The inaugural running of the Hobbler Half
So today I ran my first half marathon since THIS one. It's the longest distance I have done all season, and certainly since my injury last September. I knew that I wasn't quite ready for 13.1 miles, but I needed a good training run and decided my approach today would be simply that. Just another training run.
Got up at 4:15am and headed down to Springville sucking down a Monster on the way. Got parked, checked in, bib assignment and loaded a bus to the top of Hobble Creek Canyon. Well, I don't think it was the complete top - but it was about 13 miles up.
Stretched, warmed up, people watched and delighted in the sunrise. At 7:00am, the horn sounded and off I went. Since I was approaching it as a training run, I told myself to slow it down and concentrate on form. I have been sick with a cold for the past 7 days that has been steadily getting worse, so I also knew I would be struggling for air, and I really wanted to make sure to pace myself. I set a loose goal of sub 2. Meaning 2 hours or less. I knew I was capable of it. I did THIS one in 1:40:58 and my second one in 1:54:51.59. I figured even moderating my speed, and all the downhill, I could certainly post sub 2.
I also was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my neck. Right at C5-6 which is pinching the nerve running down my arm and into my thumb and forefinger on my right side. Form was that much more important. Doc cleared me to run, but I found raising my head while running to cause pain, so with head down, and smooth arm movement, I was off to a pretty good start.
About mile 2 I wanted to ditch my sweatshirt. I dropped it on the water table with the request that they bring it down the mountain and I would get it at the end. Now, usually, I am not good at drinking water while running, but I left the house in such a hurry that I had forgotten gum, and shot bloks so I had no fuel or anything to keep my throat moist. The water stops were my new best friend. And they had one every two miles so that was great!
About mile 7, I started to feel a hot spot on my right big toe. I knew what was happening, but chose to keep pushing. At mile 8, my nose was running so bad (from my cold), that I grabbed the tissue I had stuffed in my sports bra (yeah, I stuffed my bra), and while it was in plastic, the sweat had still seeped through, so they were soggy! But the funny part is, I blew so much booger crap that it soaked them and they kind of just fell apart in my hands! EWWWW GROSSS!! I had no choice but to toss them to the side and wipe my hands on my butt. Sorry to whomever was behind me.
About mile 11, I hit the wall. HARD. Only the second time in my life. But hit it I did. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to keep going. Just moving my feet took extreme effort and everything in my body hurt. I coughed and thought my chest was going to explode in flames. My knees, my hips, my feet, and my right big toe were killing. Luckily, I kept going to mile 12 and the water stop. I took a few precious minutes to walk, drink two cups of water and I have to tell you, the feeling of the H2O hitting your muscles is pure heaven! I picked up my run again, only it was more of a trot/shuffle.
I didn't get more than about a quarter of a mile and I had to stop again. Just walk. I cried. I let myself walk for about another quarter of a mile and then out of sheer ......I don't know......craziness? I forced myself to pick up my feet and jog again. I started thinking about the finish line. Knowing Splenda would be there, with Sissy. Water bottles. Fruit. Shoes off. I even changed the song on my ipod to a Zumba song that I knew the dance to, and made myself go through it in my head. Anything to take my mind of my body and get through the last mile and half or so.
I finally rounded the corner and saw the parking lot of Springville High. The Arts Park was next to that and the finish line was there. Usually at the end of a race, I have tried to save a little something to sprint in with, but this time, I had nothing. I saw Splenda and Sissy and my heart was instantly happy! Splenda who could have stayed home and not battled Miss Attitude. Not driven BACK to Utah County like he does every frickin work day. He could have stayed home and just relaxed. Instead, he knew it was important to me, and so he was there.
I tried to talk Sissy into running the last few feet with me, but she was not pleased with all the attention on her, so I garnered the last of my fuel and finished up. I had looked at the clock, knew I didn't reach my goal, and tried to not cry some more.
(I am barely moving my feet)
(Sissy - come run with Mimi)
(Sissy stopped - she didn't like people looking at her)
I grabbed water, and met up with Splenda and Sissy. I REALLY wasn't feeling good. Lightheaded. Dizzy. Unsteady on my feet. And my whole body hurt. We grabbed some oranges and a banana and headed for some shade, I started stretching and trying to make sure that I didn't puke. I sure felt like it.
I took off my shoe and was met with this:
(so gross - and it hurts!)
Gross huh! First blister I have EVER had from a run. I just don't get them. Lose toenails sure, but no blisters. I blame the socks. I have run in them before, but never this long of a distance. I should have stuck with my regular race socks. Piece of advise: if you are at the running store and they try to sell you these really cool socks that are designed for running and even tell you which one goes on your right foot and which on the left? Don't.Buy.Them. Or at least, don't log more than a 10k in them.
We hung around a bit, I checked some results as fast as they could get them out and then we loaded up the two cars and headed back home.
As Sissy listened to her Disney tunes, I thought back over the race. I was disappointed in myself. As much as I try to say it was just a training run, I am too competitive for that. I got sucked into the RACE of it, and put too much pressure on myself. Even at mile 10, I looked at my watch and thought I could still meet my sub 2. But between mile 11 and the finish- I lost it.
I reevaluated my goals for my marathon. All along, I have been dreaming of qualifying to run Boston. At my pace today though, that won't happen. So am I being unrealistic? I don't know. Can I really gain that much speed between now and October? I don't know. But I do know that I am gonna try.
I also realized how much I love this. Running. I love it! Even when I feel like I failed, it lasts only a few hours and then I am ready to take on the next event. I am happy that I have found something I am passionate about and that I have the physical strength to do it. I realize I am blessed to be able to do the things I love to. I am grateful for that.
I was reminded back to mile 10.5 when I realized I was heading for trouble. The thought occurred, "When your best isn't good enough, then you get to work and make your best get better."
My final results:
14th out of 27 in my age group
241 out of 434 overall.
I got some work to do.
PS - a huge shout out to the staff and event coordinators for the Hobbler Half. This was the first ever time they held this event, and they did an EXCELLENT job! Will be back next year for more!
PSS - an even huger shout our to LOP who was my captain two years ago on Ragnar. I saw her name in 4th place for our age division and she had a killer time. Well done Laurie - you freaking rock!
PSSS (is that even real?) - My last HUGE shout out to my Splenda Daddy. I make it to my finish lines, sometimes purely on the knowledge that I know he will be there.
(Splenda was amused by what he refers to as my "white trash ice bags)