I have to say, it never ceases to amaze me how awesome and supportive the blog community is. I cannot thank y’all enough for your well wishes! You guys rock and I used every bit of support you gave to me on Sunday.
FYI, I also wanted to title this post, “Endorphins, man they’re a beautiful thing” or “The dreaded mile 6 curse” but I stuck with the ole conventional title.
So I’m finally going to give you my race recap from my second half marathon! Sorry it took so long, but I find these posts to be the hardest to write!
The race started at 8 AM Sunday morning. So obviously I told the family that our departure time was 5:30 AM…we live 25 min away. Not surprisingly, I was probably the first race contestant there.
I used the restrooms when we got there. May I add that porta-potties are hard to use in the dark and gave me a whole new set of nightmares.
I then anxiously waited to meet up with my new friend Michelle, of Blessed with Thunder Thighs! This was our first meeting and I must say she is the sweetest girl ever! She ran in the San Jose RNR half marathon (the same one that I ran in) and majorly PR’ed it with I think something like 1:38:xx?? We both knew that we would be running in the Berkeley Half and wanted to meet up! She generously offered to pace me, which turned out becoming one of the reasons I didn’t quit this race…but more on that in a bit.
We chatted for a bit and then joined the group stretch provided by the Berkeley Half people. My BFF Shanna finally showed up (and by finally, I meant she showed up when “normal” people start showing up)
And before you knew it, it was time to get into our corrals! This time, I was really excited. At the start of my first half, I was filled with nerves and actually kind of scared, so this was a nice change. Within, what seemed like a few minutes, we were off!
The first few miles flew by. Once you ran the first mile, it was basically downhill until you reached the water
I was having so much fun for these first miles! I think at around mile 4, we saw my parents and Kyle up on a bridge cheering us on.
I was making good time- my awesome pacer Michelle had even written on her arm, certain check points and the time we had to be at to make it under 2 hours. <–how awesome is she?? My first 6 miles looked like this:
I was so ready to run this half in under 2 hours.
And then I hit mile 6.
At some point during mile 6, my back started to seize up. I felt a tightness and then all of a sudden, sharp pain in my lower spine (you can read more about my bad back here). Crap on a cracker.
I started to freak out in my head. There was no way I could finish this race with this kind of pain. I called to Michelle and told her I had to stop for a quick sec to stretch out my hamstrings. We pulled over for maybe 15 seconds and then we hit the pavement again.
I think I told her that I was okay, hoping to trick myself. Mind over matter, right? Ha. Ha.
I saw Kyle and my parents again around mile 7-8. I mouthed to Kyle, “my back.” I was later told that they could tell I was in pain. I wonder how…and look how cute Michelle looks lol.
From mile 6 on, all I could do was try to distract myself from the back pain. You know that rule where if you pump your arms, your legs will follow? Yeah…doesn’t work so well with lower back pain. I focused my attention on keeping up with Michelle, listening to patterns of pounding feet on pavement, and telling myself that I had to finish. I no longer cared about time. I just wanted to finish.
I definitely slowed down.
And then I finally asked Michelle about our pace (I had told myself that I wouldn’t look at my watch). She said I was definitely on track to PR. WTF?
And then I asked her about finishing in under 2 hours. She said that I was about 2 minutes (total) off. Seriously?? After she said that I powered through the pain. I was going to leave it all out there. I wanted to finish without regrets.
The last few miles were hard. Super hard. A lot of it was on a gravel trail, and then there was the final hill. Who puts a freaking hill at the finish line? Honestly?! According to my Garmin, the hill was around 12.75 miles and had 40 ft of elevation gain until mile 13. Felt like freaking Mt. Everest.
We reached the summit and then we could see the finish line at the bottom of the hill. Time to sprint.
After I crossed the finish line and stopped running, my back pain immediately got worse. It hurt so bad to move on my own. And in a few minutes, I would be unable to walk on my own.
Look how funny these photos are- there’s Shanna looking all happy and then there’s me (P.S. hello massive thigh)…FYI Shanna did an amazing job and PR’ed with a time of 2:00:34!
And then here’s another super funny (to me) pic. My family and I laughed that Shanna and I actually looked like we had just run 13.1 miles. And then there’s Michelle…
Michelle was awesome. You can tell she’s paced people before. A few times she told me to relax my jaw and shake out my arms. She told me our pace, but only at good points when it wouldn’t be discouraging. She told me when to ease up, and when to push it. She’s the reason I finished. I cannot thank her enough.
And what you’ve been waiting for, my results! I finished with a new PR of 2:02:03!
I know, it shocked me too. Here are my splits (on the left) compared to my first half marathon. Funny how even with the back pain, I ran a lot faster.
And some more people I have to thank! My awesome parents and Kyle for waking up at the crack of nothing to watch me run around in circles. They’re another reason that I finished. I didn’t want to disappoint them by quitting.
I was supposed to go out to a celebratory brunch with coworkers who also ran the race, but Kyle and Shanna talked me out of it because, well, I couldn’t walk without help.
At least I had this awesome sandwich from my favorite deli, a magnet for my car that I’ve always wanted (from Kyle’s mama), and my awesome medal 🙂
And yes, Kyle. Running did suck on Sunday.
So I know y’all are sick of listening to me gab, but some of my final thoughts:
- I was in incredible pain (and still am, but getting better), but I still cannot wait until my next half. I told my mom about a month ago that I don’t think I love running, I just love the challenge. Now I think I love running.
- Yes, I am incredibly disappointed that I did not finish in under 2 hours. I trained for that. I
knewknow I can do it. It just wasn’t in the cards for me that day.
- Again, a huge thank you to Michelle. I know I would not have finished it if you weren’t there.
- Again, a huge thank you to my parents and Kyle. Kyle, BTW, had (still has) a bad cold and still came out to cheer me on.
Thanks for listening to me y’all! You rock!