Saturday, July 18, 2009

11 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, July 13th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 14th 2009: 5 miles in 49 minutes. This was my first run after twisting my ankle over the weekend. It was sore and tight and it made me worried for the upcoming half-marathon.

Wednesday, July 15th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Double ugh.

Thursday, July 16th 2009: 3 miles slow. Mel and I went out for our last run before the Bryce Canyon race. We planned to take it easy and did 11 minute miles for the first two then walked the last mile.

Mel's foot, hip, and knee have been hurting and started acting up. Over the last eight months I've learned something important about running: something is always going to hurt. Always. We are always nursing and babying some part of the body that isn't performing up to standards. The pain or soreness seems to travel from one body part to another, but it's always somewhere. Always.

Friday, July 17th 2009: Rest. We drove with the Cowden's to our KOA campground in Cannonville where the Bryce race ended. There was a pretty cool sunset:

Saturday, July 18th 2009: Bryce Canyon Half Marathon: 13.1 Miles in 1 Hour 56 Minutes!

We stayed in a little cabin with the Cowden's which consisted of a bunk bed and twin bed. And a little table fan. It was, um, cozy. We woke up at 4:15am to get ready to catch the shuttle to the beginning of the race at Ruby's Inn. Obviously thrill and excitement were brightly radiating from my face. Yea, I can make my face show the opposite of how I'm really feeling.

This race was very well organized and supported. There were lots of drink stations and a hefty supply of Port-O-Potties at the start. There was nobody who had to make this move at the starting line:

I ran the first 7 miles with Mel Cowden. There were some huge down hills which helped us go faster but our legs paid for it later. Around mile 7 there was a moderate up hill so I pushed hard up it and gained a little time.

I was tired by mile 8. The magical moment happened at precisely mile 8.8. The magical moment when I start to question my sanity. I realized that no sane human being in their right mind would ever do this to their body. This should be illegal. There were a few points where I wanted to quit. I wanted to just walk to the finish line. I wanted to give up. I wanted to curl up in fetal position and suck my thumb.

Then I saw a sign that somebody had hung up on a road post for their family member. It said something like "Keep Going Brittney! No Pain, No Gain." For some reason that gave me a boost. It made me feel good to think about all the many family members who are such a strong support. So I kept going.

I was able to keep a good pace for the last mile and was so relieved to finally see the finish line. I was able to achieve my goal of finishing under 2 hours with a time of 1 hour 56 minutes, and beat my last half-marathon time of 2 hours 3 minutes. I was happy. My parents left their motel to be at the finish by 6am before the road was closed. That really meant a lot to me and Mel. The minute breakdown for each of my 13 miles was:

Mile 1: 10:17 minutes
Mile 2: 9:36
Mile 3: 8:00
Mile 4: 8:16
Mile 5: 8:31
Mile 6: 8:22
Mile 7: 9:18
Mile 8: 8:07
Mile 9: 9:40
Mile 10: 9:12
Mile 11: 8:43
Mile 12: 8:58
Mile 13: 8:30

This was Mel's first race ever and she hasn't been training very long. She hadn't reached the finish by the time we expected and I started to get nervous. I knew something wasn't right. I ran back up the route to find her. When she saw me she started crying. She said she was crying because she was happy someone came to "rescue" her, and because her knee had started hurting really bad in the first mile and she struggled through the rest of the race. I felt so sad for her. She is doing a little better now and said that still said it was a good experience that she'd do again because of the sense of accomplishment she felt. I am so proud of her.

There was a big gang of friends who ran the race also. It was kind of like being at a big block party. We missed the Dansie's and Darrel Humphries, but here is the rest of the gang at the finish line:

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