I DID IT!!!!
I DID IT!!!!
I DID IT!!!!
(can you tell I'm still excited?)
I ran (and finished) the 2013 Summerfest Rock n Sole half marathon!!!
What an adventure it was. I am so glad I was stubborn and I stuck with the goal. I had a GREAT time running the half marathon, and I wasn't in too much pain following it because we had done a great job training for the run over the course of the previous 6 months (you can obviously train in a shorter period of time, but since we had a full 6 months we just used it!)
And just to have it all written out so I don't lose the details in my foggy memory, I'll share the whole story here with you too. If novels about running bore you, feel free to skip this entire post. :)
The race was scheduled to begin at 7am, so we knew it was going to be an early morning. My running partner, Laura, came over around 5am (she was actually a bit early that sneaky morning girl...). I got up, put my clothes on (compression capris from Old Navy and one of Max's race shirts -- I wanted to wear something large and baggy so I wouldn't have to worry about it creeping up during the race. I was also a little vain about the 'muffin top' my maternity support belt gave me so I didn't want that looking too obvious. In retrospect, this is the one thing I regret about the race. In most of the pictures taken along the route, I kind of look like the stay puffed marshmallow woman because the shirt is white and non-conforming. I'm not saying I'd wear spandex the next time...but something a little more form-fitting would've been ideal so people wouldn't look at me and question if that was fat or baby bump). Ok, vanity rant over...
I drank a ton of water and a double batch of a banana, protein, coffee oatmeal smoothie on the way. It had been storming all night long and it was raining (sometimes hard) the entire way downtown. That was really discouraging because I really REALLY didn't want to have to run in the rain, and even considered backing out. I'm glad, ultimately, that I didn't give in...the temperature - combined with the overcast skies - were a perfect combination although the rain did make it a bit muggy. Luckily, the rain let up around mile 2 -- so it wasn't a hassle for the entire race (and it was pretty much just a light drizzle for those first two miles).
The crowd control wasn't the best (in their defense, they had warned ahead of time to allow plenty of time to get to your corral because of the new security measures) and we actually didn't reach our corral before they started the race and everyone surged forward. From my perspective, the 5K runners (who didn't start for a full 20 mins after our start) were the ones clogging up the way. They should really keep them back away from the corrals until the half and quarter marathon runners are out of the gates.
Anyways, since we hadn't reached our 'official' corral, we just jumped in with the closest one -- which happened to be the 2:10 pace group. We knew that was going to be too fast for us, so we just did our own thing and let a bunch of people pass. It was hard to not get disappointed when everyone around you is passing you -- I could sense Laura trying to keep up with them or bolt forward and I remember reminding her that these runners were faster than us and to try not to worry about it. (Although I suspect that Laura might have been just fine in that 2:10 group, she stuck with me the entire race -- and I am forever grateful to her for that!!)
The first 4.5 miles of the race were ALL BRIDGE -- the Hoan bridge to be precise... The bridge itself is pretty and has an interesting history -- but man -- it IS LONG!! There is a slight incline up to the middle point (which SUCKED) -- but going up usually means there is a down, and that part was heavenly! Oh yeah, the other sucky part of running across the Hoan bridge is the milorganite plant that it passes over. Let's just say that doesn't smell too good when you are already gasping for air... It was nice to have over a quarter of the race done after crossing it though.
One memorable event while on the bridge was seeing the elite runners coming back across the bridge while we were heading out. It was SO incredibly cool to see them...and everyone was cheering them on as they passed by us -- even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes! I had to make a pact with myself at that point that I wouldn't cry until mile 10...I had to make that pact because there were quite a few moments my emotions just overwhelmed me and I started tearing up -- not good for the breathing!! It was super cool to hear the LOUDEST cheers for the first female elite to pass us -- that made me Milwaukee proud. :)
It was also cool to wave at Max as he passed by heading back over the bridge. He was pretty easy to identify with his bright yellow shirt and headband -- I saw him before he saw me. :)
Also, at one point across the bridge I took my headphones out and just listened to the noise of all the shoes pounding the pavement -- that was seriously one of the COOLEST things I have EVER heard. You have to do it, if you haven't before!
Just after crossing the bridge, Laura and I stopped briefly to use the port-o-potties and slammed a goo. We were stopping at every water station to chug a cup of Gatorade or water, even though I was carrying my hand-held water bottle -- I wanted to make doubly sure that I was able to stay hydrated. The race entertainment was pretty phenomenal -- lots of people on the sides of the street holding funny signs and cheering us on -- tons of signs in the median making us laugh -- polka music at mile 8...I was so surprised at how good I felt the entire time (good indication that I was truly listening to my body!) -- I'm sure some of that had to do with all the adrenaline. My right ankle, the one that had been giving me problems over the last month, was a little worrisome for the first 3 miles but then it didn't even bother me at all! I was a little short of breath until mile 2 -- but lately I find it has been taking me until mile 1.5 or 2 to hit my groove anyways. (It didn't help having the long bridge incline as part of those first miles). All I can say is that I saw the mile marker for mile 10 and I remember thinking to myself -- Wow! 10 already? I feel great!!
The last 3 miles were definitely the toughest both mentally and physically -- although according to my Nike they were also our fastest. My Nike was off for most of the race which was SUPER annoying because it was using GPS so you'd think it would be accurate!! At first, it was only off 0.3 miles -- which I attributed to starting the timer before actually crossing the start line. But, at the end of the race, it was a FULL MILE off (it said I ran 14.1 instead of 13.1), which also affected the pace times it would tell me every 0.5 miles. At the very end, it told me that my average pace was 10:50/mile (which admittedly seemed quick for pregnant me), and the official race time gave me an 11:50/mile pace. Basically, we oscillated between 11:30 and 10 min miles according to my Nike -- which probably meant 12:30 and 11 min miles adjusted in reality. Not bad! I'll definitely take it!
So, as I mentioned before, our last 3 miles were our fastest! No wonder they also felt the hardest, LOL! I started tearing up the minute I saw my husband cheering me on at 12.75 miles. He was on the sideline and ran alongside us for a little while taking photos of us.
Right before we got near the finish line, I turned to my friend Laura and asked her if she minded letting me cross before her. Such a good friend she is, she agreed! :) I booked it at the very end and ended up passing about 5 people before crossing the finish line!
The second my foot hit the line, I broke down sobbing and this sweet old man at the end was trying to make me laugh -- telling me that I was done running and there was no point crying now, LOL. I was just SO HAPPY to be done, SO PROUD of what I had accomplished and SO AMAZED that we had actually done it!! I am still on a high (over a week later) from it all!
The finishers chute was pretty cool -- they award you with your finisher's medal, and throw bananas, water, chocolate milk, etc. at you. The photographers stop you to snap your photo -- which is nice until you learn later that they want you to pay ~$60 to get access to the digital copies! I was SO PISSED. Maranthonfoto.com has all the photos for the race if you want to look at them -- freaking rip off though. My ONLY complaint about the entire race, BTW.
I was pretty sore immediately following the run, but I stayed active for the rest of the afternoon and that worked to my advantage keeping my mucles from tightening up. I also had done a really good job staying hydrated and that helped as well. Overall, the entire run was a GREAT experience! I can't wait to try it again NOT pregnant!
Showing off my sexy maternity support band -- I was SUPER happy to take that thing off. No chafing though!
Seriously, Laura is the BEST running partner ever. And she's CUTE! :)
Max bought me a sweet pink 13.1 sticker for the back of my mom van and he keeps telling me how proud he is of me for sticking with it and finishing. I was so happy to take off my baggy race shirt and put on this shirt -- I EARNED IT! I guess McTrois can now say he/she ran their first half marathon in utero! Maybe this little one will be a runner -- if they take after me, not a very fast one though, LOL. But if he/she takes after daddy (or grandpa) they just might stand a fighting chance! Max finished the half-marathon in 1:48 -- knocking 4 mins off his previous time earning himself a great new PR for the half marathon! Way to GO honey!! So proud of YOU TOO! XOXOXO