I ran in my first race ever this weekend. I started running about 5 months ago at a point where I couldn't even run a mile without dying. I literally hated running. I kept going at it, timing myself each time and trying to better it each time. I would run as far as I could and then walk until I could run again. When I eventually got up to 3 miles, I was doing it at about a 12 minute/mile pace. Before the race, I'd gotten to the point where I was at a 7 minute mile, as low as 6:22 minute/mile at times.
I trained for this half marathon more diligently than I'd ever trained for anything in my life, physically or spiritually. I followed a pretty strict regiment, running 4 times per week, 2 short, 1 medium and 1 long run. My long runs got to almost 14 miles prior to the race. I set the goal for myself to do the 1/2 marathon in under two hours, which seemed doable based on my long run times.
Kevin and I met up with Pat, one of his fellow-teachers in East Lansing, and the three of us ran together for part of the race. There were a few hundred people in the race in Portland. It was very hot, very humid and the course was very hilly, but at least it was very nice and scenic.
Kevin, Pat and I started out at a pretty fast pace, around 7:40 min/mile for the first few miles as everyone was bunched together. They had water stations every couple of miles where people would hand you paper cups. I found that I'm not good at drinking water while I'm running. It all seems to spill all over me. Kevin, Pat and I ran together for the first 6 miles or so, keeping about an 8 min/mile pace and then we split up.
At the ten mile mark I was at an 8:30 min/mile pace and it got very tough at that point. One of the biggest encouragements throughout the race was having Susan and the kids and Will and Monaca along the course cheering us on. They would cheer and yell and shout encouragement and it made all the difference in the world. It would give me a boost that you wouldn't believe. Cathie and the kids couldn't make it because they had their big kick-off for the football/cheer season back home.
The last three miles were the toughest of my life. Mentally and physically I was just exhausted. I was struggling to keep running and not walk. I hadn't brought my iPod with me, which was a bad move. I had nothing but my own thoughts, thinking about how tough it was and how much longer I had to go. No distractions from my own thoughts, which I desperately needed at that point. I finished the race at 1 hr 57 minutes and I was excited mostly to be done, secondly to have done it under my goal time of 2 hours.
It was very cool training for this with Kevin. We ran together, shared our daily results via google docs, held each other accountable and encouraged each other. We're both very competitive and we pushed each other well. e in town in a couple of weeks, which should be a bit easier.
I was soaking wet from the heat and humidity and exhausted. I drank a bunch of gatorade and jumped in my car to drive the 90 minutes home to make it to the kids football/pom jamboree.
At this point, I don't have any desire to do another half marathon any time soon, let alone a full marathon. Kevin and I are running at 10k her