As per tradition, I woke up Labor Day read to race. Let me preface this by stating that the thought of completing a half marathon crossed my mind multiple times this weekend, but the sane "that is not a good idea" voice of reason won out...thankfully.
I woke up, looked at the weather, decided on what to wear, looked at the directions, and got to the race site at 7:20 or an 8:00 start. I'm glad I did, because they didn't have my registration. I registered online on Saturday. However, the people in charge were more than nice about it. They just gave me a new number. I wish all of my problems were solved so easily.
I decided to run this race without music, so the warm-up though the park was quiet. It let me reflect on how happy, and nervous, I was to be racing again. It was the longest period of time I had gone between races in over a year. I had done some stalking of race results from the previous year and thought I could get a medal, which stated that they gave to the top 3 finishers on their website. This is important, because I am in a medal competition with a fellow runner. He, a self-proclaimed medal whore, is currently winning, and was running a half marathon today.
I did not help myself at all by tapering for this race. In fact, I did the opposite of a taper. On Saturday, I ran a tempo, with my last mile being 7:20. On Sunday, I ran an 11 mile run, my longest run since May. Then, topped it off by biking for 30 minutes, walking on the treadmill at a 15 incline and doing 2+ miles on the stair master. Sounds like the perfect way to feel exhausted for a race, right?
At 7:45, I checked my blood sugar to see a 93 staring back at me. Normally, I would rejoice when seeing this number. However, it looked too low so I promptly ate 5 glucose tablets. Nothing says "I'm ready to race!" more than the taste of raspberry glucose tablets, right?
After a shot gun start (both literally and figuratively), I ran and settled into what seemed like a nice pace. I noticed that I was probably too far in the front of the race than what I should be, but kept repeating my mantra for this race, over and over and over: "you are strong..strong...strong." If you've read any of my race reports from this year, you know that positive mantras have carried me to a few PRs.
By the time I got to mile 1, my goal was to pass a guy sweating through a white cotton shirt. I did exactly at the 1 mile sign, and then realized the front pack was out of sight. We made quite a few turns and there were some sneaky hills...or, inclines to the rest of the world. I distracted myself by focusing on the pavement looking for the neon orange arrows for the next mile and a half. By this time in the race, I was hurting. I was exhausted and the fact that I took 1 month off caught up with me, and the workout from the previous day. At 2.8 miles, a dude cruised by me. I could hear another one huffing and puffing behind me but was determined not to be passed again.
The finish line could not have come soon enough and I ended up holding off the guy behind me. When I crossed the line, I was happy:
Age Group: 1/11
One of the neatest things about this race is that there was 1 lady who was a paraolympian and raced in a bike contraption where you turned the handlebars. I got the chance to speak to her after the race. She races as much as she can, but many surfaces do not work for her bike. She ended up racing it in 18:35, and passed along some inspiration to me in the process.
I ended up getting a medal, too. In case you are curious, I now have 13 for 2012, while my friend has 17. I am not giving up yet....