Yesterday I accomplished a goal that I began working on last November- I finished my first half-marathon. It was one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I've ever completed, but the rewards far surpass any pain I experienced along the way. To top it off, I completed the 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 24 minutes, averaging around 11 minutes per mile. Not bad considering I hadn't trained in nearly a month, and was still dealing with pain from achilles tendonitis.
To recap yesterday's events, I woke up at 5 am, pinned on my racing bib and laced up my running shoes, and Brian drove me over to the starting line at Centennial Park. Along with approx. 30,000 other runners, I made my way to my corral and began to stretch for the longest run I've experienced at this point. I really don't know the science behind the proper fueling of my body pre-race, I just ate a huge pasta dinner the night before, and listened to my body during the run. I could tell when I needed water, or when my body needed salt.
Before I knew it, the race was on and I made my way down Broadway as hordes of spectators cheered us on. I gave children high fives as I raced past them, watched a guy run while juggling at the same time, and passed a group of spectators dressed as the band Kiss as I made my way through the Gulch. I was pacing myself particularly well for the first 7 miles, but around mile 8, I could really feel my mental and physical energy begin to drain. I could feel blisters forming on the bottom of my feet and began to feel a little sick from the mixture of water and energy drink that I inhaled at each fuel station. By the time I hit mile 12, I felt like I couldn't go any further, but I knew I was almost to the end and had to keep going. I wish I could say I sprinted to the finish line for the last mile, but it was more of a shuffle. Regardless of my pace, I crossed the finish line and it was an incredible feeling. As soon as I crossed, we were herded through a line where we recieved our medals, grabbed up food and water, and had our pictures taken. At this point, I felt like my legs were going to give out at any moment and all I wanted to do was find Brian and go home.
Brian and I reunited in the family reunion area and promptly headed for Mitchell's Deli for a turkey sandwich, and then I just crashed and enjoyed a nice nap. My legs are very sore and stiff today, and I'm suffering a bit of post-race depression, but I'm already planning my next race. I'm hooked!!