Wednesday, May 8, 2013

i ran a half marathon

So I finally ran a half marathon.  I've trained for three, but this was the first I actually ran.  Sounds pretty similar to my triathlon experience, too.

I didn't give myself much time to train either, but I did let the Facebook world know that I was serious about it.

I call it Facebook accountability.  If I don't follow through on something I post, then my Facebook friends have the right to hold me responsible.  Because I'm sure they keep track.  And care.

So I trained for about 5 weeks which really wasn't ideal, but for once I actually had a running buddy to make me run when I didn't want to.  Which was basically every time.  But training isn't very exciting to read about.  So I'll move onto the actual race.

The Provo City half marathon is pretty much all downhill, so it's a pretty fast course.  It starts up in Provo Canyon up the road past Vivian Park, and takes the Provo River trail to University Ave. straight to 100 south of Center Street.   If you live in Provo/Orem that might actually mean something to you.  What you really need to know is it was 13.1 miles long (like every half marathon) and it started at 7am.  Which means I had to wake up dark and early to take the bus at 5am to the starting line.  Don't worry, I totally got a good 3.5 hours of sleep that night. 

So on the 13.1 mile bus ride to the canyon I sat next to a girl who was a UVU student.  We had a nice chat (and by nice I mean hilarious) in which I found out a lot about this girl.  But I can't remember her name, so I'm going to pretend her name was Ashley.  She was blonde and was wearing makeup.   I hope that's a good enough visual.  These are just a few things that came out of Ashley's mouth on that bus ride.
  • "My parents are so excited that I'm running a half marathon.  I haven't done anything with my life until now."
  • "I don't think I trained enough.  I haven't actually ran more than 8 miles."
  • "I ate way too much pasta at Olive Garden last night.  Five bread sticks might have been a mistake, too."
  • "I almost decided not to run today because I've had food poisoning for the last two days.  I totally threw up at Iron Man 3 because the woman in front of me had B.O.  Bad smells totally set you off when you have food poisoning."
The longer I talked to this girl the more I was impressed and slightly disgusted that she was even running in the race.  I saw her afterwards and she seemed to be alive and keeping her food down, so I assume she was ok.  You go Ashley.  Defying all odds.

After huddling around the campfires by the starting line for a good hour and half, it was finally time to run.  I was a little bit freezing since we were up a mountain, and it was 7am.  If you can't tell, I really don't like running in the morning.  I stripped off my warm clothes, threw them in the bus, and went to the starting line.  I wasn't really sure what pace I was going to run, but I knew that I wanted to finish under two hours.  This meant I had to run faster than a 9 minute mile.  Never mind I had been running a 9:30-10 minute mile pace during my training runs.  Man, I really didn't train well. 

I noticed that there were people holding signs with finish times on them and I quickly learned that they were pacers.  I thought I'd try running with the 1:55 pacer and see how that went because I had no idea what I was doing and hadn't ran in a race since high school cross country.   The pacer was cute, petite, energetic, and I stuck close to her.  The first half was a breeze and I mostly just talked to Isela (the pacer) and her husband.  If I hadn't been surrounded by other runners wearing spandex and short shorts it wouldn't have even felt like a race. 

Then at mile 6 Isela sent me off to go run faster and maybe even finish at 1:50.  I felt pretty good and ran ahead.  And ran some more.  And ran some more.  And then I started to feel it.  And then I realized I had no idea how fast or slow I was running.  Just after I ran the one and only "hill" I heard, "Kristen, what happened?"  And there were my pacers.   Turns out I had slowed down a lot.  So for the last 3.5 miles I was just trying to keep up with Isela.  That 8:45 pace that had seemed so leisurely before, now felt like a sprint.  There was a 5k race that started 3.1 miles from the finish line and when I ran past it, I might have hated those lucky runners who were STARTING 10 miles closer to the finish line than me.  I hurt and I just wanted to slow down, but cute little Isela kept pushing me.  But really.   She literally pushed me forward at one point, and even held (pulled) my hand to keep me going.  I must've looked pitiful. 

Even with Isela's help I couldn't keep up with her.  I ended up finishing at 1:55:18, but I was pretty happy with that.  My high school self might have shuddered at the thought of a 8:48 mile pace, but my younger self can suck it because she was running dinky 5k races. 
Finishing and wanting to die. 
The 1:55 pacers.  Also, my head is really big.
Afterwards, I walked home because I felt charlie horses comin' on, and I was afraid to stop moving.  Thanks to Aubrey, Tiffany and Jenai for keeping me company.  And making sure I didn't collapse.  There were a few close calls. 

Then I we went to Kneaders AND Sonic.  Food guilt doesn't exist after races.
Orange cream slush=heaven