Monday, November 2, 2009

Half marathon…at 6 weeks!

Still catching up from summer…

Last April I got back into running with my friend, Maria (from my school program). We ran together every MWThSat for several months and built up our distance. Before we knew it we were running 13 miles! Maria couldn’t join me, but I ran in the Hobble-Creek half marathon. I was so excited for this race and was determined to meet my goal of 13.1 miles in under 2 hours. It was very doable, but I got thrown a few curve balls before and during the race. Here’s what I wrote about the experience:

August 22, 2009

Today I ran the Hobblecreek half marathon. I’ve run 13.1 miles before in training, but this was my first official race. I was on the front seat of the very first bus going up the canyon to the start line. We boarded the bus at 5:15 am and arrived at the starting line at 6am…just to wait until the race began at 7:30am. But all of the runners became increasingly anxious when the race didn’t start on time (and we’d been waiting in our little running clothes up in the cold mountains). Seven-thirty is already a late starting time for a race of this length…but come on, 8:00am?!?!?!? That’s when we began the race; we all dreaded those last 3 miles when we would be in direct sunlight and definitely be feeling the heat of the day. It was supposed to get up to 100 degrees that day, so we knew it would be a warm morning.

I was 6 weeks pregnant, but had heard from medical professionals and friends that if I was up to that fitness level before I got pregnant, I’d be fine to maintain it and keep doing what I’m doing. I know a woman who ran a half marathon at 12 weeks cause she was a runner and had been in great shape when she conceived. Anyway, the only element that was difficult was the increased frequency of urination. I’d noticed at work the last couple of weeks that I’d had to go to the bathroom every sing 1-2 hours, when usually I can wait all day if I need to. So, this made the race interesting. I tried to take precautions by going to the bathroom before I left the house (4:30am) then before I got on the bus (5am) then after I got off the bus (6) but by the time the last mile came around just shy of 10am, I was peeing my pants and determined to keep going. Had I seen a porter-potty along the way, I may have stopped, but I was trying to reach my goal of under 2 hours and I knew it was getting close. I decided to just try to keep in what I could. (sorry, probably too much information!)

I was surprised at how steep the grade was, but for the first 9 miles, I was making great time and my injured knee was not bothering me at all. Then in the last 3 miles, things changed. I felt myself getting a little dehydrated as the heat pounded down. There were a few decent uphills and the downhill momentum had been let off. Now it was a residential area (not the canyon anymore) and I started feeling it. I realized that I didn’t know exactly where the finish line was. One of the other runners warned me that when I see the park, don’t think that’s the end because you have to run all the way around the park before you reach the finish line. Well, when I saw the park, I was so spent, I instantly got discouraged. Not knowing exactly how far I had to go was a real mental challenge for me and I started to slow down. Other runners were encouraging me to keep going that I was “almost there” but I wanted to slow down not only because it sounded nice, but because I was trying to be careful with the baby and make sure I was not pushing myself too much. I knew that the heat element wasn’t good and I didn’t want to take risks. I walked and jogged the last ½ mile and I knew that this meant I would no longer reach my goal time (under 2 hours). I ended up finishing at 2 minutes and 3 seconds. So close, but I still felt great about how I’d done. Given the circumstances, I think I did the right thing and took care of myself and the babe.

Darin was out of town that weekend, but I was SO glad that my dad was there to greet me at the finish line. Not only did I need his moral support, but his physical support. I leaned on him for a few minutes while I cooled down and regained strength.

I can’t wait to train again next summer!

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