Monday, February 27, 2012

hyannis half marathon

yesterday was the 12th time ive gotten into the starting crowd of a half marathon. no matter how many times i run a race, i still get nervous. i remember the first time i ran a half (in 2005) and i was unsure what would happen out there as i had never run farther than 11 miles before. but even now im still unsure of how my body will hold up, despite knowing what the distance should be like (since ive now covered twice the distance 5 times). i know my body is in better shape than my previous half marathons. my legs are stronger, ive built up my core, my speed has increased over the last year. but i still knew in my mind that anything can happen on race day.

but before we get to the actual race, lets talk about everything leading up to the race. cuz that was fun. i drove to massachusetts and picked up Dutch, who gave me a 5 cent tour of his house (i think i want my money back) and within 5 minutes of seeing him called me short (im pretty sure he wanted to walk to hyannis...). i then made sure to hit all the pot holes and weave in and out of traffic (no, i wasnt texting...) so that he never wanted to drive with me again (i think it worked).

we went to the expo and picked up our bib, and i got to meet Joe from 1 Band ID. i also saw kim working the DetermiNation booth! so fun to see friendly faces! julia arrived shortly before we left for dinner, where we met up with jessie, liz, and ashley at colombo's cafe in downtown hyannis. dinner was full of fun conversation, basket after basket of bread, stripping off clothes cuz we were all too hot/putting clothes back on and shivering when the heat would turn off, raw chicken.... oh it was just a really great time. we all went our separate ways after dinner and julia, dutch, and i headed to the hampton inn to watch the devil wears prada  get some sleep before the big race. (quote of the night: "we only have one king sized bed in the hotel"... "its ok, i brought my headphones".)

julia and dutch left for the race at 7am to help the luna team with registration. i stayed at the hotel til 9 reading and watching friends. the race didnt start til 10am which made it tough to figure out how to fuel (since i woke up at 7 and was starving). ive never had scrambled eggs and a bagel before a race before, so why not try this morning right? (it was delicious, but *spoiler alert* it will prove that it wasnt enough). i finished "water for elephants" and at about 8:45 figured i should probably get ready and figure out what i was going to wear (id packed a ton of options, nothing like leaving it til the last minute). it was about 30 degrees, with a high of 39, and windy. i consulted sarah and told her to figure out my outfit for me (obvs thats what friends are for). i braided up my hair, packed up my bag, and headed out. i parked a ways away so i could warm up (my groin has been real f*ed lately, so warming up was essential). i got to the start about 20 minutes early, feeling really good and stretched out. i couldnt find anyone (no surprise) and they had the start line corralled with fences and i couldnt get in, so i was stuck at the back of the pack. lovely.

it took me 3 minutes to walk/shuffle to the start, which then turned into trying to weave through all the back of the pack runners. start *fail*. my pace was all over the place, i was weaving to the left, cutting people off, weaving to the right, up on the sidewalk, back on the road... it was a mess. and on top of it, about a quarter of a mile into the race they guided us all to run on one side of the road, which made it even more crowded. i had heard this was a beautiful course but all i was looking at for the first mile was the ground to make sure i didnt trip on anything (and i almost ran head on into a car). i ran mile 1 in 8:05, and was then able to settle in comfortably and start looking around me, hoping to enjoy this race at a comfortable pace.

it was between mile 1 and 2 that i (stupidly) started picking people off. apparently my mind had forgotten that i had 12 miles left to run. each mile kept coming and going rather easily, and i was smiling and loving it. i spent a few of the first miles thinking about what an awesome race this was and how i felt everything was going right, and a huge PR was in the books.

add in: i absolutely LOVED the crowd along the course and the awesome posters. i wish i could remember them all, but a few of my faves included: (mile 2ish)- "you are NOT almost done" (appreciate the truth on that one), "motivational poster", and "your legs are supposed to feel this bad". sadly at mile 4 i saw a poster that said "BREATH". i tried to look behind me to see if the flip side of his poster said "take a..." but im pretty sure he forgot the "E". i could write an entire blog post about that.... but ill move on.

so anyway, then came the wind. and a hill (um hi, all you runner friends that i trust so much with my LIFE... you told me this was FLAT!). and another hill. and some more wind. and i realized i was overdressed. and my pace started to slip. and my heart rate went above 180. and and and....

if you cant trust your runner friends, who can you trust?!

so that great race i was having completely went to shit at mile 8. well ok, not completely (i didnt go from 8 min miles to 12 min miles or anything, but to me i felt like i was totally crashing). my legs were going numb. i was hot (and definitely not like supermodel hot). i felt like my heart was racing and i couldnt get it to slow down. and then, out of nowhere, sarah showed up next to me. she had told me she was using this as a training run so her pace was exactly what i wanted... i had hoped to find her before the race but it didnt work out that way. so when i saw her i was soooo excited, but i kept telling her that i thought i was dying and that she should just go on without me. she told me that she had been looking for me for the past 8 miles just so that she could make sure i was still on pace to go sub 1:50, and she wanted to run with me. yay! so she gabbed and gabbed and i tried to get one or two word sentences out inbetween my heavy breathing. she reminded me we could run 8:25s/8:30s as long as i picked it up the last mile (yeah sure, can you find me a bike please?).

but all in all, she pushed me to keep going. if she hadnt shown up next to me i swear i would have walked the last 5 miles. at mile 10 i did the complicated math in my head (yes its complicated when im tired and hot and dying) and realized that i could run 10 minute miles and still get sub 1:50, so that helped a little (and i kept reminding sarah about this little tidbit, and she kept saying "but youre not a 10 min/mile runner. were doing 8:25s, so keep up". yes boss.). every time i looked up she was pointing at the ground next to her (she was about 10 feet ahead of me) screaming at me to catch up with her. please note, cuz im not sure i have said this enough: and before i knew it, she was pointing through the trees on the right to show me i could see the finish line. i looked at my watch and saw that i was not only going to go sub 1:50, i was going to go sub 1:49. so i gave it all i had (final pace 7:36) and smiled/cried my way across the finish line and gave sarah the biggest hug ever!

boom. PR by almost 3 minutes.
(ps- that 120 for HR was a half hour later when i finally got to my car.)

about 10 minutes after i finished i was standing with dutch, ashley, and kelly when all of a sudden my calf seized up and i literally fell over in pain. ive had charlie horses in my calves before but this was pain like i had never known. i looked down at my calf and it was so gross looking, pulsating, rock hard, my foot wouldnt move and i was all "what the F is going on?!" ashley was yelling at me to press on it, and dutch grabbed my leg and dug his thumb into my calf. ouch. it was seriously insane. it eventually loosened up but my god if that was not the worst pain ever! i quickly found a banana and downed another bottle of water before attempting to run a cool down mile to stretch it out.

other than the mental breakdown during the race, the overheating, and the minor calf issue after the race, im overall really happy with how my race turned out. (us runners are an awesome kind of stupid breed arent we? felt like dying, pain, heat, wind, hills... and im still happy?!)

miles 1-8: all rainbows and glitter and butterflies.
not so much after that. but kicked it up at the end. win.

big smiles.

 yay for good friends

half marathon #12 in the books
(lifetime race #70!)

official time: 1:48:45
pace: 8:18
field placement: 885/3321 (26.6%)
age group (f 30-39): 97/585 (16.6%)


  1. Congrats!!! WOOO HOOOO
    no congrats on the calf pain though, sorry.

  2. Your posts make me laugh so much, I love it. I think mostly the photos, especially the rainbows and butterflies graphic. :)

    Congrats on the new PR!!

  3. Congrats on the new PR!!!! So excited for you! PS: You are hilarious. Sorry about your calf though...Rest up!!!

  4. holy crap! nice PR! good lord. at least you earned it.

  5. Haaaa. I hate when races are liars and there are hills on a "flat and fast" course. Dirty lies.

    Congrats on the PR!!!

  6. it was obviously the outfit choice.

  7. Ohhhh yayayaayy! NICE one. Jealous, wish I had been there!
    Doesn't look so flat to me, either (those skanky liars!)

  8. You did so awesome!!!

    I so wanted to come and cheer everyone on. My car broke down on our way to church and I just knew it wasn't going to happen. I am just a disappointing runner friend this weekend.

    You're story is awesome. I think I need Sarah around ALL THE TIME. It's encouragement like that that makes a world of difference.

    Great job!!! You are such an inspiration.

  9. INCREDIBLE!! Way to go!! You did awesome...a PR on a somewhat hilly course??!? Amazing!

  10. Congrats on the PR! I need a friend like Sarah for my races. Way to finish strong! Sorry about your calf pain. That made my legs hurt just to read it.