Friday, October 26, 2012

Runner's World Half Marathon

This is a long overdue race review, but sometimes life happens. Anyway, as you know, almost a week ago now I ran my second half marathon. Everyone asks me how I did. I don't really know how to answer that. Physically, I finished. Was I pain free, no. Was it my IT band, no, actually, that felt really good. See, back in May I began to develop some foot pain on the ball of my right foot (yes, only that foot). The pain was not constant, and it only occurred once I reached mile 6.5. (yes, I know that that too is weird). I took it as my body telling me that my shoes were worn out and that I needed a new pair. So, I bought the next generation of my current shoe, because even though I love those shoes, they are not available. Fast forward to 6 weeks before the half. Still having the foot pain, although I relate it now to breaking in the shoes. Went back to the store where I bought the shoes and they allowed me to exchange the shoes for wider ones. Now, I know these new shoes won't be broken in on time for the half, so what do I do. I try to wear the new ones on long training ones to give my old shoes a break. Still pain :( So, fast forward to last Sunday and just know that I am wearing old shoes. Mile 6.5 came and my foot started to hurt. By mile 8, I really wanted to quit, but I had Holly and April to help motivate me. (Well, really they carried me through it because I didn't want to let them down). So, I guess you can say that I should be happy I finished. I am. I knew in the  back of my mind that I should be able to do it in about 2.28, that was my time at St Luke's. But, my runs had been cut down between life and work so I had my official goal to finish in less than 3 hours.  I am happy that I was able to finish it in 2 hours and 35 minutes, but I am not happy that I had so much pain. The nurse in me decided that it is not a stress fracture, 1 because it only starts to hurt at 6.5 miles and 2, because it doesn't hurt all the time. But, I am also going to be smart about it. I am going to see a podiatrist to look at my foot just to make sure there isn't something mechanically wrong with it. If I am going to survive a full marathon in 2013, I need to be able to run longer than 6.5 miles pain free.
Ok, so now, what did I think of Runner's World Half Marathon and Festival. I think that the organizers of St Luke's should take some notes. Having the expo in a tent outside allows for people like myself to feel less overwhelmed and claustrophobic. It really did allow a lot of free movement in an out of the expo. However, I do not think that there were a lot of vendors and definitely no free samples. (St Luke's was very crowded and very overwhelming, so I do not know if there were a lot of free samples, but, I do know that I did receive a few).  The race loot. I do not know how I feel about the "virtual race bag." I think it takes away from the whole race feel. We did get a pretty decent race shirt, but that was it. No bag, no free sample of the magazine, no pen, nothing. Then, when we went to the vendors, they didn't have bags either. So if you were planning on spending a lot of money, you wouldn't have had any place to put the goods. My only other gripe with the expo was that Shalane Flannagan was there on Sunday (race day) but she was only available from 10-11. I don't know about you, but if a race starts at 830 (it did) where would most average Joes be at 11 am (still running!!!) I was and still a lot disappointed that I didn't get to meet her.
The area for the half both the start and finish was awesome! I haven't been exposed to a starting area like this one, but I definitely thought it was awesome. Definitely enough bathroom facilities at the starting area, just not enough in the finish area.  I don't know how the food was, I didn't stick around for it, but I hear I shouldn't have missed it.
   Now, onto the race. What can I say about this race. One word hilly! The first 6.5 miles was the bulk of the hills, with one more long hill at I think mile 10. I am really glad that I had done the stadium steps because I believe it helped me with the hills (I will definitely continue that torture). Once we got out of Bethlehem proper, I think the run was beautiful. The fall colors really were a nice backdrop for the run, and we also couldn't have asked for nicer weather. It was beautiful.  I appreciate all of the effort that the citizens of the neighborhoods that we invaded did in supporting us. I definitely appreciated the "Got Chafing" sign, because it was at that point that I realized I had forgotten my body glide. I wish that the water and gatorade stops were a little more organized, but I do appreciate their timing. It seemed like every time I needed water we were at a water stop. I do wish there was more entertainment, although I am glad I found out before the race that there was none otherwise it would have been a longer 13.1 miles.
The finish area was awesome, although I really think that mile 12 was really mismarked. I think I was at 12.2 on my Garmin before the race marker came up. I know that really isn't a huge discrepancy, but when running 13.1 every mile marker matters. At this point of the race my feet were on fire. I got to see my family at mile 12,
photo courtesy of my husband

I briefly paused for my daughter to give me a kiss, and heard her crying as I ran away. After 12, it was only a matter of time to the finish. Every since I started running, my cousin told me to make sure you don't get passed at the end, that you do the passing. I KNEW I had to finish hard. Somewhere after 13, the road turned to bricks. I knew then that it was a matter of seconds until I was finished. As soon as both feet were on the bricks, I turned on the jets. I knew I HAD to finish hard. It was for all of the training. I believe I passed like 4 people at the finish.

I crossed the finish line and that was it. No one hung the medal around my neck. No one draped with me the alien cape. I walked around people loitering in the finish area. I finally got my medal. It was a really nice medal, I just wish it was put around my neck, not just handed to me.

Will I do this race again, most likely. Will I complain about the hills, definitely. Will I do it faster than 2 hours and 35 minutes, YOU BET!
post signature Happy Friday!!

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