Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Double Digit Run-aka Dallas Rock n' Roll Half

I did it!!!!!! And right around the time I thought I'd do it in to boot! There's so much to say, but first I want to thank everyone for their support and advice. The top two pieces that helped were 1)Don't start off too fast, pace yourself and 2)Take your time at the water/aid stations.

Not starting off too fast was key. I was thinking we were going to do a walk/run combo since the training had pretty much come to a stand still, but Kari thought we could do it as long as we paced ourselves. We aimed to start with around a 12 minute mile pace...and in the end, it worked out to 12:12 miles. I was incredibly happy with that.

Walking through the aid/water stations was also huge. I tried to jog through the first one, ended up gulping my water, and felt it sloshing around for awhile. After that, I walked through them. It was much, much, much better from there on out.

So the race...the night before I was so crazy nervous. We had a lovely diner out at Olive Garden, I nommed on some plain ol' spaghetti and breadsticks, guzzled water, and all was well. Tossed and turned part of the night, but was ready to go the next morning. Our hotel was about 3 blocks from the starting line which meant all we had to do was take a nice leisurely stroll over to the starting corral. We took a few silly pictures and anxiously awaited the 8 o'clock starting time...only it didn't end up being 8, it was more like 8:20ish. They started each corral in it's own wave start, which was nice, but added to the whole "waiting to start anxiety."

Eventually we were on our way, and to be honest, I was still worried the first mile. My legs didn't feel like they wanted to move, let alone move for the next 13 miles. But Kari kept me going, we fell into our pace and kept chatting as we moved along. It really did help that there were so many other people around us doing the same thing, working for the same goal. I kept checking my watch and we stayed really close to 12 minute miles the whole time. There were some hills here and there, but after running in Grand Rapids, honestly they weren't anything too incredibly terrible.

So we ran...and ran...and ran. Through some of the downtown, through the ritziest neighborhoods, and headed back toward the city. It was a long climb up a hill to the midway point, also were we were supposed to see my mom and Rex. I was hoping they made it because I was really ready to ditch my jacket and camera at that point. We spotted them and I awkwardly shrugged off the jacket, gave some high fives, and kept on moving. At the top of the hill, Kari decided she needed to slow the pace, I offered to stay with her, but she waved me on. So, I was off on my own. Without an iPod, just my own thoughts, the course bands, and my legs to carry me. I hit a mental road block as soon as I hit mile 9. It was the farthest I'd ever run before at one time, and I had no idea how I was going to keep going.

Somehow I did and when I hit mile 10, I knew I could do it. I mean, it was just one more 5K and I'd be done. At least that's what I kept telling myself and it worked. I did stop for a quick bathroom break, and discovered...chaffing. No good, very bad chaffing. I'd had a feeling that it was happening, but seeing it made it 100 times worse. No matter, I still had more miles to put in, so I put my game face back on, blocked it out, and told myself I could deal with it later, after I'd crossed the finish line.

The last couple of miles were pretty uneventful, I was in my own zone just trying to get to the end of it all. Mile 12 was tough. I'd thought the end was much closer, and it just stretched on, and on, and on. When I finally turned that final corner and saw the finish line staring me in the face, I can't even describe the excitement I felt! My legs found some energy, a smile plastered itself across my face, and I just ran with such joy. It was AWESOME! I rushed past the finish line, hands in the air, and excitement and pride for having accomplished something so huge. It was an amazing feeling.

Kari came through about 5 minutes later and we posed for pictures, collected our goodies and met up with everyone else she knew, Rex, and mom. Had our medals engraved, snagged our free can of beer, free food, and settled in to watch Better Than Ezra rock out. All in all, it was a really great experience. Gorgeous weather, a great running partner, supportive friends and family. Awesome.


Juli D said...

Congratulations! Chaffing is the worst - but yay you've got your first half under your belt!!

Suze said...

Congratulations! What a cool experience.

Jocelyn Edin said...

Go Monica!!! So proud of you ladies. Awesome.

mbelknap5 said...

Very impressive, Monica! That is a great time. Congrats!