Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Half Marathon - I did it!

I'm weeks late posting this, and I have reasons, but no good excuse. Busy with kids, freelancing, and working part time in a client's office, to fill the gap until they can find a full time employee for a particular job. Loads of moms manage that, I just wasn't one of them during the first few weeks in November.

The race started at the Arts Center in Mableton, about a mile or two south of the Silver Comet Depot. We got there in time to find parking within a decent walking distance, at a church somewhere. Can't remember exactly, as it was dark and I'd had no coffee before leaving the house.

The port-a-potty lines were L-O-N-G. Turned out not to be a big deal, since they waited for the skies to go from black to gray for the actual start

First photo, with the youngest kidlets, pre-race. Oldest (B1) was at home, sound asleep, like a sensible teen. B2 & G were in extra huggy mode. They were thrilled about being able to ride school buses from the start line to the finish line at the Depot, where they'd be running in the 2-mile Fun Run. Between general excitement, and the s'mores granola bars stashed in their pockets for later, they considered the morning a success, no matter what.

Second photo, back of the pack, where I started the race. Wasn't sure if I'd be ready to take off at a run in the cold, or if I'd walk for the first three to five minutes, so I hung back. I'd rather pass walkers later, when the crowd thins than worry about being stuck if I need to slow down in the middle of the crush.

Stuck with a 12-minute run, 3-minute walk for most of the race. After the first 6-7 miles, I noticed I was running with the same group of people. We were at different walk/run intervals, but all about the same pace. Water stops were well placed. Needed each about the time I saw the line of cups. Grabbed gatorade at the turnaround point, but never needed the gu packet or sport beans I'd brought along. The temps being below 60 made a tremendous difference. Didn't take anywhere near as much out of me as all the summer running in 80-90 degree days of training. In fact, without all the excess sweating I'm used to on the summer long runs, I actually had to run off the trail and hopped in line at the pit stop area, around mile 10. (Yes, I stopped my watch, so I'd know my real pace.)

The last three miles were rough, though not for the reasons I'd expected. My left knee was numb and in pain. I adjusted to a 5:00/2:00 break, and it was tolerable... just.

This last photo is of me and the Fun Runners, post race. They wouldn't hug me, even though I assured them I was nowhere near as disgusting as after all the July & August training runs.

Official finishing time, according to the clock, and the beaming faces of my support crew at the finish line: 2:18:22,

Time on my watch, which reflected my start at the very back of pack, and my time in line for a "nature break":

My goal was under 2:30, so I was very happy. The Weather Channel Atlanta Half Marathon is up next, and I'm shooting for a time between 2:20 and 2:30. It's a hilly course, where the Silver Comet Half was just about as close to flat as you can get in this area.

Have had to take a bit of a break this last month on the exercise. Between my schedule, and the occasional knee pain, I've kept the runs and rides shorter, with a day or two in between, depending how I feel. Have a knee sleeve for Thanksgiving run, and am really hoping that helps.

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