Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013: The Year of AwesoME. Part 1

A long time ago, Briana and I went to Wasatch Running to get some good shoes.  There was a van there that had a bumper sticker on it that said Determined Enough to Run a Half; Not Stupid Enough to Run a Full.  At that time, I decided that "someday" I was going to run a half marathon.

Running has taken a serious back burner since I started in school, but I decided there was no more putting it off.  That half marathon was to happen THIS YEAR.  So in January I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Half and I had Spencer make me a training schedule.  I have not been 100% faithful in my running, but I've been fairly consistent.  Three weeks ago I did a 10-mile run around our neighborhood, and no kidding, it was awful.  I was miserable, I had to walk the last 1.5 miles home, and my knees and feet were killing me.  That was such a downer, and I haven't been running since.  But there was no way I was going to have worked for 8 months and not do that half.  My goal in the beginning was to be able to run the entire distance.  My goal this month turned into "Do the distance."

Today was the big day!  I was feeling trepidation and nervousness.  I was sure the thing was going to take me around 3.5 hours, because we use the term "run" very loosely to describe what I do, plus my training had taken this serious dip.

Spencer and I went to the expo last night to pick up our shirt and race bib.  We went to Fazoli's for some carb loading.  We came home and got all of our stuff together:  my pink jacket, a rain coat, my running clothes, ShotBlocks and Clif Bars, knee braces, phone, headphones, headband, armband--check, check, and check.

We went to bed, and I slept HARD.  The alarm went off (Bruno Mars, "When I Was Your Man"), and at first I thought, "I don't wanna go to work!"  Then I realized this was race day, so even though it was still the middle of the night (3:30 a.m.), I got up.  We got all ready for the day (at least physically, because I was really nervous) and left.  We parked at Cottonwood High School, then got onto a bus, which took us up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the large parking area near Donut Falls.  When we drove around the S-curve, I knew where we were in the canyon.  It felt like it took FOREVER to get to our drop-off, and I thought, "Holy crap!  What have I gotten myself into?  I have to get to the bottom of this!"

We hung out there for about an hour and a half till gun time.  The forecast was for rain.  Luckily, there was no rain, but it was cold.  Still, not as cold as I expected.  I didn't want to take off my coats and long-sleeved shirts and gloves and solar blanket, but I also didn't want to have something around my waist for the entire waist; so I stripped (don't worry, I wouldn't do THAT to anyone), and off we went.

Spencer stayed with me for the first mile.  At that point we caught up to the 3-hour pace group, and he asked if I wanted to stay with them.  I told him I thought I would and to have a good race, so he took off.  I talked to the pacers for a minute, but they were going so slowly that it would have hurt my legs to stay with them, so I went out ahead.  I took 3 potty stops, I think, during the race.  I alternated Gatorade and water at each stop.  I took a Gu when they gave them out.  And I just coasted.  I wasn't trying to run fast, but I was amazed that I was actually passing people (that didn't happen at Ragnar!).  I caught up with the 2:45 pace group, but again, it would have hurt to slow to that pace, so I passed them, too.

My friend from work, Steve, had run his first half earlier this year.  He had encouraged me to make it as fun as I could by talking to people, so I tried.  I mean, partially you get into a zone, and I didn't want to visit, you know?  But sometimes things just came up, and it was fun.

Can you believe it?  I just said it was fun!

Well, I stopped at bathrooms, but then I'd get right back into the run.  I ran till about 10 miles.  After that my legs were pretty dang tired.  But there was this woman who I passed, then she passed me, then I passed her, etc. several times during the race.  We were right together at Mile 12, and I said to her, "My friend's mother says that anyone can run a mile."  She said, "Yes, especially since you've already done twelve miles."  So I ran.  Then I started walking.  She ran past me, looked at me, moved her head to the side, and said, "Let's go."  So we went together.  Then she started walking.  So I walked ahead of her a bit, till she decided to run again.  I kept looking back at her.  When she ran up to me, I said, "Let's do this."  So we ran the last probably about .5 mile.  She gave me a high five when we got onto 1300 E., and we stayed together as we ran into the school parking lot and crossed the finish line together.  She stopped me while we were in the runners' area and thanked me for keeping her going.  Ha!  What a laugh!  She's the one who kept me going.  Her name was Lori, and she said, "See you next year."  I said, "I don't know."  She said, "Yes, you will!  I'll see you next year!"

Y'all, my chip time was 2:35:10, which gave me an average pace of about 11:30 per mile.  For someone who is going FAST if she's going at a 12:00 per mile pace (I TOLD you we use the term "running" loosely), I was so thrilled with my performance.  Best of all, though I'm sore, I'm not dead or injured.

My other two goals for this Year of AwesoME are to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, which we are scheduled to do next month; and to graduate.  I'm totally going to get this done, and completing today's race as well as I did really helped my confidence.  Yay!