September 4-5, 2010
My mad dash to the airport had put in me in a tough predicament. I arrived home in Virginia a mere 20 hours before the Rock N Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. I barely slept on my flight. I couldn’t get comfortable. I had the dreaded middle seat. My whole body was sore from running and dragging my wheeled carry-on through the city. I was emotionally exhausted from the week’s proceedings.
After picking up my bags, I headed directly to the Race Expo. I picked up my race packet which included my race number. Once had I had that, the nerves really set in. I barely noticed anything else at the Expo. I was just cognizant enough to buy a souvenir t-shirt. The rest is a blur. At lunch afterwards, I didn’t fully enjoy my sushi, which I love, because I was so distracted.
I finally got home and attempted to nap. My nap was thwarted by my very busy household. I was so short on sleep that it was almost criminal. I tried to unpack and get my race gear together. Instead of carb-loading, I had a light dinner of Wendy’s chili and a baked potato. I went to bed early. Despite only having had about 3 hours of sleep the night before, the sandman did not appear. I tossed and turned for hours before finally falling asleep.
I had trained all summer for this, but you can’t train for emotional exhaustion, jetlag and sleep-deprivation. This was shaping up to be my worst case scenario.
I was up bright and early and began tweeting my experience. Here are my tweets with additional photos and commentary.
It was a unseasonably mild day. Temps in the 70s with low humidity. Perfect day for a Half Marathon.
I was in Corral 23 which had me starting 36 minutes after the official start of the race. That gave me 36 whole minutes to really get worked up in a nervous frenzy. I felt like crap from the start. I was sore and tired, but I was determined to run. I knew I would finish even if it meant it would take an eternity.
I was in a very slow Corral. There were a lot of walkers in my group. What was most irritating to me was not only were some people walking they were holding hands and forming chains 4 people across. I’m all for support and solidarity, but geez it was still early. Leave some room for the rest of us to pass. I burned a lot of energy early on just passing people.
During my training, I found that it takes me at least 3 miles to settle in and get a comfortable pace. I wasn’t surprised early in the race when I couldn’t quite get into a decent pace and rhythm.
At Mile 4, I really felt terrible and I was panicked. My asthma was bothering me. I was hyperventilating. My legs already felt like rubber. I still had another 9.1 miles. I was in trouble. I had a Gu Energy Gel and tried to focus on the music playing on my iPod.
Miles 4-9 went through Camp Pendelton. That stretch felt endless because the course wound around a bit. There was plenty of bands and cheerleaders along the way which helped significantly.
By Mile 7, I was really questioning my sanity. All I could think of was this shirt that I almost bought that said “This seemed like a good idea a few months ago.” I was so exhausted that I spelled Half Marathon wrong in my hashtag.
My tweet that said “struggling” was a gross understatement. I was at a point where I was really questioning whether or not I would finish. My asthma was really bothering me and I was using my inhaler almost every 0.25 mile. What saved me was all the support I received from friends. I received several text messages, facebook comments and tweets. All the communication nearly killed my iPhone battery, but saved my morale. The positive words and thoughts buoyed me onward.
Mile 10 put back towards the beach where I knew the finish line was close by. Only 3.1 miles left to go. I dug into the last of my reserves and picked up my pace.
As is my luck, my mom and sister kept calling while I was trying to sprint the last 0.5 mile to the finish line. I don’t think I’ve ever been that rude to my mom, but that was one time that I REALLY couldn’t talk.
I crossed the finish line at 10:33 AM with a total time of 2 hours 56 minutes 44 seconds. It was not the goal time I had in mind. With everything that transpired prior to the race, I was grateful to have finished.
I was euphoric and fatigued. I had finished my first Half Marathon. Even though I felt terrible throughout, I’m certain there will be many more Half Marathons to come. 🙂