Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Been a Month--Are You Still Interested?

It's been a month, and I have not yet posted a race report for my SLC half marathon experience. Are you still interested? I thought I should document it at least as evidence that yes, I really did it.

I went into the race with very low expectations. I was ill two weeks before the event, so the most I ran in training was 8 miles. I had little confidence I could achieve my goals:
1. Finish before Suzie Petunia finished the marathon! Specifically, under 3 hours.
2. Not walk.

I attended the Marathon Mommies get together and alas, left feeling more discouraged. You women really know what you are doing! I did not feel goo, no rituals, no experience.

There's the setup. But the day of the race, I was excited. I love competitive sports. I miss competing in tournaments and the such. Being with these thousands of people was great. And I loved the familiarity of my surroundings. (One note: I had ran half of the half on two separate instances on a vacation to SLC in March. I think doing this saved me from dropping out.)

I started at a slow pace I knew I could maintain the entire time. I kept the advice of my sister in my mind, "Don't worry about the people passing you. Focus on what you are doing. It is your race. You are OK."

Around mile 3, I saw a sign that said, "Go, YOUR NAME HERE, Go!" This made me smile; I loved it. I also loved all the compliments from strangers about my Marathon Mommies shirt (as they passed me) and having other Marathon Mommies pass me and say, "I'm so and so" to which I would reply, "Sticky Niki."

At mile 5, Suzie Petunia's husband met me with goo...yes, can you believe I used it for the first time actually running this race? My parents cheered me on at mile 7. The leaders of the marathon passed me at mile 9 (which I was thrilled about....I made it to the merged marathon/half-marathon route to see the marathon leaders!).

And then I walked at mile 9, but it was a smart walk. I don't regret it. My body needed to rest. At one point during this walk, I was overcome with emotion: the only way to get where I needed to go was my legs, my body, my endurance. At a couple points during this mile, I thought about starting again, but the voice in my head said, "Take the full mile so you can finish strong."

I started running again as I crossed under the starting arch for the 5K, which my husband had ran earlier in the day. I knew he didn't walk any of his race (although he actually did), so no way was I going to walk that 3.1 miles. Wow! To push myself like I had never done before.

I sprinted the last quarter mile. Sprinted across the finish line. I could hear my mom yelling my name. I finished in 2:57. I achieved my goal and was able to watch my daughter and husband cross the finish line of the children's 1K about 10 minutes later.

I have not run very much since then, about once a week. A couple of the runs have been hard, but I think, "Hey, this isn't anything. You ran a half marathon."


Polliwog said...

What a great race report! I loved reading it. Congratulations; it sounds like you dug deep and conquered. Your report makes me so excited to start training again.

Hannah said...

This was fun to read- I am about to start training for the Hobble Creek 1/2 and this just brought it all back. So glad you were wearing your shirt and I could say hi!

JP said...

oh my word, I'm as lost as anybody! I have no idea how I could've fooled you into thinking I have it all together!!

It just goes to show that we all feel inadequate or unprepared sometimes. It's just that nasty little voice in the back of our heads feeding us a bunch of hooey. You are so awesome and I'm so excited you posted your race experience. You've boosted my spirits on this running thing we seem to do. :)

Kelly(M&M) said...

I have been so anxious to read your post, Niki. It was so heartfelt and real I was in tears. Your race sounds fantastic and I am glad you listened to yourself and walked the full mile. I think it takes more discipline to force yourself to take a break when it is needed. What a great lesson for life! I am so proud of you for pushing through it. You are awesome! Thanks for posting this!

Suzie Petunia said...

It is never "too late" to share a great race report! Thank you for doing this. I am so proud of you. Just so, so proud. I can't wait to do it again some time! And just think... next time you'll be a "gu veteran". :)

tifferbob said...

Yes, I'm still interested! Congrats on your run!

Lindsay S said...

So good to hear race reports about half marathons (all races really)!! (I'm going to do my first in a couple of weeks) Loved reading your post! Congrats on meeting your goal, what a great acomplishment.