My first half marathon!

I can’t believe I did it! At least 3 days worth of nervous energy and anxiety and loss of sleep…I finished my first 13.1 mile race!

We got the kids up before 6 am to make the drive to San Jose for the race.  I powered down a pre-run breakfast at home to let my stomach settle on the drive.   I stuck with my usual bowl of oatmeal with a banana, and one cup of coffee with skim milk. I gave my legs a good stretch-n-roll-out, put on my spanking new race ensemble and tried to relax.  We made good time, getting to San Jose by 6:45 and wondering what to do next.
The race didn’t start until 8, and we were a good hour early.  As soon as it started getting light, I decided to walk over to the start area and check it out, there were quite a few runners milling around, but no one I knew, so I went back to the car to warm up. I finally convinced the kids and James to walk with me to the start. LOTS of time to kill.
When you sign up for the race, they ask you what you think your finishing time will be, and assign you to a “Corral” in order to stagger the masses of 10,000 people trying to get across the start line. We were all crowded together in this cyclone area, nervously giggling or stretching for at least 10 minutes… Countdown to start and… HORN BLOWS!  We’re off!  Well…not off, at all.
In fact, we’re standing still but my watch timer is ticking away the seconds. Soon, I notice heads bouncing a few hundred feet ahead of us. Not moving, mind you, just bouncing like at a big rock concert. Soon, the wave of bounce is upon me and I start to bounce, too. Watching the bounce come towards me was pretty thrilling, I have to say. So, bouncey-bounce…not moving, of course, just bouncing. Finally, we bounce-bounce our way over what I assume is the start line- about two minutes after the horn sounded.
I was so excited and felt a welling up of tears as I crossed the start line, I am such a sap! I have only raced 3 times, and it hits me the same every time! Something about the sea of people and the noise just gets to me!
Slowly, the crowd breaks up some and I’m running at an OK pace. The crowds served to keep me in check, as otherwise I can totally see how I would have gone way too fast out of the gate.
For the first ¾ of the race I am feeling good. Then I realize, this is harder than I thought!   I began my self talk “Its all about training and pace, you have the training, just keep the pace” over and over and over…
I hear guy running behind me saying “Okay, one mile to go, lets do this!”  and determined, I see cones about 400 meters ahead of me, people are cheering, I sprint!! Sprint all the way to…just some dude standing there near a cone with an orange flag. You’ve got to be kidding me! I say (out loud- sorry, everyone.) Come around a turn and, there it is! A line of cones and people walking beyond. The finish! I sprint again and then… no, that’s not a line of cones, it’s a turn in the road and people aren’t walking, just running a different way.
I think there were three sprints to the finish before the one that actually resulted in the finish. I saw my husband standing by the side of the road with the video camera, so put on a real gazelle-like stride to the end, tried to smile at the camera at the finish line, crossing at 2 hours, 2 minutes and 49 seconds.  Not too bad for a girl who couldn’t even run a mile last year this time.
I was surprised how wobbly, foggy and disoriented I felt after the run, and most of the day, though not in a bad way, just not able to make major life decisions, like whether I wanted vanilla or blueberry yogurt.
I loaded up with the after race goodies, then set out to find my family, upon which they promptly gobbled up all the food, with the exception of a banana. Boys, always hungry!
Lessons Learned:
– I realize how much I was really hoping finish this race in less than 2 hours, easy.  Apparently, there are dues to be paid with this whole running thing, but at least now I have a personal record to beat!
– I am not good at spotting my husband in a crowd. Whoever the guy was on the left about 800 yards from the finish, please send a video of my awesome gazelle-like sprint to the finish. My husband and boys were  further down by the final approach, and I saw them in just enough time to veer over and hi-5 them.
– It was a great experience, a fun race, and I can’t wait to do another one!
In other words- there is much to be thankful for!
In ancient Greece, Pheideppides in 490 BC ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of Greece over Persia. When he arrived in Athens and announced “We have won,” he then died on the spot. Of course it is believed he ran 150 miles in 2 days prior to this to gather troops in Sparta and he likely was wearing battle armor and not the latest wicking clothing and I am sure he had leather sandals on, not Asics.

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