let me first say that i love this race! it starts right next to my grandpa's house. it was my first half marathon ever. it is in my [former] hometown. it is where i run into people i used to know. it is gorgeous. it smells of pine and tweets of birds and gurgles of brooks. i feel comfortable on the trail because i used to bike it in my youth. it is downhill. the weather has been perfect for the last three years (or maybe more, i don't know). it has chocolate milk waiting for you at the end. it is a bucket list race. DO NOT MISS THIS RACE.
okay, enough of that. (seriously, folks, don't miss it. i will hunt you down and make you do it.)
i woke up on my own to blue skies. i kinda got nervous about that because well... usually i wake up for a race to darkness or the beginning of dawn. waking up before the alarm bodes well for the day, yes? i was moving slow but the mister was going to give me frontdoor service so i didn't have to take the bus and wait around for an hour before the start so i had the time. (that is a run-on sentence for sure. my bad.) what i am getting at was i felt unrushed and pretty calm. i remembered to put on sunscreen and mascara so the day was already a win.
we arrived 20 minutes earlier than i had planned on. i used the portapotties (my man calls them port-o-lets which i find funny [no really, say port-o-let out loud and tell me that's not funny]) and found a small spot that had some sunshine. it was chilly but i knew it would warm up. i met a great girl from houston who, upon hearing i wanted to run in all 50 states, invited me to stay with her. the thing about runners? we are a good group, yo.
i did not see the usual suspects, t, k or j. they had other things going on this year. i forgive them so long as it doesn't happen again. i should put a smiley face there but i am not going to. i might be joking, but then again, i might not be. without the smiley, you just don't know. bwahahaha. i crossed the start line at 8:09 and texted the boy. one downside to this race is no cell service for the first mile. another downside? gravel on the trail means tiny pebbles end up in your shoes. it's not perfect, okay? you will still like it. i decided that i was going to use this run to see how much i have improved since last year. the main squeeze offered me a benjamin if i shaved some time off my time. i set a goal. motivated!
three things i like:
1) personal improvement
3) firemen (wait! that's a different race.)
the first mile was good. i met the sign at 8:20. i ran into an old high school classmate and we ran the second mile together. i have a difficult time running and talking. every time i had something to say i slowed down to walk. it's a multitasking thing. i started out with some gum but had to spit it out before the first mile because i could not chew it and run at the time time. i'm serious. laugh all you want. i can take it. i should have taken a picture with her though. oops! we met the mile 2 sign at 8:36 and she took off to be all fast and runner-y and stuff.
i inhaled a bug at 8:42. very ick-tastic. <--- a bug committed suicide in my mouth; i can make up words if i want. there may have been choking and gasping and flailing about. maybe. i deny any knowledge of that.
i met the sign for 3 miles at 8:44. i don't know why but the first 5k is the hardest for me. it takes me that long to get my stride, pace, breath and heartrate coordinated. i'd love to change that, but i don't know how. i need a gadget that will make running easier... or... something. the group that i was keeping pace with thinned out at this point. which is good, except one thing - several speed walkers walked right passed me. if i still had my gum, i would have spit it at them. see? everything worked out for the best. i know i should be happy for them and be all 'you go on with your bad self', but i'm not. instead, i feel an intense dislike for people who can walk faster than i can run. it's uncharitable. I KNOW. i'm working on it. is there a gadget for that?
speaking of gadgets, for christmas this year, hubs gave me a cooling towel. you get it wet and it gets cold - even if it looks *really dumb* wrapped around your neck and tucked into your sports bra, that thing is magic. i don't care if it is a tool of the devil, it is awesome! fine, i care if it is a tool of the devil. but not by much. i started using it at 8:58. that's a pretty specific time because that's when i met the mile 4 sign. convenient, right?
i do not exaggerate for comedic effect. that would be wrong.
i came upon the mile 5 sign at 9:08. for anyone paying attention, that means i ran 5 miles in 59 minutes. booyah. who's a rockstar? it's my blog so the correct answer is *this girl*. i sat down and removed some rocks and made it to the sign for mile 6 at 9:25. that mile took some time. i was probably reveling in being a rockstar. i was not thinking about spitting on speed walkers. or firemen. or port-o-lets. i walked most of mile 6. i am going to pretend it was to enjoy the scenery. that is a good reason to walk, right? the m and m's station was at 9:39. did i forget to mention m and m's in the list of reasons to run this race? sorry. m and m's. i was derelict so i'll mention it again. m and m's for fuel. yes, i lied earlier. this race *is* perfect. the sign for mile 7 was at 9:43. it was in the middle of a steep-er-ish downhill portion. gravity is (mostly) your friend in this situation. also, it is fun to run like a deranged person. or like a (cough out-of-control-maniac cough) rockstar. whatever. it still took me until 9:54 to get to mile 8 but i had a huge grin on my face and forgot i was hot and/or tired and/or a not-very-good-runner. the course had a bit of squishy watery parts, but it was all part of the fun.
i must have sounded like a herd of stampeding elephants because runners seemed to move out of my way. or maybe someone was yelling 'it's alive! it's alive!'. [no one was yelling that.] they may or may not have been scared for their lives; i can't speculate. either way, i am not going to talk about it. because... m and m's. mile 8 had lots of wild raspberries on the side of the path. i know it makes me a bad person, but every year when i pass them, i think about how i should come back in the middle of the night and steal a few plants to supplement my garden. i mean, "relocate them to a new home for diversification". you know, to go green. cross pollinate and prosper. for the good of the raspberries. (...unless it's a felony. I DO NOT ADVOCATE COMMITTING A FELONY JUST BECAUSE RASPBERRIES ARE DELICIOUS.)
i arrived at the mile 9 sign at 10:07. for anyone paying attention, that is 9 miles in 118 minutes. for the math challenged, 118 minutes is less than 2 hours. you read that right. nine. miles. in. under. two. hours. so what that if i was keeping a consistent pace with my earlier miles it should have been 10 miles in 2 hours? it was 9 miles, man.
so what? i'm still a rockstar. i've got my rock moves and i don't need you. <--- this is lyrics gold. someone should write this down and make it a song.
like i was saying. rock.star. although a true rockstar might not run out of water at 10:10 with a mile to run in the heat before the next water station. no judgement from me. i'm just sayin'. also, removing rocks from your muddy shoes without getting everything else muddy is a pain in the beep. with another beep thrown in for good measure. *don't do things halfway.* it's all about the follow through. i arrived at the mile 10 sign and the water station at 10:21.
here is feat of truly amazing talent and rockstarness. (which i know you know to expect from me.) i am normally passed by the lead marathoner between mile 5 and mile 7. but guess what? not today. not today, my minions. the lead marathoner and i met at 10:33, and he left my life at 10:33:01. the sign for mile 11 was just 2 short minutes after that. now, even though it was only the blink of an eye, i could tell he had special thoughts about me. love can happen that fast, people. i had special thoughts about him as well. i am embarrassed to admit that i may have had a tiny daydream of having him carry me across the finish line. it was a fleeting fancy. while i am over him, i fear the lead marathoner could be in love with me for the rest of his life. it happens. move on, dude. i'm taken. i have to make a short apology to my soulmate here. you know there is no one else for me but you. well, possibly, firemen standing without a shirt at mile 11 during a certain may race. but other than that, no one.
what is it about mile 11 that makes me succumb to the temptation of being swept off my feet? delirium? brain damage from running for so long? i am not sure. i should probably go to therapy about that sometime. or maybe stop running at mile 10. or maybe go to therapy.
so there i am in the middle of mile 11 when i tripped and sprained my ankle at 10:46, with the sign for mile 12 visible, forcing me to drag my bum foot like the lurching bride of frankenstein, aka walk. karma. i will say it again. i am sorry for my lapse, o-husband-of-mine. at least i was looking stylish with my mascara and cooling towel. since the ankle is so painful (still!), i will provide you with the texting transcript between the studmuffin and i before i go off to cry.
him: Almost there!! Keep pushing.
me: Tripped. Twisted my ankle.
him: Ugh. You okay? I'm at the finish line.
him: Only 1.1 left.
me: Walking. It hurts.
me: I think I was made for 15ks.
him: You were made for me.
see what a good guy i have? is it corny to say love of my life? heart of my heart? it is but i am going to do it anyway. i would never trade him in just to get to the finish line faster. n.e.v.e.r. since he was waiting me, i was able to finish strong with a sprint once i saw the sign for 13 miles. i crossed the finish line at 11:02. i didn't quite meet my goal for time, but i was really close. i am pleased that i shaved 5 minutes off of last year's time. looking over my splits, my pace was all over the place - 11, 16, 8, 14, 10, 17, 18, 11, 13, 14, 14, 11, and 16. even though the first 5k feels the hardest, it seems like my weaker miles are actually the middle. [i repeat, i need a gadget to make running easier please. puh-lease!] i would really like to become a more consistent runner so that running becomes more enjoyable. also, benjamin is calling my name (i am hoping that is not the lead marathoner's name or things could get awkward). the gauntlet has been thrown.
all in all, it was a good day to be out. the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. my ankle will heal and i will make my goal time during another race. although, the deadwood mickelson trail half will always be my favorite.
*pictures to come