Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Race Weekend!

Rewind to December of 2008...I'm at my yearly woman's exam and my wonderful OB/GYN, who Aaron and I both highly respect, suggested I train for a half or full marathon. Our response? We laughed in his face.

Spring 2010: I witnessed my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and future sister-in-law cross the finish line of their first half marathon, and because of it I set out in March/April to run a half marathon in November.

I had no idea if this goal was possible. My level of fitness at the time was somewhere around, well, none. 13.1 miles may seem like a medium-sized goal to you, but I assure you, for exercise-averse me, it was one of the biggest goals I have set for myself, ever. I made the "mistake" of announcing on Facebook that I was going to do this, so now I HAD to do it! I got myself some new shoes, some running gear, and a Nike+, and off I went. Aaron reminds me that when I started training I could barely run one minute without needing to stop. Yes, I said MINUTE, not mile! I started my plan on my own with "couch to 5K," which is a 9 week training timeline. I worked my way up and even shed a tear the first time I ran a whole MILE without walking. I ran my first 5K (3.1 miles) at the beginning of June without stopping to walk. But I still had 10 more miles to add. Ouch.

I kept training and in July I joined Fort Bend Fit (a local running club) that maps out a plan based on your speed and organizes long runs every Saturday, with "homework" runs during the week. I was never any good at keeping up with my weekday runs, but I managed to keep up with the long runs each Saturday (the distances increased by a mile or two each week), hitting a wall only once on "mile 4" week. Thanks to some tough love from my hubby, I pushed through that week and continued on. My original (lofty) goal at the beginning was to run the full 13.1 miles without stopping to walk at all. After some research and talking with the coaches, I realized that walking did not mean copping out. So I figured out an interval time that suited me (run 3 minutes, walk 1) and allowed me to go the distances that I only dreamed of going. I figured out my usual pace, and set a challenging race-day goal for myself to come in under 3 hours.

Once race day arrived, I was ready. I knew my pre-race routine - what I liked to eat, how much water to start with, how many e-caps I would need, what flavor Bloks I liked, where I needed to put Body Glide (found a new spot every week!), how I liked my shoes laced, etc. I kinda felt like a real runner. I hit the starting line and it was all business. I knew I had to speed walk those 1 minute walk breaks and keep a close eye on my pace during my runs if I wanted to make it in under 3 hours. I hardly stopped when I saw my fan club (just long enough to kiss my babies at mile 3 and mile 8) and put off peeing until I absolutely had no choice. And if you think I was gonna waste time in the port-o-potty lines, you're wrong! I found a dollar store that wasn't even open for business (roads were closed due to the course) with a couple of spectating employees that let me RUN through their store to their line-free restroom! SCORE! The last turn of the course had a HUGE hill (okay, at least it seemed huge after 13 miles) that zapped the little energy I had left. But I crossed the finish line and beat my goal! I knew at that moment that I had left everything I had on the course, going as fast as I could at all times...which sometimes wasn't very fast at all, but it was what all I had at that moment.

I had a blast and definitely plan on crossing more finish lines! Here are some pictures from one of the proudest days of my life: my first half marathon. My trusty Asics have run over 130 miles since I started training so these pictures are a long time coming! Please enjoy!

11-14-10 Race weekend