Sunday, February 20, 2011

IMS Arizona Half Marathon 2011

Shannon is keeping Lilah busy this afternoon and I am literally parked in the recliner so it seemed like as good a time as any to write about my day.  It wasn't a typical day for sure and I am sure that it won't last too much longer either because I am WIPED OUT.

The morning started about 5:15 when Lilah muttering over the monitors woke me up with a start.  There was no way I was going back to sleep.  It was time to get up and get dressed.  The butterflies started almost as soon as my feet hit the ground.  My carefully planned (non-chaffing) outfit was carefully set out and ready to go.  I got dressed, made a protein shake (which was all I could stomach) and let Shannon know I was leaving.  I took the truck because I figured of all our vehicles it was the one I could leave the keys in the ignition (which I didn't by the way) and it would still be there when I got back.  The windshield wipers don't work well, and it was covered in rain that had passed recently.  So I could barely see as all the windows fogged up.  I pulled into the parking lot of Westgate at 6:30 and found the buses to take me to the start line.  I was barely off the bus when I ran into the mommas, friends that would be running the race too.  It was nice to hear some friendly banter to help with the butterflies, but I was having a hard time not focusing on what was about to happen.  8:01 on my watch the gun goes off and we are on our way.

The first mile I kept checking my pace.   I am really bad about starting fast and I wanted to take it slow.  Watching all the people sprint past me and then see them walking a few miles later made my morning.  Slow and steady, keep the pace, go forever kept going through my mind.  The few sprinkles we felt at the start line got harder and harder until we were running through steady rain.  It lasted from mile 2 to 4 but wasn't very cold rain and it was still, no wind.  I enjoyed it.   Mile 6 we hit the long stretch and the motivation came from the LONG line of runners stretched out in front of me.  Mile 7 was a rough one.  My knee was acting up, my ankle was starting to hurt.  The doubt sunk in for a minute.  Uh oh, only half way!  But then a cheering friend picked me up and the next couple of miles I just bared down and kept my feet going to the beat of the music in my ears.  Mile 10 was a bit of a wall.  I don't think it was any worse than the mile before it but I had not run more than 10 before in my life.  Could I do those extra 3?  I just need keep moving.  Mile 11 is getting harder and harder.  Both my ankles were feeling like some sort of cramping was going on so it just made sense not to stop and let that happen.  Then the worst.  A cold burst of air.  A few drops of rain.  All the sudden a strong wind cutting across me, my number was whipping around, and the rain started coming down harder and harder.  I put my hands out, not hail, but not rain - sleet?  Cold.  But numbing.  Hard to feel my legs now.  Keep going!  Mile 12 - one more to go!  A bridge.  A big, long tall bridge over the freeway.   Wow, I wasn't sure my legs were actually moving as I headed up.  Finally, downhill.  And into Westgate center.  Around the corner.  Ah, there's my support...Shannon and Lilah cheering me on the last little bit.  Turn one more corner.  The finish line.  Push, almost there, keep going legs.....YEAH!  A few tears.  Huge relief.  I did it.  The thing that has been haunting me for a couple months now is over and I did a good job.  2 hours, 23 minutes and under 11 minute miles on average.  

Now I am home, after a hot shower, and dreading the next time I might have to stand up and walk somewhere.  My legs are aching, mostly my knee and muscles surrounding it and my ankles.  Do I want to do that again? I don't know right now.  But I do know that memory of pain fades faster than the feeling of accomplishment so I guess we will see how I am feeling in a year.  

Tired of the rain - what are we waiting for?

Best cheerleader ever

My legs look like the are barely moving here- oh yeah, they were!

My arms still worked though


The picture that matters the most!

For fun - the route as mapped by my running watch.  

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