A week ago I ran my first half marathon, a feat which was both amazing and terrifying at the same time. You see, it is very easy to sign up for a race in February and proudly declare “I am running a half marathon in May” (ya know, when the race is three months away). It is also very easy to map out a training plan that includes both lengthy runs and Crossfit.
But then May comes along and I suddenly realized that 13.1 miles is no joke. And that one 10 mile race I ran in March doesn’t count as proper training. Keeping this in mind it will not surprise you that a week before The Half I felt a range of emotions and barely slept. I was still recovering from my toe incident and wasn’t loving running at the moment.
Friday I went to the race expo and picked up my number:
It was a pretty low number considering there were over 8,000 runners at the Run to Remember.
I grabbed a beer and some dinner after leaving the expo and then spent that night and Saturday relaxing. Saturday night I headed to Ali’s “Carb and Hydrate Party”. There were 12 or so runners there and we hung out, ate some really good food, and drank gatorade. Ali played hostess and photographer:
I was probably home and in bed by 10. The great thing was I had NO problem falling asleep! I had made sure to charge my Garmin and itouch and pack my energy bites and bag for the morning.
The morning of the race I was so damn nervous. Not the “I can’t do this” type of nervous, but more like the “let’s get on with this nervous”. Jack and I headed to Boston’s Seaport around 7 am and from the car to the beginning of the race I managed to only use the bathroom twice.
I waited around with Jack and listened to the music as other runners arrived. My friend Amy came out to take all my pictures and orchestrate her and Jack’s mile 9 spectator/get to the finish line plan. Eventually Ali and a group of her friends found us. It really calmed my nervous energy when I was around a group of people who were about to do the same thing as me!
Around 8:00 I headed to line up at the start line. There were soooooo many people, everywhere! I had originally planned to start alone and stay running alone, out of fear that I would not want to separate from the group if I started with them, but I found myself lined up right with them anyways. It was nice to be able to chat and keep my mind off the 13.1 miles I was about to tackle. I got a couple last minute pictures before the race began:
The first couple of miles was really packed and the pacing varied. During this time I stayed with Ali and crew and we weaved in and out of the other runners. It began at the World Trade Center in the Seaport and through Faneuil Hall up toward Mass General then all along Memorial Drive into Harvard and back. It was pretty cool scenery for a race. At the first water stop I knew I’d need to slow down so I waved goodbye to Ali and blasted my headset.
I made sure the beginning of my playlist was slower music:
- “Two Step” Dave Matthews Band
- “The Sotry of Us” Taylor Swift
- “Wake Up Everbody” John Legend
- “Closer” Kings of Leon
- “Speechless” Lady Gaga
My thoughts were pretty much on people watching. It always amazes me the different types of people who come together to run races. I felt pretty good for the first 5 miles or so and was doing my best to keep a 10:30 pace. My Garmin acted crazy at times (saying I was running 6 minute miles haha) but I was struggling to keep my pace slow. I still had plenty of miles to go.
By the second water station, which felt a gazillon miles from the first, I had eaten quite a few energy gels and was feeling good. Thirsty, but good. The weather was definitely more humid as the day went on and the race continued down Memorial Drive. Around mile 6 I started to think I was crazy for ever signing up for a half marathon. My playlist was still on the slower side at this point but included a ton of U2 songs.
Mile 7 was a God-send because my friend Maureen was waiting to run a few miles with me
. The weekend before, at the Harpoon Race
, I really helped push Maureen when she wasn’t feeling so hot. I distracted her and talked a lot and helped her get through. We devised a plan that would help her pay it forward during my half. I figured I would need the most support in miles 7-10 and boy was I right. I really wanted to walk and told Maureen a million times that I would never make it to the end. I was being a bit dramatic probably.
At mile 9 I was looking forward to seeing Jack and Amy. I didn’t get a picture of them but they got a picture of me and Mo!
Where’s Waldo? I am in the pink behind the girl in the blue shirt and black shorts.
At mile 10, where Memorial drive splits to the Longfellow Bridge toward downtown or to Cambridge, Maureen headed home. Now is when the real race began. My music wasn’t really helping my mind stay in the game. At this point I knew that I needed to think positive and try to take in the experience. Because of the heat and humidity people were passing out all over the place, which led to unsettling thoughts because I was alone. I passed some time snapping pictures with my iphone.
I made miraculously made it through miles 10 and 11 with a minimal amount of walking and made sure to hydrate with both Gatorade and water at the second to last water stop. The last 2.1-ish miles in the race took me through Washington St. in Downtown Crossing. At that point I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I mean, I have heard the term “runner’s high” but this brought it to a whole new level. I was so relieved to see Debbie, one of Ali’s friends, on Washington St. We walked and talked for a tenth of a mile and decided that it was now or never- we have GOT to finish this race!
Ali had warned me not to be fooled when we se the bridge to the Seaport, and she was right, there was still quite a way to go. There were a ton of people cheering. I loved the little kids who were yelling “You are almost there” “It is all downhill from here” “YOU GOT THIIIISSSS”. If that doesn’t give you an energy surge I don’t know what will!
On the downhill I ended up losing Debbie but I saw the finish line and, man, I watned to cross it ASAP.
My brother and his fiance Meaghan surprised me and gave me the little more I needed. Can you believe I was actually smiling when I saw them?
When I crossed that finish line the time was 2:20:55, which is a whole 10 minutes faster than I thought I’d finish in. I almost forgot my medal, but got one and vowed to never take it off. I also swore I would never run another half, ever. Amy warned me to “never say never”.
Jack and Me 🙂
- A FB status update was also in order
World's Best Spectators
- Ali and Me
Amy (the photographer) and meeee
I went to my parents house for a cookout after showering up and drank a few cold beverages and ate a TON of food. They even got me a cake!
I topped my night off with a stop by at Ali’s post race BBQ, by the time Jack and I got there we had a chance to recap the race (again) and hang out for a bit.
It was a long day….
an awesome day….
a day I want to happen all over again soon. (As Amy said…… 😉 )