Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hi, my name is Laurel...

...and I ran a sub-2:00 half marathon. I'm getting a shirt that says that. Because I did. And I want to TELL THE WORLD.

Laurel Wright            26 F    1:58:02  9:01 (min/mile)

So.. let's recap the magic of the day. And the magic of the whole weekend. On Saturday, Nick and I slept in a little then headed to a family friend's birthday/Memorial Day party. I had a veggie burger, at least 2 kinds of mayonnaise-based salad, lots of veggies and cheese, and 2 beers. And cookies. And half a cupcake. I eat like a champion.
Party number 1 was followed by party number 2, a low key event with yet another beer (Newcastle Founder's Ale.... delicious). Nick and I rounded out the evening with pizza and salad and then lamenting our stomach situation.

Sunday at 5am came way way way too early. We didn't go to packet pickup on Saturday (because that would have infringed on the beer drinking. duh), so we needed to go extra early. The race started at 7:30, and we left the house around 5:20 (I ate 2 eggs and a banana before leaving the house) to give us driving time and also coffee time. Ever important coffee time. We tried one Starbucks that the Internet claimed opened at 5am. LIES! I sucked it up even though running a morning race without coffee seemed like the worst idea ever. We got to the race site and picked up our packets. I found a Starbucks and had a coffee, then split a granola bar and had a Gu with even more caffeine before the race started.

It was a pretty small race (around 1000 finishers, 1200 registered). Between indoor bathrooms and porta-potties, it didn't look like there were any problems with facilities. I didn't see any pre-race water or snacks (although there was pre-race 5 Hour Energy... is that a new thing I missed?). Lining up was easy, Nick and I picked a spot in front of a 65-year old guy who was running (I think) his 78th half marathon. Holy cow. He said he used to be a 2:40 marathoner back in the day, that he had run Marine Corps 8 times, etc. He was pretty neat. He liked that it was Nick's first time. He was a little weird, but very friendly.

We started out, Gus in tow and it was already 70-some degrees and very humid out. My watch had timed out of GPS mode so it started about a minute late. That meant the whole race, my mile splits were way off the markers. Bleh. After the first congested mile, we were around 9:24/mile. With a hill and dodging people. I was pretty sure that my sub-2:00 dreams had evaporated already. 9:09 is the pace for a sub-2, and I thought that 15 seconds, right from the start, sounded insurmountable. The next mile was around 9:10. Decreasing, but still, not. good. I still thought 2:00 was impossible.

Nick and I chugged along comfortably, although we died a little in the sun. I have to admit, the whole time I was bracing myself to fail. Even when a couple of 9:00 (+/- 1 second) miles rolled by easily. Even when we kept passing people. It was unreal to feel so... okay. I had complete faith that Nick would be able to keep up with whatever I did. He's naturally a very good runner, and I think his mental strength is leaps and bounds beyond me. He was depending on me to keep us on track, so I felt like if he was still beside me, we would finish just fine (aww... I know, we're awesome). We took Gus/Blocks at ~4 and 8.5 and grabbed water and Gatorade a few times (TONS of water stops).

I didn't have a real idea of our goal time after the first 4 miles or so, because my watch was so far off the mile markers. I knew we were close. At the 5k remaining, I saw we had ~29 minutes to do the last 5k and finish in around 2 hours. It actually looked like it was going to happen! I may or may not have grouched at Nick as he optimistically narrated the last couple miles of the race. I was still somehow worried that my legs might just fall off me. I wasn't even all that dead tired, I was just... overwhelmed. The last couple miles were hot with a small but mighty bridge to cross. Ugh. When we finished, I didn't even glance at my watch or the course timer, I just gave Nick a huge hug and grabbed water and a medal (pics to come!).

We stretched a while and grabbed some food and waiting for times to be posted... didn't happen. They had the finishers up to ~1:50, but even for 30 minutes or so after the race they didn't update the list. We grabbed food (potato chips! bagel and peanut butter!) and headed home.

Sunday night was a little bit of a dream. I'm so happy and so proud to be able to have shared that race with Nick. He's such a trooper. I don't have enough words to describe how much relief and pride I felt when we were done. Running had become a chore and now I'm like, hey! I can run this afternoon OR NOT... and I actually want to run! My body is not sore at all (except from yard work).

Now onto the next race... Richmond Marathon in November maybe?

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