Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Downtown River Run Half Marathon Race Recap

I am officially a half marathoner (can I say half marathoner? I know people say they’re a marathoner when they finish a marathoner, so why not for a half?) This Sunday was the Downtown River Run. I signed up for the race a few months ago on a whim. This race featured a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and a newly Boston Qualifier full marathon. I really wanted to sign up for the 5k, but I knew this year I wanted to complete a half, so before I wimped out, I signed up quickly. This past week, I was crazy nervous. I would just be sitting and my desk and suddenly want to scream out in excitement and nervousness. I was really worried about not being able to sleep the night before, but surprisingly I slept like a baby (why do people say this when babies are constantly waking up?) a person who sleeps really well.

Begin race recap:
I woke up at about 5:30am. The race didn't start until 8:15, but I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to use the bathroom, and digest my food. I arrived at the race at around 7:45. I met up with a friend who was there to cheer me on. She was great at keeping me positive and reminding me how hard I’ve worked. I wasn't really sure if I should warm up before the race because my plan, if executed correctly, was to run slow in the first half and gradually increase during the last half of the race. I decided on a quick little jaunt down the road, it was probably only a .25mi jog, but it helped my nerves a little. Two minutes before the start of the race I lined up near the backish. The national anthem was sung and we were off, right on time! My race plan was to keep the first few miles at about a 9:30/mi pace. The first mile came and went incredibly quickly, I checked my watch 8:57. Dang, I have got to slow it down! The next 3 miles went by equally as quickly and without any problems.
Miles 1-4: 8:57 / 9:22 / 9:27 / 9:27

The next couple miles were a little confusing. This was an out and back course along the Truckee River path, and near the turnaround point we were supposed to come to a fork and go to the right and exit the river path and run on the road by Patagonia, and then loop around into a park and back onto the river path, this was all according to the course map posted online. However, when I approached the fork, runners who had already completed the loop and running back towards me were coming in from the right. So the group of runners I was running with all veered the left and entered the park first. There were no signs or volunteers in the area to direct us which way to go. I told my husband he could wait for me in the park to cheer me on, I told him the time I expected to be in the park, but because we ran through the park first, he was not there. Suddenly I felt kinda sad, I was counting on him to help lift my spirits and keep me going strong. We looped around onto the road and right as I passed Patagonia, there he was with Casper cheering me on (he apparently didn’t feel like going into the park and had only arrived along the street 3 minutes before I approached, perfect timing). His presence worked and I felt refreshed again. During mile 7 there were 2 women who were running right behind me. One of the women must have been really tired because the other woman was coaching her, telling her to imagine the eyes of her favorite person, and think of every detail. She also suggested saying the alphabet backwards. I’ll have to remember some of those “get your mind of the pain and tiredness” tricks.
Miles 5-9: 9:27 / 9:27 / 9:16 / 9:09

During the next few miles, things were starting to go downhill for me (unfortunately the race course was not). Every incline, big or small, felt like a giant mountain. My legs started to feel as if they didn't want to support my weight anymore. It was weird; they didn't hurt or feel that tired, they just felt wobbly. This part of the half marathon is where the real race is supposed to begin, according to some articles I read. Those who started out too fast will start to fade and because I started out slow, I was supposed to fly by them. Hmm, yeah, that didn't happen. I didn't necessarily get passed by that many people, but I think I only passed 3 people total (one was walking). I actually thought about walking during the last two miles, I was mentally and physically done with the race and on an incline, but I knew I would be embarrassed later to tell everyone that I walked, so my pride kept me going. Around this time I checked my Garmin and was trying to do the math to figure out if a sub 2hr race was still possible. I would have to run the next 2 miles in under 9:30 to make it. It was going to be a close one. During this part of the race I was supposed to be steadily increasing my pace until the end. I honestly felt that I was slowing each mile. I rounded the corner to home stretch of the race and I glanced at my watch. It read 1:59:10 already, and I still had the .1 mile to go. In my head, I knew I wouldn't make it. But, there was a runner a little bit ahead of me, so I thought since I wouldn't make my goal, at least I could beat this guy. I took off at a full sprint and passed him, I honestly was going to slow back down, but I thought, eh, what the hey, finish hard. I crossed the finish line feeling like I wanted to pass out. I made sure to stop my watch right as I crossed. Looked down at my time and felt elated. My watch said 1:59:47!!!! I did it! A sub 2 hour half marathon! I am so glad that there was a guy that I really wanted to pass in the end, otherwise I would not have made it.
Miles 10-13: 9:09 / 9:02 / 9:11 / 8:56 / 6:20 (last .1mi)

Rounding the corner to the finish

Looking back at me splits, I apparently was not slowing down when I thought I was in last couple miles. After the race, I collected my medal and met back with Amy and some other runners from the running group I run with. Amy decided to be a race bandit and run the 5k, and Luis placed 3rdoverall in the 5k. I have to admit, during those last 2 awful miles, I was thinking I would never do a half marathon again, only 5k’s for me, but now, I am excited to do my next one.

Amy and I

I was excited to see this one because it looks like I actually
land mid foot!

Official Final results:
Time: 1:59:48
13th out of 40 in AG; 213th overall out of 488

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