18 June 2011

My 8th Half Marathon

“See Jane Run” – Boise, Idaho June 18, 2011



Today I finished my 8th half marathon since I started on this journey in October 2010. Since I started keeping track of mileage in January, I have walked/wogged/shuffled/swam/elliped a total of 212.84 miles. If I had walked from Grand Junction heading in the direction of Denver, I would almost be in Denver. This blows my mind.



When I did the BolderBoulder at the end of May, I suffered an injury to my hip flexor. Which means it’s painful to walk and I was told to not do any races until I could walk without pain. I could do weight training (recommended), swimming and the elliptical. I just wasn’t supposed to walk for any lengthy duration (and all my races are lengthy because I am so s.l.o.w.). However, I had already paid the registration fee for today’s race, had already requested the time off from both jobs and was very anxious to color another state in on my map. Granted, coloring is not a valid reason to forgo medical advice, but it was a reason to me. I did waffle for the next two weeks about whether I should go or not and didn’t really reach my decision to go until Thursday – the day before I was scheduled to leave. My boy, the thief of my DNA, the male heir to half of my fortune, decided it for me. I had to go – I needed a break from him. I still had not decided if I was going to do the half marathon, skip down to the 5k or just volunteer – I was going. Even after I picked up my packet with my shirt and race bib, I hadn’t decided. I was the picture of “sitting on the fence” and my indecision was driving me nuts.



I have no idea how many people were registered for this race but it wasn’t too big. Definitely NOT 64,000 people like the BolderBoulder or even 15,000 of a Rock n Roll series race. “See Jane Run” is a female-centered race and it was kinda neat seeing all the husbands, boyfriends and male children out supporting their runner. I’ve never done a race that was all female before and I liked it. But I still had not decided if I was going to the do the half marathon or the 5k. It wasn’t until after the group warm up (way cool) and running in to another Half Fanatic that I decided. When it was time to line up for the half, I took my place at the back of the pack. So. The half marathon it was.


I have been analyzing my mile-by-mile pace of my past races and discovered that I do incredibly well the first mile, slow down for miles 2, 3, 4, and 5, pick up a decent pace for miles 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 and then drag for miles 11, 12 and 13.1. The information was useful to me to try something different today. Instead of charging out of the gate (don't snort, I can "charge"!), I decided to take it down a notch and level off. I figured if I kept it even, I would be able to nip my dragging pace for the last 5k and help warm up my calves and hip so they would carry me through comfortably to a decent time. And I switched up my music. I redid my entire playlist and spaced Army cadences throughout the list. When an Army cadence came on, I’d shuffle/wog. When it was music, I’d just keep walking. I figured I would change up my playlist with each race, adding more cadences until, one day, I was shuffling for an entire 13.1 miles and hitting the goal I have of completing a half marathon in 3 hours. At least that’s my thinking.



My plan worked for half of the half marathon. I managed to keep a consistent pace of 16:15 per mile and I was quite thrilled with my plan. And then the blisters started. I believe I need to change to a hot weather sock. I’ve been wearing the same pair (washed, of course) for all my marathons. But those happened in much cooler (and wetter) weather. Today’s weather was the hottest I’ve done a race in. It was 71 at race start and while the clouds kept the sun from beating down, it did warm up to almost 80 by the time I finally finished. So my feet got hot, they started to sweat and the sweating lead to sock rubbage, my old foe.



I wanted to quit at mile 8 and mile 10. When I saw the mile marker for mile 12, I was ecstatic – only .1 miles to go and then I would be done. After walking for a half mile and seeing the track go way out from the finish area, I wondered what cruel joke the race organizers were playing on me. I then remembered that a half marathon is 13.1 miles, not 12.1. I actually stopped. I turned off my music, took the buds out of my ears and just stopped. I was done.



There was a woman who I was playing leap frog with throughout the race. At this point in time, I was in front of her and she passed me when I stopped. She must’ve seen my face cause she turned to me and said, “Come on. Don’t you quit now – you’re almost there!” With her kind words, I got over myself, put one foot in front of the other and finished the damn race. I collected a bottle of water, my medal, my champagne flute and a plastic cup with cheap champagne and sat.



The course at “See Jane Run” was absolutely beautiful. It wound through what is called “The Greenbelt” which is a series of parks that loop for over 30 miles. Even if it had been sunny, the course was shaded, often followed a river and was relatively flat (which I have come to know that the phrase means there are hills, just no mountains). It wasn’t fancy in the timing department or the technology but it was efficient, friendly and fun. The volunteers were amazing, each aid station was fully stocked for even the last in the group and nothing was torn down until the last runner crossed the line. It’s a race I will do again. Boise is beautiful and I want to take more time to explore.



Oh, and it didn’t rain until I was tucked away in my hotel. Sweet.
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