Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Half

Today was the half. It was awesome.

We left the house in the dark thinking we had PLENTY of time 2 hours before the start. Traffic and parking were so lousy I got there with only 15 minutes to spare. No worries, though. I strapped on my water belt (filled with half water/half Propel--I hate race gatorade), sucked down a GU, herded in, drifted with the crowd up to the start, stomped on the chip sensor timing thingy, and was off.

I had a great start, but accidently downed my first GU at 2.5 instead of 3.5 as planned. Doh. The whole beginning of the race was easy breezy. I felt really strong. Around mile 5, my knee started getting weird. Made a mental deal with myself that if I kept running now, I could walk at mile 7 when I had the next GU. Made it to 6.5, which seemed like a fair compromise, and walked for a half a mile. Not gonna lie, in hindsight I'm disappointed in myself to have slowed down. I felt like I needed it at the time, (and maybe I did) but now that it's over, I think it was my head fucking with me. I had been staying aware of two girls with green shirts and a guy with a Mystic Pizza T, and a couple others from the beginning, and that was the last I saw all of them. I needed new focus and couldn't really find focus on anyone around me now. After walking, something was mentally out of whack. No longer feeling in the zone. I should never have given myself the option to walk, now it's all I want to do. Thank God, a water table. Dumped a cup of water down my back to try to shake it off.

My head was still a little fucked, but now at least my physical energy had returned. No more walking. I am a runner, dammit. My next mental deal was to make it to the Salonpas table between miles 9-10. If I made it there, I could stop for a moment to get my knees sprayed with that shit to see if it worked. Interestingly, it did. It worked really well, actually. My knee didn't bother me for the rest of the race. Once the annoying nagging knee pain was gone, my brain finally bounced back, too. I was locked in again.

Last mental deal: after finishing mile 10, I could take very short (like 10 seconds) walks at each mile marker until the end. (What is with all this fucking walking? I hate walking.) Right around the mile 10 marker, I heard someone calling me, and saw Amy from the Running Thread (who I have never met) cheering with a "Go Noelle Go" sign. all my 30-some years, I have NEVER had a sign made for me for anything. I know I sound like I'm twelve--I don't care. I fucking loved it. It was unbelievably motivating, and my deal with myself was no longer needed.

The finish was very cool. I had already picked up my pace since mile 10, so i was going pretty smooth and even. As soon as I could see the white arch of the finish line, I focused everything on my dead legs, dug in and crossed with 2:12 and some change on the clock. My goal was to finish under 2:15. YEAH BABY!!!!

I didn't feel as woozy as I did after the 10-miler I did in June. I felt kind of hurl-ish after pounding a glass of nasty ass yellow race gatorade, but other than that it was completely exhilarating. Joe met me at the finish, and that was really awesome. He was so excited for me, and so proud. He kept saying my time over and over, and how he couldn't believe how well I did, and for once it didn't feel like it was all about me. In a good way. :)

My official chip-time for my first Half Marathon -- 2:07:44.

Under a 10 minute mile pace. I rule.


Viv said...

You are so cute with the deals you were making with yourself.
I so much enjoy the details you give in your report. I actually feel like I was there with ya. Walking of course..LOL! I love how Amy had a sign. That was so cool! Fantastic time, and way to beat ur own personal goal.

Delane said...

LOL I make those deals with myself all the time..okay I'll have a pice of Juicy fruit after 2 miles..what ever works is what I say.


Tammy said...

Fantastic accomplishment Noelle!!
I make those deals with myself during every run, too...

Oh, and for both of my marathons, I made a shirt with my name on the front so people would cheer for me by name. A sign would have been AWESOME!!

Karen said...

Noelle, late to the game but you did fantastic. We definitely need to run a half together. I could picture just where you were in your description - I remember struggling and making deals from Miles 7-10, then suddenly realized I really could finish around mile 11.

Don't be discouraged about the walking - you finished great.

Yasmin said...

It's great you finished!

I know exactly how you feel when you let yourself walk when you know you most likely could have run.

I think I'll need Amy to visit me at my next race!