Iron Girl Half Marathon, Columbia, MD April 2014
Picture by kind stranger
It was awesome. I am so glad I did it! Even in the last few miles, when I was struggling, I didn't regret signing up. It was so exciting, and exhausting. I'm still amazed I did it. I went from couch potato to half-marathoner! If someone had told me three years ago I'd run a half-marathon before I was 45, I would never have believed it.
Now, I feel like I can say "I'm a runner!" Not just "I run."
I'm a runner!
The event started an hour late because some cones along the route were misplaced and the Howard County Police were concerned, either that runners would get off course or that runners would get hit by cars. At 0700, I positioned myself in the corral with the 11:30 pace group, and waited. Long story short, at 0730 we were told to go ahead and leave the corral and hit the portalets again. It was about 45 degrees ... imagine 978 shivering, mostly-scantily-clad women huddling together in a starting gate! Everyone was tensed up against the cold, so we all moved around and warmed up again, grumbling and grousing. At 0755 they herded us back into the gates and we were off at 0800. This time, I moved in with the 12:00 pace group, and I'm glad I did!
Pace at the top -- I am really happy with how even my pace was through almost 2 hours of running. The elevation is in green. That uphill just before 7.5 was ferocious!
I normally run solo, but for 13 miles, I didn't want to run alone for fear I'd get too absorbed into every little ache or pain (or fall prey to negative thoughts). The two ladies leading the 12:00 pace group kept us at a pace closer to 11:15-11:30. It was very hilly, and we went up the hills at a faster pace, and caught our breath on the downhill side for the first half of the run (trust me, that's a little easier; sustained downhill running is very jarring). I had such a good time running with the pace group. It made it so much more fun, and the miles just flew by!
There weren't many spectators along the main part of the route, except for the water stations every 2 miles. But around mile 11, close to the mall and the finish line, there were more spectators cheering us on, and it made it easier to find enough energy to keep going. The spectators were pretty smart -- "Only one more hill to go!" Those hills were terrible! The second half was mostly uphill.
I was so happy to see that finish line. I was really, really tired. It had gotten to the point where it didn't matter if I was running uphill or downhill, I was just exhausted. I was so surprised to come in at 2:31. I really didn't think I'd manage that pace. When I stopped for the tag guy to take my timing chip off, I thought I was going to fall over. What hurt the worst, immediately, was the boot camp callouses on the outside of my big toes (if you've ever worn Navy boondockers, you'll understand those callouses). I took my shoes off and walked around in my toe socks for a while, and wore sandals to work Monday. Aside from the toes, my I-Bands hurt, but today, 2 1/2 days later, it's subsiding. I might even run a bit Friday.
I honestly could not have asked for better weather. 45 - 50 degrees, humidity around 50%, beautiful sunshine, and a cool breeze. Awesome.
Here I am at the Iron Girl 5k last year.
To my left is a half-marathoner. Both years I ran that 5k, I was in awe of the women who ran the half; to me, that was like running to the moon. In this photo, I wasn't thinking that I would be running a half on the following year. But every time I saw a pink 13.1 sticker on a car, I wanted to earn one too. It just seemed impossible. Me? Run a half? I could barely manage a 5-miler!
But I'm not this person anymore ....
I'm this person now!
Navy-Air Force 5-Mile, D.C., Sept 2013
I am looking at the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon next. Runs through DC and past all the big memorials. September 2014! I'm so excited! Who wants to sign up with me?
Thanks so much to everyone who supported me through the last few years. Running is a very selfish thing, and I imagine it gets tiresome listening to me babble on all the time about I-Bands, pace, complaining about the humidity, how hungry I am all the time ... thanks particularly to "Slick" from this blog, who bears the brunt of all my runbabble!
Tillie, me, Slick after a rough morning climbing the walls in 2012