Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mini Post: Half Marathon

Ventura mountains to beach Half Marathon.  May 29 2016



(the picture portion of the medal swivels....pretty fancy :) )

In January, a friend of mine said lets sign up for a half marathon!  And for some reason I thought that was a great idea. (she caught me in a weak moment of temporary insanity)  So I registered for the race, booked a hotel room and started an 18 week running schedule.  I was fully committed.  2016 would be the year I ran a half marathon.  (The only running events I had entered in previously were two 5K's.  One of which I did great in and met my goal.  The second one I was 6 months pregnant and had to walk most of it)

My first month of training was solid. I never missed a running day.  As the distances got longer I wasn't able to keep up on all of the running but I did the best I could.

I give a ton of credit and thanks to Ryan.  Who would let me disappear for 2 hours on Sunday to do my long runs.  Sometimes, on the weekends I worked, I would come home after my 8 hour shift, change into running clothes and hit the pavement for a couple hours.  He was very supportive and encouraging.  He even let me use his fancy Garmin watch to track my runs.

The Sunday before the race I did one more long run.  10.5 miles.  I was so sore and tired after that.  The longest I had run to date.  But I felt confident that I could run the full 13.1 in Ventura.  However, the next morning, I woke up with such a sore foot.  I had to limp, it hurt so bad.  I thought it was just tight from the long run and it would be better by race day.  A few days go by, I'm still limping so badly.  I sat on the couch to ice it and I started crying in frustration.  I had worked so hard to train for Sunday's race and here I am injured. 

So that afternoon, I hopped on the treadmill to see if I could at least run on it.  It was painful but not unbearable.  After that run, my foot was feeling a little better!  Kind of like the best thing you can do when you're sore from a work out, is to do another workout.  I think that's how my foot was.  Best thing for it was to run on it.  I was pumped! It wasn't 100% but the plan was to travel to Ventura and run on it.

There were two girls from Visalia and their husband's that were also running the half.  We met up with them for dinner the night before the run.  They gave me some great running tips and were so encouraging.

My goal going into training for the race was to finish in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.  But with my foot the way it was, I changed that goal to just finishing. period.

My friend Meghan and I at the start

My first mile was my fastest mile and then by mile 2 my foot was hurting pretty badly.  By mile three (my slowest mile) I was limping and favoring it. Causing my good leg to feel the burn from over compensating.  And I am thinking How in the heck am I going to do 10 more miles like this?!?.  Just as I was starting mile 4 the 2:30 pacer passed me.  I looked up at her sign, saw my goal time and something in my head just snapped.  I was determined to keep up with her.  I pushed myself.

There I am on the far left (blue pants)  See the 2:30 pacer sign, just behind me to the right?

 Before I knew it, my foot had totally gone numb! Like I couldn't feel any more pain!  I remember saying a little "Thank you Jesus" prayer.   I was now running without a limp and I had an energy boost.  For the next 4 miles I worked on getting some good distance between myself and the pacer.  She was pretty far behind me at one point....

...until mile 8.  At mile 8, there was a pretty significant hill, and I lost all of my momentum.  I kept moving for fear that the pain in my foot would return, but I was slowin' down.  Pretty soon I caught a glimpse of the pacer in the corner of my eye.  ACK! She had caught up to me.  So for the next 5 miles she was on my heals.  She would get in my peripheral vision and then I would have to push myself to stay in front of her.  I stayed in front of her until half way through mile 11.  Then she passed me.  And again, something clicked.  I did not work this hard to stay in front of her for the entire race, just to have her pass me with just a mile to go.  I found enough energy to catch up to her, pass her and BARELY finish in front of her.

 There she is...that pacer on the right, checking her watch.

I can honestly say, if it wasn't for that pacer, I would not have pushed myself as hard as I did.  I'm proud of myself for running the entire time and enduring the pain.  I wanted to do it under 2:30.  My official time: 2:30:13.  I missed my goal by 13 seconds.  But I'm going to still count it!!  I know that's not fast for all you runners out there.  But I am proud of my "non-runner" self for finishing!

Ryan was right there taking pictures of me crossing that finish line.  My friend's husband Beau was cheering me on loud enough for me to hear through my head phones.  And a huge hug from Alicia.  Who's idea it was to run this half in the first place.  I told her "I would have never done this if it wasn't for you, and I am never doing it again!"

I could barely walk for the rest of that day and the days to follow.  My foot swelled up and I was in some pain.  But today, 4 days post race, I'm finally walking without a limp and my muscles aren't feeling tight and sore anymore.

Now that I've had a few days to think about it,  I think I will try another half some day.  When I'm healthy and not nursing a sore foot.  I know I can improve my time when I'm not dealing with an injury.  But I'm pretty sure the next run I sign up for with be a 10K.  Backing off the mileage a bit for the next go around :)

I DID IT!!! 13.1!

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