Do you ever wonder what the hell you were thinking when you thought to sign up for an event? That wandered through my mind a decent amount as I ran/walked/limped through my first half marathon. It was a couple months ago when I decided that I was going to do the New Mexico Half Marathon, so I signed up and let it slip to the back of my mind. I made sure that I was running regularly so that I was in decent shape for when it came time to run, but, I definitely didn’t run enough.
It’s funny, because people say if you have a base of 8 miles that a half marathon is no problem. I went with that thought. My base was 8 miles. I can run walk 8 miles. Run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute, and when I get exhausted, walk through the run portion until I can run again. I might also mention (because this is very important) that I run walk at a very speedy pace of 13 minutes per mile (hey, don’t judge, that’s fast for me).
So, my morning started real early. 4:30 in the morning early. I got up got dressed, double checked that my shoes were the right size because they were really tight on my little feets and left the house. As I drove towards Hotel Albuquerque, I attempted to eat a powerbar. Now, I can’t eat them before I cycle, so why I thought I’d be able to choke one down before my run I don’t know. I choked down exactly half of a power bar. (Note to self: this is not enough nutrition in the morning before long activities, you need to find some other way of getting nutrition into your system)
So, at some point, we were told to go, after the national anthem, and we went running across the timing mat and I was off. The first 4 miles or so were all downhill. Now, I train for downhill about as much as I train for uphill…which is never, I prefer flat. So I felt the pain of the downhill, and I felt it mostly in my knee (quick history lesson, I destroyed my left knee about 11 years ago and it hasn’t ever gotten over the pain and torture i put it through, and now it causes me pain and tortures me). I was doomed fairly early on with my knee and it let me know so. SWTriGal and H passed me within the first or so mile, I had no clue they were out there running, so it was cool to see them, even if only briefly.
As I traveled down the hill there was small chatter made with several people, it was cool. As I finished up mile 4, there was this older man in an orange shirt and him and I kept passing each other. The deal with him was he could run longer than me (and my 4 minute running spurts) but I could walk faster than him (on my 1 minute walks). We kept that up till about mile 8 when I just couldn’t run anymore (more on this in a moment) but I did see him at the end and we gave each other a high 5, he told me to keep going I was almost to the end and that was the last I saw of him.
So here’s the deal, and I only know this now because Nike+ told me so. I didn’t pace myself in the first 4 miles, and I’d argue to say that Nike+ is lying to me, but since Nike+ has never lied to me before, I have to take what he told me as truth. I burnt out in the first 4 miles, and I didn’t even think I was traveling that fast, sure, i was traveling a little faster than my usual happy go lucky 13 minutes a mile pace (which really, I’m happy with, I don’t have to push myself to keep that pace). Well, I thought I was traveling a little faster, apparently, I was breaking land speeds (for me).
What you’re about to see will explain why I could barely walk 6 of the 13 total miles.
mile 1: 8’46″
mile 2: 8’21″
mile 3: 9’32″ (blood check said 153, kept to my Cytomax in my bottle and water at aid stations)
mile 4: 7’54″
I don’t travel that fast. EVER! I didn’t know those speeds existed in my legs. And after those speeds, I walked 2 miles.
mile 5: 18’35″
mile 6: 19’04″ (blood check said 88, I at a GU, washed it down with cytomax and water at aid stations)
And then, someone who I’d been chatting with earlier caught up with me and said “Let’s go Courtney” and she got another mile out of me. Another runned mile, and my last one at that.
mile 7: 9’43″
I know I was just done after being with her for not quite 10 minutes, I made it through 1 four minute run, a minute walk, and then like a 2 minute run, and then a walk through the aid station. After that, I told her to go on ahead because I just couldn’t keep up anymore. I was hurting. My left knee was killing me and my right foot was on fire. Well, not literally on fire, but it might as well have been, because that’s how it felt, like it was on fire.
I was limping along for a couple more miles along the river trail, and I think I did ok for not being able to walk completely “right”. I mean, my normal walk pace, is about 18 minutes per mile so I didn’t do too bad here.
mile 8: 18’00″
mile 9: 21’01″ (blood check said 283, to be expected since I wasn’t running any further)
mile 10: 19’38″
But then things got bad. Real bad. I was on the verge of crying it hurt so bad. Well ok, the truth, I did shed a few tears. But the tears came when I was limping along, denying help as it was offered to me at the aid stations, and I was back on the road and people in their cars were cheering “come on, you can do it, you’re almost there” and I know they were talking to me, because you could barely see the people in front of me and the people behind me were little specs.
And I kept going. I told the peeps at the aid stations that I was ok, and that I was going to finish. I passed an officer that was directing traffic and as she opened her mouth, I held up my hand and I said “I’m not quitting, I’m going to finish” and she said “You go girl!”
mile 11: 26’33″
mile 12: 22’31″
mile 13: 20’53″
I finished my race. I started with two goals and I met them, the first being don’t die and the second being finish the race, I did both. And when people started asking me how I did and I said horrible they reminded me that I finished and that was good.
I think the best part came at the end, after I had finished, I had waited by the finish line because I knew GeekGrl was going to come in, and she’s always at the finish line when I finish my tris and so I felt privileged to be at the finish line this time to cheer her in. (yes, I did do a half marathon and she did do a full marathon, but just the same). I also got to see Cindy and DreadPirate. (I find that events are more fun when there’s people I know to talk to afterwards )
I learned a lot throughout the course of my first half marathon. I learned things like just because they say if you have a base of 8 miles you can run a half marathon no problem, doesn’t mean that’s true for you. I also learned that I don’t have to like running, I just have to understand why I’m doing it. I learned that running is all about pain management.
It’s now been 2 days since my first half marathon, and I can walk again almost with no pain, it’s all in the shins now. Yesterday was rough, I was supposed to go swimming, but when I couldn’t make it down the stairs I threw in the towel and went back to bed in a drugged state. I did go for walks yesterday and today, a mile yesterday and 2 today, so I think I’m on the mend. My knee is feeling much better, but because I’m trying to be responsible, I’ve got an appt with the doctor for xrays tomorrow (it’s been 10 years, i’m due for them anyways).
When I finished my first half marathon, I wondered why the hell I had done it. Now, I can’t wait for December when I’ll run 10 miles in an IronGirl event (that’s close enough to a half marathon for me, for now…).