Monday, April 28, 2014

Half Marathon - tick !

First half marathon done and dusted.  Whoops, did I say FIRST???  That might imply there could be others.  Right at this very moment in time perish the thought!   I'm aching.  But I guess it's a good ache.  An accomplished and proud and pretty amazing ache.    Okay so here's the race wrap up if you're interested.

Saturday night I stayed down in Geelong with my mum so that I could get a good night's sleep.  Mike was going to come down early on Sunday morning.   Being that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, mum and I thought oh well, best we carbo load, so I made spaghetti for dinner.  Jamie Oliver tomato and basil sauce, no cheese.  Yum.

Early night and after a fitful night's sleep where I reckon I woke up about three times mum and I headed down to the river nice and early so we could get a good park.  I had a few worried moments on the way as it looked like spots of rain, but nope, just my dirty windscreen !!    

No sooner had we arrived we met up with Leitchy and Sarah.  For those that don't know, Leitchy is a very highly inspirational gent, plus he has a persuasive nature, because it was he that talked Sarah and I into this race in the first place.  And Sarah is a fantastic girl who I "met" in the 12WBT Runners Connect group, and this was the first time we were to meet in person.  She's pretty awesome I will tell you that.  Excited smiles, or was that teeth chattering grins, it was a tad coolish!

Here's Leitchy practising his soft knee approach to running  ;-)   To stop him from towering over us!  The rose between two more roses??  ha.

Dark clouds looming behind me.  Mike still hadn't made it, race time was approaching.  This is the look of WTF have I got myself into.  21.1 kilometres is a flipping long way.  Lots of questions, do I need to go to the loo one last time being the main one!   Thank goodness I was a rebel and took my headphones, as I'd noticed others with headphones there too.  The rules said no headphones.  But the thought of 21.1 kilometres listening the drivel coming from my own head was too much to bear.

Mike made it about 5 minutes prior to the start.  Yay.  Quick good luck hug and a couple of pics.  I was so glad that I got tapped on the shoulder and to my surprise AlleyCat introduced herself (gosh do I even know her real name??)  She had stumbled onto my blog a little bit ago and I've been reading hers.  She said she recognised my running top, being that it's my fave and appears regularly on my runs! ha.  I'm a bit out of order here, this photo was actually taken after the race.

So the wise cracking Race Director in his address before the race mentioned that the quicker we run, the quicker we finish.  Funny!  And then it was started.  I quickly started my Runkeeper on my phone and popped it in my belt and off I went.  Sarah and Leitchy were close by, almost like a security blanket.  We ran in silence, each with our own thoughts, running our own race, but it was comforting to be able to see them.  After five minutes I realised heck, even though I was at the back of the pack, I was running faster already than my nice LSR's, I just wanted to finish, not set any records. Well actually, I had a cross-fingers-hope-to-finish-time in my head of under 3 hours.

It was perfect conditions.  The coldness at the start was comforting, the sun was lovely as it popped out from behind clouds at intervals, no wind, it was perfect.  And on and on it went.  Being that it was entirely run on a walking track, there were no intersections or roads to deal with, that was great.  And people were out and about their regular activities too.   It was a bit disconcerting as I was running along and could see on the other side of the river the front runners were already making their way down the other side of the river.  Finally got to the Breakwater turning point and I decided to high five some of the marshalls, ha!

To start with I was only going to walk at the water stops, but as the race went on I discovered there were a number of times I needed to slow down and walk and take a breather.  No shame in that, walk is not a four letter word.  I just kept on moving, never stopping.    It was a nice surprise when I was about the 7 or 8km mark and Mike and mum had crossed the foot bridge to cheer out on the other side of the river.  Scary photo as I reached up to high five him and he snapped the camera!  Hmmm I was still smiling at this point.

On that side of the river there were a few groups of families with young children watching the race and the little ones would pop their hands out, so what the heck, I high fived them too!  I was a high fiving fool!!

I remember getting to the 11km mark and that was when it hit me I was over half way there.  All downhill form here (figuratively speaking because some of the rises to come were only gentle but they were certainly not downhill!)

Finally got to Fyansford, thought I'd never make it, and from then on in every drink break I would throw half the cup of water over my head and down my back.  I still couldn't visualise myself finishing this thing, it felt like it was lasting forever.

Once I got to the 16km marker I remember Leitchy up ahead looking back over his shoulder and yelling out to me ... "It's only a 5k fun run from here!!!"  And I remember thinking in my head "SHUT UP!!!!" I don't think I said it out loud, maybe I did.  My right foot had the beginnings of a blister.  But it was there I really started to count backwards.

At the 17km marker I thought okay, only 4km to go.  That's my short run around town on the side of the highway I live, it's exactly 4km, so I started visualising myself running up my street and around the corner and up to the golf course, it helped.

At the 18km marker I thought hello, I'm in unchartered territory here, this is the longest I've ever run.

At the 19km marker I held onto the thought that there was only 2km to go.  I remember "Happy" came on my headphones and I was starting to feel happy, that it was almost over.  Some of the runners who had long since finished were wandering back and would yell out encouragement.

At the 20km marker that was it, only 1km to go, that's just a run around my block at home left, that was a comforting thought.  I took the earphones out and just enjoyed the last kilometre.   I have no idea if it was a chance meeting or if she had been waiting for me (because it was a long wait for her as I came 6th last!) but Alleycat called out and ran along side me for encouragement, which I really appreciated.

Oops, I'm not meant to be on the path, I'm meant to be on the road she said!! 

No one said jumping was part of the half marathon!!

I was smiling here at Mike, probably a bit delirious, knowing I was almost there!  
An exhausted smile perhaps.

50 metres to go!!!  And the crowd went wild!   Perhaps in my head it did.
It was nice to get a little cheer.

Sarah was hot on my heels and Leitchy right behind her.  Here we were the moment we met up with each other after the finish line.  Exhausted, thrilled, sore!  We did it.

And here are the stats from my Runkeeper which I didn't turn off straight away.  I cracked the 3 hour!  Yay.

And here are the official stats.   2 hours 49 minutes 33 seconds.  I came sixth last!  But you know what, I might have come 731st, but looking at the Tomato Timing the numbers for the individuals went up to 900 so for those that didn't turn up, I beat them too!  Right?

By the end my calves felt like they had tennis balls under the skins so Sarah had hightailed it to the massage tent and I quickly (or awkwardly quickly) followed.  Had to fill out a form with our details and the first question was "Athelete's Name".  HUH?  Hey when did I become an athlete?  Wow.  I got the most wonderfully painful massage on my calves, I swear I almost flew through the roof of the tent a couple of times it was so painful, but oh so good.  I think that went a long way to helping me walking that afternoon, not to mention a 2+ hour drive home after a bit of a rest up.

You know one of my fears was that I would have taken that long to finish that they would have packed up when I came over the finish line.  They had started removing the barriers by that stage and it was then, while we were waiting for our massage that a cheer went up and we looked around and the last runner was coming through.  I tell you she was shuffling painfully and one of the official bike riders was right behind her and everyone was clapping and there was more than a tear I would expect, I know I started to tear up.  A wonderful moment for her, but in my head I was screaming stop packing up!!!  Let her get through, which of course they did.

Sarah and family and mum and I decided to go for a brunch lunch and Eggs Benedict was the order of the day for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Hit the spot fantastically.   Mike in the mean time had gone to visit his dad in the hospital and do a few things at his house.

It was a long drive home, but we did it in tandem, and funnily enough, I put my race mix on and listened to that in the car on the way home.  Reliving the moments I guess.  

So big tick off the bucket list.  To run a half marathon before I'm 50.  And I did it with 4 and a half months to spare!

1 comment:

Calico said...

I emailed you....let me know if you didn't get it :)