Monday, May 2, 2011

The Race A.K.A. THE RUN

A few weeks ago, when I was approached by my friend Lisa about running a half marathon, I was all, "Um, I'd love to.  I think?!?!?!"

At the time, I had just completed the half marathon challenge and my 10 mile run had just been continuing long runs to help my friend Amber get finish training for her races.

As it turned out, it was just in the nick of time.

I was left with 2 weeks to train pre-race. 

And lucky for me, that's all I would have needed had I actually been following a race schedule.

So I said yes.

Then I did 11.1 followed by my lame attempt at 9

Then last week, while Delaware was enjoying sub-tropic temperatures, I attempted to run just 2.6 on my lunch break, and nearly passed out from heat exhaustion. 

Considering that my last 3 pre-race runs were miserable, I was more than a tiny bit nervous as race day approached.

For those who will ask, this was the event that I was signed up for.

The Long Branch Half Marathon is a part of the annual New Jersey Marathon Festival at the Shore. 

The race started and ended on the beach - which, I might add, is a double edged sword, but more on that later....

This was our course map.

And since my watch has been a little off lately...

And since Techy just got a new Droid phone...

And since Techy was going to have my iPad with him while I was running....

And since my technology-loving dude would love nothing more than being able to track me while I was running, we decided to cash in the extra $4.99 and pay for RunKeeper Elite.

And let me just tell you...

Money well spent. 

(In case you're unfamiliar, it's running season.  Therefore, if you are running your race, so are thousands of other people around the country.  Meaning RunKeeper and all the other running programs are backlogged with users.  Elite users get priority.  Meaning, while all my friends were having major issues with their free versions of RunKeeper, I was enjoying a problem free, consistently updated run.  Also, Techy was able to perfectly track me the entire time.)

This is how I stuck to my the pace I knew I could handle.

Out of the gate, despite the fact that I wanted to run as fast as everyone around me, I knew if I wanted to finish, I would have to stick to my comfortable pace.

And I held myself back. 

Partly because I was nervous enough to cough up my intestines.

And partly because my legs were shaking so hard that I was moving like a muppet baby.

In the first mile, I almost cried, I almost puked, I almost turned around and walked back to the starting line...

So many emotions, so little time.

But at 5 minutes, I was still running. 

And when RK updated, it said that I was half a mile in and running at a 10:18 pace.  IDEAL....

Then it all disappeared. 

It was just me, Lady Gaga, and the road.

Not to mention my supporting cast of water bottle and 12 starbursts to help get me to the finish line.

At every mile marker, I ate a starburst and felt stronger.

At every water station, I hydrated.  (I rotated, gatorade at one mile, water at the next...worked like a charm!)

I knew that Techy and my friend Lisa were supposed to be camping out around the 7 mile marker, so my only goal was to get to them.

Before I knew it we were passing a huge crowd of people - the relayers - those who switch out half way...

How do I explain what happens when you realize that you have reached the half way point?

It's like your whole outlook changes.

You are no longer facing running 13.1 miles.

You are facing 6.55.

And 6.55 is EASY.

I was no longer scared.

I was running for fun.

The 7 mile marker came and went with no sign of Techy.

And then somewhere around 8, I saw someone walking down the sidewalk with the most familiar swagger....

Have I ever mentioned Techy's swagger?


Well, he has one....

And I saw it and almost cried. 

There they were....

In all their glory....

With a sign and all....

And of course, here's the amazing shot they got of me....

Cheer Leader, was a random dude who ended up about 1/4 mile behind me, but I always knew that he was there because he would cheer at the crowd until the crowd started cheering back.

He was awesome.

Now...let's take a minute to discuss my headgear. 

I did end up wearing Techy's bluetooth headphones.

And they did end up being amazing.  If you are in the market, I would highly recommend them. 

Even if they make you look like a dork.

They are that amazing..."good looks be danged, I have no cords!"

But save your swagbucks.  Forrealz.  Cause they are $89 on Amazon.

So, back to the running....

Seeing my friends and fam was just the pick me up I needed.

I passed the 9 mile flag, the 10 mile flag....

And then I realized all I had left was a 5k.

So I picked up my pace deciding the finish line was definitely within my sites.

I realized I COULD finish, so it was time to run....

And those last 4 miles were my fastest.

Ashley, one of my running buddies, had told me that the last 1.5 miles were on the beach, so I spent a good portion of those last few miles pining for a sight of the waves again.

Alas, once I hit the beach, it was wall to wall people.

Running space narrowed, there was no more shade, and there was a HUGE finish line crowd.

They completely disguised the finish line until you were about 100 yards away. 

That last mile, despite being my fastest, felt like an eternity. 

And yet...

I finished only 21 seconds slower than my Half Marathon Challenge that I broke up over 2 days.

I couldn't be happier.

I came.  I saw.  I conquered.

And because no race post is complete without a couple post race photos...

Justin, Ashley, Scott, Me

My running buddies for the day.

Who are, by all means, awesomesauce.

Like forrealz. 

Ashley and Scott didn't even listen to music...they talked and ran it in 1:54:34. 

Justin beat me by a handful of minutes at 2:11:32....

And I brought up the rear at 2:15:13.

And then my welcoming committee...

Someone was a little infatuated with the shiny medal...

And again, many thanks to my dear friend, Lisa, who not only gave me the opportunity to run, but then made this adorable sign based upon my recent Facebook obsession with all things Nemo related.

In conclusion, a few days ago, my friend, Cindi posted about chasing THE RUN, i.e., the run where everything goes right, you feel good, you love every step and you want nothing more than to keep going....

I am proud to say that this run was THE RUN.

Now, much to Techy's dismay, I am itching to do another...

And because I am ever so proud of my accomplishments, I am sharing this with the world over at Serenity Now

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Because I really want the world to be proud of me too!


Katie said...

so proud. I'm your proud friend. Now, if I could only become your running friend again....i gotta make more time!

Chris said...

AMAZING! So proud (and jealous) of your amazing run!!! If I could only get THE RUN on a race day! Guess it will have to come next year!!!

Carrie said...

Me...again...I hate when I forgot to change the log in!

tarynddavidson said...

Ok i was all but coming out of my crappy rolling chair!! So excited for you and Amber!
My insides are screaming! because my fat a misses running and i am the only thing holding me back...
i ran my first (and only) half in this LA humidity... thought i would die at moments but i had goals dang it!
1. No walking
2. 10 min mile!
I completed both :)
My pace was 9 min 15 secs
My over all was 2hrs 9 mins
You have inspired me!! :) thanks!

Ang said...

That middle pic of you and Little Man...Cutest!Pic!Ever!

By the way, congrats and totally jealous :o)

Bumber's Bumblings said...

this post was my most favorite post EVER!! Your run was so much fun and you do so amazingly awesome!

I'm hoping that my half will be half as much fun as your's was, and I'm even more excited that you'll be there (for part of it, at least)!

Thanks for being the best running buddy ever!

I'm not kidding that we need to have a fun night out after this is all over with, that does not include ANY RUNNING!

Susan Evans said...

I ran my first 12K race this past weekend, and I was so not ready! I do Zumba, not running... I could so relate to the above post.