I Ran a Half Marathon - Oh Yeah.

Let me just tell you that as I hobbled from the car into the house, I thought a video clip would be a funny thing to post on the blog.  It would show the reality of post-race.  

Post-race wasn't very much fun.  I drank a dixie cup of water when I finished and immediately felt naseous like I was giving birth or had some nasty stomach virus about to erupt.  It was windy and cold and, since I always get really really cold after a long run, I knew I needed to put on my jackets, get home, shower and try to sleep.

So that's what I tried, but I couldn't sleep so I gave that up and cuddled up on the sofa with my kids and husband until dinner.  JUST as we were about to head to dinner, I started to doze off and RIGHT when I started to doze off, my body started to warm back up.

I am not very resilient post-race.  Well, I AM because I did bounce back and had a good dinner and lots of ice tea and lots of good brain sharp conversation.  My knee swelled up and I iced it at home afterwards while drinking a glass of wine.  I made my way up the stairs hoping I wouldn't have to pee anytime soon (our bathroom is downstairs) and I have hopes of falling asleep as soon as the kids do.  So, I am resilient, but not immediately after a race.  Immediately after a race, my body acts as if it's just plain old in shock.  Perhaps it is!!

This is what I learned during and after the race:

1.  It's good to practice run more than 8 miles before a half marathon.  My body let me know right after 8 miles that it was protesting the longer mileage with some various aches and pains.

2.  Have a secret-secret hoped for average pace (that is also do-able if all the stars are aligned and you've actually run more than 8 miles in pre-race practice).

3.  Have a secret hoped for average pace that is more realistic and gives a lot of room for failure!  (Mine was a fifteen minute mile.  My overall average was 13.  My secret-secret hoped for was 12 and I actually did 12 (or close to it) for the first 6 miles.)

4.  Jot down notes during practice on clothing you wore in certain temperatures.  I was pretty certain that in 51 degrees with light rain I was going to be fine in shorts and a smartwool shirt, but I got spooked by my husband's "It's cold out!" and changed to long pants and a baseball cap instead of a hair band.  Dumb.  I was hot and distracted by my clothing issues.

5.  Remember why you're doing the run and note that most of the negative talk might come when your pace picks up or when you're going up a hill.  Mine most certainly followed that pattern.  

6.  Pretend you're just out for a long run for fun and enjoy that your body can participate.

That's what I learned.  As well, next time I'm not eating or drinking ANYTHING post race until my system warms up.   And, I'm lacing my shoes a bit tighter to prevent my foot sliding down in my shoe, rubbing, and getting a blue toenail which is bound to fall off.

Oh - and Gu.  Not bad stuff.  I ate a couple along the race and think they helped.  I ate them slowly to see.

But, another piece of advice....If you drop your empty Gu container on the ground and lean down to pick it up (didn't want to litter), DON'T proceed to put it in your mouth to see if there is any more Gu.  I learned that will get you a mouthful of dirt that is challenging to get out of your mouth with a limited amount of saliva and no drink station.  Not fun.

The overall race was fun.

I got a total queasy stomach this morning after we'd cleaned up for the babysitter and after I'd done some Pilates and once I realized something more than the normal routine was about to happen.  A couple trips to the bathroom and lots of pre-race anxiety deciding if I had to go again kept my attention until it was time to head the 13 miles out of town.  

I started off nice and slow at a pace that once used to be way too fast, but now feels good (12 minute mile) and I recognized that the first few miles are always a bit of a struggle as I transition into the groove.

I reminded myself to "have fun" and in doing so I looked around at the amazing scenery and the gray clouds and the dark green meadowy grass and the dark pink flowers and the mud road.  The windless humid air was challenging at first, but once we got a few miles in, the road opened up and the breeze came through and I was amazed at the beautiful place I was running in.

Around mile four or five I noticed that my breathing was very loud - ridiculously so.  I tried to breathe in and out more deeply and, in doing so, noticed that I'd been breathing along with my short strided running - up and down and up and down and my breathing was just bumping along the road as well.  Once I changed my breathing, I FELT smoother and more relaxed.

Around mile seven I fashioned myself to be a Grecian Olympic runner of yore striding across the countryside with messages to deliver.  I don't think I was anything like those swift moving runners, but I definitely felt a groove.

Around mile eight I was pleased to see I had a faster time than last week's eight mile race (which did go up hill, but which had a downhill that I really pushed myself on) and I felt rather pleased with my body.

And then, just like that, I got a new ache or cramp - maybe it was my hips.  I can't even remember, but I do remember thinking the timing was rather right-on given my positive thoughts and my body's lack of preparedness.

Mile ten wasn't my favorite.  I'd known my pace was decreasing and decreasing and it was around there that I realized I must be going 14 minute miles.  I tried to stretch out a bit longer during the last few miles, but it didn't really show up on my running ap.  

I probably could have stretched out and increased my pace.  In fact, I know I could have, but I think that wouldn't have been fair to my body and I didn't really know what my body could do and I couldn't trust it to make the last miles without getting injured.

"Know your pace" and  "Listen to your body's pace"

Those were some words of advice I heard after the race from a seasoned marathon runner.  I think I did that.

Overall, I am pleased and proud and amazed that my body was willing to go along with all this.  It wasn't very long ago at all that Victoria's_View was giving me encouraging words as I set out to run a 5K that I was ill prepared for.

Running.  It's kinda fun. (Note, however, that I am not running up a hill at the present moment, but sitting in a nice comfortable chair)

AND, I still have 900 calories EXTRA (even after dinner) so tomorrow we might eat breakfast out.  We might not.  I might make a banana cream pie.  I might not.  It doesn't really matter.  It feels good in the right now to have done something so big and to have had fun (relatively) and to have a glimmering thought in the back of my head that I might do it again.

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