Sunday finally came, and with it, the Lewis & Clark Half Marathon.
It was early. I don’t really do early.
My job as a copy editor and designer at a newspaper keeps me up late. I typically work 3 p.m. to midnight, give or take, so I’m not exactly a morning person. I try to be in bed by 2 a.m. on most days, and waking up before 10 a.m. is an accomplishment for me. Obviously, dragging my butt out of bed at 4:30 a.m. is not an easy task. I’m more likely to stay up that late.
I got home from work on Friday around 1 a.m. Dan and I stayed up till 2:30 or so, then went to bed. We woke up at 7:30 Saturday morning and tried to keep ourselves occupied so we wouldn’t fall back asleep. After running errands in preparation for the race and having a delicious pasta dinner with another friend who also ran the race, Dan and I called it quits and went to bed around 9. By the time my alarm went off at 4:30, I was actually pretty ready to go. Dan, on the other hand, was not.
I managed to snap a quick photo of Dan before he could stop me. I didn’t bother even asking him to take a picture of me, as I already knew I was treading on thin ice :)
We got to the start pretty early and thus had the pleasure of loitering around in the freezing cold for about an hour. That wasn’t fun. Also, there were still stars in the sky. Things warmed up once the sun started to rise around 7.
We lined up at the 11-min/mile pace marker. The gun went off, but we didn’t get to cross the starting line until about 10 minutes after that, there were so many people — 8,000, assuming the race’s site wasn’t lying.
Dan and I started the race together. We made a brief pit stop at the first drink station. Thanks to the cold and all the waiting around, we both had to pee. Luckily, there wasn’t a line and we only lost about 2 minutes. We ran the first 4 miles or so together at an 11-min pace. After that, he started taking walking breaks, and I kept on running. You can read his account of the race here.
The weather was really gorgeous, once I got my body moving. I started the race in the outfit seen above, plus some old knee socks I cut the toes out of and pulled over my arms. A coworker gave me that brilliant suggestion. I took them off when I warmed up about 4 miles in and tucked them into my waist band. They proved to be invaluable when I needed to blow my nose. Convenient and functional, albeit not particularly fashionable.
I had Gu before the race, and again at 5 miles and 9 miles. That was about perfect. I drank or swished a few sips of water and Gatorade at each aid station. I felt great the entire time.
I didn’t listen to music. I just took in the scenery and thought about each step, how great the weather was, how happy I felt, how funny someone’s T-shirt was, etc. The first 8 miles or so breezed by. Then I was at the point in the race where I was entering new territory.
My longest training run was 9 miles. I was supposed to do a 10-miler, but decided not to because my foot had been bothering me. After I passed the 9-mile mark, I didn’t have the ease of mind that I did during the beginning of the race, because I hadn’t gone farther than that during training.
Despite that, I ran and felt strong for the remainder of the race. Once I hit 10 miles, I realized that 5k was all that stood between me and the finish line. 5k? I could do that in my sleep (I told myself).
When I hit 11 miles, I thought of the rest of the race as the cooldown… a cooldown in which you run faster than you did during the first part of the race. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:12:08, significantly better than my goal of sub-2:30. I didn’t take a single walking break.
It felt wonderful.
It’s crazy to think that at the end of May, Dan and I were waiting to get my test results back after doctors discovered a 10-inch mass on my right ovary. In mid-June, I had significant surgery to remove the benign mass and was in the hospital for 2 days and out of work for four weeks. I didn’t get the OK from my doctor to resume exercise until the end of July. I started training for this at the beginning of August. It’s amazing to think of how far I’ve come since then. The whole experience has been rewarding and fulfilling, and I’m so thankful God gave the opportunity and ability to do it.
Now, to find the next race!