traffic for the next parking garage literally only a quarter mile down the way with open spots we could see for the next 20 minutes.

We had our cash ready for the attendant, parked at the spots near the end of the lot, and made our way to the race with minutes to spare. Kristen and I weren't in an early corral so we knew that not being in line for 8 am wasn't a problem. We made a quick pit-stop to the port-o-potties and made our way to our assigned corral.

I'm always amazed that in a crowd of 20,000 people between runners and spectators I manage to repeatedly run into someone I know. This time even though we were running spectacularly behind I managed to run into my high school math teacher Mrs. Cocuzza as she was making her way to the start line. We exchanged good luck hugs. It truly blows my mind how something like that is even possible with all the people there.

We had a perfect running morning: cool weather and sunny. My favorite thing to do (and way to distract myself) is look for signs and choose my favorites to remember later. They are as follows:
- Hurry up Dave the Eagles play at 1 pm (this was legitimately just past the start line. I couldn't help but laugh)
- My last half marathon was on Netflix. Good luck!
- Smile! You're faster then everyone behind you
- And my favorite at every race because it makes me smile: Worst Parade Ever.

Around mile 8 someone was dressed like Mr. Incredible and people were stopping to take photos with him.
The signage from the Rock & Roll Marathon was pretty motivating too:
- Chuck Norris never walked a half marathon
- A half marathon is just a 5K with a 10 mile warm-up

This year more then ever I noticed a lot of dad's/kids on the sidelines at certain miles cheering for their mommies. That was so heartwarming to see the kids cheering for their mom and high fiving her as she ran past!

I must say I was feeling great up to mile 10, which is when my body started revolting.
I knew my sneakers were up there with mileage (which reminds me of an awesome shirt I saw someone wearing: my sneakers have more miles then my car), but I found out quickly how right I was. Around mile 4 I felt a blister forming on the ball of my right foot. Not great times. Mile 10 was when my hips started cramping, Mile 11 my quads, and Mile 12 my calves. I had water at some of the rest stops and taken my GU, but it still wasn't enough.

Finishing a distance race for me is always emotional, even as it's been described as the 'runner's high'. I wish I could explain it because I know exactly how I'm going to feel, but am powerless to stop it. It's completely overwhelming and nothing I can do will stop the tears from flowing. I knew once I passed the 13 mile marker this was the home stretch. The crowd had thickened, and runners around me had their family groups cheering for them. I saw a sign that read 'If your feet are hurting run with your heart.' I immediately started to tear up.

Kristen and I post race!
Everything was hurting me at that point. I have to say a huge THANK YOU to my best friend Colleen who came out and shouted my name as I was approaching the finish. It's indescribable what you feel when a familiar face calls your name, especially your best friend of 20+ years, as you're surging to the finish. Her yelling out my name gave me the last burst of energy to push through. I crossed the line with tears in my eyes. Like I said I can't even put into words what it feels like to complete 13.1 miles. I've cried all 3 times I've finished the half marathon

Kristen deserves a HUGE congratulations as she kicked ass especially after winning for the second year the cross fit games at her studio on Saturday and then ran this half marathon Sunday. We met up at our designated spot and exchanged stories from our race, both emotional and happy that we finished.

My new goal for the coming year is to strengthen my hips and core, as well as cut 15 minutes off my time. I unfortunately can't run the AC half in October due to weddings, but I will be doing lots of squats (cue Lil John/LMAFO 'Shots' for motivation) and trying to take off more weight. I want to run another half in the spring or next fall. I'm a much better runner in cooler weather so the upcoming months offer me an opportunity to improve my time.

Colleen and I found out at packet pick up that there is a Hot Chocolate Run (15/5K, I'm going for 15k) which when you finish you receive a mug full of snacks and melted chocolate to dip it in. Let's be real people, I'm doing that run solely because it will be a fantastic prep for Broad Street the following month. Not because I'm a chocoholic and they give you a large cup of that at the end...which would be a ridiculous reason just to do a run.... :)
Brunettes do it better runners!

1 comment:

  1. Two Red Foxes in one half marathon!? Buncha overachievers. ;) xoxo