Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reflections of a first time half marathoner

Pre-race approx 0500.
It wasn't cold, my hands
are just always cold.
This past weekend has been a whirlwind of activity! I completed something that I thought I never would have done in my life, I met some wonderful people, worked with a great organization and got to visit the Happiest Place on Earth for the first time in something like 15 years.

For the past 5 months I have learned to run from scratch. My serious dislike of running has turned into a very much liking of the sport. I wouldn't say "love" but it's getting there. I've gone from the girl who avoided running in school like it was the plague to a person who misses running on her rest days. The change in my attitude just astounds me! I thought I had really gotten into Zumba after starting in May, even to the point of becoming licensed to teach; but this whole running thing is way more than that even! Today I registered for 3 more half marathons within the next 3 months. I mean, really...I did that?!?

The experience of racing for 13.1 miles was so different from the practice half marathon I did on my own a few weeks ago. I felt tired after I finished that but after finishing the Tinkerbell HM I felt like I could have run even more! My next half marathon is in 26 days and will be near my home elevation of 4,300 feet so we'll see how much of a difference the elevation  really makes for me.

So let me get specifically to discussing Tinkerbell, the race, itself. Having not ever been a participant in an event this big, it was a whole new experience. My only experience with an event this big was volunteering at the Nike Women's Marathon last October. The New Mexico/El Paso Team in Training team met in the lobby of the hotel a 3:45am to make sure everyone had their gear and was ready to go. We took some team photos and eventually headed for the race around 4:15am or so. Once we got to the staging area we all broke up to head to our corrals. I walked around to find the husband and we figured out where he would be during the race so that I could look for him. After a final farewell I headed to corral B to join the other runners. I walked around kind of blankly just trying to look for some of the ladies that I had met at the Facebook group meetup the day before. I happened to see a status update on Facebook from Melanie who was also looking for people in corral B...we were actually only about 10-20 feet away from each other. We hooked up and ooooh'd and aaaahhh'd at everything (this was the first half marathon for both of us) and finally when the race started we started to run together. It was a nice conversational pace...a little bitching and moaning at the first "hill" (an overpass...hey, I train on primarily flat roads) and watching as we passed others or (as was more common) we got passed...especially by the guys who had been relegated to corral C. We looked out for people we had just met, wing shirts made by one of our friend Alissa (Balancing Act Clothing) and hamming it up for the Brightroom event photographers spaced out along the course in Disneyland. As we came up to just past mile 4 we both saw our husbands at different times...I ran to Troy and gave him a hug and kiss for actually holding up the "Go Beth!" sign that I made for him at the expo. Then off we went along the streets of Anaheim...most of which I don't remember having ever been on in all the times I've been to the area in my life. We saw several funny, supportive signs held by spectators, spectators yelling my name (it was on my jersey & bib) and just the overall excitement of the race.

Around mile 6 or 7 we slowed down a little because Melanie had developed a couple of blisters, I tried to keep her spirits up...to keep the "bling" (race medal) in sight. Melanie was a trooper and kept on going! I've gotta give the lady some props because she was just off a very light month of training due to some medical issues but she knew what she wanted and she was going to get it one way or another. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen with us together. I told her, "We started together, we finish together!"

During mile 10 we were heading back into Disney's California Adventure, a park I have never been to, and into the last few miles of the race. The final push. Then there was the 13 mile marker...for some reason that last 1/10th of a mile seemed long! We pushed with whatever energy we had and crossed the finish line 1 second apart. After a big hug we parted ways until later that afternoon when I would deliver her some moleskin for her blister(s). In the excitement of the finish, during which I had held my fist up as if yelling "YEAH!" (I'll buy the event photo later and post it) I forgot to look for the husband in the Platinum ChEAR Squad area as I crossed the line. Ooops! Anyway, I picked up my medal, checked out at the TNT tent and finally found the old man over by the finish line. I promptly  took my space blanket (which I have saved as a souvenir) laid it on the ground changed out of my running shoes into sandals and downed my post race snack. We then went and got my medal engraved and headed back to the hotel.

Once at the hotel (we walked the 15-20 minutes or so...took longer than usual due to heavy foot traffic) I immediately went into an ice bath even though housekeeping was still cleaning the room. Played on the internet for about an hour and then headed to Disneyland. It's funny how things have changed yet stayed the same there. We hit most of the larger attractions but I was disappointed that the newly refurbished Small World was closed because they were taking down holiday decorations. The fireworks also were canceled due to technical difficulties...not that we were going to watch them anyway. At about 9pm my feet were so sore and my ankles were almost non-existent due to swelling. We called it a day and headed back to the hotel. Another hour on the internet, back to the room to finish packing and a few hours sleep before leaving for home in the morning. Seriously, that was a lot to fit into one day!

So, what have I learned with this experience?
  1. runDisney races are FUN!
  2. Running with a friend is FUN!
  3. I really, really like to run!
  4. I really, really need to buy a new camera to replace the one I can't find.
  5. I'm glad I'm not a picture taker when it comes to Disney characters...would mess up my PR.
  6. That I'll be doing more runDisney races in the future.
  7. That I am ready for the half marathon distance, but I need to work on speed.

Well, I guess that's it for now but since I missed posting yesterday...I was just worn out after all the traveling...my updates for yesterday are included in this post.

100 Days Challenge:

  • Day 30 (1/30)
    • 30 minute walk on the treadmill 1.46 miles with legs/feet still sore from the half marathon on Sunday!
  • Day 31 (1/31) 
    • 2.31 mile run/walk with the local run/walk club in 31:54
    • Hatha flow yoga class for 1:20
What I Ate (Yesterday &) Today:
  • Yesterday
    • Peach Yoplait yogurt
    • Pre-packaged bowl of Corn Pops
    • Low Fat milk
    • 16 oz orange juice
    • Quizno's regular size double cheesesteak sandwich + mushrooms
    • Snack bag of pretzels
    • 2 Chocolate chip cookies
    • 20 oz G2
    • 18 ozs of Pepsi
  • Today
    • 1 pack chicken ramen
    • 16 oz Pepsi
    • 16 oz G2
    • 1 fried chicken breast
    • 1 fried chicken thigh
    • 1 cup mashed potatoes
    • 4 Tbsp chicken gravy
    • 1 cup green beans

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