Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Pittsburgh half
Well, I had hoped to come in around 2:15 at the Pittsburgh half since that first half marathon I ran 5 weeks ago, was 2:20. That was not to be! Let me tell you all about it. We arrived in plenty of time and made our way to the corral. My friend, Joanne, didn't want me to run alone, so we were planning on running together. I was a little worried about this because Joanne is much faster than me, but we trained together and she insisted. I was happy to have a friend by my side. I should mention that it was in the low 60s when we started and the sun was bright with no cloud cover around. And the race begins! The first mile, we went out too fast. Or at least I did! A 9:45 mile. That's too fast for me. We slowed down a bit. Our next miles were 10:53, 10:39 and 10:18 respectively. Then it all went downhill. I started feeling really, really nauseous about mile 4 1/2 or so. We stopped to walk for about 2 minutes to see if that would help and then we started running again. About mile 5, I told Joanne to just go on without me. Her race shouldn't be hindered because I was sick. From then on, I would have no idea about pace as Joanne had the garmin. I don't own one. I tried to slow down and walk when needed. About the 10K mark, I thought I would have to pack it in. An additional 7 miles seemed so daunting to me when I felt so bad. But I just kept going. I met up with a man who was running the relay. I talked with him about the heat and asked if he wanted to switch places, he could do the half, I could do the relay. He just laughed and said I had a great pace. At mile 7, I really had the first positive thought pop in my head. I was over half way there! At every fluid station, I poured water down my neck and back to try to cool me off. And I filled up my water bottle 3 times. At my walk breaks, I always managed to talk to someone else walking. Runners are always so nice. I really thought I was past mile 10 when I hit the 15K mark, so that disappointed me a little. Plus, now I had the chills. Got onto the Birmingham bridge and talked to a nice young lady who was running her first half. I cheered her on! OK...mile 11, only 2 more miles to go! I would make it...no matter what! I wanted that medal! Right before mile 12, I walked along side an older gentleman. We talked about the heat and I told him about my race so far and how I felt. He immediately told me that I needed to drink gatorade and not water. He said I needed the electrolytes. (I hadn't grabbed gatorade at the fluid stations because I didn't train with it and didn't know how it would affect my stomach) Luckily, a fluid station was coming up and he walked over with me to grab gatorade. I drank it and then grabbed water to pour down my back. Turned and there he was with another cup of gatorade. He walked and ran with me a bit and then I told him I was going to go. He had injured knees so wasn't able to run all that much. He told me to be careful and stop if I felt nauseous again. I thanked him several times. He was so nice to me! Luckily the last mile is downhill...thank goodness! Started running and could see the finish line. I would make it. I kept telling myself if I could get across the finish line, I could go to the medical tent. Crossed the line, got the medal, blanket, food and went and sat down...I did it! What a challenge! I ate and felt a little better, called Joanne and met up with her. She did great 2:12...I feel badly I held her up at the beginning. Me, I did better than I thought. With all of the walking (and I had to walk quite a bit so I wouldn't collapse), my time was 2:28:15. Holy cow! I thought I would be close to 3 hours. I was proud of myself for pushing through and having the will and determination to finish. It was by far one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But I did it! I called my husband and broke down a bit. He and the kids were so proud of me! During the race, I was thinking that I never wanted to do it again. But I do. I'm not going to stop. I'm just going to take this race as a learning experience. I didn't adjust for the sun and warmth and I needed to. Almost all, if not all, of our long runs, were in cold temperatures. The warmest was 50 degrees and I think that run was 8 miles. I learned my lesson and can move on. Thanks to everyone who supported me. Thanks to Joanne for sticking with me until I told her to go. What an adventure! I look forward to many more!