Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Tale of Two Races

After I completed the Disney TOT 10 miler, I figured why not just do a half marathon? I only needed to go three more miles, right? Little did I know that the holidays and cold weather would put a wrench in my training. One would think that training in cooler and dryer weather would be preferable to the heat and humidity. I guess I just had too many distractions. I let every excuse keep me from training. In the end, I felt totally unprepared for the Best Damn Race half marathon. 

It was NOT my Best Damn Race. I messed everything up. I had it in my head that the race was in a different location and a different time. I'm surprised we made it at all.  On top of it all, it was cold. Not, oh I should wear pants cold. More like, I need to wear 10 layers and just hibernate cold. I didn't want to get out of the car to go to the start line. Then we turned off the engine and the car got cold, too.  So I put on my big girl panties and high tailed it to the start line. I decided to just do my best and enjoy it while focusing on not biting my tongue off as my teeth were chattering.

Things started off well. People were energized and excited. It's hard for it not to rub off when you are surrounded by that.  We (hubby ran this one with me - bless his heart) placed ourselves by the 2:30 (2 hours, 30 minutes) pacer and hoped we could keep up. And we did! We even passed that group. The cold weather kept me from overheating and I didn't need to take walk breaks. I started getting excited at this potential. Then we come upon signs like this:
My race packet mentioned there were rolling hills, but they were "more like speed bumps". I've never seen a speed bump with a steep grade warning. Going down wouldn't be so bad, but for each down there was an up. And not just one or two. Florida is supposed to be flat, dammit! I was ready to cry, but I think I was too dehydrated to get any tears out.  I forced myself to keep moving and just took several walk breaks to get my asthma under control. When I could finally see the finish line, I just wanted to stop. I was ready to sit down and give up. Stupid, since I could see the finish, but I was just overwhelmed. My knees were fine, my hips were good (I usually feel pain here first) and my feet were only partly sore. I was just done.  Hubby encouraged me to keep moving and I even ran across that finish line in under 3 hours. Just barely, but hey, now I have room for improvement. Hubby said he is never doing a half marathon again, lol. 

Best part about BDR - the water stops. Lots of them. With great volunteers.  Worst part of BDR - no direction at finish line. No one pointed out the water or, more importantly, the food. My feet were too sore to go looking, so I settled for a beer and promptly threw it up. I'm sure people thought I was just drinking too much, ha! I've seen lots of posts about how much runners loved this race, so I purposely didn't post about it for awhile. I think my experience was unusual and I didn't want to post while I was feeling so negative about it.
I love my medal, but you won't see me running BDR again. I can't do the hills. I might, however, attempt a half marathon again. Maybe in a year - or most of the year. I am glad I completed a half marathon, regardless of the time or troubles.
Time to pick myself up and dust off. Gasparilla Distance Classic was just around the corner in just a few weeks. We signed up for the 8k, mostly because it's a distance I haven't done in a race and also because K2 was running with the Florida Blue Kids group on that day.  Gasparilla is big, fun, and has the best health fair, hands down. We had a blast last year running the Gasparilla 5k.
K2 ran 2 miles with the kids after cheering in all the half marathoners. They had so much fun. She was a little disappointed in the medal (it was plastic) but they also gave the kids free Nike running shoes, so that made up for it. She thinks she wants to do the 8k next year. We will see, kiddo.
Getting ready to run!
Hot, tired, and ...done. Flat, but lots of heat. 
Can't win 'em all, but I did PR.
Isn't this an awesome medal?

So what's next? I think I'll stick to 5k races for awhile and then consider longer races towards the end of the year. That Florida sun is here to stay for awhile, so I think I'll just take it easy on the distance running. 

Besides, the Legoland 5k is coming up. Fun!
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