Monday, May 6, 2013

CapCity Half Marathon Recap

This race was nothing like I expected it to be.

Forty six days after I tore a muscle in my calf, I ran a half marathon.

I was cleared to run three weeks before the race after not running at all for a month.  I have to tell you, I had my doubts.  Big doubts.  My weekend long runs for my three weeks of "training" went like this: 2 miles, 5.6 miles and 8.1 miles.  Yikes.

I wouldn't say I was dreading this race, but I wasn't looking forward to it.  I couldn't get excited about it.  What's there to be excited about?  Run/walking my slowest half marathon ever?  Sucking wind and struggling with ill-prepared legs to the finish?  Being sore for days because I wasn't "properly" trained with a 12 week training plan?

Yea.  Let's get excited. (sarcasm font)

This is a good time to say that I had no pain in my calf for the past 3 weeks.  Had I felt pain, I would not have run this race.

I had trouble sleeping Friday night, so I must have been a little more excited than I thought I was.

Photo taken by: some random stranger
Photo owned by: Rancid Goat
Saturday morning, my alarm went off at 5 and I popped out of bed, as I usually do on run days.  Yay running!  I got dressed, ate fruit snacks (because I was hungry and it wasn't breakfast time yet), made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (for breakfast) and left to meet Anne and drive downtown.  After checking our bags at gear check, Anne and I hung out in the stairwell to the underground parking lot to stay out of the cold wind until it was time to meet our running group for a picture.

Photo taken by: some random stranger
Photo owned by: Stuart Kirk
I lined up in a corral further back than the corral I originally intended to be in.  I wasn't going to be running as fast as I originally planned and didn't want to get in the way of others trying to PR.  I started the race with several friends, but in the first few miles, we were separated and didn't reconnect until the finish.

My plan was to use run/walk intervals for the whole race.  Three minutes of running with one minute of walking.  My watch was set to beep at me when it was time to run and when it was time to walk.

Three minutes into the race, it was clear that my one minute walks were going to be tricky with 14 thousand people crowding the streets of Columbus.  There was no place to get out of the way to walk and I refuse to be that irritating person who walks with complete disregard to others who have to go around, so I decided to walk every other walk break until the crowd thinned out.  During this time, I did my best to keep my running pace around 11 min/mi so I wouldn't fatigue quickly.

Around mile 3, Jeff from Fleet Feet rode his bike past me and snapped this pic.  My family couldn't come to this one as Ellie had a soccer game, so I had no course photographer.  It's always nice to have pictures of races, thanks, Jeff!
Photo taken and owned by: Jeff Henderson
At this point, I was ahead of the 2:30 pacers and decided I wanted to stay there.  At the start of this race, I assumed I'd be finishing after the 2:30 mark.  At mile 4, I stopped paying attention to my watch and just ran comfortably.

Just before mile 4.5, my Turtle pal, Angela, who was volunteering at a water stop, jumped in to keep me company for the rest of the race.  I was expecting the last five miles to be miserable due to my lack of training and having someone to distract me to the finish would be lovely.

To be on the safe side, we started taking every walk break mandated by my watch around mile 5 when the crowd thinned out.  Just after mile 8, I remember making the comment that this was the farthest I'd run in training so I'm just waiting for the nausea and fatigue to set in.

I was still waiting at mile 10.  But instead of feeling fatigued, I was singing Eye of the Tiger with Angela, driving racers around us crazy.  We saw a lot of runners struggling the last few miles of the race and I couldn't help but wonder why I wasn't one of them.

At mile 11, I said to Angela that I couldn't believe how good I felt.  After a month of no running, I had three weeks to prepare for this and will two miles to go, I feel strong.  Sure my legs were getting a little tired, but the rest of me was still raring to go!

Angela said to me (and I'm paraphrasing) that sometimes it doesn't matter how much or little we train.  A strong body remembers.

Photo taken and owned by: Jeff Henderson

I guess she was right.  I stopped taking walk breaks after mile 12 and picked up the pace a little when I entered the finish chute.  I gave myself a little cheer as I crossed the finish line (official time: 2:26:58), got my medal and went in search of bagels!  I was starving!

I ran into Jeff again in the finish line food area.

Yep, that's me, hoarding water. 


Under the circumstances, I couldn't have asked for a better race.  My whole body feels better than I expected, I have no blisters, black toenails (my mother in law freaks at the thought!) or injuries.

CapCity 2013 has left me a little sore but feeling completely triumphant.

So, yea, I ran a half marathon 46 days after tearing a muscle in my calf.  It wasn't my fastest.  In fact, it was my slowest by almost 7 minutes.  But I finished.  I finished strong.  And I had a lot of fun doing it.

This body is pretty amazing.

Care to celebrate?