Let’s kick this baby off with an official (pre)race picture!
We had to buy this image from the race photographers because our selfies were frightening. (We were a couple of “handsome” women in those.) I think it was totally worth it to commemorate the best race ever.
Although there were several others who were supposed to join us this year, this was the second year that it was just Jill and I going to this race together. I was a little bummed the others couldn’t make it – I was hoping to bring a group this year, because the race is so fabulous – but Jill and I had a blast.
I raved about this race last year, so I’ll skip the specifics (all the same things apply this year, including the banjo playing). But let me get into why I went to this race even though I was absolutely, positively, not-at-all-prepared to run 13.1 miles.
I had a lousy training season, due in part to injuries, which were likely due in part to lousy training – it’s a vicious cycle! But I could not, would not miss this race. And had it been any other half, I would not have been able to go. The fact that it is downhill is the only thing that permitted me to participate. Even if it had been just plain old flat, I couldn’t have covered the distance. Since I was there last year and knew exactly what it was like, I knew I could handle it with the right plan.
I shared with Jill that I was still planning to run – in spite of the fact that I hadn’t run more than six miles since January – but that would have to do deliberate run/walk intervals. I was planning to run a mile and then walk for a quarter or even half a mile. Jill suggested that I shorten my interval to 5 and 1 minutes, instead. She said that even when I got tired, when it was time to run, I would be able to think, “Well, I only have to run for five minutes.”
What I actually did was set my watch to beep after the first mile – I figured I’d like to run at least a mile to start – and then beep for 1 & 5 minute intervals after that. That worked until the second round of 1 & 5, and my watch quit beeping on me (I even verified when I went home that I didn’t ask it to stop after two rounds, so I don’t know what went wrong). Then the challenge became winging the intervals and not looking at my watch every seven seconds. So I made it kind of a game with myself during run intervals where I’d say, “I can’t look at my watch until at least this song is over.” What would happen would be one of two things. One, I’d look and I would have run for four minutes. At this point, I’d tell myself, “Okay, I’m going to run a little faster this last minute.” Two, I’d look and I’d have run for just over five minutes, at which point I’d decide to run out the 6th minute. That is, I pushed myself a little, but within the framework of the plan I developed for the race.
I feel like this is insane to say this, but I was actually very, very pleased with my 2:38 finish time. Even though that’s 14 minutes slower than I ran it last year, I’d been expecting it to take me at least 2:45. So I was truly thrilled to be under that time.
The other thing that I was proud of myself for was the fact that I just stuck to my plan, I never felt like I wanted to die, and I simply enjoyed the race. It’s gorgeous there, so I just took in as much of the scenery as I could.
I also repeatedly reminded myself that I was grateful to be there, with a friend, in a pretty place, and that I was capable of carrying my body over 13.1 miles, no matter how slowly I was doing it.
Race bonuses: Instead of gels, this year’s race offered free Clif Bars. We also again got a nice cotton t-shirt (I’m wearing it now!) and a couple of the typical goodies. But this year, the race added finisher medals, and I thought they were nice and “just right” for this type of race. Specifically, they were “real,” designed medals (v. those domed jobs) of a weight and size fitting the venue. I was tickled to add this one to my display.
I think I loved this race even harder than last year, and I absolutely intend to be back again next year. I’m starting a new training program, so I am hopeful that will return in 2016, feeling healthy and running faster.
As a final note, I’ll add my photo of this year’s crazy good food that was again offered.
I’m now “behind” on my “Do Summer” challenge, but I’m not giving up! I’m not sure what my next race is, but I’m planning some updates soon that will include how my new training plan is going.