Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Surprise Second Half

I didn't plan on running a second half marathon a month after my first.

At least, not legally.

See, my running buddy Libby had signed up for the half and she was running it somewhat alone. I told her I would bandit the race (I KNOW I KNOW THAT'S BAD) to keep her company. I'm trying to save for a month of travel! I was maxed out on race fees for the year.

Just 2 weeks before the half, I got an email.

At first, I thought it was a mistake. And then I tried to remember if I'd signed up for the half when I was asleep. And then I realized I have some the best people for friends, ever. EVER.

They signed me up, a $70+ registration fee. They want me to be included, even if it doesn't always mean I can't afford it. I just love them and their big hearts, so so much.

I would like to say that their kindness and overwhelming generosity forced me to train like a bandit. I ran twice before the half: one 10 miler and one little group run. In 4 weeks. I was worn out and feeling like I could rock whatever came at me, including a HALF MARATHON.

Did it work?
The race started off beautifully. The race started a little late (9, I think?) so it was a little warmer than I hoped, but I felt like I was rocking it. I knew the course elevations beforehand and wasn't a bit worried about the hill in the middle.

Until, that is, I hit the hill in the middle.

Looking back, I went too fast in the first half of the race and tired myself out. When I hit the hill, I ended up walking almost all of it. Some guy passed me, muttering "it's all for the beer, right?!" to which I nodded.
After the steep hill, we finally hit the downhill. I was spent. The humidity was really affecting me and no matter how much Gatorade I sucked at the water stops and how much Clif Gel I shoved down my throat, I felt awful. At one point, I accidentally spritzed the air mister Libby gave me into my mouth, causing my throat to swell up and freak me out (the first ingredient is nitrogen). I started having to walk more and more and the last three miles were a constant battle with my legs to get them to run for more than 30 seconds at a time and a battle with my throat to keep open. I kept looking for Libby, expecting her to catch up at any moment.

I kicked myself in the ass and ran for the last quarter of a mile. I was disappointed in myself when I saw my time was 11 minutes slower than the first half.
Turns out Libby was having issues of her own. Her IT band started bothering her after the Rock n Roll Half (thanks to the uneven streets of the PDX Eastside) and it was killing her halfway through and forcing her to walk the remainder of the race.

In the end, we got to cross together. There were tears.
And beers.

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