13.1 done and done! Yesterday I ran the ODDyssey Half Marathon through Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t end up achieving my goal of a sub-2 hour half. I’m not going to lie – I was pretty bummed about that. But I know I gave it my all, got to hang out with some new friends and learned a lot about struggling through a race…something I never experienced before.
I woke up bright and early at 4:45am ready to go. Waking up before a race is never a problem for me. I literally bounce out of bed, ready to put on my clothes.
I drank a bottle of water, ate breakfast (two slices of whole wheat toast, half a banana and 2T almond butter) and was at the race by 6:15am.
Around 7:15, the announcer finally told us to start making our way to the starting line. With only about 600 people, we were lined up and ready to go in no time. After a simple “On your mark…get set…GO!” we were off!
Miles 1-6: Leslie, Lauren and I ran side by side. We chatted a bit, but I was so focused on my pace that I probably wasn’t the best company (sorry girls!). We kept a great pace of a little over 9 minute miles. At the turnaround point, a little before we hit 6 miles, we split up and I was on my own for the second half the race.
Mile 7: I started to feel really hot at this point. It was humid out and my coconut water/water combo was so warm (note to self – always add ice!). I finished my bottle and refilled at a water station…but that water was warm, too! I got through this mile but started to feel a little weak. Not a good sign with 5 miles left.
Mile 8: My legs started to hurt – a lot. I’m not sure where it came from and thankfully it’s nothing serious because they don’t hurt now, but I was pretty frustrated at the time. This mile crawled by. My attitude took a turn for the worse. I just kept thinking “how am I going to run 5 more miles?!” Usually, I find that long runs are relaxing (even during races)…but racing against my Garmin was not fun. Somehow, this mile proved to be one of my fastest miles…which just goes to show that running is so mental.
Miles 9-11: I think I listened to Glee’s version of “Like a Prayer” seven times. It was the only thing getting me through. My attitude from mile 8 came and went. I was still on pace to finish just under 2 hours, so I kept pushing myself. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever pushed myself as much as I did for these three miles. (Side note – the volunteers were excellent at this race and were there to give out high fives and encouraging words the entire time )
Mile 12: Almost there! If I could just gather enough energy to make my last mile my fastest, I’d reach my goal! Not so much The entire last mile was a hill. According to my Garmin, we climbed 237 feet. I just compared it to ‘Harlem Hills’ in Central Park. Those hills are only 180 feet. Crazy. And so I walked. Five times. I was pretty emotional at this point…everything hurt, I knew I wasn’t going to reach my goal or be able to sprint to the finish line. I finally crossed the finish line in 2:02:08…and crashed.
I quickly regrouped and was able to watch both Lauren and Leslie cross the finish line. Lauren – congrats on your first half!! And Leslie – like I said before – you’re a machine for running 13.1 miles without an iPod and minimal training…and a big race next weekend. So impressed. Here we are with our “finisher’s pint glass.” I loved getting this instead of a medal!
- 1 – 9:11
- 2 – 9:01
- 3 – 9:09
- 4 – 9:13
- 5 – 8:54
- 6 – 9:17
- 7 – 9:12
- 8 – 9:02
- 9 – 9:03
- 10 – 9:11
- 11 – 9:13
- 12 – 9:11
- 13 – 10:03
- 13.25 – 2:28 (according to my Garmin, the route with slightly longer than 13.1)
So now it’s been a day and I’ve had some time to think about what happened during this race. I realized I let my Garmin rule my run. Like I said before, I love running because I find it therapeutic. I love to listen to my music, be outside and accomplish things I never thought possible. Setting a new PR is definitely an accomplishment…but so is running a half marathon in itself. I’m not a competitive person. When I was on the tennis team in high school, I enjoyed hanging out with my friends, casually hitting balls on a nice day and flirting with the cute instructor much more than I ever did winning a match. I just don’t have the competitive gene. But I made this race a competition against myself, which took the pleasure out of it for me.
There is a part of me that’s happy this happened now. I imagine there will be points during marathon training and the marathon itself when I’ll feel like wanting to stop. I’m happy I was able to push through the pain and finish the race.
I think in the future, I’m going to continue to work on speed because I still want to improve. But come race day…whatever happens, happens. I’m going to enjoy my run
After my post-race eats and treats yesterday, I drove down the shore, caught the sunset on the way down, and drank some celebratory bottles glasses of wine with friends.