Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Half Marathon

***Sorry to do this again, but I just copied the entire post from Pokey Slow to here. Nothing new to add over here!

It has been three days since I completed my first half marathon, and I am just now getting around to posting about it. I guess I had to let it all sink in!

It was an amazing experience. There were things that were perfect, things that I wish I had done better, and things that I'll never forget. I completed my goal of finishing in under three hours.

My official time was 2:45:31/12:38 pace. I finished 1505 out of 1958 overall, 819 out of 1191 women, and 132 out of 177 in my age group.

I didn't get to bed exceptionally early on Saturday night, but I knew excitement would carry me least part of the way! After watching Eric in his races that morning and attending the farewell dinner for my principal, I was too wired to sleep. I finally drifted off around 11.

We were up bright and early at 5 a.m. for the second day in a row. We picked up Sally, who teaches 6th grade at my school. Her classroom is right next to mine. She was really anxious because this was her first race EVER. Not having to drive downtown was one less thing for her to worry about.

We got to the start, barely got a parking spot, got our gear ready, used the porta potties, and lined up to wait.

Sally and me right before the race. I am in the pink hat. (I have GOT to wash that hat!) Most of my pictures are pretty fuzzy. I think the lens on my iphone was smudged.

Sally is younger than me and faster than me. It's not fair! She did amazing, and I am so proud of her!

I was trying to show how crowded it was. It was easily the largest race I have ever done with close to 2,000 people running and walking.

Ugh. My pictures really do bite. Oh well. If you look closely, you can just barely make out the curve of the starting line balloon. It took us about two minutes to reach the start after the gun went off. This was my first race using timing mats. I was nervous about attaching the D-Tag to my shoe but managed to figure it out!

Sally stayed with me for about a half a mile (if that) and then took off. She ran like the wind! I was left with my music and my thoughts. Sometimes this was good. Sometimes it was bad.

We started the course running through downtown Fresno. We zipped up one street and down another. It lasted quite a long time through that area. It was neat running past the historic water tower and the Veteran's Memorial Theater where I went with my parents to see plays when I was little.

Then we headed across the railroad tracks and entered the zoo at around mile 6. I think I was starting to get tired and discouraged at this point. My pace may have been under 12 minute miles here, but I have no idea. I know I started taking more walk breaks, and I started texting Eric through this area.

Despite being tired, the zoo was amazing! I loved it! I have spent so much time in this zoo that it felt natural running through it!

Out of the three zoo shots I took, this was the only one with an animal in it! Apparently the zoo employees had been running through the zoo for a few weeks prior to the race to get the animals used to a bunch of people running through! I thought that was neat.

Unfortunately, we didn't spend too much time with the animals. After leaving the zoo, the race wound it's way through the park before heading back across the railroad tracks to the Tower District.

I was feeling a lot of pain at this point. My texts to Eric were getting shorter and shorter. "Pain." "Hurt." He was quite encouraging and just told me to keep going. I did. I knew I was going to finish no matter what, but I still wanted Eric's encouragement. His words mean everything to me.

My knees and feet were burning at this point. Not sure what was up with that. A few things I was surprised about: instead of sucking on my Gu Chomps, I chewed those puppies fast. I guess I was hungry. I also took water and Gatorade at every aid station and saved my own water for in between stops. I needed the chomps and the liquid something fierce.

This picture doesn't do this house justice. It was the brightest shade of lime green I have ever seen! Putting it on a house was quite a bold move!

The last few miles were pretty painful. I felt like I could only run for 30 seconds before giving up and walking.

Finally, the end was in sight. It was pretty neat to run down the back ramp of the Grizzlies (affiliate team for the Giants) baseball stadium and through the finish line. All I really remember is seeing the clock and realizing I was going to beat three hours.

I saw Sally first. She'd been lounging for about 40 minutes before I came crawling in! Youth. My knees and feet were hurting so bad I could barely get up the steps. I pretty much collapsed into a bleacher seat. I didn't see Eric or the boys, but I knew we'd meet up. They found me within five minutes or so. They saw me finish, but were at the very top of the stairs, so I didn't see them right away.


The thought of the free breakfast made me want to gag, so we headed out pretty quickly. We dropped Sally off at home, grabbed me a Diet Coke at a gas station, and headed to the house.

I feel like a real runner because I had bloody toes! For some silly reason, I am super proud of my bloody socks! I trained and sacrificed all the way to my toes! I also had some pretty bad chafing on my inner left thigh even though I used plenty of Body Glide. Painful! Besides aching knees, I didn't have any other "issues" besides those three things. The sore thigh muscles set in on Monday. Fun.

That explains some of the burning in my feet.

So proud of this medal! I took it to school to show my kids! They were properly impressed!

After a shower, some rest, and a giant chicken salad from Chipotle, we headed back to the baseball stadium to watch our complimentary game. I am normally not much of a baseball fan, but it was fun to chill out and watch the game.

Evan and me watching the Grizzlies lose. Oh well.

Things I am proud of:
-Finishing my first half marathon
-Doing it in less than three hours
-Not quitting
-Sticking to this plan for three months
-Doing something that is waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone
-Showing my kids I am trying to be a healthy mom

Things to work on for next time:
-Strive for less than 12 minute miles
-Quit texting through the whole race
-Finish the training strong (I fell apart the last two weeks)
-Strength training

Was it worth all the effort and training? Absolutely! I am so proud of myself! Wouldn't trade this feeling for the world!

And I have already mapped out my training for my next half marathon in Salinas on Aug. 6! I am running it with my cousin. I officially start training on Monday! I have been taking it easy for three days, and tomorrow I am going to do a short and easy two miles. I guess it's kind of like forgetting the pain of childbirth, because I am ready to do this again!


  1. That's SO awesome Heather!! I loved reading every word of your race. It makes me REALLY excited to do the one in Budapest!! I am considering going to Greece after that because its on my Birthday...seems meant to be then right?! Dunno if I'll want to, but I'm hoping I'm hooked after Budapest the same way you feel after this one. SO happy and proud of you!

  2. You did fantastic! I loved reading about the race. I am so proud of the way that you powered through. Congrats, you have every right to be proud of yourself!