|This past weekend was the MORE magazine half marathon -- my first half marathon. I had a blast!
Let me set the stage for this weekend by stating that I've been on antibiotics for a little over a week to treat an abcess in my mouth. I'd been feeling a little out of sorts on the meds, but nothing major. Until Friday afternoon. Then all hell broke loose in my body. Hives! Everywhere. Down my arms, all over my abdomen and completely covering my legs. And on my feet - between the toes and on the soles. 13.1 miles on feet covered with angry, itchy red welts. What was I going to do?
Well, I guess people don't call us crazy for no reason. I decided that I was going to ignore the hives and continue with my plans. I did cease taking the antibiotic, with the hope that the abcess had been cleared up, but I didn't want to waste four months of training. Plus, since the half marathon is set up in teams, I couldn't let down Chelly, my teammate.
Saturday I traveled into Manhattan to Chelly's apartment. I was going to spend the night there so that I didn't have to go back and forth on Saturday for number pickup and again early on Sunday morning for the race. Also, we had decided to do the pasta dinner on Saturday night. After dropping off my bags, and stopping for lunch, we headed over to the race expo to check out vendors and score some freebies. I bought a shirt from a booth run by iRunLikeaGirl and picked up a bunch of free chocolate, raisins, supplements and tissues. After we had pretty much exhausted the expo (it wasn't that big) we wandered around the neighborhood. I got a hydration belt at Jackrabbit for my Steamboat half marathon in June. I drink like a fish when I'm out in Colorado and the last race I did out there didn't have a water stop on the 5k course and only one on the half marathon course. I want to be prepared to carry my own water.
The pasta party was being held at Tavern on the Green. I've never been there, but it's a very touristy spot to go. Chelly had been there before, but said that she had never seen a celebrity. We lined up outside with a whole lot of other ladies also waiting. There were many out-of-towners in for the race. We talked to a few from North Carolina and another group from California. As we were waiting, limos and cabs were pulling up and discharging patrons for the restaurant. At one point, there was a bit a disturbance near the door. I looked over and a group of large men were surrounding a woman in a big white fur coat. It was Aretha Franklin. Of course, being a cool New Yorker, I didn't get excited (much).
The dinner was fun. There was plenty of pasta, salad and beans and raisins for dessert (they were a sponsor). We got a chance to meet some of our fellow runners and feel part of a bigger event. I enjoyed myself. We had another brush with celebrity on the way out when Al Sharpton passed right by my left shoulder on his way into the restaurant as we were leaving.
After the party, we headed back so we could make an early night of it. We were planning on being up at 5am to get ready.
Sunday morning was a bit chilly and wet. The weather forecast said it was going to be partly sunny and about 50 that day, but at the pre-dawn hour it was still pretty cold. After breakfasting and dressing and re-considering this insanity a number of times, we headed uptown to the starting line. There were so many women in the park gathering for the races. We dropped off our baggage after trying to decide what clothing to keep on our bodies and what to check for after the race. Chelly had shirts made up with our names on the front and they were great. Complete strangers were wishing me luck all along the course. It really helped when I felt like I might want to give up.
Then we headed across the park to the starting line. Once there we got into the longest portapotty line I've ever seen to try and get in before the start of the race. There was a lot of cheering going on to get the ladies to pee quickly. I finally managed to get in and out with a minute to spare.
I had decided to run with a pace band for a 2:10 half marathon. I really thought this was optimistic, but I figured I would be happy if I stayed within 5 minutes of that pace. Chelly was hoping for a 3:00 race, so we lined up at a point between our planned pace. The starting location was in an unusual spot, with turns between where we were and the actual starting line. I never heard the starting gun. It took us approximately 3 minutes to get across the starting line and then I was off. I felt much better than I had expected, and had pretty much forgotten about my feet. My splits were as follows:
10:20 - mile 1
10:18 - mile 2
9:52 - mile 3
9:16 - mile 4
9:49 - mile 5
9:33 - mile 6
9:22 - mile 7
9:35 - mile 8
9:29 - mile 9
9:09 - mile 10
9:39 - mile 11
9:14 - mile 12
8:47 - mile 13
2:47 for the last bit
for a 2:07.12 half marathon.
I'm totally amazed at myself. Not only did I run almost every mile faster than the 9:54 called for on my pace band, but I ran faster as the race proceeded. The course was a double loop around the park, so the same hills came up twice, as well as the same downhills. I remember feeling like I had hit a wall during the 11th mile, which I can see now in the splits, but I managed to pull myself together and run two of my fastest miles in mile 12 and 13.
After the finish line, I fell apart. The adrenaline that I had fueled me through those last couple of miles left my body and I thought I was going to start bawling my eyes out right there in the finish chute. I tried to keep walking, but my calves started to cramp up so I wrapped the heat blanket that was given out around my lower half and tried to stretch a bit. Oh yeah, that's when I started to be able to feel my feet again. They were burning. Every last hive had spent over 2 hours rubbing against my socks and they were definitely not happy.
I wandered around looking for something to eat (why do they hide it?) and stood for a photo with my brand new finishers medal. I decided to wander back to the finish line to see how long it would be before Chelly might come through. I got to see Susan Luken finish the marathon in just over 2:47, all by herself. The second place finisher was about twenty minutes behind her. I can't imagine running the marathon - not just the distance, although that is terribly daunting, but to have to circle Central Park four times. It must be mind numbing.
Chelly finished in a fantastic 3:06.48. We got a bunch of photos taken and headed over to Chelly's work building to change into our warmer clothing. Then we headed out for a well-deserved brunch.
Monday I could barely walk between my feet and my seriously sore quads - but I'm crazy enough to do this again. Bring on Steamboat!
Labels: half marathon, races, running