Gobbler Grind 2009: Half Mary

Well, it’s over. 15 weeks of training and one long long day. I figure if I don’t put down my thoughts now I’ll forget everything that happened but part of me would like to wait also. I’m just not sure how I feel about the whole thing yet.
Photos are up on facebook and they look terrible. Seriously. Yikes. What did I expect? On the way to the race I realized I forgot my camera so any photos I include here have been hijacked from facebook. When I realized I forgot my camera I said to Cute Boy, “worst blogger ever!” Luckily I was saved by several others.
I think the race can be broken down into 3 parts but we’ll do 5 here to include the before and after. Get ready for long winded because I’m sure this will go on and on.
Part I: Pre Race
On Saturday I went to lunch with Running Buddy. It was calm and laid back and then we headed to packet pick up. We met my Cuz and The Boy there as well. They couldn’t find Running Buddy’s packet at first but after some searching they located it. I had everyone over for pasta that evening and I was incredibly calm. That would be the theme of the weekend.
On race morning I woke up from a very restful sleep. I got ready and wasn’t anxious at all. I ate a Cliff bar even though I wasn’t hungry. My stomach felt great. I wasn’t even really nervous. We all headed out to the starting line and snapped this photo.
L to R: Running Buddy, Me, Cuz, and The Boy. Only good photo of me all day.
Before the race I agonized over what to wear. It was 50 degrees when the race started but it felt a little chilly. The shirt I’m wearing is double sided (as is Running Buddy’s, we have matching shirts) one side is supposed to keep you warm and the other side keeps you cool. I don’t understand how that is possible. I only wear the warm side because hello! It’s long sleeved, how can that keep you cool? And it’s the same shirt, how can flipping it change it? Before we left the house I almost put on a short sleeved shirt but instead I turned the shirt to the cold side and…I stand totally corrected. I was cool the entire race (well most of it) and it totally did what it said it would.
Lots of people came out to support us. Running Buddy’s husband and son, Cute Boy, My parents, Cuz’s parents, a Friend of Cuz, and The Boy’s parents. We were well loved this day.
Here’s another super cute photo. Running Buddy’s kids made me a sign, here I am with R and my sign.
As we left the cars, The Boy said he needed a bathroom. I motioned to the woods. Seriously. Then we passed the porta potties and the line was insane. Thank goodness for the first time in my life my stomach felt fine. I was totally calm, I felt great.
Part II: Miles 1-5
The race started and Running Buddy and I were determined to GO SLOW. I checked our time about a 1/2 mile in and our pace was about 11:14 per mile. That’s a little faster than we usually start out but I felt ok with it. I checked it again about 2 miles in and we were up to 10:30 per mile. I made the comment that it didn’t feel faster but we kind of forgot about it after that. And I didn’t check my time again until 11 miles in. Huge mistake. We’ll get to that.

I usually hate life for the first half of any long run. It takes everything I have to get to mile 4 or so. This time was totally different. I felt great. The beginning of the race was on streets through Corporate Woods and we were just moving along, commenting on people as we went. I felt great. Notice a theme?
Here I am telling my family they were like paparazzi.

I saw Barefoot Rick shortly after we started and yelled, “Hey, Barefoot Rick!”, he turned around and upon realizing he didn’t know me, said, “Hi!” I was pumped that I saw him. Around mile 3 we entered the trail and passed the finish line. Tons of 5kers finishing but we had just begun.

Here we are at mile 3.

Not a great photo of Running Buddy, sorry, but I look decent so I had to include it. That shirt always rides up when I run and I wore a pink tank top under it just in case I got really hot. Thank goodness…you’ll see it throughout. Oops.

The weather really was perfect. Cloudy the entire race and cool. Some wind. We’ll get to that but for the most part great!

Shortly after mile 4 we walked through the water station. Usually we would walk at least 2 minutes at the point but Running Buddy was pushing us to go. So we did. Another mistake on my part. Around mile 5 we started seeing the leaders coming back towards us. That was depressing. I said “good job” to each of them as they passed. I got a double thumbs up from one guy, the rest were concentrating too hard or feeling too bad to acknowledge.

Part III: Miles 5-8
Still felt good through mile 5 but I was starting to really anticipate the water stations. They were just past the mile markers every 2 miles. When we got to the one after Mile 6 I really needed it. We had left the trail and were on 119th street. I did not like running on the roads. I ate my Luna Moons and drank water and Gatorade. I could tell Running Buddy wanted to keep going but I needed to walk. I told her to go ahead because I wanted to finish the Moons. I realize now I should have known we’d gone out a little too fast. But I just felt so good!

The next 3 miles broke me. I walked a lot. I ran a lot too. I think I ran more than I think. During all of our long runs I usually pulled away from Running Buddy at the end so the fact that she felt good enough to go ahead made me think I was running poorly. I now know she was just having a great day, I wasn’t having a bad one like I thought. I started to quit around mile 7. Uphill, into the wind. I kept running as much as I could but also walking. I should have checked my time. But I didn’t want to know it at that point. Mentally I was breaking.

I saw Cute Boy around mile 8 and he looked concerned. I think because he saw we’d split up. I was running when I saw him and feeling a little better. I told him I was good and thanked him for coming out to that point. I really needed to see him. He ran a few paces with me which was cute. But then I was on my own again.

Every time I walked I hated myself. Every time I ran I hated the race. I decided around mile 8 1/2 that I wasn’t going to run ever again. Before the thought was even complete I knew I couldn’t make that decision during a race. I saw a girl around this time as I was running up the hill with 3 quotes on the back of her shirt. One of them said “Live with no regrets”. I was really struggling mentally and telling myself I’d failed. At that point I knew I had to keep fighting or I’d be pissed for a long time.
I had put together a play list for my iPod and it turned out to be quite appropriate at several different times. Around this point a song by Julie Roberts came on called “Break down here”. “I’d sure hate to break down here, nothin’ up ahead or in the rear view mirror. Out in the middle of nowhere knowin’, I’m in trouble if the wheels stop rollin’. God help me, keep me movin’ somehow, don’t let me start wishin’ I were with him now. I made it this far without cryin’ a single tear. I’d sure hate to break down here.” Word.
I knew I was ok when I had the presence of mind to flip off and say aloud, “Boo!” as I ran past a KU bookstore. That was around mile 9. Shortly after we got back on the trail but it was still very uphill and very windy. I was not happy.
Part IV: Miles 9-13.1
Once I saw the mile 9 marker I kept telling myself 4 miles was nothing. But it didn’t feel that way. I made it my mission to thank every police officer and volunteer along the course. I tried to say good job to everyone who passed me and everyone I passed. I felt like getting out of my head was a good idea. But I just really couldn’t.
Near Mile 10 there was a great aid station. And a porta potty. Which I did not need. Yea! I tried to just keep chugging along and do whatever I could to keep running. I walked. I ran. I think I walked less than it felt like but there was still a good portion of walking. I knew I only had 3 miles left and I kept telling myself that wasn’t far. But it didn’t work.
Finally, shortly after the Mile 11 marker I realized I had no idea what my time was. I knew it was bad. I chose not to check it during the last 6 or so miles because I thought it would depress me even more. Before that I just kind of forgot to think about checking it because I never did that during long runs. I was convinced it was horrible. But I knew if I didn’t break 3 hours I’d hate myself. So I needed to check. If it was close I had to try to make it or I’d never forgive myself. I pushed the button on my iPod and heard…”Two Hours and Eleven Minutes”. I was confused. How was that possible? If I ran 12 minute miles I could still break 2:35. How? What? I was so confused. I picked up the pace. I couldn’t believe it and then I couldn’t understand why I’d been beating myself up for the last 5 miles. What?
I continued to walk some, I just couldn’t run the entire time. I passed a guy and told him good job. He was walking and I was running at the time. He said, “My mind wants to run but my knees just won’t let me”. And that angered me. Because I didn’t hurt anywhere. Ok, I hurt everywhere. But nothing truly hurt. I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t run more.
The mile 12 aid station was a welcome sight. I needed water pretty bad at that point. It was good. I knew I only had a mile left but I still walked a little during that mile. I knew 2:35 was out but I just wanted to finish.
Around this time I heard someone coming up fast behind me. I jumped out of the way and when he passed I realized he was about to finish the full. Yep. Got passed by someone running twice as far as me. Later I learned someone else had finished in like 2:11. He was so fast he passed me before the two courses met up again. Nice.
I saw my dad about .3 miles before the finish. He said it was a half mile down hill and I was ready. Shortly after that I saw the sign for 26 miles and I was annoyed. How could that be possible? I thought for some reason it meant there was 1.2 miles left but I quickly realized I was confused and it really meant less than a quarter mile to go. I picked up the pace a little and then I saw the finish. I saw my family, Cuz grinnin’ and Cute Boy taking photos.
Then I heard the announcer say my name. Then he said, “Running Buddy already beat you, DeAnna!” It cracked me up. Obviously he realized we were together because we have the same last name (our first names are pretty similar too) so he felt like calling me out. For some reason I thought it was the funniest thing ever. My finishing photos are going to be great cause I had the biggest grin on my face.
This is obviously before that.

Clock time: 2:40:45. I think it was a little faster than that because it took us a little bit to get to the start. I’d tell you my iPod/Nike+ time but I forgot to stop it right away. Again.

Part V: Post race
Right after the race I still felt crappy and I’m still pretty unhappy with my performance. After talking with my Dad I realized we probably did go faster at the beginning than I thought. And I totally wasn’t checking it like I thought I was. I just felt so good so I thought that must mean we weren’t running too fast. And we were so near the back I thought we couldn’t be going too fast.
We went home for showers and then to Cheesecake Factory for lunch and cheesecake. I wasn’t even really hungry. Here’s Cuz and I post race with our medals. Her second 1/2 this year!

So there you have it. My first Half Marathon. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about it. I’m hoping tomorrow or the next day I’ll be proud and realize that I did really well. I just don’t feel it yet.
When the official results are up I’ll share those, as well as race photos, if those are anything like these, we’re in trouble!

Thank you, everyone who sent texts and Facebook messages this weekend. It was really sweet to know you all were thinking of me. You have no idea how much it meant to me.
Oh, and about those goals: I achieved 5 of the 6. Not bad…not bad at all.