I did it. My first half marathon is complete. I’m still in a bit of shock, so forgive me if this post gets lengthy and emotional. I can’t help myself!
With all that happened last week, in addition to my foot problem and a tight hamstring, a burned our running brain, and a nonexistent last long pre-race run, I was a bit worried toeing the starting line at the Frederick Half Marathon yesterday. I didn’t know where my mind or body would take me, but I knew I was determined to finish.
Whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself here. To do the race justice, let’s start from the beginning: packet pick up. I picked up my bib (and bib only) from my local Sports Authority store. I was a bit surprised that we didn’t even receive our shirts at pick-up – you either had to gather them before the race at the expo or after the race. Additionally, the race had an iGift bag in replacement of a traditional bag filled with swag. While I think it’s a good idea, I thought there would be more stuff in it – I quickly browsed through and it served more as an advertising opportunity than a way to reward racers or draw their business with coupons/promotions.
Race day morning, the JA and I were up bright and early to meet our friends and carpool to the race. Frederick is a little under an hour from where we live, so we found it a bit silly to spend money on a hotel room when we could drive there and back in the same day. Adrenaline kept me from sleeping well, anyway! We arrived at the Fairgrounds with plenty of time to spare and the ladies split from the men. We had an impending date with the start line.
At 7a on the dot, the race began. I paced myself ahead of where I thought I needed to be, and held strong for the first 5 or so miles. My hamstrings were getting tight and I decided to slow down and do intervals. Half mile of running, 2 minutes walking. The last thing I wanted to do was burn out with miles to go.
This served me pretty well until mile 8, when my knee started acting up. MY KNEE! The one thing that had never bothered me in any run or race prior, was now searing with pain. Running actually helped, but I changed my intervals to a minimum 3 minute run and a 1 minute walk. I have to say, the Frederick course was great for a beginner like me. It was fairly flat, with lots of shade. We ran through neighborhoods which allowed for lots of crowd support, and one hellacious hill at the end gave it some spice. I saw the boys early, midway through, and right at the aforementioned hill at the end. It was so great to hear them cheering me on and always gave me the push I needed to continue through.
I finished with an official time of 2:16:40. My conservative race estimate was 2:15:00, but all things considered, I’m really happy. I conquered the distance, kept my head in check, and listened to my body. My time placed me in the top 50% of both my age group and of women overall and in the top 60% of finishers male and female. Not too shabby!
I quickly hobbled over to collect my medal, grab some fuel and a photo, and snag my race shirt. I ran into some coworkers who also ran and also took a picture with Hil, who was a great and constant support during this journey. (You might remember her from a run we did together earlier in my training.) The celebratory beer wasn’t available until 11a (and we were finished by 9:30a), so we left and came home.
A knee brace, a 2hr nap, and treats from the husband rounded out the day. I took today off in anticipation of more aches and pains but mostly I’m going to relish the fact that I am now a half-marathoner 🙂
What was the most exciting part of your weekend? Mine was not only crossing the finish line, but finishing and being happy with my performance.