Thursday, June 9, 2016

our half marathon

We did it. We completed our first half marathon on Sunday, June 5, 2016. Well, it was a first for all of us except Terry. He ran a half and two full marathons in Chicago while in college - his pace was better this time though!!
Terry, me, Jazmin, Emma

 The whole idea of competing for more than just a few miles began last fall after we had completed our team marathon relay. Despite feeling like I could never run a half marathon around mile four of that race, I ended up doing it just eight months later. I blame Jazmin. Though to be fair, Terry had been talking about doing the half marathon by himself for a couple months. But then Jazmin kept asking us if we could all do it together. She really did ask quite a bit though apparently she doesn't remember doing so. Since she and Terry wanted to do it so badly, I went along with it. I registered us before the New Year had even begun in order to save the most money possible and then Jazmin and Emma followed suit. 

And yes I do blame them because I would not have done it on my own. My knees had been bothering me since the marathon relay due to IT band issues. So, before I kicked up my training I visited a physical therapist friend for help with that issue. He said I had an ankle flick and an anotomical issue where my left hip turns in - antiversion. You can't do anything about it except adjust your stride and I'm past my prime so that's difficult to do. He gave me some stretches and tips and I went along running. However, my knees still bothered me quite a bit so I could only train twice a week, owing to the fact that I needed at least two days of rest after any run to feel better. You could say getting miles in was difficult for me, but it was for Jazmin too, owing to her profound love of mountain biking leaving her no leftover time. Terry and Emma had no injuries or issues with other commitments and ran four or five times a week. They were both a lot more prepared than we were. But even I was better trained than Jazmin who only ran a handful of times. You'd never know during the race though. Ah, to be young again. Yeah. I'm twice as old as those girls! They're 17 and I'm 34!!!

So race weekend came and though we had wanted to go shopping all together, schedules were too difficult to sync. Jazmin and I bought these matching tanks at Scheels for the three of us and an orange one for Terry. I told my family that you should never go shopping with a 17 year old girl if you want to feel good about yourself. Ha! 

The following day we all caravanned out to the ranch so Terry's folks could watch our kids for us.  
notice what's behind us...?

Yeah, Terry's dad has a roller coaster!

From there we carpooled to Deadwood, picked up our bibs, shirts, and bags before checking in to our hotel and driving to Lead for dinner at Subway. 

I wanted to capture every moment so as to not forget, hence the long post. We had a grand ol' time at Subway. Earlier that week, while discussing the coming race with Terry, I accidentally combined Jazmin and Emma's names into "Jemma." Jazmin especially liked it since that's the name of a character from the show we both like, Agents of Shield. But at Subway, I kept accidentally calling them Jemma and then once called them "Jemma-azmin." Ha! 

The high point of our dinner was when we were discussing our pace expectations for the race. I said I would probably be around a ten minute mile, which I do not consider very good since Terry was aiming for eight minutes. Emma was nodding along encouragingly and said something about how that was really good for not normal people... Awkward pause and then lots of teasing of how Emma had just called me not normal. She laughed so much she chocked on her sandwich and I took her water away to refill it, intending to help her but I ended up only making it worse. Emma kept trying to explain herself, anxious to show that she didn't mean to insult me as not normal. "I meant above normal!" More teasing and laughing. Ah, so funny. She had only been trying to say that I was above average, classifying me as a runner and not as the average person who does not run.

Anyway, once back at our hotel Terry and Emma, who are the serious runners, went for a two mile warm up jog along the course that went in front of our hotel while Jazmin and I walked. Behind us you can see the rowdy group of drunk guys, one of which stopped by our hotel room for a rousing profanity-laced chat. He seemed Irish half the time, whether from the alcohol or in reality, I don't know.

 We stopped for a long time at this house where all the bunnies lived. I think I counted 19 bunnies! They were gone the following day.

The crazies. I wasn't going to risk aggravating my shin splints and knee issues. 

Thought this sign was funny. But we're only half as crazy as full marathoners. 
It was hard to imagine passing this sign at mile 12 the following day when we'd only have one more to go. 

We sat up for an hour or so to talk but were in bed by 10pm. Terry got up at 4am the next morning, which was far too early. The only good thing about it was it gave us all time to deal with the nervous poops. Ha! Yeah I just said that. We ate the oatmeal I had brought and then cooked in our room's microwave - we were so glad to have stayed at a hotel in town. At 530am the Deadwood Trolley picked us up and drove us the two miles to the Rodeo Grounds where another bus would take us to the race starting line. 

Nervous double chin! 

They weren't all that anxious. It was mostly me. 

Here we are on the bus where Jazmin felt sick to her stomach from motion sickness. 

We arrived at the half marathon starting line at about 630am. Only an hour and a half wait time... But it was all good. We had plenty of time to use the bathroom a couple more times. Ha ha. We also had some snacks - bananas and M&Ms. 

Getting closer... 

We walked up to the starting line, which took several minutes. The course was (nearly) entirely on the Mickelson Trail, which is narrow, therefore it was quite spread out.  

We took off our warm up clothes, deposited our drop bags, and got in line after another bathroom trip.  Almost time! Ahh!

We were somewhere in the front middle, at the back of the 10 minute mile runners. This was everyone in front of me... 

...and behind me. I like her peace sign :) 

At 8am sharp we all counted down and...proceeded to wait. It was so anticlimactic, but like I said, the trail was so narrow it took nearly four minutes for our group to even walk up to the starting line and only then did we start running. We started what felt like so slow, a 10:30 pace for the first mile, because we were held back by having to go around slower folks in front of us and just waiting for the herd to thin. Terry on the other hand never made it to his preferred starting group, had to begin with the nine-minute-milers, and therefore had to run along the ditch to get to the pace he wanted. After he passed us in line, I never saw him again until well after I had finished.

Apparently there weren't photographers until the race was almost done. This bridge and the following rock was at approximately mile 10 or 11. Here's Terry busting it out. He said at one point his pace was under seven minutes, far better than his expectations! 

Here's the rock I mentioned. This is the money shot that's on the website.

Terry's Nike Run app estimated he would finish it an hour and 45 minutes. But he finished ten minutes even before that with a 7:15 mile/minute pace! My husband is a beast. He's been saying that he has found his hobby, something that he is good at, and that he enjoys. Now he just needs sponsors :D

He finished nearly 45 minutes before me so he had a while to wait. He said he felt bad that I was still running. "The faster you run, the faster you're done," is his motto. 

Apparently this had become his thing (he also did it for our marathon relay). 

Next up was Emma. After the first three miles, she took off and left Jazmin and I (Kristin was also with us).

Her mom, Tanya, snapped this picture of her. 

Emma's pace was great, 9:45.

And last up was me and Jazmin. Tanya also took this photo of us early on. Hail damage!

I think we were around 8-10 miles here.

Finally we found the race photographer. It was so sunny and hot at this point, probably mile ten and on was like that.

The money shot. Oh yeah. 

Tanya took this photo. I just wanted to point out the camera is unflattering. Yeah, look at that fat flying. Oh yeah!

Mile 12 was terrible. I remembered seeing the mile 12 sign the night before when it was cool and peaceful but in reality it was hot and I was so tired. That last mile took for-e-ver. I wanted to stop and walk so bad. I never had up until that point.

I thought I would be running alone but Jazmin stuck with me the whole time. I told her I felt like she was pushing me that last mile but she said she thought I was pushing her. Turns out we were good for each other. It was lovely not racing alone and yet not having to talk a lot. Me and Jazmin are comfortable with silence.

Very often during the race I thought of Josh, our new friend, who was supposed to be running along with everyone up there. Josh was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident the previous week, on Ezra's third birthday. I've been so sad for his wife and baby girl left behind and have been praying and thinking of them often. I wish we could have had the experience of running together, but I know he's far happier being with Jesus than with us.

Our finishing time was actually four minutes less since we crossed the starting line late, which gave us a pace of 10:29. I was a little disappointed by this because my Nike app said we were right on with a 10 minute/mile pace. Oh well. Still good,

I finished 899 place (there were 2,250 half marathon runners) and 129 in my age division. Jazmin was 15th in her's though! Terry finished fourth out of 96 in his age division, 52 out of 1923 half finishers, and 44 out of 575 for his gender. Like I said, he's amazing.

After we crossed they handed us our medal and a water right away and then I stopped running. My legs and especially my hips tensed up immediately and I sort of hobbled over to the food tent where I ate a banana. I was starving! I had eaten one banana chunk at mile eight and it helped a surprising amount. I had so much more energy and just felt better after that small amount of fuel. 

After the race I just kept looking for Terry because he hadn't come and found me. I finally called him after 15 minutes of disappointed searching. Turns out when he had congratulated Emma he somehow missed me coming to the finish line and instead walked up the trail. He was getting worried that I was hurt on the trail somewhere and was relieved I was okay. We finally sat down on the sideway to wait for him to come back and he walked right by us! Finally we were reunited. I was super psyched I actually finished and didn't walk at all. I hadn't even felt the need to until that last mile. 

Go us!

Da girls. Awww. Seriously, I felt so proud that I kept up with girls half my age. Of course there are women twice as old as me who are in better shape... but still. I felt good. Endorphins.

Finishers! The woman on the right is Laura, from church. 

Finally we had enough and opted to walk back to the hotel. Big mistake. We forgot it was nearly a mile away. When we arrived and tore our shoes off I was shocked to find a huge blister on the big toe of my left foot - and Jazmin too! For nearly the entire race my left toes were rubbing and uncomfortable in my shoe but my right foot was totally okay. I must have some kind of wonky form, but really, we think it's because the course was nearly all downhill, thus pushing my toes down into the front of my shoes. And my left foot is larger than my right so perhaps it was that more than my form. You can't train for an all downhill race - it's so hilly where we live. 

We said goodbye to Jazmin and Emma and their families at the hotel and then we showered before we left. It felt good to be clean but all I wanted to do was sit down, something I hadn't done for more than a minute at the finish line. 

Finally we drove to the ranch, had lunch, and hung out for a while, me in the horizontal position most of the time. On the drive home it became evident that we weren't the only ones who were tired.

Once at home I discovered a second blister on my fourth toe! 

The original only got bigger. I went to clean, pop, and dress them after this and discovered yet another blister on the bottom of that fourth toe. The following day the first one had filled up again and my hips and legs were so sore. Even today, Thursday, three days later, my left shin and my right lateral quad are still sore. I have been walking around with a different gait to avoid my blisters and also taking one step at time on the stairs. Terry nearly fell down when he got out of bed on Monday. All that downhill really made a difference. 

Finally, that night, Terry was a dear and went and got us some pasta which I had been craving big time. Hey, we deserved it. We did it!!!

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