April 23, 2012

my legs are dead.

Well.  I finished half marathon #2.  And I finished in under two hours.  So Saturday was definitely a success!  I wasn't so sure it was going to end up like that though.

Friday night we attended the rehearsal dinner for our good friends.  Christopher was in the wedding.  I, being the idiot that I am, ate too much food.  And we stayed up a little later than we should have.  And I was definitely feeling the effects of both choices Saturday morning.  My stomach felt gross and I was so tired.  I definitely had to force myself to each a piece of peanut butter toast in the morning.

My dad picked me up at 6:15am for the 7am race start.  One of the nice things about this race is that it wasn't too big, and wasn't downtown, so getting to it was MUCH easier than previous races I had done in town.  But I still didn't give myself enough time to comfortably stand in the porta-potty line.  I was just hoping and praying and I wouldn't need to go during the race.

I decided to line up between the 1:55 and 2:00 pacers.  I had seen the pacing guides that both were going to follow, the 2:00 pacer was supposed to start out with a 9:40 and a 9:30 mile, and even though I didn't want to start out too fast, I also knew I didn't want to start out that slow either.  The course wasn't supposed to be too hilly, but I knew the end was hillier than the start and I personally wanted to 'bank' some time.


My friend Dani, who also had signed up for the race somewhat on a whim, found me at the start line.  She had a previous PR of around 1:57 I believe, but also hadn't completely trained for this race, so she wasn't going in with any time goals.  We chatted a bit, I popped a couple of honey stingers, a couple minutes later the national anthem was played, and suddenly it was go time!  In the first mile I ended up passing the 1:55 pacer.  It was so congested in that area (not surprising), I just had to get out.  The first mile flew by, but honestly I think they had the course marked incorrectly for a bit.  I knew my GPS was a little off, and we hit the 1 mile marker before it did.  The rest of the race my GPS hit the mile markers first.

Honestly this course was quite possibly the least exciting scenery for a run.  We went through some commercial areas, a few neighborhoods, nothing awesome.  But the good part?  It was RIDICULOUSLY flat.  The hills that were there were nothing to be scared of, and honestly we didn't really do a hill at all until maybe mile 7.  It was great.  I most certainly wouldn't have finished as fast as I had if it weren't for the flat course.  Hills are NOT my friend.  The weather was also amazing.  About 42 at the start I think, but it didn't feel chilly at all as soon as we started running.

Dani and I hadn't planned to run together, but ended up staying side by side the entire race.  Even though we didn't say a word to each other (well I did say sorry when I practically swiped a cup of water out of her hands, whoops :o), it was so nice to just know she was there.  Sometimes I wanted to slow down, but I didn't want to lose her, so I just kept on trucking along.

I was feeling really good through the first six miles.  My stomach had evened out, we were holding a good pace, really it was shaping up to be a good run.  The all of a sudden the 1:55 pacer flew by us.  It definitely surprised me a bit, not because I felt like I would be able to stay ahead of her, but for the longest time she was a good distance back.  I knew if I wanted to stay under two hours I couldn't really slow down.  Shortly after that was when we started in on the hills.  Again, nothing major, but enough to make the pace a little tougher to hold.


Shortly after the nine mile mark my family was waiting for me.  It is amazing what a brief moment of cheering from them can do for my morale.  With a high five and only four miles to go, I felt like I had it in the bag.  Except I didn't.  I hit a wall right around the 10 mile mark.  Not surprising at all, my longest training run was 10 miles, and my mid week runs were much shorter than they should have been.  Again, it was having Dani by my side that kept me going.  I mean, I couldn't let her beat me by too much, could I?  :o)  The next two miles went by really slowly.  I felt like every step was a struggle.  But I couldn't give up.

Not long after the 12 mile mark I just couldn't hang.  I was so tired, I could feel the exhaustion all over my body.  I just wanted to stop.  Just for a minute.  So I did.  Dani turned around and gave me a definite 'what the hell are you doing?' face.  We were so close to the end.  But thankfully she turned around and just kept going.  A guy behind me yelled out, "Don't stop!  You're almost there!"  I mumbled an "I know…", and then as he passed me I couldn't help but laugh.  He was dressed up in an all out Dorthy costume (we were running the Wickedly Fast Half Marathon, part of the Oz Marathon).  I'm so happy he ran by me.  It put a smile on my face and a little pep in my step.  I started running again and caught up to Dani.

that would make you smile too, no?

The last half mile was still hard.  I could see the finish line but I just couldn't get there.  Finally we passed the 13 mile marker, and I decided it was now or never.  I just wanted to be done.  So I did my best to sprint.  HA.  I don't think I was going all that fast, but man it felt like work.  Dani picked up her speed too and we crossed the finish line at the same time.  I thought our time was somewhere just over the 1:56 mark. 

I'm not sure I'd ever been so happy to be done running.  I know I looked like a hot mess as I crossed the finish line (there is photographic evidence, but I'm choosing not to share :o).  I tried to stop and let a volunteer cut the timing chip off my shoe, and started more or less falling over.  I was drained.  It was a bit embarrassing :o).  As soon as I stopped running all he muscles in my lower back and down the back of my legs started screaming in pain.  It sucked, but it also felt kind of good to know I had pushed myself to the max.  I didn't have anything left.


My first stop was the bathrooms.  By that point I had to pee like crazy.  Then I chatted with Dani and my family for a bit, grabbed a bagel piece and a banana, and hopped in the car to go home.  Even though I knew I needed it, I couldn't choke down the food.  I took a bite of the bagel and wanted to spit it out.  Nothing sounded good.  When we got home I managed to eat a chocolate chip muffin.  Apparently chocolate always sounds good :o).  Then I got on the computer to look up my official time.


My first reaction was "$#%^&*!!  I missed going sub 1:55 by six seconds!  Are you kidding me?  Why am I always so flipping close?"  Chris of course rolled his eyes, "Nothing is ever good enough, is it?"  Well no.  Because I know I could have done better.  I could have been more careful with my diet on Friday so I felt better before the start.  And surely I could have made up six seconds somewhere right?  In the long run I know I gave it everything I had that morning.  My body will definitely attest to that.  But six seconds?  JUST SIX.


Oy.  The good news?  I accomplished my goal.  My PR is a sub 2 hour half marathon.  That is indeed quite awesome.  And yes I am most certainly proud.  Just a little irritated too :o).  I finished 17/103 in 25-29 females, 82/556 out of all the females, and 264th overall.  Not too shabby.

So lets review my mini goals for the week…  run a half marathon in less than two hours, check.  Do 20 push-ups for days out of the week, check.  Lose a pound, well, not even close.  We ate out a lot Friday-Sunday, and I enjoyed some (ok several) adult beverages for the first time in a long time Saturday night, and it is definitely showing on the scale this morning.  But I guess two out of three ain't bad right?

My goals for next week…

don't gain any weight (being realistic, it's my birthday week :o)
run/walk 12+ miles
do 25 assisted pull-ups


Did anyone else race this past weekend?  Have a race coming up? 


AWD said...

Congrats on making your goal! My fastest time ever was 2:34 and I DREAM about being sub 2:30. Your post was actually got me thinking about running another:-P

Amy said...

Oh Ashley, you need to give yourself more credit girlfriend, that time is awesome!!!

My 2nd half marathon is this weekend and I KNOW I won't come close to finishing under 2.

So proud of you!!

Jessica said...

Congratulations on accomplishing your goal! 1:55 is an amazing time!

Amber said...

You did great! Such a good job :) I am running my Second Half Marathon this Sunday, with a Friday Night Dinner party and my son's Fifth Birthday Party on Saturday. So nothing busy at all leading up to it, haha, I'm such a poor planner.

BUT it starts two blocks from my house, so I figure I can roll out of bed and go do it. I run 10+ miles on a weekly basis (though not recently with lots of family sicknesses) so I'm a little nervous. Trying to go Sub Two Hours too. Wish me luck :) And GREAT WORK!

The Bignon Family said...

Yay!!!!! So excited for you! What an awesome race!

Meredith said...

Congrats on going sub-2 hours! That's amazing!

Sarah and Derek said...

You did AWESOME! Stop being hard on yourself, you did great!

Laura Payette said...

NICE JOB! That's so impressive. All your running accomplishments are making me itch to be able to run again. Just gotta get this baby out and pass my 6-week postpartum check. I know it'll be a long road back, but my goal is also to run a sub-2 hour half. My PR (from before baby #1) is 2:01:46. Keep up your amazing work!

Amber said...

Congrats on running a half marathon! What a huge accomplishment and 6 seconds is so close but thats amazing to run that far. So impressive and you are definitely an inspiration

Sharstin said...

way to go gal!

Kristin {Sea Cow Circus} said...

Way to go! Such an inspiration :) I can totally relate to the chip-cutting-off experience - at my 10K I thought they were a little pushy and unsympathetic when they wanted me to put my foot up on a barrel so they could cut my chip. I wanted to remind them I just killed myself coming in strong, but I don't think they cared :) It's my birthday week, too - happy birthday!