Thursday, September 6, 2012

Throw Thur

This Throwback Thursday is a recap of my first half-marathon. See how the title only contains half the words? Get it?! More examples of my enviable sense of humor...

I can vividly recall the conversation we had, while walking to my first 5k race. She and I adamantly agreed we had no desire to ever race a distance further than 3.1 miles.

"Well, maaaybe a 10k". I finally conceded.

She half-heartedly agreed, but that was it. That was the ultimate cut-off.

Fast-forward six, whole months 'til I ran my first 10k :

the following month I ran my second 10k

I hate to brag, but impatience and obsession are qualities I have mastered. Why I couldn't be content to run a few 5ks, every couple of months, for a few years is beyond me. It's not even as though I was excelling at that distance and needed more. I just needed more. Now!

My incessant chatter about running and races had fueled and awakened the dormant runner in my dad. He'd run Track as a speedy youth, but had long since retired.

middle row, 3rd from left. you're welcome, dad!!
 
After racing a few 5ks, he had jumped right into the half-marathon distance just a few months later. (thanks, genetics!) While I still had a healthy respect for any distance over 6.2 miles, his excitement and successes were definitely contagious.
 
Then he talked me into trying the running group he'd joined.
 
Turns out Impatient/Obsessive Runner + Like-Minded Locals = Best Thing Ever!
 
Approximately 4 days into this new venture, for me, the half-marathon went from "no way never" to "I must do it. immediately". After a frenzied internet search, I settled on this race. It was about 12 weeks away, so I'd have the perfect amount of time to train. The race was also in the town where I'd grown up and I loved the nostalgia of that. The field wouldn't be enormous and the temperature would be cooler, in Florida. This was it. My, idyllic First Half-Marathon was staring right at me from my moniter.
 
I was sweating and giggling when I submitted the registration, but my husband's calm confidence and support settled my nerves....
 
So much so, that I instantly realized there was no way my impatient little brain could wait 12 weeks for this race. (how many of you saw that coming?)
 
With wild eyes and flying fingers, I submitted another entry for the Daytona Beach 1/2 Marathon. Who needs ridiculous things like training, waiting or common sense?
 
As I've shared, in addition to being impatient, I am also really "thrifty" as well as generally clueless so my preparation and training for the race left a LOT to be desired. However, I did somewhat follow a (free) shortened training plan, so the distance wasn't seeming as impossible to me. With my (less cheap) husband's encouragement, I also bought some calf sleeves (the day before the race) to counteract the effect of the 2 bridge crossings involved in the course. 
 
The husband and boys would be my cheering section. I didn't want to inconvenience the rest of my family for this pre-dawn, longer-than-a-5k, race experience, so I discouraged their attendance and told them all I'd give them a full recap.
 
The (very early) morning of the race, I ate some carbs, drank some gatorade, got sick about 6 times and left the house with my little family.
 
Wait. What? Getting sick so many times that you're left pale, shaking and utterly empty isn't standard race prep? whoops...
 
The race starts on the actual Daytona International Speedway. It's pretty darned cool. The boys were very excited to get to play around on the steep banks, while I tried to not vomit (again) before the start. It was still dark, the first few miles, but the Speedway was all lit up.
 
In my impatience, I went out way too fast, skipped the first few water stops, panicked and was seriously considering quitting less than three miles in. I have never had such a desperate, hopeless horrified feeling, while running.
 
Then I saw the most beautiful thing in the world. My husband, ever thoughtful, had secretly coordinated with the rest of our extended family, to have them all along the course. Every other mile or so, my weary brain recognized people I loved. People who loved me enough to wake up at an ungodly hour, navigate closed-off streets and stand in somewhat sketchy sections of town for a really long time. They held up their handmade posters and made as much noise as they possibly could. Just for me.
 
It was the one and only reason I finished that race.
 
Totally depleted of fuel (1/2 of a GU and 4 sips of water are not enough, I later learned) I crashed many, many times along the course. I found myself walking over the last bridge. Walking was never part of my training. I was so frustrated and disgusted with myself. There was nothing in the entire world that I wanted more than to be DONE with this nightmare.
 
While I should've been relieved to see the final mile marker, I had to hold back a disgusting mixture of dry heaves and tears. There was no way I could run another whole mile. This may sound ridiculously dramatic, but it was real and it was ugly.
 
Then, to my right, I saw my dad. He'd fought and wound his way, purposefully, back to that exact spot and put his running shoes on. He hopped right onto the course and ran beside me.
 
As he talked and joked to distract me, our pace picked up. The desperation tried to creep back in, but my dad's presence and strides kept it at bay. As we rounded back onto the racetrack, I told him, breathlessly, "I would have never made it that last mile, without you." He told me I absolutely would have and hopped back off the track as the finish line came into view.
one & only race photo I've ever bought
 
 
I may have some seriously annoying traits, but I am blessed enough to have a spouse and family that see past all that and love me, still.
 
Thank you.