I was hoping to log on a lot earlier and write about my half marathon but haven’t had a chance what with lots going on at home and work. Gosh I wish I had more time to blog!!
I headed out to the San Antonio half marathon Saturday afternoon from Austin. I had to get there by 5PM to pick up my bib and packet and so had the pedal to the medal to ensure extra time for my getting lost (not unusual, but happens less often with my trusty little GPS, my new BFF!!). I arrived there with an hour to spare and then joined a friend who was there with her running club at La Foccacia for some carbo loading. Enjoyed a real tasty veggie pasta with loads of bread and water. (Well worth 10 weeks of running.)
I had a pretty crappy sleep. I don’t sleep well in hotels and it didn’t help that I had to wake up at o-dark hundred, 4:30 the next morning to mosey on out the door. So yes, at 4:30, I got up, showered (don’t usually do before a run, but I needed help waking up) and drove to the AT&T Center. I joined a few thousand other folks and camped out for the hour before we started. No one told me that the walk to and from the shuttle would be about a mile each way! HELLO!! Can we include that in the 13.1 miles because it HURT to walk that after 13.1 miles!
Because I was in corral 18 we didn’t actually get to the start line until about 8:15 (the race started at 7:30). And mind you, I think I was actually with corral group #22 or 23 as I had expected to have some calf issues and so thought I’d give myself the extra time to walk most of it.
To my delight, I had no calf issues! Nor did I have any knee issues which I was also expecting. I have to believe that that was in part to a couple of things, 1) my not running the week prior, and 2) my purchasing a neoprene calf brace. The latter I have to believe made a huge difference as I really don’t feel that I would have gotten even half way through the run had I not worn it. By mile 10 I was spent. Up until then I’d only been wearing one earplug on my iPod so I could still take in the moment and the experience. By mile 10 I had both earplugs in so I could lose myself in my head and music and pretend to not feel the tightness in my legs and discomfort in my hips.
When I hit mile 13 I was in 7th heaven soooooo glad to not be running the full marathon! (Kudos to my friends who run full marathons. I am in awe of you!) After I crossed that finish line I only had one wish — to get the hell out of there and get back on the shuttle. For the amount of accomplishment it gave me, I was needing a shower, a couch, and some serious food. I made my way through the exit area and gathered up a banana, apple, chips, waters, and a bagel. I couldn’t eat them fast enough I was so ravenous. The walk to the shuttle was excruciating and I was afraid to sit down or stretch as I was worried I’d never get up!! It was a relief to see my fellow half-marathoners on the shuttle let out the same “Ooooo, ouch” as we all stood up in the shuttle to exit and walk back to our cars. I wasn’t the only one in pain!
But despite it all, I was so proud of myself and thrilled to have accomplished what I set out to do 10 weeks ago. It was tough, but oh so worth it. Right behind my youngest daughter’s natural childbirth, it was an extraordinary feeling of empowerment and pride. For all those nay sayers who complain about walkers in marathons or half marathons, or run/walkers, plodders … we’re here to stay! I ran and walked among a group of athletes of all different sizes, shapes, and ages and not one of them is less deserving of being there. Whether you walk it or run it, a half marathon is hard. If it were easy we’d all be out there doing it.
Will I do it again? Hell yeah!! In fact, already eyeing the Austin half in February or Zooma in March. I may opt for Zooma as that gives me time to incorporate some exercises and gym sessions that I gave up at the gym for fear of hurting myself. I’ve missed my gym!!
I’m grateful to my friends and family who have been so supportive and encouraging through it all. I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by people who always pick me up when I’m down, literally and figuratively.
One last thing, my favorite, FAVORITE part of the run … around mile 9, we came around a corner and a little guy, all of maybe 7, was shouting, “You’ve got to believe in yourself.” That I did little buddy. Hope you’re there again next year.