Monday, April 12, 2010

I Reached My Goal!!!!

2010 Go! St. Louis Half Marathon
Time: 2:58:56 official time
Distance: 13.1 mi.
Pace: 13:29 min/mi
Time of Day: 7 a.m.
Temperature: 50s-60s, bright sunshine, occasional slight breeze

How does this thing work?

"Do you want to walk or run across the 12 mile mark?" Those were the words Coach Jeni barked at me as I came upon the 12-mile mark. I was walking up the last 50 ft. of the 2nd to last hill on the course. I was spent. Quite honestly, at that point I just wanted to lay down and rest. But I knew I couldn't. I knew I would hate myself later. I knew the 12-mile flag was just a teeny-tiny bit over the crest of the hill, so I reached way down deep and scooped up some reserve and picked up my feet and ran across that 12-mile marker and finished the racing running.

I wish I could say that I got this huge surge of energy and sprinted the last mile, finishing strong, racing across the finish line. But I can't. I did run the entire race except those 50 ft. at mile 12. I met my goal of running the entire race. I met my goal of finishing running. I met my goal of finishing in under 3 hours. But I was out of gas and running on fumes for the last mile and half.

I was unprepared for how sick I would feel after I quit running. I gulped down a bottle of water, stretched with The Son and promptly had to sit down on the curb to keep from throwing up. I felt bad for probably the next hour or more. I laid my head in The Son's lap on the ride home just so I didn't have to sit up. The other overwhelming feeling I had was to get my shoes off. Oh my goodness, my feet hurt!

Heading into the Finish Line!

I was sore. I was stiff. I was so tired. I was so very tired. Did I mention I was tired? It took several hours for me to feel good about what I had accomplished. As we sat around the kitchen table eating delicious grilled hamburgers Coach Jeni, The Son and I shared tidbits of the race with The Love and The Son's Girlfriend. They, in turn, told us of their adventures in watching the race. We had a great time and I quickly realized that not only did I reach my personal goals, but I had a wonderful experience to think back on and revel in the memories made.

So here are my thoughts on the race itself. The whole reason for arriving an hour early to the race is to stand in line at the Porta-Potties. Hmm. Why not just go right before leaving home and arrive closer to race time?

I didn't have trouble in the race until mile 9. In fact, I think I was running strong and pacing well until that point. But being the mental runner I am, when I realized that at mile 9 the course turned away from downtown St. Louis for a couple miles before heading to the finish line, I really got discouraged. Plus, for some weird reason my music stopped playing and I didn't have that distraction. Here are my splits and it obvious that I really struggled through miles 9 and 10 and just wasn't able to completely recover.
Mile  Avg Pace
1        12:25
  Here Comes Mile 8!

2        12:58                                         
3        13:32
4        12:42
5        13:04
6        12:46
7        13:15
8        13:35
9        14:05
10      14:04
11      13:25
12      13:51
13      14:13

So even though I struggled and had some trouble, there were a lot of positives:
  • I didn't have to stop to go the bathroom. Even though I drank one bottle of water in the first 6 miles, in addition to at least 2 cups of water at every water station (every 2 miles up to mile 8 & every 1 mile after that) I think I sweated it all out.
  • The blister area on my right foot didn't bother me and my fears of having to stop because of blister problems did not materialize.
  • I didn't walk. O.K. I did walk 50 ft. right at the top of the 2nd to last hill. But I also walked through each water station. I count that as having run the entire race and so do Coach Jeni & The Son.
  • I actually passed some runners—and I passed a lot of walkers. I wasn't the last person to finish the race, I wasn't even the last runner.
  • In real terms, this was only my 4th long run. And my longest run before this race was 11 miles. I increased my distance by almost 20% to run the race.
Late in the evening after a 45-minute nap, I took a short walk to help keep my legs from tightening and getting stiff. I slept pretty darn good Sunday night!

So what's ahead? I will take a walk today with The Love and back to running on Tuesday.

Here are my immediate thoughts for long-range goals.
  • Work on endurance and stamina. I don't ever want to feel like quitting at mile 12 again!
  • Increase upper body strength. I could tell that as I ran out of energy I slumped which, in turn, affected my breathing.
  • Work on speed. I don't anticipate being a speed devil. I don't want to train that hard, but I would like to see better times.
I had a wonderful experience! I want to thank Coach Jeni and The Son for their training expertise and support. Thanks to The Love for his unending support. Thanks to The Love, The Son's Girlfriend and The Chef for cheering me on during the race. And thanks to all the other spectators and their cheers of encouragemnent.

My Cheer Poster
The Rewards!

Post Race Duds!

See you in June at the North Shore half marathon!

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