My half marathon is complete!! Here's the rundown. :)
The day before the half marathon was our daughter's district meet for cross country, so I ran a bit around the course to cheer her on in a few different spots, although I tried not to run too much, to save energy for my race. Bad mom? :) That night same daughter had homecoming. Last year I picked her up from the dance and heard all about her evening in the car on the way home. I had hoped to do the same this year, but the dance didn't end until 11... and I was leaving home at 5:40am for my race the next day. I had gone to sleep earlier the night before and napped on Saturday. I thought I'd be ok, so I ended up picking her up. :) I heard about how fun the dance was, how she had a great time and it was so worth it! :) I went to bed shortly after we got home and could not sleep. I tried and tried, I tossed and turned, and groaned in frustration. The last time I checked the clock it was almost 12:45am. I fell asleep only to wake up again at 5 with the alarm. I ate two bites of far-too-ripe-banana and two pretzels. I took a few sips of water and got ready. I put on Garmin Girl so she could pace me, my ipod touch preloaded with songs to energize me should I need it, my compression sleeves (think compression socks like hospitals give people-they have saved me from shin splints!!) I also wore a running skirt-I don't love to run long in it, but I've had some serious ab/stomach issues lately (wasn't sure if it was muscle related or what) and last time I ran in the skirt, I had no ab issues... so it was on the list for race day. I got ready and headed across the street to my neighbors. He was driving down and running the full marathon. We are members of the same running group and met up at a hotel with them. They rent a meeting room so we can all hang out together, use the hotel's nice, clean bathrooms (normally, it's 40-something degrees and port-a-pots in the cold and dark are not ideal!) so it was a great way to prepare for the race.
The two times I've done the full marathon I have been so mental-thinking about the race, concentrating so much that I miss the "atmosphere" people talk about. This year, I enjoyed, I soaked it all in. :) There are so many bands along the race route-87 along the full marathon course! They were playing our local college's fight song, pep-you-up music like "I will survive!" I only listened to my ipod for about three songs. :) There were so many spectators rooting on "runners" if they didn't know a name. There were 15,000 people lined up at the start for the half and full marathon. 15,000. It was amazing. We were packed in like sardines, I couldn't have bent over to stretch we were so closely packed. It took me almost 10 minutes to get to the starting line after the gun went off! :)
The weather was perfect-cool but not freezing. I felt great, and on pace through mile 7, but at 8 I started to worry a bit about my ab issues. I plugged onward. I was frustrated through 8 and 9, but at 10, I thought "I only have a 5K left!" and ran with a smile. Seriously, one of my race photos shows me crossing the ten mile mark smiling! :) The course has all the runners running together until just before the half. Then the half marathoners head to the left and the full marathoners head to the right for a loop out it the other direction. In the two marathons, I heard the cheering as the half finishers completed their race and thought, woa, I still have 13 to go! This year I thought YEAH! :) My goal time was 2 hours or less and I ran in 1:54. I walked four steps just as I entered the last mile and headed up a hill and some man said, "Don't walk now, you're almost done! Come on!" He was smiling and waving at me. I began to run again and got the same teary emotional feeling I've gotten when I ran the full marathons. The MANY people who line the finish cheering with excitement for you. It's pretty cool.
I had a moment of ache at the start, a wonder if this would be as meaningful as the full, or would it be a letdown? It was wonderful. It was 13 instead of 26 miles, but it was wonderful. My body was exhausted, I had worked hard and run farther than most will ever attempt. It wasn't a "marathon" but I was happy! :)
We went out to dinner with my husband's family and sat for about an hour. When it was time to go my knees screamed! I woke a few times in the night with knees that felt like they'd been smashed by a sledgehammer! The next day my dress shoes up and down the stairs at work were very painful, but today I woke up fine. :) No knee pain. :) I felt so good I (crazily) went out for a run. I went about a mile and a half.
I am still smiling that I did it and feel so good right now-so different than after my full marathons! :) Just the joy of running; it makes me smile now. :) I have no idea if I will shoot for another full. I know that the half was a good distance for now. :)