Posted by: heartfull | April 7, 2008

2:01:47

The St. Louis Half Marathon was Sunday and it was awesome!

My pace team leader hosted a pasta party the night before and everyone was talking about how nervous they were. I wasn’t – but only because I had no goals for the race. I had been injured for the past month and had run very little as a result over the past two weeks. I figured if I could do 10 minute miles I would be happy. Plus, you know, no goals = no pressure.

The team was supposed to meet Sunday morning in front of the courthouse, but I got the time wrong and missed them. While I wanted to see everyone, I actually was a little glad that I wouldn’t have to run with anyone I knew. Again, avoiding all pressure to perform.

The start is divided up by your expected pace and I positioned myself just in front of the sign for a 10 minute pace. When we started running, I realized that my honesty put me in the minority, because I spent the first 5 miles passing people left and right. I was darting around people, jumping up onto the sidewalk, trying not to get boxed in. Granted, I ran faster than a 10 minute pace, but some of these people were walking before the first mile marker. And I was tripping over them – it really messes with the flow of the runner to have liars running the race (do I sound bitter? You should have read my mind during the race – now those were bitter thoughts…) And it wasn’t just the walkers – I passed people who obviously could not have really thought they were going to run 8 or 9 minute miles. Which means they, for some reason, thought it was to their advantage (screw the rest of us) to position themselves in the 8 to 9 minute pace sections even though they were running/walking a 11 to 14 minute paces. Go figure.

By the 8th mile I was hurting. My feet were numb and burning and my body was exhausted. This was where the lack of training due to injuries caught up with me. I swore I would never do this again. Several times. But I kept at it, and though I know I slowed down, I don’t think it was too bad.

At 9.5 miles the half marathon turns around and heads back to the start/finish area. The marathoners branch off for the extra 13.1 miles they have to run. I felt sorry for them.

I stopped seeing the mile markers after mile 9. I only had eyes for the water stations as I had decided after the first one that I had to stop if I wanted to actually get any water or Gatorade in my stomach. Apparently the art of drinking and running is something I have yet to perfect. While I only walked for maybe 10 seconds – enough time to drink 6 ounces or so – it was enough to keep me going and keep me dreaming of the next water station.

I was getting really discouraged that I didn’t seem to be making any progress. As I said above, my quest for water stations apparently made me blind to mile markers and I didn’t think I was ever going to get to mile 10. Then all of a sudden I heard a volunteer call out that this was the last mile. I was pleasantly surprised (if anything about a half marathon can be described as pleasant, that is) and picked up my pace a little. I started to hear the announcer encouraging people across the finish line, the spectators started to get thicker and, finally, the gigantic US flag signaling the start/finish area was in sight.

I couldn’t believe how much my body hurt at the end. But, honestly, it was a good hurt. Today, I’m on continuous Ibuprofin, as the hip pain that kept me from a solid training schedule for the past month is still present and really, really mad at me for not listening.

Next up: St. Louis Track Club’s half marathon in October. Under 2 hours. See ya there!

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Responses

  1. I’m very proud of you. Averaging 9.5 minute miles through that kind of pain is no small accomplishment.

  2. Woohoo!!

    good for you for sticking with this!

  3. Congratulations! You did good!

  4. This is so inspiring to me. Adam signed us up for a half marathon in August, and it is so nice to hear from a “real” person as to how she got through it. I’ve had injuries and setbacks, but am now on course with the training. I go MUCH slower than you do—I average 12 min miles. My goal is to run from water station to water station.

    I am so incredibly proud of you. What a rockin’ mama.

    xoxo
    steph


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