Oct 12, 2008

my day as a (half) marathoner.....

The alarm went off at 7. 

Holy cow...it's race day. Once again I think..."what was I thinking when I signed up for this?" But I have already paid my money and I'm too cheap to not at least get a shirt for that so... I get out of bed and try to figure out what one wears to run when it's 22 degrees. Let me repeat that...its 22 degrees. I'm not even sure I CAN run when its that cold. I decide to go with the 'zero gravity, wonder woman sports bra", dri-fit shirt topped off with a pink running sweatshirt (which I think looks quite nice with the pink stripe on my nike's),sweats, hat, gloves and handwarmers. One bowl of cheerios and one cup of coffee and we're off. 
On the way downtown, Tom "encourages" me by telling me that he's heard this is the 'worst and hilliest' run around. He makes some groaning noises as I describe the course and finishes off the pep talk by commenting on how few people are at the starting line. ( I think he thought my chances of actually coming in last were pretty high...especially with so few competitors). 
I jump out of the car, after a good luck kiss and an "I hope you don't die" embrace to join the other runners.
I quickly find a few people I know and we huddle together, trying to keep warm. All around us runners are jogging around, stretching, etc.  and I start to feel insecure about my 'warm up" (which consisted of flexing my legs while sitting on the seat heaters in my car) so I throw in a few knee bends and lunges. A few minutes later we're ready to start....

Gun goes off! Michael Jackson is singing "wanna be startin' somethin'" on my ipod and I feel empowered to be a part of the "small-ish" swarm of bodies pounding the pavement.

Mile 1: Feeling good. Starting to get a little sweaty so I ditch the dollar store hat. There are a lot of people passing me at this point as everyone falls into their pace. WOW! I start to wonder "how long until people stop passing me!"

Mile 2:I thought I was seroiusly kicking butt at this point because it had only been like 7 minutes since mile 1. My accomplishment was short lived, however, because a few minutes later I passed another "mile 2" sign and realized that the first ego-crushing sign was for the full marathon (which was going on concurrently.) By the way....People are still passing me.

Mile 3-6: Basically uneventful except for the soreness I started experiencing in my toe. I walked for about a minute to shed my sweatshirt and gloves and decided that I run faster when listening to 'bust a move'.....  

Mile 6:My terriffic dad shows up on the course to give me water and shed some tears. I hope it was because he was proud of me and not because I looked like I might end up in a medical tent. 

Mile 7: Some lady in front of me dropped her really nice running glove which I bent down and grabbed. I then spent the next mile trying to catch her. I think that really helped my time! Maybe if I ever do this again someone should run in front of me with a donut or something so that I'm actually chasing them??? I wonder how fast I'd finish??
(I did finally catch her in case you were wondering)

Mile 8-9:Pretty much from here on out, it sucked. My toe was killing me, my knees were aching, the people around me were annoying with all of their breathing and shoes on the pavement noises. I hated the spectators with their clapping and cheering. My ipod was uninspiring. Did I mention the fact that people were STILL passing me? I begged Tom to give me a ride. (I think he thought I was kidding)

Mile 10: I got another small boost which was soon squelched by reality. Suddenly these REALLY FAST men were running up behind me and passing me (big surprise). I was thinking to myself, "How in the WORLD did I stay ahead of these stellar athletes for 10 miles? I am a stud!" Moments later I realized that our course had just merged with the marathon course and these men were the elite runners, about to finish 26 miles and finish them before I could finish 13. UGH! I thought about trying to draft behind them but by the time I decided that, I couldn't see them anymore. (There is also not much of a 'draft' when you're only going like...2 miles an hour.)

Mile 11-12: Just... keep... g-o-i-n-g.....I had to keep telling myself this. Everything hurt at this point and to top it all off, we were now running on a gravel/dirt road with a sidewalk that was like...2 feet up from the road. I had to go from sidewalk to road a few times(to pass people..yes, I finally passed someone) and let me tell you...it was painful! My legs were lead. I think I was almost running in place! The really fun part was when a car would go by and spin up some dust into my already burning lungs. My dad showed up again to 'run me in' and/or check me in to the hospital. One quarter of a mile from the finish my sister-in-law Ann joined us (who had already finished. GO ANN!)and the 3 of us ran in with Tom snapping our photo. I was never so glad to see a finish line. 
So here I sit, on the couch. I am thankful to mark this off my 'list' and I  do feel accomplished. I did it!!! I am sporting my new tee shirt and also a half dollar sized blister on the bottom of my big toe. In addition,I feel worn out, sore, and like I might have diarrhea at any moment. I'm not sure that I am really cut out to be a runner but for today....
I am a (half)-MARATHONER!



Chaffin Family said...

wow. so proud of you!!! I am going to run 3 miles today. thought that was good and now I feel like a wimp after checking your blog. way to go super mom!!!

Kelly said...

You did great. My first (and last) half marathon also started at a balmy 20 degrees. The bummer was that my race was in Phoenix! You fared much better than I. At mile 8 I had some bowel trouble and lets just say it was crappy (literally) from there on out! WAY TO GO!

akbyrd said...

I am peeing my pants! Hysterical! WAY TO GO LADY!

Kim said...

You rock!! The most I have ran is 6 miles which I might add was in college! I ran a leg in 102K all around the palouse. It was needless to say not a 1/2 marathon!

I think new running shoes are in order. Congrats!

McMurrays said...

You are amazing! I could never do it! I love the donut part. . you always crack me up! Way to go that is an awesome accomplishment.

Joey_Veltkamp said...

you're so amazing, colleen! HUGE accomplishment!


Smith Family said...

Colleen (super girl), I am so proud of you! The whole time I was reading your blog I was thinking to myself, "I wonder what her toe looks like?" Then, there is the photo at the end, a girl after my own heart. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Colleen you are amazing! As you know.....that is a crazy tough course! Feel proud of yourself knowing you have done what less than 1% of the population can!!
You're pretty in PINK!

Kelli Rydeen & Family said...

Colleen, I love the post!

I can honestly say that I relate to your first half 100%! It does get better and worse at the same time. I have evolved from wishing someone would drop donuts to praying for a shot and pizza x three! I celebrate after a race with a shot or a beer (if available) and pizza, or Taco Bell, or anything that you would absolutely NOT find in any accredited nutritional training guide anywhere, unless it's the Run Fat Boy nutritional guide, which hasn’t been published yet, so hey I could be on to something there.

The Spokane half is incredibly hilly and it does pretty much suck. I mean c’mon, doomsday hill at the end? What the !@#$% were they trying to do when they were marking this course, kill folks? This is an awesome accomplishment and you and your family and friends should be very proud of you. It takes time and energy to train for any race, but once you start adding "marathon" to the race training it's a whole other animal.

Way to go!


Big people, Little world said...

My sweet Colleen...YOU MUST DO IT AGAIN SO I CAN BE THERE!! Ha,ha.
I am so very proud of you..if you switch to walking..That I can join you in doing.
Your blog is hysterical, I can even hear you in my head explaining all of it. I love you and I think you deserve several pairs of new running/walking shoes, afterall a girl can never have too many shoes.
I love you,,,way to go!
Aunt Terri

Kristen1534 said...

Hey! Awesome job! I just did the Baltimore Half this past weekend and wrote about it on my blog!

Chaffin Family said...

several days later I still find myself smiling about this post. Krista and I have talked and laughed about how funny you made it sound when you wrote it. Keep up the hard work. You should be so proud of yourself. Hope your new job is going well and your toe is healing. Kim

jessithompson said...

Way to go, girl! Great post... really funny. You are awesome. I promise it gets better - keep at it!

Laura said...

Wow...somehow I missed this post?My blog alerter is NOT working. Anyway, I think my favorite part was the "annoying breathing and shoes on the pavement noises" because I can so relate to that. By a certain point in a race, EVERYTHING is annoying...the noises people make, the outfits they are wearing, the conversations they are having (this last is especially annoying when I can't breathe and Dumb and Dumber are PASSING ME and talking about how they'll "just keep this easy pace until the last two miles and then kick it in a bit"). Anyway, congratulations, Colleen! It does get better, but it feels best if you get done and feel like you left it all out there on the course. So although the hospital comment was supposed to be funny, it's kind of the point. "Run 'til you puke"---that's my favorite quote.

blended by grace said...

Hi Colleen!

I saw you on Laura's blog. Fun to see what you're up to! You have a beautiful family. And wow, great job on the race!!!