Friday, November 23, 2012

Raleigh City Of Oaks/Rex Healthcare Half Marathon - November 2012

I have completed my first half marathon! 

It is also now 58 days until my next one: the Tinkerbell Half at Disneyland in California.  I am also registered for the Princess Half in February.  So, in short, I need to get off my ass and start seriously committing to some mid-week runs.  It all started two weeks before the COO when I had to travel.  I teach balloon decor and travel usually once to twice a month, depending on the month.  No complaints - I love what I do... it's just hard to maintain a running schedule when traveling.  I'm also on Weight Watchers and I don't have to tell you how hard it is to maintain points while eating at restaurants 3 nights out of 7.  Anyway, on to the COO!

I was nervous and excited as the big day approached.  I knew I could do the distance, as my Galloway training had prepared me for this.  I just worried about the pace.  I wanted to finish a sub-three-hour time and so I thought I would start with the 2:30 pace group and then I had some wiggle room.  HA!  This is hilarious in retrospect.
Here's the starting line - you can see the arches waaaay in the distance.  I started pretty far back because I was not the fastest gal on the track.  I ran into Danielle, another Galloway runner, and we were excited to have found a friend to run with.  This lasted until the end of mile 2.  She was just too fast for me.  I think I ran a 12 minute & 13 minute mile those first two.  I just couldn't keep that up for 13 miles.  And I was cursing myself for the rest of the race for not doing my mid-week runs and not pushing myself harder during training.  I ran with the 13 mm pace group, but we always run at 15mm or slower and I never pushed myself harder than that.

After I sent Danielle ahead with all my well-wishes, and got passed by the 3 hr pace group (::cries::), I just decided to finish and do what I could with what I had.  We ran past the capitol building and I stopped to get a pic:
Notice how few runners were in front of me.  There were actually quite a few behind me, so I didn't feel too badly.  So, after the capitol, it got hilly through some residential areas.  As you know, hills are NOT my friends and I was getting tired and discouraged.  The only thing keeping me moving forward was knowing I was going to see my family at mile 6.2.  I had never been so tired and unhappy by mile 4 since I started running!  But I kept going - through the awful hills - and kept moving towards my kids waiting at Cameron Village.
Here's me hugging my daughter.  I have never been so happy to see these people EVER.  I had been struggling for about 4 miles all alone and up in my head, and seeing my kids, mom, and my ex-husband (yes! He was there to support me too! Yay!) was the best, most emotional thing I have felt in a long time.  It, more than finishing or getting a medal, was the highlight of the race for me.

My son took this photo of me as a ran away from the hugs, and I am posting it because I have lost 25 pounds through running and WW and I hope it serves as inspiration to lose more:

Ok, I was half way through and my next goal was to get to my friend Emma, who was volunteering at the race.  A few words about Emma - She is amazing!  So outgoing and friendly in this super easy way to talk to.  She befriends everyone and is just someone you want to be around.  She is also so encouraging and I knew she would fill up my motivational reserves when I made it to her.  It was about three more miles before I got to her and then I got to see her twice since she was at the juncture of an out-and-back road.  I kept thinking I was ALMOST DONE because I was close to Hillsborough Street where the finish line was, but NOOOOOOOOO, I was still about 4 miles out.  It's kinda cruel actually, because just when you reach Hillsborough, you have to do three out-and-backs before you can run down Hillborough to the finish line.  The first two were not bad, but the last one was all the way to Western Boulevard before turning back.  I was way ahead of the street sweepers and there were still lots of people behind me, so I knew I was doing ok.  I did start walking quite a bit more and usually just running on the downhills.  This is something else I want to improve before the next half - I have got to keep my intervals going!  About mile 10, my leg starting hurting - can't remember if it as my knee or my calf now, but I was crampy and slowed down a bit.  I ran past my Galloway friends Sue and Margaret and that helped me keep going.  Only about 1.5 miles left!

As I got close to the finish line, I saw my family again and I wanted to stop but I was so close and they actually ran along side me (behind the fences) to the finish line!  They were so proud and that was a nice feeling.  I was glad it was over and HUNGRY. LOL

Here's me with my medal:

So - yay!  I didn't feel as life-changed as I thought I would, but now, weeks later, I can say it was a pretty great thing.  I don't plan and work towards a goal as a general rule and this was something I really followed through with. 

I am going to try to blog more - only because I think it helps keep me accountable.  My next races should be fun with lots of photos.  I do plan to dress up for both the Tink & the Princess (and truth be told, that the whole reason I wanted to start running - LOL).  Oh!  My official time for the COO was 3:14:27 with a pace of 14:50 mm.  My Garmin had it a little different:

And I also got a new charm for my bracelet:
Many lessons learned!  Now I just need to apply them...