It may look like I'm going slow but I'm just getting started.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

PF Chang's Half Marathon Race Report

I actually had a request to hurry up with this race report. I never knew people were waiting to hear about my athletic feats. There are probably just as many, "Just shut up talking about running," requests too but people don't usually voice those. The race experience started, as any good race should, at the expo. My "sweet" children would not allow me to look around and gather free samples. You should  believe I will remember that at birthdays and holiday occasions. My greatest joy is walking around perusing the merch while trying to avoid the eyes of those weird chiropractic and Amway vitamin sellers. The highlight of my very short trip to the expo was seeing Kara Goucher (really, really fast Olympian and mother of a three month old, who of course finished the half in HALF my time). I am such a geek. I wanted to wave at her and say, "You go Kara," but my oldest prevented it. I still smiled at her like a stalker.

The other person I ran into, OK not really because he was signing autographs and posing for pictures, was Marathon Meb. He is also a super fast Olympian and winner of the 2009 NYC Marathon. I know this picture is really crappy but my kids wouldn't let me wait in line. And I couldn't talk them into being in a picture with us so I didn't want to look all weird (or more so than usual!)

Expo accomplished, we went on to the now ritual pasta eating. I made myself bring half home so I wouldn't be all bloaty. Because bloaty=bad. Sunday morning we woke up and my awesome running partner (though not for this race) drove me and my second string running partner, [though always first in my heart] (my husband) to the starting line. I informed Aaron our first order of business was standing in line at the port a potties. He said, "I don't have to go," and I said, "well you're going so you better just get in there and try." I think this really illustrates why our relationship works. After the peeing there was nothing to do but wait. And wait. And wait. I'm not going to lie, if I ever do this race again I will totally stretch the truth about my projected finish time (say 2 hours) so I can move up in the corrals. It's not like anyone is going to monitor my speed. And if they do, I will start limping and make them feel bad. We were in corral 19 and we crossed the start 35 minutes after corral 1. 35 minutes! Of standing. In the cold. I know they need a wave start and all  but 35 minutes is a long time to wait when you can see the start and you just want to be finished so you can go home and take a nap. Let's just say I was very ready to be done with training this time. My legs hurt on our last 30 minute run and I was just.sick.of.running. We finally took off and Aaron and I found a nice little spot among the crowds. I think we were well placed in corral 19 because we passed as many people as passed us at the first. Aaron was unusually quiet during the race and after he said he didn't want to annoy me. I tried to explain that he didn't annoy me, I just can't carry on a long conversation and run and focus. But I appreciate a little chatter. By mile 5 all I could think was, "I am so bored. I want this to end. How much longer?" The course was flatter than the Women's Half but not as pretty. Running through the barrio is: 1. depressing and 2. unattractive. Convenience stores and strip malls do not motivate me. And the bands are really far apart. Some are scary. I swear there was at least a mile toward the end where there was no sound. No cheering, no music and not even the runners were talking. It seemed like the atmosphere was really flat this year. Or maybe that was me. The two highlights of the course were: 1. As we started climbing the first hill, a woman running behind us started yelling, "I love hills. I love this hill. We are so lucky we get to climb this hill." She made me laugh and motivated me to get up and over the dreaded hill. I was just sad she was so much faster than me and ran ahead before the next hill. 2. There was a band composed of high school geeks and they were rapping and playing their hearts out. I think they had about 15 people in the band. But again, it made me laugh, which at that stage is the most important thing. At about 10 miles I originally thought I would just run as long as I could and see where that took me. Well, that took me to side stitch-ville so I immediately reverted to 2 run/1 walk. We maintained about a 12:05 pace throughout and by mile 10 I was damned if I would let that slip away like last time. We did slow down between miles 8.5 and 10 but that's where the hills were. I so wanted to run longer but I didn't feel like my body would let me, which I know was 75% mental. But my brain is big and bossy. So we stuck with the 2/1 and ended up pulling our pace back up in the end. By about mile 12.5 I could almost see the finish line and I knew we would make it. We started running and didn't stop until we passed the finish. I kept telling myself, "You can do it." And then, "Bitch, you better keep running." Because sometimes myself needs a little smack talk. Aaron and I ran in holding hands. We finished in 2:40:44, improving my WHM time by 3 minutes. I truly did not have a goal for this one. I just wanted to finish without my legs falling off. So I accomplished that. And I did improve. So exciting. But I won't be running double digit miles for a LONG time!

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