Friday, June 1, 2012

St. Jude's Country Music Half Marathon 2012

I apologize for posting this so late, but I'm finally sharing about the race that wasn't sub-2, yet still really awesome!
Post-race with Christin!
I'm still not sure how to begin this race recap. Such an unbelievable amount of excitement, frustration, disappointment, and accomplishment can't exactly be tied neatly with a bow for this race. Yes, I'm extremely proud of myself, but I guess I'll just start at the beginning. (Forewarning, this post is extremely long.)
Our clothes all laid out ready for race morning!
Christin and I went to bed around 8PM the night before, so when the 4AM alarm went off, we were well-rested. We had breakfast on the floor, which included peanut butter on whole wheat English muffins and coffee that the concierge set out in time for us to enjoy before leaving the hotel.
Pre-race pictures
Then we walked over to the shuttle buses that would take us to the start of the race. Fortunately, the hotel was walking distance from the finish line, so it would be a somewhat painless excursion back. I ate my banana, and I tried to stay calm as thousands of people filed into line and onto buses. I just kept thinking, "I'm running a half marathon in Nashville with Christin! This is too freaking cool!"
Once we got to the start area, we used the wiggly port-o-potties, stretched, then said goodbye to Christin's hubby who was seeded in a much faster corral. Then we hung out, met a great woman who ended up not doing her best either, and waited for the start.

As soon as the race started, it felt hot, really hot. The humidity was definitely present, and considering it was only 7AM, I knew the heat would work against us. Fortunately, I had heavily hydrated before the race, but that also meant that I needed to pee... (sorry if that's TMI).

From the start, the race was the definition of rolling hills, and just when you'd think you conquered one, another hill would begin. When Christin said this course had rolling hills, I didn't think they would be constant. We made it through the first few miles, but her toe, which turned out to be BROKEN, was holding her back.

At mile 5, we stopped to pee and assess the toe situation. We started up again, but at that point, she said she was going to find a medical tent. I spotted the second two-hour pace group and knew that that was my shot. I gave her a sweaty hug and weaved to catch up with the group. That 9-minute pace was grueling. At this point, I was thirsty to the point that I needed at least three cups of water per station. And when the group disappeared, I was on my own.

Running the half marathon under two hours was out of the question as I watched the pace group charge ahead, and I let my tired body plug along at a 10-minute pace. I ran much slower than normal. I trained hard and fast, and I can run hard and fast, but it just wasn't my day.

The rest of the race I took in the sights. I looked at the places we ran by, felt overwhelmed by the number of spectators cheering on these crazy runners, and I tried to enjoy myself. I came close to crying several times because all I wanted in the world was to cross that finish line and see M.
Sprinting to the finish
When I crossed, I felt like I was going to puke. The finish area was narrow. Too many runners in such a small place when it was that hot was not good. I weaved through, grabbed handfuls of ice and a cold towel. I felt lost, but I just needed to find the "P" where we were meeting.

I bumped into the friend we met on the race course in the beginning, then hurried off to find Christin's hubby and our designated spectator. The relief and happiness I felt when seeing them was indescribable, such familiar faces after two hours of roller coaster emotions.

I don't know if I'll ever run that race again, but I'm glad I finished and shocked it wasn't my slowest time, especially after how hot and hard it was. Overall, the weekend was amazing, and I'm so grateful to Christin and her hubby! They were amazing Southern hosts, and I can't wait to run another race with her!


Brooke said...

Love your running outfits :) And what an awesome accomplishment!

Adam said...

seems like another fun race

Leigh said...

Congratulations again on your race! Sorry that it didn't go as planned, but we all have those races

poptartyogini said...

Sometimes it means more just to finish than it does to break a time goal. It sounds like you ran smart and enjoyed it for what it was. Those knee socks must've been brutal in the humidity. Very cute though!

J and A said...

Great photos, you are awesome!

Matt said...

That's a great accomplishment good job! I love running but I do hate that feeling where you pushed yourself so hard you want to puke. It sounds like a great experience overall though.

Lauren said...

sometitmes a race will set its own goals and PRs for you. feeling confident and complete at the end of a race is all that matters.

...and you wear compression socks when you race. Do you train with them? Do you like them? Do you feel like they help?

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

You look so beast when you run!! Niiiice! :) Glad it wasn't the worst race even though it was so hot!

Natalie said...

Way to stick to it...and sorry to hear about Christin's toe :(

Jess said...

You are so awesome! Congrats girl!

Heather said...

This is so awesome :). Congratulations.

Running outdoors in TN Spring - Summer is intense because of the humidity...and that is why I, unfortunately have to run on a treadmill through those months :(.

TV's Take said...

You did it though! You should be really proud of yourself for forging ahead and in the humidity no doubt!
Hope your enjoying your weekend!

Jax said...

Oh, that's so awesome and for such a great cause!!

Janna Bogert said...

I am still so proud of you! I couldn't do that if my life depended on it...Was that at a higher altitude than you are used to? I know that can be a big factor. People come here for training and they get their butts kicked because of our 6.000 feet altitude. It's brutal! I can't believe she broke her toe. Poor thing!

Mrs. Pancakes said... much fun! and i love how you met another blogger!

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