Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon Sept 1, 2012
I’ve been waiting for this moment all summer. I’ve trained the past eleven weeks for this day to come: my very first half-marathon. I will not call it a mini-marathon, because those of you have run them, know that there is nothing mini about 13.1 miles. My training started out well, running four days a week with just a few miles each day. But it quickly added up to where I was running 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and then 10 mile runs. Those were the worst, but once I hit my 12 mile training run, I knew that I could run 13 miles. I had taken the week before my race off from running and tried to focus on nourishing my body the best I could. My pre-race dinner also coincided with a friend of mine’s graduation party at P.F. Changs. I had to make the best decision possible. I opted for a nice piece of salmon with steamed veggies and brown rice. I got to bed around 11:00 PM and prayed that I would wake up on time for my race.
5 AM is early for any day, but especially for a Saturday morning. I got up, got ready, ate breakfast, and headed out for the race. Downtown Indianapolis is difficult for me to navigate on any given day, but especially today because it’s early, it’s dark, and roads are blocked off due to the race. I had no idea where to park (luckily my husband was driving and he just dropped me off and took care of parking).
It’s now 7:00 AM. The sky is dark and the air is humid. The sky looks as though it could open up at any moment and allow the rains from Isaac to fall down on us, but thankfully it doesn’t. We line up at the start line and wait for the gun to go off. I’m with my friend, Patty, and we are ready to go. Finally it is time and we start running. I looked down at my GPS and saw that our initial pace was way to fast for us to maintain for 13.1 miles. I advised her that we needed to slow down. So we began to run at a comfortable 9:22/mile pace. I was feeling good. My breathing was easy, my legs felt strong, I was confident.
We passed mile marker 1, then 2, and then 3. We were averaging a little over a 9 minute mile, which is perfectly fine with me. Patty was doing great. We were laughing, popping some bloks, and drinking water along the way. I noticed by mile 5 she was starting to slow down. At this point, she looked at me and told me to go on ahead. From this point on, I was alone. I ran and ran trying to keep my pace between a 9:00/M and 10:00/M pace. I was feeling quite pleased with myself at around 6.5 miles because I knew I was halfway done. My husband was waiting for me around this time to cheer me on at the midway point, to keep my going.
I kept checking my GPS to watch my pace and see how far I was along the course. Soon I past mile 8, 9, and then 10. I was in the home stretch, the last 3 miles of the race, only a 5K to go. I had run many 5Ks before, so this should be no problem. But right when I hit mile 11, I hit my wall. My legs began to slow and feel heavy, I was coming out of my runners high. I so badly wanted to walk, but as I looked around me and saw so many other women walking I urged myself to go on. I was giving myself pep talks in my head. I pushed although my body was begging for a break. I ran through downtown and saw the Indianapolis State Museum. I knew I was close to the finish, a man in the crowd cheered for us telling us the end was just around the corner. Well – that was the longest corner EVER. I could see the finish line, I could see women picking up their pace and passing me. But I wasn’t racing them, I was racing myself. I knew that I was giving it all I had and I simply couldn’t not go any farther. I came to the last 0.1 of the mile, my husband was there waving at me and cheering, they announced my name over the loud speakers and I have finished.
Volunteers handed me my finisher’s medal, a rose, banana, and a bottle of water. My legs were shaky, my chest was heaving, and I was light-headed. I really thought for a moment I was going to pass out, but I didn’t. I peeled back my banana, scarfed it down, chugged my bottle of water, and began to stretch. I had mixed emotions as I sat there and reflected on my race. I was proud that I had run 13.1 miles. It was something I never thought I could do. I just started running in October of 2011 and since then I’ve run 5 5Ks, a 10K and an 8K, but I never thought that I would be able to run a half marathon. But at the same time, I was disappointed with myself because I wanted to finish in 2 hours or less. I missed my goal by 2 minutes. I go back and forth every time I think about it.
I’m still deciding if I want to run another half marathon or not, so I can achieve my 2 hour goal. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. It is still to early to tell. All I know is that it has been 24 hours since my race and my whole body aches. I see some anti-inflammatories, arnica-gel, and the hot tub in my foreseeable future. Until my next race….