A little bit about the Girlfriends Half Marathon: "When girlfriends get together they can accomplish anything! There’s nothing better, more beautiful than a bunch of strong, powerful, passionate women on a mission! And that’s why collectively, as a group of determined gals, we can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Plus when you cross the finish line, you can’t imagine how that positively impacts YOUR entire life."
Girlfriends Half Marathon benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation in the fight against breast cancer. It's a women-only race, and was capped at 2300 runners and walkers this year. In addition to your race shirt (well, this year it was a vest), you get a reusable bag with goodies inside, a piece of jewelery given to you by a handsome fireman (instead of a medal), fudge, massages, sweaty up-dos, cookies and tea. Sound like a good time? It is!
Cute necklaces instead of medals.
But mentally, I was in a bad place the night before the race. I was really down on myself. I thought to myself, "Why am I even running tomorrow? I won't PR."
I PR'ed at every race this year. And this would be my second attempt at a sub 2 hour half marathon this year, and it would likely be my second failure. I hadn't trained enough or hard enough to PR.And my body just wasn't feeling great--I was tired, I fighting off all the germs at school, and I hadn't been eating nutritiously.
But I HAD to run Girlfriends. I couldn't just decide I wasn't going to run the race because I wouldn't PR. Not PR-ing wouldn't take away from my successes this year. And this was a great race, full of great women, for a great cause. I decided to "woman up" and "grow some ovaries," and just go and have a good run. My good friend and I would pace off of each other, and just see where things would take us. We decided a reasonable goal would be 2:10.
My friend and I started off at a 9:30 pace, thinking we'd run negative splits and pick it up during the second half. We did pretty well maintaining that through mile 11. Then it got a little rough. Two gradual uphills took a lot out of me.
So, a PR didn't happen. I finished in 2:06, two minutes shy of my PR, and six minutes shy of my sub 2 goal. But it was still a good experience. And it was the first half-marathon for two of my friends--they did great, and had fun!
So maybe in the spring, I'll finish in under two hours... Or maybe I'll sign up for another half before the end of the year...
Did anyone else have a race this weekend? Have any of you gotten discouraged by the prospect of not getting a PR?
A little bit about the Albertina Kerr Centers and their Race for the Roses:
Our race to support Oregon children and families began more than 100 years ago and is just as urgent today. From providing a child a safe home, to offering community involvement to an adult with a developmental disability, Kerr provides invaluable support to our neighbors in need.
Kerr is dedicated to helping those among us with nowhere else to turn. Putting a smile on the face of a child, providing refuge to a desperate teenager—these are our everyday finish lines.
For one exceptional morning in April, our race becomes your race. We invite you to join thousands of fellow participants for a life-changing, life-saving event. One day. One cause. One finish line.
And now, the RACE RECAP!
4:50 am - Alarm went off. Hit snooze.
5:00 am - Alarm went off again. Dragged my body out of bed. Ate a breakfast of 1 banana, 2+ Tablespoons of Almond Butter, 1 serving reduced fat Wheat Thins, and a protein shake. Got dressed, put on a little makeup (it calms my nerves, keeps me from looking terribly blotchy in pictures, and fills the 2 hours of time that I have to put in between breakfast and running).
5:50 am - Friends pick me up, and we drive to the race and try to find parking.
6:30 am - In line for the bathrooms. Fortunately, there are TOILETS, not portapotties, and sinks to wash our hands! Then we head into Exhibit Hall A, where people are stretching and congregating. There's a course map in there, and it's a little depressing to look at.
The course map tells me one thing: We're going to run all over the #%@$^#%$ place!
Me, in the Convention Center before the start
6:43 am - We head to the starting line. The weather is cool, but it's just right for running. There are pacers and I try and get near the 9:00 pacer, since I'm hoping to finish in under 2 hours. I fantasize about passing the pacer and confetti raining down on me when I finish in under 2. My friends line up with their pace groups.
The 9-10 minute mile start. That little white sign is the 9:00 pace sign.
7:00 am - We start exactly on time! (YAY!) I try and keep my eye on the pacer, and tell myself that I can do this, I've run 21 miles, I can do it. I set up my iPod nano's stopwatch feature so I can keep track of my splits.
Mile 1 - 9:20. Water station is too crowded. I know I'll be okay for awhile.
Mile 2 - 8:55. Water station also too crowded. Decide to wait til the next station.
Mile 3- 9:24. I get a little nervous about being able to keep up with the pacer. I can see him, and he's still the same distance in front of me, but still.
Mile 4 - 10:16. Saw that and thought, DANGIT. I get some water and take a Gu Chomp. (Blueberry Pomegranate, in case you were wondering!)
Mile 5 - More water and another Gu Chomp. Didn't see the mile marker?
Mile 6 - More water and another Gu Chomp. Didn't see the mile marker?
Mile 7 - 28:09 for miles 5,6,7 (9:03 pace). I need to use a portapotty, but don't see any!
Mile 8 - 10:13. Some volunteer yells, "Go, neon girl!" I'm decked out in my grey pants with yellow panels, and Brooks Nightlift black and neon yellow jacket and hat, but I think to myself that there are plenty of people wearing neon... and then I look around me and realize there aren't!
Mile 9 - 8:27. I realize I'm about 5 minutes too slow to finish under 2 hours. I decide to stick to a 9ish minute mile pace as close as I can, and finish under 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Mile 10 - 9:24. After pressing "next" a gazillion times, I wonder why I didn't update my music last night.
Mile 11 - 9:52. FINALLY! A portapottie. I debate using it and adding to my time, or waiting til the finish. I decide I'll run faster if my bladder is empty.
Mile 12 - 9:22. Up the bridge. I think I'm going to puke. The hill seems like it'll never end, and I see many runners walking up it. I'm tempted to walk, because it really just makes more sense to walk it, but decide to continue running. I keep telling myself, "You can rest... WHEN YOU'RE DONE!"
Mile 13 - 9:49. The finish line seems far away and I can't see it from the mile marker. I tell myself that all that's left is a half a loop around the track. When I turn the last corner, I can see the finish line so close and sprint in. The official clock says 2:06 but my nano says 2:04:18 (9:33 pace). SWEET. Each finisher is given a bottle of smartwater and a rose, which was very nice. I meet up with one friend, and wait for the other to finish. Inside the convention center, they're taking finisher pictures instead of giving out medals, which is fine by me. There's yogurt, coffee cake, scone bites(?), granola, coffee and hot chocolate. We ate a little while we were waiting in line to take our pictures.
After the race, we went to Ruby Tuesday's. It's kind of a tradition. I had edamame, mushrooms, croutons, broccoli, ranch dressing, and pasta salad from the pasta bar. My friend and I split the avocado quesadillas and the salmon cake sliders. And we ordered cocktails! Seriously, it's socially acceptable to have a strawberry margarita at 10:30 am, if it's after a race.
How do you celebrate after a race?
Today, I ran my third half-marathon. I was excited because I hoped to get a new PR, and there would be red velvet cupcakes at the end. I was nervous because the course was HILLY and I hate hills. And I planned to run the ENTIRE thing, which I hadn't done before.
Pre-race: Woke up early so everything would clear out of my system in time. Ate PB and banana for breakfast, with a few Wheat Thins and half a glass of water. Got dressed. Put on a bit of makeup to calm my nerves and give me something to do while I waited for my friends to show up.
At the race: Warmed up a bit. Chatted with my friends. Got nervous! There were only 150 some people running, but it was still exciting.
Mile 1.5: Water stop. At this point, I'd been going at a good pace but maybe a little fast? I thought to myself, "Ugh I feel a little tired already..."
Mile 4: Another water stop. Took 2 Clif Shot Bloks. Told myself, "Almost 1/3 done!...wait, that means 2 more thirds to go... Can I keep this up?!"
Mile 6.5: Water stop. More Bloks.
Mile 8: Passed my friends, and jokingly flipped off the Mile 8 marker. My calves felt a bit uncomfortable.
Mile 9.5: Water stop. My calves were burning. I pondered whether I should stop and stretch or just keep going. I kept going.
Mile 11.5: Water stop. Thought to myself, "Less than 3 miles to go. I can do this. I can do this." My pace slowed dramatically but I could see that I was going to get a new PR if I could just keep RUNNING!
Mile 12: It was really hilly. The hills didn't seem so bad at the beginning, but now they were really getting to me. Thought to myself, "2.1 miles to go, but I don't know if I can do it."
Mile 13: Could see the end...
Finish line: YAY! Was so excited to see that I had a new PR: just under 2 hours and 17 minutes.
Post-race: Walked around for a few minutes, grabbed water and headed straight for the red velvet cupcakes. I figured I could cool down and eat cupcake at the same time! Chatted with my favorite Max Muscle employees, Trevor and Jason. Trevor commented that I didn't even look like I'd run a half! My makeup wasn't smudged at all, but my calf was killing me, so I definitely FELT like I'd run a half!
Continued to walk and cool down and wait for my friends to finish. Decided to listen to the awards ceremony for fun... And found out I'd placed 2nd for my age group! Got a little Max Muscle 2nd place towel. Met up with friends and then went to go eat at Ruby Tuesday's. Awesome.
Yum, red velvet cupcake! I ate two.
At the finish line, saying 'Cheese!' While crouching, I was worried my legs wouldn't let me stand up again.
My race packet came with lots of goodies! Bloks are my favorite fuel at the moment.
Ok, I'm out of here. I need some ibuprofin like I need air. Peace ouuuuut.