Yesterday afternoon I treated myself to a pedicure in an attempt to make amends with my feet for all the abuse they’ve suffered. I figured I earned it, right? Thanks, Becky, for a great way to remind ourselves we all need a treat every once in awhile!
So, as most of you know, I’ve been training for a half-marathon for roughly the last four months. Sunday I ran and finished my very first one.
The Cowtown Half-Marathon takes place in Ft. Worth every year, and this was a great race for my first half. It was fairly flat except for one horrendous hill, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Race weekend started with a trip down to Mom and Joel’s Friday night. They had dinner waiting on John and I when we got there, and they decided I needed to carb load.
Spaghetti and a baked potato? I really think I could get use to long-distance racing.
After dinner and a little visiting, I passed out on the couch before ten o’clock, and only woke up long enough to stumble to our room. I slept really well which I was very grateful for because, knowing me, the chances were good I wasn’t going to sleep well at all on Saturday night.
We had another carb loading meal of pancakes before John and I said our goodbyes and headed to Dad’s to meet up with him, Caite, and Justin to head to the expo. Dad and I picked up our packets, and the nerves began taking up permanent residence in my stomach!
We wandered around the expo for a little bit, but John, Caite, and Justin didn’t find it quite as stimulating as Dad and I and we were all starving so we headed out.
We ended up a Ft. Worth burger joint that’s been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It was good, but definitely a special occasion spot. Grease was the only thing on the menu!
We ran around a little bit more before heading back to Dad’s to relax for the evening and get some rest. As predicted, I didn’t sleep very well, and, when I did, I had crazy dreams. When the alarm went off at 4:30, I felt like I hadn’t slept at all, but, thankfully, I wasn’t that tired. My nerves and excitement had taken over!
Dad and I got to the race around 6:15. By the time we parked, walked the short distance to the start, and did the porta-potty thing it was race time. We got in the corrals, and crossed the start line about sixteen minutes after the gun.
I felt great starting out. I knew I loved the atmosphere at races but 5Ks are nothing compared to this event. There were thousands of people running, and the spectators were great. Someday I envisioned myself doing a post on the best race signs because I saw a ton of hilarious ones!
In the first few miles, Dad and I did a lot of dodging around other people. Dad had given me the run down on what that would be like so I knew what to expect and I just followed his lead as he wove in and out. We were moving at a pretty fast pace, and the first five miles seemed to pass in no time at all.
Around mile seven we entered the Ft. Worth Stockyards. I had really been looking forward to running in the area. The Stockyards are an iconic Ft. Worth landmark that I just knew would be a highlight of the race. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as expected.
I mentioned last week that I bought a new pair of running shoes. After a few light runs last week, the new shoes were not feeling great so I decided to run the half in my old pair instead of taking the chance. So fast forward to Sunday when I’m running on the brick paved streets of the Stockyards. I felt every single step as I pounded my feet on the bricks, and I was so glad to get through it. Luckily, it wasn’t too long of a stretch!
We were still moving at a pretty good speed, and I happened to glance at my watch once when it beeped to indicate another mile. It said we had averaged a 9:44 pace which is very good for me especially after that kind of distance. There had been some loose talk the day before of finishing around 2:15, and at that point I realized we were on pace to finish well before that.
Around mile 9, we started up the Main Street Bridge. And I do mean up! This was by far the largest and longest hill on the course, and it was a beast. It did not help matters that it was preceded by the longest straightaway of the day which means I had been staring at it for a good mile and a half.
This hill was rough. My pace had slowed way down, and I was doing what my dad refers to as the fat man shuffle to get to the top. Unfortunately, once I finally made it to the top, it all went downhill from there (pun intended).
Just after leaving the bridge, I noticed the tell-tale pains of runner’s knee in my right knee. I was right around mile ten, and I knew that the last 5K could give me some problems if my knee was acting up so I just prayed that it wouldn’t become too much of hindrance.
I kept up a slow but steady pace throughout mile ten, but miles 11 to the finish were not pretty . My pace was considerably slower, and I was forced to take a few walking breaks. Luckily, my dad stuck with me the whole way, and around mile 11.5 we finally saw John and Caite on the course which was a huge boost.
I crossed the finish line at 2:18:00, and I would love to say a felt a huge sense of accomplishment. That wasn’t exactly the case. Mostly, I just felt a little dazed! Not to worry though-the elation came pretty quickly!
Overall, I’m extremely proud and happy with my performance. Yes, I am a little irritated that my pesky knee kept me from an even better finish, but, at the end of the day, I think it was pretty good showing for my first half. And now, of course, I have a baseline to work from!
I definitely have a few more thoughts on the day, but I’ll save it for later in the week. This recap has gotten out of control! Have a great day everyone, and don’t forget to treat yourself!
What’s one of your proudest athletic accomplishments? How are you treating yourself today?