yes, i did it. i completed my first half-marathon this past sunday. [note: 2013 new year's resolution goal...check!] for those of you unfamiliar with this addictive world of running, a marathon is an ungodly 26.2 miles, with a half-marathon being, well half that: 13.1. this fact alone just irks me. why call it a half? it belittles my very accomplishment. like, well i’m not quite as good because i just did half. not cool. i mean shorter triathlons they call “sprint tris”. i am therefore proclaiming that a half-marathon should be renamed so as to restore some bit of dignity to those of us that still wake up at the crack of dawn to run our little hearts out for thirteen miles. thirteen-point-one to be exact. don’t forget that point one. that lil’ sucker might be the hardest of the entire race.
so here are my mile-by-mile musings of my still-to-be-renamed-shorter-than-a-marathon-but-still-a-big-deal race:
on your marks: the energy is infectious at the starting line, especially with my young whipper-snapper of a boyfriend who i swear wakes up with a smile slapped on his face every single day. i only say this in envy as i am so not a morning person. but this particular morning i was chipper, regretting my inability to fall or stay asleep, but excited nonetheless. today i wasn’t running for time (okay, i’m still competitive): i was running for momma. the gun fires: we’re off!
mile 1: ego check
wow, my heel hurts. oh and my hamstring. i really should have slept more. why does my heel hurt? my heel has never hurt! oh great. ok body: don’t fail me now. just go numb – you’ve got a ways to go. and why are people passing me? like the dude that is wearing converse and the chick with the pink tu-tu is passing me. pace yourself, ang, don’t worry about anyone else around you. at 7:55 pace you need to keep your ego in check and focus on your race.
mile 2: dear lord
my sweet boyfriend (kevin) breaks into prayer: thankfully we both keep our eyes open. um, dear God please help us make it through this race. i mean, we’re solid…we got this, but it’s never a bad idea to have J-man on your side for good measure.
mile 3: slow your roll
hey, kevbo, you’re flying at 7:30 and i know it stinks royally to have the dudes passing us but trust me: we gotta pace ourselves! at least we have a view of the ocean. talk to me: let’s distract each other because we have a ways to go. and honey, slow down.
mile 4: we got this
seriously, we’re solid…way outrunning the 1:50 pacers behind us and already left the 2:00 hour pacers in the dust at the finish line. ha!
mile 5: and away they go
the 1:50 pacers, that is. bye-bye. but we’re on your tail. and what’s with the pacers being sponsored by “snail’s pace”. way to boost my self-esteem when the snails are passing me by!
mile 6: c’mon baby
you got this! kev hits his wall so we slow to a walk through the water station for a (very) quick pit stop as he rips off his shirt to get his second wind, and away we go. i was so NOT complaining. *whistle*
mile 7: *smack*
that’s the sound of me hitting my wall. luckily kev had recovered from his and i wish i could’ve ripped my shirt off, but that’s just not very lady like. instead i make a quick detour to the lovely port-a-potty en route, cursing that i’d drank too much gatorade somewhere along the way.
mile 8: strategy sets in
when physical energy starts to wane, mental mapping takes over: we chart out our strategy to get through the next 5 miles. “pace it baby”. i think i said that about ten times and i promise you that is no technical running term. let’s just keep miles 8-11 at a 9:00 pace, nice and easy, and then we’ll kill the last 2 miles. okay?
mile 9: nice and easy?
there are times a 9:00 pace is nice and easy – and this is not one of them. slowing down to 9:30 at times, we’re struggling to just keep pushing through but luckily we have some down hills to our advantage. free fall your legs…enjoy the pace. see that hill ahead? enjoy the the jaunt downhill while it lasts…pain is right up ahead. hmm, metaphor for life, perhaps?
mile 10: holy hill.
while i dominate hills for some reason, i still hate them with a passion. i think it’s the fighter in me. i see a hill, tuck my head down, and lean into it. you’re so not going to conquer me. and off i go, with a pace of about 8:30 up the longest hill known to man (okay only about 3/4 mile). keep going girl, you got this…don’t stop til you get to the top.
mile 11: help me!
post-hill with only 2 miles to go, my theory on man-handling the hill seems to have turned around and kicked my butt. chest pounding, side-stitches, and a little dizzy: i can’t go anymore. “help me” i cried out to kevin a few times, not knowing what exactly i wanted him to do for me, but i cried out nonetheless. c’mon babe…we’re almost there, he would coach me as i would slow to a trot….i’d pull ahead and then i would look back and he was slowing to a walk right behind me. we yo-yo’d our encouragement just to get through, pushing each other that we only had 2 miles to go!
mile 12: running angel
shuffling my feet and turning the corner with just a mile to go, the end was in sight but my body was not having it. and about then i hear kevin yell out: “julz!” my dear sweet friend had ran the 5k earlier that morning, finished, and ran backward on the half-marathon route to come find us and run us in. maybe i was a bit delusional, but i swear i had visions of little white wings and a halo with nikes on. you’re right on pace – “you look strong…you guys can do this” she cheered and all i heard was “whah-whah whah-whah, whah-whah whah-whah”. it was a blur. the only thing that kept me running was knowing that she’d come for me and i didn’t want to let her down. “go ahead kevin” she yelled at him (later he told me, he was just fine at the pace he was but he had to speed up with her yelling that). he sped up, the little speed-demon, and she whispered to me: “don’t let him lose you!”
mile 13: all heart
we turned the corner with the finish line in sight and julz gave me a running push: go get it girl! and off i went. numb legs, but full heart, knowing that i could do this. knowing that i wanted to finish with kev, he was about 50 feet in front of me and somehow i dug deep, put my little noodle legs in gear, and ran my tail off.
point 1: for momma
wanting to cry and shout all at the same time, i was right on his tail: “babe!” he turned, and about 20 feet before the finish line we sprinted across the finish line for an emotionally exhausting finish. our goal was to finish in under 2 hours and our four tuckered out legs crossed that finish line at 1:57:04 with an average pace of 8:37 which even impressed us.
we didn’t do this to beat anyone (although we’re highly competitive). we didn’t run it to get in shape for summer (however that’s a nice byproduct). we ran this one: for momma.
i know you’re proud momma: look at your little girl go. and i promise i’ll get a pedicure to pamper my little tired feet. red toes, just for you momma.