Mission Accomplished! I did it, damn it! I got the picture and medal the to prove it. :)
This really was my "goal race". Back in February 2007, I set a goal to run the Columbus Half Marathon this year. Well, I did. However, I gotta say that after the 20K Indian Trail Run last September, this race was (almost) a walk in the park. I didn't stop once from exhaustion and I held a damn strong pace the entire race.
I'll be totally honest, I wasn't nervous or worried about finishing the race, but I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do with my mindset. James and I were in Tulsa, OK for Tulsa TechFest 2007 (which was a blazing success by the way). We didn't back to Columbus until 7:30pm Saturday night. By the time I got back into Newark, it was almost 9pm and Jennifer talked me into stopping at my parents for a cookout. I had honestly wanted to just go home and go to bed because James and I were up all night Friday night posting Data Dynamics Analysis to the website. We ended up staying at my parents cookout until 10:30pm and by the time we got home and settled down, I didn't go to sleep until 1am!!
The Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon started together at 8:00am. Therefore, I had to get up at 5:30am to eat breakfast and get out of the door by 6:30 to beat the race traffic. I did. I got to the race around 7:30am and I had plenty of time before the race started. I decided to find the port-a-potties and take some pictures of the race crowd. As I made my way toward the port-a-potties with my camera in hand, I was met with a wall of people around the corner. I had no idea how many people were actually going to be at the event. It was amazing to see so many people in downtown Columbus at one time (besides Red, White, and Boom of course). It took me about 20 minutes to get through the bathroom line, but I got some (kinda) cool pictures during my wait. You can find them in my picture gallery here:
I was the last person to start the race. If you knew me, you would agree that this only makes sense, I'm late for most things. :)
The race environment was absolutely awesome. There were people on the side of the road every step of the way cheering the runners on. I heard "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes, I heard a high school drum line rocking out at a couple of spots along the way (that was really cool too btw), and there were many local musicians setup along side the road playing their instruments for the racers. Many of the local residents of Columbus sat out in their yards cheering on the runners too. It was simply awesome to be a part of this. I knew the race was going to be easy at about the 3 mile marker believe it or not... I was so in tuned with everything around me that I didn't even thing about the fact that my body only had 4.5 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. My senses were all on overdrive that I didn't even notice that my legs were moving at a 9 minute pace!
I met a lot of people on the course too. Lots of runners had little sayings on their shirts. For example, one lady had a shirt on and the back said "My name is Linda. I'm 50 years old today, and this is my first marathon!". So of course, as I passed her, I congratulated her and wished her a happy birthday. This was the whole race too, I talked to so many people and everybody was so nice.
The only downside to the race was my nipples... Yes, my nipples. At about the 7 mile marker my nipples hurt really bad from my shirt rubbing them over and over. I eventually looked looked down on my shirt and saw that my new white shirt now had a red patch of blood where my nipple had been rubbed raw. Needless-to-say, I still had 6 more miles to go. I was going to have to ignore this piercing pain and move on. Honestly though, this was easy to do; I was so high on energy and no sleep that my nipples didn't bother me that much. They just felt weird, but didn't really hurt at that point. However, as I ran past people on the sidelines, I found myself watching their eyes. I then knew what it was like to be a busty woman... Nobody was looking me in the face anymore; they were all looking at my (red) boobs. :)
The course finished on a slight uphill climb, but then turned a corner and the finish line was toward the bottom of a nice downhill slope. I finished the race with a 9:09 mile pace.
Going into the race, I told myself that I wanted to to have a sub 10 minute mile pace. I finished the 13.1 mile race in 2 hours 7 minutes 12 seconds. This calculates to a 9:43 pace!! Never would I have guessed that to be possible! Never!
There really isn't much more to say about my first 1/2 marathon experience other than it was a blast. I'm so happy that I did it. I'm already planning my 26.2 mile adventure for next spring. There are actually quite a few marathons in the spring, so I'm going to do my research before committing to one.
Oh yeah, to finish my story about my lack of sleep and overall body torture... I got home from the race, talked to Jen and my girls, and then crashed on the couch for about 3 hours. When I woke up, my dad and I went camping for 3 days. I slept in a tent for the next 2 nights. Yeah, my body still hates me for all of this. I figure I'll catch up on sleep over that next weekend... Wait I'm having a bonfire that next weekend... Crap!? :)