Back in January (or maybe the end of December), I got the crazy idea that I should run a half marathon. Why, I don’t know. I think BFF Vera talked me into it. I had never done a race longer than 5K, so the next logical step would have been a 5mi or 10K race. But no, 13.1 miles seemed like a good idea.

Well, today was my first* marathon, and I survived in one piece. Barely.

I heard somewhere (probably RunnersWorld.com forums) that just getting to the starting line is an accomplishment. That was the case this morning. I am NOT a morning person, plus, honestly, I was slacking on my training during the past 3 weeks. So when my alarm went off at 5:15am this morning, and it was still raining outside, I tried to think of every reason NOT to put on my gear and go. I ate my energy bar for breakfast and the whole time, I had an inner dialogue or “this is crazy … go do it anyway … what am I thinking? … I don’t know, but go.”

I went. Because I hate giving up.

For some reason, I decided I needed some new race gear, and picked up a new pair of Nike tempo shorts yesterday. Even though all of my training runs were in capris. What could go wrong? (Exactly what you think.)

I drove to the race, parked, checked my gear, got into port-o-potty lines longer than the ones at the South Side Irish parade (less vomit though), and got into the start corrals. It wasn’t a huge race – maybe 1,000 people.

palos-half-marathon-2010

 

I started off with what I thought would be a good pace that I could maintain. I felt great! But of course I did. My training the past couple weeks was crap, I was very well rested! Oops! I gradually slowed down. Somewhere between miles 8 and 9, I realized I had a lot of miles left and not much left in me. The only way I could get to the finish line was walking. So I walked.

I was in the back of the pack, and the water stations were running out of cups. And I was chaffing in my new shorts. Badly. And being passed by the few people still left in the back of the pack with me, including an 85-year-old gentleman. My hands were swelling up – it was a good thing I wasn’t wearing my wedding rings. I also had salt drying on my face.

But you know what? I finished.

Official time: 2:48:53, 12:54 pace
Overall: 1,351 / 1,428
AG: 113 / 119

At least I wasn’t last, right?

I got a liter of water after crossing the finish and chugged it as quickly as I could while hobbling over to the gear check to get my bag. Putting on pants never felt so good. I basked in the glory of what I just accomplished, with my feet up on a chair in the beer tent while eating post-race snacks, until I had the energy to hobble to my car and drive home.

palos-half-marathon-2010-finish

Celebrity sighting: I saw Lynn and Jaime Parks on the course. Lynn is in a wheelchair, and Jaime is a marathon runner. He pushes her through every single one of his races. It’s inspiring. And he’s really fast! According to the official results, he finished in 1:27:38, a 6:42 per mile pace.

* note that I said “first” half marathon … who knows I might lose my mind again in the future and sign up for another one.