I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. And not just rain, but a steady, heavy rain. Oh Fall, couldn't you have held off for one more day? Eh, it's just rain, right? I decided against changing my outfit, figuring either way I would be wet. Well except to switch out my sunglasses for a hat. I checked my bag one more time, tried to make garbage bag ponchos, and then headed out the door to meet my co-worker (we were going to carpool to the race).
The rain started to subside to a light mist as we drove down to the race start. The race start is about a half a mile or so away from the finish. Last year I parked at the start and regretted it slightly when I had to make the climb up stairs and hills back to my car. Since my co-worker was the one driving I let her decide where to park. She opted for the finish (which I would be so glad for at the end!). We parked and started making the trek up to the start line.
I knew this had the potential of being an emotional race, being my second "big" comeback race since my knee injury. I started tearing up as the National Anthem was played. And then we were off!! Being a girl oriented race, it looked like a sea of pink stretching out in front of me.
This was the first race I would be using my Garmin and as it buzzed for the first mile I glanced down and saw 13:39. Whoa! That's a little fast. The upcoming hill slowed me down naturally. This race is made up of three out and backs. As I started up the hill I saw the super fast girls coming towards me. So impressive watching them. I kept my eyes open for my co-worker and then I saw her! We gave each other the thumbs up sign as we passed. And soon I was at the top of the hill and at the first turn-around point. It was neat to again see the sea of pink clad runners stretching out in front of me.
We were coming back towards the start line. Do I stop at the port-o-potty? I had a conversation with myself about whether or not to stop before finally deciding to use the port-o-potty. Better safe than sorry! I was back on the course in no time flat and coming up on the big, bad hill I remembered from last year. It was still bad, it hadn't improved since last year. It was also the second out and back (not a true out and back) and about half way up I saw my co-worker again. She shouts to me "this is a wicked course!" Those hills can be pretty bad. Up the hill and around the little park, through the mud puddles. And then it was a big stretch of downhill!
Coming around a corner, there was a spectator with a great sign reading "1) Run 2) Breathe 3) Repeat". Love it!
And then it was the finish line!! For the 10k-ers. Why didn't I sign up for the 10K again? LOL! So last year when I finished, they had chocolate milk but it was only for the half marathoners. That was going to be me this year!! Past the finish line and up the incline and on to the last out and back section. I rounded the corner and could see the fast half girls closing on the finish line.
I knew the last section was along the water so I foolishly hoped it would be flat. And it was flat for the most part except the few hills thrown in for fun. Fun or torture at that point! I finally got to the flat portion. As I passed one volunteer, he tells me I'm about a half a mile from the last turn-around point. He was a liar! Liar! But it did give me a boost for a short time (until I realized it was a lot longer than a half a mile!). That out section was a doozy! I kept thinking I was seeing the turn-around but I wasn't. But all along the course women on the back section were telling me encouraging comments. Which I needed and so when I passed by a woman who was looking a little down I said something along the lines of "you're doing great!" And she tells me "thanks, I really needed to hear that."
Finally, finally, finally I saw the turn-around and it really was the turn-around!! Hallelujah! As I reached it I could feel tears welling up again. It was at this point I could see how many people were behind me. And while I was near the end, there was still a good number of people behind me.
I hit the 10 mile sign. Only a 5K left. I can so do a 5K! Although by the 11 mile sign I was just ready to be done. And drink my chocolate milk. Mile 12 comes and goes. One more mile. Up the last hill. One foot in front of the other. Keep going. Around the last corner. And I hear my co-worker yelling my name!! Finish line! And done!
I head to the food tent and there isn't any chocolate milk! Color me sad. (I stopped at the store on the way home and got some though.) I eat my banana, do some stretching before we walked back to the car. I was so happy the car was at the finish line!! Because I don't know that I could have walked back up to the start line. Ha!
My time: 3 hours 14 minutes and 4 seconds for a per mile pace of 14:49. These are the official results because guess what? I forgot to turn off my Garmin after crossing the finish line! Doh! My time wasn't actually that far off my Princess Half time. Granted even though I ran a good deal of the Princess, I also stopped for lots of photos! :)
You know what this means? I will be able to stop for pictures for the Tinker Bell & Princess!! Yahoo!! Well at least one or two photos, let's not get to crazy!
And I'll end with - what's next after finishing a half marathon? Chocolate milk!! Ice packs!! A massage on Tuesday. And one more thing on Thursday! What is that? I won't say just yet, but see if you can guess! :)
|At the start line|
|Me at the start line|