I ran my first half marathon on Sunday - in twenty-degree temps, to boot. Like 13.1 miles wasn't hard enough as is, Mother Nature had to intervene and make it miserably cold. I would be lying if I said I didn't think about chickening out pre-race....BUT, I showed up, I gave it my all, and I'm so glad that I did.
The start line at the Route 66 was by far the worst part of the entire race. It was freezing, I was hella-nervous, I was shaking (from the cold and the nerves), and I was considering jumping the corral fence and heading back to the car. But once that gun sounded and people started moving, all my fears went out the window. As Cole and I crossed the start line together, we were showered in confetti and a smile spread across my face. We started running, and within half a mile I was [almost] warmed up...with the exception of my face and fingers. By mile 3, I was feeling good. I found my rhythm, I found a nice man with chicken legs to pace myself off of, and I reached a comfortable body temperature. I considered taking off a layer of clothes, but decided to keep going (and I was glad I did....I needed that layer around mile 10).
Mile 6 was my favorite mile. As we ran through the streets of a very fancy neighborhood, I heard a dog barking. When I turned to look, I saw not one but TWO Bernese Mountain Dogs playing with each other. Its safe to say I was smiling for a good ten minutes. I was still feeling strong here, like I wasn't even tired. I thought back to how I felt after the Remember the Ten 10k in April, and was incredibly proud of the progress I had made since. Hello, confidence boost.
Mile 7 - My shoe came untied and I lost my pacer friend when I bent down to tie it. I hope you finished strong, Mister. I had to pee pretty bad by this point, but I didn't want to wait in line. Good thing I have a bladder of champions.
Mile 8 - I tried my first GU. It was weird and sticky, but surprisingly tasty.
Mile 10 - I hit a wall. The course had turned north and we were running up the Arkansas River with nothing to block the wind. It was cold, my face was stinging, and I was tired. I was real glad I still had on my extra layer of clothes and gloves. My knees were aching and I got my first calf cramp (not sure how I remained cramp-less for so long, but I'll take it!). Lots of walking. I ate my second GU and tried to soak up the energy.
Mile 12 - Holy crap. I knew I was almost done, but I also knew I was exhausted. At this point, I didn't care what my time was, I was just ready for the finish line to come into sight. It was nice to have several big hills at the end of a long race...said no one ever.
Mile 13 was surreal. As I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I heard a man yell, "Finishing is winning!" That statement hit me like a sack of bricks and I suddenly became very proud of myself. Even though my time was slower than I had hoped for, I was about to cross the finish line of a half marathon. Wow. I started running a little faster and passed a few people as a smile spreading across my wind-burnt face. I heard them call my name as I crossed the finish line. I got a lot of high fives, a heat sheet put around my shoulders, and a surprisingly heavy medal around my neck. I felt like an Olympian. OK, not really, but I was really proud.
|My lips hurt real bad!|
In a way, the cold weather was a blessing. It kept me from sweating and getting too thirsty or over heated, it kept me from thinking about any aches and pains, and it kept me going when I wanted to stop. The thought of being done and out of the cold was far more important than the thought of stopping to pee. So for that, Mother Nature, I thank you. Now, I feel like its my duty to myself to do another half marathon in less frigid conditions.....the OKC Memorial, maybe?!
After the race, it took me a few hours to warm up. Taking off my sweaty clothes and putting on dry sweats and UGG boots was a game changer. Warm soup and a blanket didn't hurt much either. The day after the race, I was a little sore in my hips and knees, but over all felt great....besides my lips. My lips were incredibly wind burnt and chapped.....
My thoughts during the half:
- Pre-race visits to the bathroom are majorly important.
- So many pig tails. How can anyone run in pig tails?! Bounce bounce swish swish - ugh!
- I love dogs (I already knew this). Dogs on the sidelines make me smile. Thank you, onlookers with dogs, for making my run so much more enjoyable.
- GU is my new best friend and something to look forward to.
- I heart hand warmers.
- People who run shirtless in sub-freezing temps are mega-crazy.
- Gotta pee gotta pee gotta pee.
- Someone should hand out some Kleenex. My nose is like a fire hydrant right now.
- Run a little faster. Don't use up your energy. Push yourself! Don't wear yourself out too early.
- Take in your surroundings - don't be so zoned in that you miss what the course has to offer.
- So glad I'm not running in a tutu today.
- I'm thankful for those Kentucky runs where I got a little hill action.
- I'm also thankful I inherited my Dad's long stride. When I'm too tired to run, I at least have a uber-fast power walk.
- Did I just get botox? My face is frozen.
- Hot soup. Hot yoga. Hot chocolate. Hot summer days. Hot fireplace.
- Finishing is winning.
*A huge thank you to Cole for putting up with my running complaints, encouraging me, making me go on long runs when I didn't want to, helping me even when I didn't want your help, reminding me of how far I've come, and running this race and so many more with me. I'm so glad you ran the first part of the race with me even if it made your time slower...and I'm still impressed with your time, even if you got beat by Katie Kramer.