[137 days to go] The half marathon was a huge success!
Sunday was an exciting day all around – The Man and I woke up at 5:30 to get ready for the race, and we were out the door and in a cab by 6:30. The Seaport World Trade Center was full of people and there was an expo for all the runners, where we loaded up on free Vitamin Water and registered for the run. After stretching, checking our bag, and waiting in the longest bathroom line I have ever seen (there were 50 port-a-johns and about 300 people waiting in line for their pre-run pee) we joined the group of just under 5,000 runners at the starting line. Everyone was excited and doing their warm-up routines while we waited for the starting gun to go off. The announcer counted down from ten and when the race started it took two whole minutes until we were even able to start jogging because there were so many people. Here is a picture of the start of the race:
The race (click here for map) went through the South Shore, across the Longfellow Bridge, and then straight up Memorial Drive – on the MIT side of the Charles – for about four miles. The course then doubled back on Memorial Drive, over the bridge, and back through the South Shore. The weather was hot, as expected, but thankfully we had a fair amount of cloud cover through most of the race. The heat only really started to get to me in the last few miles when my legs were dead, the sun was out, and I was on a long slow incline. Through the first 9 miles I felt fantastic – I was excited to be there, happy I had made this commitment to train and start running, and optimistic about finishing. And then mile 9 hit. I have read that most runners will hit a wall at some point during their long runs, and mile 9 was my wall. Since I mashed my toe two weeks ago, I skipped the 10 mile run that was in my training program for the week before the race. I think that had I been able to run that 10-miler I would have had more gas in the final few miles of the half marathon.
The end of the race was difficult- my muscles were dead, the heat was bearing down, and it had been 2 miles since the last water station. The Man and I didn’t walk at all during the run (aside from grabbing water from the aid stations) and all I wanted to do was walk, just for a minute. I decided instead that I would rather finish knowing that I had run the whole 13.2 miles. By the time I reached the straightaway at the end of the course and was able to see the finish line banner, I started sprinting. I crossed the finish line at 2:11:59 and could not have been more elated. I figured that with the heat and the hiccup in my training that my time wouldn’t be spectacular, but this was much better than I had expected.
At the end of the course we were steered back into the Seaport World Trade Center and were given water, Gatorade, protein shakes, bananas, oranges, and bagels. Quite the spread – and even though I didn’t expect to be hungry, I was ravenous. The Man and I immediately started stretching, since our muscles tightened as soon as we stopped running. We walked home so that we could get in a solid cool-down, which was a smart plan in retrospect. We made it home, grabbed our bags of frozen peas and were on the couch relaxing, icing, and watching old episodes of 24 in no time. I was excited and relieved to be done, and was ready to conk out on the couch for the afternoon, in disbelief that it was only 11am.
I have to say, it’s an amazing thing to be in pain and fighting an intense inner-battle to cross a finish line in one moment, and then have the very next moment be consumed by thoughts of future races. When I got home (slighting limping from tight quads and sore knees) I was already on CoolRunning.com looking for other half marathons and 10k’s that I could start to get excited for. I’m also thinking ahead to the marathon in October, wondering how I’m going to get my body to go twice the distance that it just went. It’s daunting, for sure, but I have a feeling that I will be looking back on this past weekend and thinking about how far I’ve come, and how prepared I am for the 26 miles. At least that’s the plan.
Here is a picture of me getting pumped the night before the half marathon – I was visualizing race day…
And here are pictures of The Man and I post-run! We were pretty happy to be done. Check out those finisher medallions…
This was our winners stance:
Off to look for other races!