Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I did it!

I did it!  

I ran my first half-marathon + .9 miles as it was a 14 mile race (but the race organizers very thoughtfully placed a timing mat at the half-marathon mark).  This past Saturday I ran the inaugural DFW Polar Dash, and I finished. I finished 14 miles in 2:34 and some change.   My half  marathon split was 2:24 and some change.   My goal for my first half was to finish in less than 2:30, so I was ecstatic with my time.

Last year I set out to train for a half several times, and even registered for the Rock and Roll Half.   I found I was not focussed enough to put in the time and mileage to train, or so I thought.  Basically, once I fell off the training wagon, I considered it a wash, and that I would never be able to catch up so I gave up.  Then as it turned out I was deployed for the Rock and Roll Half anyway. Then there was the winter.  I could not get myself to run in the cold.  Seriously, I could not.   Then there was my husbands work schedule.  It was wacky, some days working til 8.  Some days home early and working most weekends.   No regular schedule.  I felt guilty trying to get long runs in when there was not another parent at home with the kids.  And, I was trying to do this in Shona's life vacuum, meaning, no support (outside my awesome husband, who is not a runner), no fellowship with other athletes, etc.

So what changed this year?  Many, many things: 
  •  I think I was way more mentally ready especially after going through a season of triathlons.  After realizing 5k's and even 10ks bored me, I knew I needed to step it up or I would not see any improvements.  
  • I bought cold weather gear.  OH MY GOSH, if you struggle with winter running, cold weather gear make all the difference.  My favorite cold weather gear is a neck gaiter.  It slips over your head and rests around your neck, you can pull it up over mouth and nose if you want or pull it down when you are a little warmer.  I found with my underarmor cold gear base layer, a hat, gloves and a neck gaiter, I need not much else.  The secret is definitely to keep all skin surfaces covered.  I cannot tell you how much of a difference this has made.  I have run regularly 3-5 days a week since the onslaught of cold for DFW which started in Nov this year. 
  • Probably one of the biggest contributors to achieving this goal, is that I signed up to do the Ragnar Del Sol Relay in Feb with some friends.  For those that are not familiar with this race, it is a 202 mile overnight relay race, meaning you are part of a relay team.  For our Team, The Prickly Perritas, there are 12 members.  We each run three legs.  I am runner number 11, so I run leg 11, 23, and 35.  They are approximately 12 hours apart (depending on others paces).   When I registered, I downloaded the Ragnar training plan, and it had a 14 mile long run for this week.  Well, I'll be darned if I am going to run 14 miles and not get a medal.  Essentially, I used this race as a A Ragnar Training run.  And nothing motivates a person more than being part of a team, because you do not want to let the team down. 
  • My husband started a new job with regular 8-5 hours and no weekend hours, freeing up the weekends for long runs if needed.  
  • And probably the best thing that really made me want to achieve this goal is my daughter Phoenix(affectionately referred to as P-nut) has developed this new found love of running and started running the same races I do (Shes faster so we do not run together).  This past weekend she ran the Polar Dash 10K.  This was her first 10k.  She finished 1st in her age group.  
  • I have discovered this amazing running community exists.  I've joined the Dallas Running Club, I have joined an online group called Runners Corner (they are awesome by the way).   I am running Saturday Mornings with the North Texas Roadrunners. Running with people of like minds and being able to share your experiences with them is really cool.  I cannot really say it any better than that. 
  • And I also realized, training is fluid.   If you miss a run here or there, your training is not all for nothing.  For this race I had not run more than 10  miles, but I still finished, and I felt great the entire race.  The last mile was tough, but I did not feel like I hit "the wall" 
 I ran this race with P-nut and some friends from Runners Corner Faccebook group.  Now I use the term "run with" very loosely as we all have different paces so we are not running together.  But we sure are supporting each other and high fiving each other when we see each other on the race course (if we see each other out on the race course).   And we are there at the finish line as people come in.   My friend Liz ran this race too, she one of my crazy Ragnar team members.

I had a race plan:
  • Eat a hearty breakfast of oatmeal with an egg mixed in wth brown sugar and almonds.
  • Drink 16 oz of Nuun infused water
  • Show up
  • Drink more water
  • Line up at starting line.
  • Put one foot in front of other and repeat at a clipped pace.
  • Get water and powerade at every station
  • Get honey stingers and Nuun infused water every time I passed Chris (he's team Gibson race support and transport)
  • At hour 1 suck down a Clif Shot...and every 20 minutes after that.
  • Finish
  • Pat self on back.
When I lined up, I decided to line up with 10:30 race pacer.  I stuck with him until mile five when I had to make a pit stop at "Jon's place"  I was really hoping I could catch back up with him, but I never did.  I really think if I stayed with him I would have easily finished the race with a 10:30 averave pace.

The pit stop though allowed me to see Liz, when I was done visiting Jon, I came up on Liz, said a few words and kept on going, I got to see her when we looped too, giving her high fives.  She had to stop several times to stretch as she was having IT Band issues.  She finished strong and looked amazingly awesome out there.

I felt amazing the first 12 miles.  Then my darn play list ran out of songs and I apparently did not have it set on repeat.  So it defaulted to my entire library starting at A.  The first song was A your adorable, then some horrid Justin Bieber song then Little Drummer Boy.  I had enough.  I did not want to stop, but there was no way I could go through 2 minutes of unknown music.  So I stopped to get my music straight.  I went ahead and allowed myself to walk 1 minute, but I knew if I did not start running again I would never start running again, so I started running  At mile 13.2 I had to fight back tears.  Seriously,  I kept thinking of 271 lb me and was kind of amazed at this accomplishment.  I had to fight back those tears all the way to the finish because I did not want to waste all my energy on crying.  When I saw the finish line, I sprinted to home base.  Got my metal...went to my daughter to see my "crossing the finish line picture".  Yep...there is not one.  Hubby was calling daughter to tell her to take picture while she was trying to take picture and she missed it.  Race organizers did not have photogs  there when I finished.  So I have no photo crossing the finish line of my first half marathon. 

I am ready for Ragnar I think. I am adding multiple runs in one day to sort of simulate Ragnar.  BUt I am really looking forward to my next Half, or a half marathon distance trail run, and yes even a marathon!   This Sunday both me and Phoenix are running the 10 Mile Too Cold To Hold Race.  Im a little worried for her, but she is not, and she told me that if she had to walk the last 3 miles, she would.  She is so not afraid of anything!.

P-Nut and Me before the Race
Runners Corner Peeps

No comments: