My First Half-Marathon! Now What?

Going back to work after the weekend sucks. Going back after a long weekend is even worse. I can tell today is going to be a long one, and it’s barely 9am.

Let’s focus on something positive instead: how I rocked my half-marathon! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but...TOOT TOOT!!

I was really anxious that it was going to be rainy and wet, since the meteorologists don’t know shit and changed up their weekend predictions on Friday. But I checked on Saturday night, and it looked clear all day Sunday. Hot, yes. But I’ll take heat over rain. I don’t like running in the rain at all, but I can deal with it if it starts raining when I’m out. If it’s already been raining and the ground’s all wet and slippery and it continues to rain all over me while I’m warming up and starting my run, I pretty much am going to call it quits. Call me a quitter, I’ve been called worse.

Sunday morning arrived bright and clear. And early. I set my alarm for 4:30 and wanted to leave by 5:30. But I got up to use the bathroom at 4 and knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. It was very different from my Broad Street morning. I was anxious pretty much the whole day before Broad Street and hardly got any sleep the night before. Like, staring at the ceiling, full-on insomnia. This time around, I tried to just push the half to the back of my mind and keep it low-key. I wasn’t able to do this for Broad Street, seeing as how I took a friggin 7 hour bus ride to Philly; it doesn't get more high-maintenance than that. I wouldn’t say I was out of my comfort zone, but being away from home for a big event like that is always hard. The Saturday before the half I spent in my own bed, woke up in my own house, and tried to act like it was just any other day. That really helped with my nerves and the issues I had last time.

Beth was amazing and dropped me off near the starting line. We were pretty sure there would be no traffic at 5:30 on a Sunday morning, but there was no guarantee. I knew it wasn’t going to be anything like Broad Street in terms of getting there, since that race had 40,000-plus runners, and this one had around 7-8 thousand. We actually wanted to stop and take a picture on the drive to the starting line, because there was no traffic and we knew we’d never see the streets of Boston so deserted again (I mean, I’m not going to be waking up at 4:30 on a weekend anytime soon).

I was an hour early, so I wandered around to try and kill time and avoid psyching myself out. The half started at 7 and the 5-miler at 7:15, so around 6:50 I headed to the starting line to line up. Again, this was nothing like Broad Street. They hadn’t assigned corrals; there were mile-time signs indicating where you were supposed to line yourself up. I positioned myself in between the 9 and 10 minute mile signs, thinking this was a pretty honest assessment. I always get nervous that people are going to blow by me and shout angry words like, “You shoulda been back at the 10 minute mark, bitch!” Of course, that doesn’t happen. Most people don’t think like me and are a little too confident in their running abilities. They like to line themselves up at the 9:30 mark even though they’ve been training closer to 10:30. Whatevs, I’ll just be blowing by them and shouting mean things. Kidding.

The race started and we were off. There was a lot of congestion and I couldn’t weave between runners like I had anticipated. Minutes in and I was already sweating like no one’s business. I had my iPod this time and was just focusing on the music and the course.

Sarah was pumping me up before Broad Street, telling me the first time she did it she was just in awe for some of it, like, this is what I’ve been training for for months and I’m actually doing it! FUCK YEAH! There were times when I found myself doing the exact same thing. Like when we ran through the streets that normally are bumper to bumper with cars. Like running through a red light, or when the walk sign hand is blinking at you instead of getting the little walk man. Or when the course took us along the Charles and it was just so cliche and beautiful.

I keep comparing it to Broad Street, mostly because it was jut a few weeks ago and still fresh in my mind, and also because it was the only other big race I’ve done, but I just can’t get over how the two races were like polar opposites in some regards. The spectators and water stops at the half were the most obvious differences. There would be areas with a handful of people out, clapping or waving signs, but there really wasn’t much of an audience. The water stops were hugely understaffed. The website was still asking for volunteers up until the day of the race, so I wasn’t expecting the efficient water stops from Broad Street. But I also wasn’t expecting two measly tables per stop, with about two people manning each one, not even pouring water fast enough for the runners. At one stop, I collided with another runner as I was leaving the congested table and he was heading towards it. He smashed into my head with his chin and I probably would have given him a piece of my mind if my ear wasn’t ringing.

I’m not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn’t. But I’m not going to say that I ever doubted myself. I knew I was going to be able to finish, I knew I was going to run the entire race, and I knew I was beating my goal time every mile marker I passed that broadcast the time so far. The finish line looped back to the starting line, so when I knew that the end was near, I kicked things into high gear. I knew the finish line was looming before I could see it, so I made a beeline for it. I wouldn’t call it a sprint, because I don’t know that I was able to sprint at that point, but I was really hoofing it. I checked my watch and saw that it was 2 hours and 4 minutes after I ran over the starting line. So technically, I knew my time already. But it didn’t feel real until the website posted the results later that afternoon and I saw this.

my goal was 10 minute miles, so seeing 9.28 minute miles was AMAZING

I had arranged to meet up w/ Beth and B at a meeting place after the race, since I didn’t have my phone on me. I was basking in my post-race high and guzzling some water when I realized that since I had finished earlier than I thought, they probably wouldn’t be here for awhile. I borrowed someone’s phone and called Beth so we could meet up elsewhere. They were happy for me that I beat my goal time, but sad that didn’t get to see me running, so they held up their signs as I walked over to meet them.

who wouldn't be motivated by these guys?

Since the race started so early, we were on a train and back home by 10am. It was surreal. We spent the day napping and watching movies. I wanted to go out and celebrate that night, but to be honest, I was too busy falling asleep during Mad Men.


Stephy Marie said…
You are AWESOME! Congrats to you on beating your goal times. I just started falling in love with running recently and only hope that one day I can run a Half Marathon.
I just posted a survey I was tagged in if you're interested-
brigidmc12 said…
Thanks, girl! You can do it! I always hated running, so I'm proof anyone can become a runner, haha.

Also, thanks for the tag! I don't really know how that works, but I tried to keep it going = )