You'll never believe who sat in front of me on the bus ride to the starting line: Yanni! Yep, that stunning piano player with the flowing, black hair sat right in front of me. Or maybe it was his twin. Whoever it was, they could win a Yanni-Look-Alike-Contest.
My bus arrived at the starting line about an hour before the race. Here is the procedure:
1) Get off the bus.
2) Immediately go get in a line for the port-o-potty.
3) It doesn't matter that you don't need to go to the bathroom. By the time you've waited your turn and actually get to the front, your bladder will be on the verge of bursting.
4) Panic that the race might start before you even get to the front of the line.
As I was
I broke one of the Unwritten Rules Of Running: NEVER race in the shirt you were given for that race at packet pickup the night before. It makes you look like a newbie. Well, that's dumb. I'm going to wear whatever shirt I want. Plus, I really liked their shirt with the logo "Only Half Crazy".
As we were standing at the starting line I decided I was actually going to race. I was going to go big and see how much I could push myself. Most of the time I slow down a little and just have fun. You know.... just enjoy the experience. I haven't actually "raced" a race for almost a year so I decided I'd give it a whirl. I set my goal: finish Under Two Hours.
A few minutes after the race started we saw an amazing sunrise. The hazy sky really made the light erupt and it looked like the mountains in the distance were on fire.
The sunrise looked irresistibly cool. I couldn't help myself from stopping to take pictures. This makes the plan to "race" a little more difficult when you're constantly stopping to take pictures. I took nearly 50 pictures while I was supposed to be "racing".
There were tons of sunflowers along the road and I knew I'd kick myself if I passed up that photo opportunity.
At mile five I saw something unfortunate: Yanni on the side of the road barfing his guts out. I promise. I have a witness! His name is Jeff. Jeff found me earlier in the day and came up and said he liked my blog. Jeff and I ran for a while and were joined by another guy who said he liked my blog and we swapped marathon stories. Good times were had by all.
Here is an elevation chart from my watch. Toward the top of that hill I almost cried Uncle.
My body has some warning signs when I am pushing too hard: my arms start getting tingly and my back gets really tight. Those started happening in the last 4 miles and I was getting tired. My left calf started to cramp up but I was still able to keep pushing. I knew I'd have to work in those last few miles if I was going to meet my goal.
The last half mile was the hardest but when I saw the finish line I gave one last kick to get me across, and.....I
My mile splits were: 8:24, 8:30, 8:57, 9:07, 9:20, (welcome to Heartbreak Hill) 9:41, 9:39, 9:49, 8:35, 8:55, 8:34, 9:11, & 8:56. I couldn't have been
Jeff and I talked after the race and he did great. Bonus points to Jeff for immediately popping his thumb up for a picture. I always go with the Hitchhiker Thumb in pictures too (unless I'm jumping).
What was really awesome is that my mom was able to come to the finish line. The race was close to her house and it was great to see her. I warned her to not get too close because I was covered in approximately seven gallons of sweat. But she didn't listen.
I had lots of fun at the South Valley Half Marathon. It felt good to really push myself and achieve the goal I had set. My legs are sore after running hard. Try telling my calves that I am "Only Half Crazy."
"Running has taken me in, and continues to comfort, heal and challenge me in all kinds of magical ways. I am not a 'good runner' because I am me. I am a good 'me' because I am a runner."
~ Kristin Armstrong, Author and runner