Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What’s Next?

Odds are I will do another one. The training was really good for me, both mentally and physically, and I’m surprised how different I feel now that it’s over. I have been going to the gym almost daily for their fitness classes, but I seriously feel like I’m lacking that extra “umph” I had for life. While training, I spent almost all my “extra thinking time” on running. Now that I’m done, I have all this extra mental space to worry about my job, my relationship, traveling, money, and a lot of other things that are completely fine and shouldn’t be wondered about. My mind wants more stimulation.

Training was really hard. The toughest part was forcing myself to start the run. Once I was out there, it really wasn’t that hard to keep going. Except during the race. On race day I thought the motivation would just... be there... but no. Not so much for me. And training was especially tough on days when it was raining or when my social life interfered.

But it only rained a few times. And I could always see my friends after a run.
There is no way that beer would have tasted as good as it did, had I not run 7 miles before drinking it.

So, yeah, now that I know I can do it, I’m considering doing it again. Who'da thunk?

At first I wanted to do the Disney Half, in early January, in Walt Disney World. I’ve never been there, and what a great way to finally visit Harry Potter World. Yet, after reading a bunch of blog posts about the race I tossed that idea. The whole things sounds way too crowded for me with way too much time spent standing around before the race. Plus, the park would be packed full of all the runners and their families, making it even more crowded than normal. Not my cup of tea.

My next idea was the Austin Half in February. It’s a pretty easy course that goes through the heart of the city, and many of my runner-friends have already done it. I probably should do it too.

A co-worker suggested I consider Austin’s 3M Half, which is annually held at the end of January. The North-to-South course is mostly downhill, and is much less crowded than Austin. Meaning... less people to trip over.

But, I’ve been considering a few others as well:

This could be a nice Memorial Day weekend trip:
Happy Girls Run (Bend, OR)

It's not quite 13.1, but this race would be beautiful:
Cherry Blossom Run (Washington, DC)

I kind of have to do this one:
See Jane Run (Austin)

Katie just finished this one as her first:
Rock the Parkway (Kansas City, MO)

Or, I go up to KC in the fall?
Kansas City Marathon (Kansas City, MO)

One thing I know for sure, is that I want somebody to do it with me. Yeah, a few girls I know did the Zooma Half, but we weren't really "in it together." I don't want a running buddy, because that screws up my pace. But, it's really nice to know that somebody else is doing their run too, and that you're both feeling the same emotions throughout the training. Plus, when you're thinking about running during every spare moment, it's nice if you can talk to somebody else about it who actually cares.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Races are Weird

I am alive! The race was hard, but I finished.

Here’s what happened:

Friday night- We finished The Wire. All five seasons, done!

I woke up at 5am and we were out the door 20 minutes later. I had packed extra water, a pack of Shot Bloks, and 1 mini bagel for consumption before the race. Chris kindly drove us to the airport Fast Park, where a line of school buses waited to drive us the rest of the way to the resort. We arrived at Fast Park at around 5:45am. Zooma warns you that the bus ride could take up to 40 minutes, and that the last bus leaves at 6:00am. I ate the mini bagel while we were on the bus. We arrived at the Hyatt Lost Pines just after 6:00am. Awesome, however...
really, really, not awesome. 1.5 hours to sit around and let my nerves completely tear me apart.
Although it looks like I am mocking the portrait behind me, this is actually my "there is nothing amusing about any of this," face.
My quad/groin/hip muscle was hurting, I had to pee every 5 minutes, and not even a few sips of Chris’ coffee would make me feel better. I just wanted to start running. But, that’s not how races work... so we wandered around the resort until 7:15am when I peed again (fourth time maybe?) and headed over to the start line.
Things are definitely looking better at this point!

I quickly found these ladies,
Well... Chris found them first

And we were off!
Miles 1-4
I kept a pretty solid 10:20 pace running up and down the hills. Sooo many hills. I was having a good time though, just taking in the scenery and watching other people. Running skirts are all the rage right now. And seriously ladies, do you think booty shorts are a good idea for a half marathon? Ugh, just stop.

Miles 5-6
This is when it got tougher. The hills were steeper and I was pretty much always thirsty. The sun started to peep out, so the wildflowers cheered me on.
Post Race picture of the wildflowers

Miles 8-9.5
Too much walking. I lost a lot of motivation. My train of thought went something like:
Why did I sign up for this?
I still have so far to go.
I've already run 8 miles and I've already impressed myself.
Walking is so much easier than running.
Wow, there are a lot of people even slower than I am = more reason to walk.

Mile 9.5-10
This race was really low on spectators, but one awesome guy really helped me out. He yelled, “it’s downhill until mile 10, you can do it, let gravity take you!” So, I ran that part of the race.

Mile 10-11
The course is really beautiful and weaves around the immaculate Wolfdancer golf course. Although it was pleasant to check out the quality of the greens, it was not pleasant seeing all the racers in front of you and behind you. I’d rather just see the people in front of me so I know I need to pick it up. But when you can also see the people behind you, it made me think it’d be okay if I slowed down even more. Using my stopwatch, I tried to do the 1 minute walk/5 minute run method until I made it to mile 12.

Mile 12-finish!
Run, Jane, Run! Sarah met me just before mile 13 and really helped me get to the end. Ruuun!
I'm going to pass you!

getting closer!

I am faster than you!

aaaand, done.

My total time was 2 hours and 26 minutes. Chris helped me realize that because I have never run 13.1 miles before, I cannot really say, “Oh, I could have done better.” I did the best I could because it’s the first time I did it.

Shortly after the race I changed into my swim suit and collapsed into the lazy river. As I floated around I passed by mile 12 and witnessed a few girls still out there trying to finish. Although I felt really bad that they weren't done yet, it also made me feel a little bit better about my own performance. Even though I had to walk, I still finished it in a decent time.

So happy to be done.

More reflection to come in the next few days, but at this point I am just so happy to be done.