Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 McDonald's Half Marathon

I am very happy to say that I had a GREAT time yesterday running the McDonald's Half Marathon!  I know it was the right decision and it was the running boost I needed to remember how much I enjoy running.

Since we lost our point-and-shoot camera, I couldn't take any photos before the race.  Bummer.  Tom dropped a few of us off downtown and we met up with my running group in a building to stay warm before the race start.  I think it was in the 30s.  It was cold.

The half started at 7:30.  And it didn't take long for us to warm up a little.  While Tom was waiting to see us he watched some of the 8k runners.  Here's a weird one for you...

Not sure what that's about.
We saw Tom between miles 1 and 2.

That's me with my arm up in the center.
 Then again at mile 4.

Heather, me and Niki at mile 4.
The three of us ran the marathon last year and we trained together again this year.  But, Niki ran the Marine Corps Marathon two weeks ago and Heather was battling an injury, too.  So, that's how we all ended up running the half together.

Miles 6 and 7 are in Bryan Park.  The three of us stayed together until then.  I was feeling so great, that I went on ahead and picked up the pace and ran ahead.  I couldn't believe how great I felt.  It was awesome to be able to run and not have pain - other than just fatigue as the miles went by.

The next time I was supposed to see Tom was at mile 8.  I looked for him, but didn't see him.  He did not expect me to be running faster than usual.  And he said it took longer to get there than he anticipated, and he thinks he missed me by just a few minutes.

Miles 7.5 to the finish is the same course as the marathon.  And as I ran, I vividly remembered exactly how I was feeling running those miles last year.  They were awful.  And it felt great to be feeling strong again.  And I had to wonder, what if...  But it was only for a second.   Brook Road is a particularly hard part of the marathon course and that's where you see some good signs.  My favorite this year was "Worst Parade Ever." So funny!

I kept on looking at my pace and doing the calculation in my head to see if it was possible to beat my best time.  I couldn't believe that I was running in the 8-minute per mile range.  And maintaining it!
I knew it was going to be close.  But, by mile 11 I knew there was no way I could make up 3 to 4 minutes.

As I was running the last mile, I started to run faster.  And I couldn't believe I still had so much energy.  I think my goal for now will be to work on my speed and learn how to figure out when to pick up the pace to time it so that I have nothing left after the race.

I didn't see Tom again until the very end.  And he said he barely caught me.  He had just asked a person if he could slide in beside him to get to the fence and then there I was...

Me at the finish - just up ahead.

All done.
My time was 2:01.  My best half time is 1:58 done at this race in 2009.  I had NO idea I could have gotten a PR (personal record).  If only I had listened to Heather and Niki, who told me to run ahead earlier.  Ugh!  Just a few minutes would have made the difference.  I definitely had it in me.

But, regardless of that, I had a great run and that was my ultimate goal.  It restored my love of running.  And I do think that the Half Marathon is a great distance.   It allows you to dig deep and ask a lot of yourself, without putting you into complete agony.

Murphy and me.

Me, Tom and Murphy

Natalie, Heather and me

John, Katy, Heather, me and Natalie

Heather and me
Oh, as I was coming through the food path after finishing, I saw a girl who looked distraught.  I went up to her and asked her if she needed a hug and she started crying and through tears said, "Yes."  Then she looked at me and said (while crying), "I did it!" And all I could say was, "Congratulations!"  I have to say, she made me cry, too.  You just never know what battles people are fighting.

After we were done, we went and grabbed a few recovery beers down the street.  Then Heather and I walked back a few miles to cheer for our marathon-running friends.  They all did great - I think every single one of them beat their times from last year.  Well, one was a first timer - and she did great, too.  Congratulations, Katherine!  When they arrived at the restaurant, they told Tom that they missed his support along the course this year.  It made me sad for them.  He really was awesome last year traveling to so many places along the course to cheer us on.

That night some of us met for dinner.  Good times.

Anna, me, Heather, Allison and Katherine
I see fun running in my future.  Running the Half was perfect.  It allowed me to have a great run, which was exactly what I needed.  And I'm not too broken down that I can't do anything for weeks.  Perfect!  Now I can focus on my next goal... getting a PR at the Shamrock Half in March.

Congratulations to all the runners who ran this weekend!  And thanks to all the supporters who cheered us on along the way!



Ann said...

I have to say, you look much happier in the pictures this year! :) I also wanted to tell you that I re-read your marathon recap from last year and I was in tears AGAIN! I totally get how emotionally draining it is to push yourself to your absolute furthest limit and succeed. How sweet it was for you to stop and offer a fellow runner a hug.

I'm so happy you finished the race on such an "up" note this year.

btw - I think I recognize that necklace you have on at the after dinner race. :)

Oh, and how do you run with your rings on? My fingers swell too much when I race. Probably because I'm walking and my hands are down for the most part. Who knows.

Congrats Christy!


Ann said...

make that "after race dinner".

Susan said...

Congrats Christy! You look very happy. I'm glad it was a good experience, and FUN.

Lisa B said...

Well done! Glad you had a good time.

Beverley Bouchard said...

A friend Rebekah (Becca) ran the marathon first the first time. I just can't imagine it!

I need to work out whats going on as I miss your blog posts...they don't show up.

B-Mama said...

Never got to comment on this--WAY TO GO!!!! What an awesome feeling to go out, run well, and feel good. So happy for you!!