Monday, February 11, 2008

I had an awesome weekend! First on Saturday was the BE&K 5k. I was running it as a last training run during my taper week before the half. I got there and met up with my friend Andrea and Chez, who was in the original Couch to 5k group with me, but we never officially met. We took some pictures before the race.

All three of us:

Garmin nerds!

After the race

The 5k was great! I ran with two other girls from our group and we talked the whole time and it just flew by! It was so cool to remember back to Race for the Cure, which was the same course, and how much easier it was this time. But the 5k was just a warm-up to Sunday.

I couldn't sleep at all Saturday night before the race. I kept waking up every hour on the hour. Finally at 5:00 I got up and got dressed, ate breakfast, made sure I had all my things together and headed out the door. Our running group was meeting at 6:15 to take a group picture. After the picture I had just enough time to go stand in line for the bathroom one last time before starting. Then it was time to line up. I went towards the back, since I'm pretty slow runner and my main goal was finishing. I didn't have any kind of time goal in mind.

The gun went off and we were off. The weather could not have been better. It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 40s. By the time I finished it was in the 50s. The first 4 miles went by so fast. I felt like I was floating which I'm sure was because of the adrenaline. I knew that some major hills were coming so I made sure to keep my pace in check and not go too fast. Here's the elevation report for the course:

The first hill is a mile long. I was glad that we actually ran it during training, that helped to prepare me mentally. And there was a drum corps at the top of the hill which definitely helped with motivating you to get to the top. Originally I was going to walk this hill so that I wouldn't be worn out at the end, but I was running with two other girls and they ran it so I just went along. I got to the top and was so proud of myself! However, the hills weren't over with, just the longest one. The next stretch of road was up and down hills for about three miles with a really short but really steep one at the end. I felt like walking at one point, but one of the girls made us keep going and I'm glad she did! The rest of the course was pretty much downhill which felt great after what seemed like going up a mountain!

I found that the last mile and a half were the hardest for me. My feet started to hurt really bad, but I kept telling myself that I got that far, I could go one more mile. And then before I knew it, I was at the finish line. They gave me a medal and one of those silver wraps, but it was so warm out that I didn't need it. I was famished so I went and got a bottle of water and some orange slices that were nearby. I don't even eat oranges, but I can say that it was delicious!

Then we went to the post-race party where we had barbecue, beer and massages. I was definitely hurting afterwards. It's so funny how you can go from running without a problem to hobbling along five minutes later. I was a bit stiff this morning, but I'm feeling much better now. I hung around for the drawing for the Mercedes M-Class, but I didn't get it. :( Oh well, my medal was enough.

Some highlights from the race that I recall:
  • The drum corps at the top of Greensprings (the mountain) was awesome! We cheered them on as we ran by. It was so awesome to see that they took time out of their Sunday morning to help motivate us.
  • At some point in Homewood, we heard some more music. We turned a corner and it was a live jazz band! Again, so awesome to see the people that came out to support us.
  • There was a group of runners dressed up as prisoners and I saw them throughout the course taking pictures playing like they were breaking out of jail.
  • There was an older grandfatherly type who lived in the Highland area and he was out on the sidewalk cheering on each individual runner.
  • There was one "water" stop right at the end offering donuts and beer. I passed on that one.
  • An Elvis impersonator was at the last mile cheering people on.

All in all, it was definitely worth it and I never would have believed six months ago that I would be running a half marathon. I started out from nothing. And our coach is willing to stick with us and train us for a marathon. He mentioned one in Alaska which sounds like it would be a lot of fun!

Here are some of the pictures I took after:

The sweet blister I got!

Our coach Danny! i couldn't have done this without him!

I completed the course in 2 hours, 44 minutes, 48 seconds which is a 12:35 pace!