Tuesday, October 5, 2010

13.1 Miles!

Well, first let me start off by saying, "I made it!" After 12 weeks of training, I finally ran my first 1/2 marathon! I really didn't think that day would ever come. Then, 10 months ago (last December) when my friend Kristina and I signed up for the San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon, I still didn't think that day would ever come, being that it was so far away. But this past Sunday at 8am in San Jose, we set off to conquer those 13.1 miles!

Right before the craziness ensued!

I hadn't really set a goal time for myself, but Jason told me that I was going to do it in under 2 hours. So, I did the math on that and figured I would have to run at a 9:14 mile pace the entire 13 miles. I didn't think that I could make that happen. But, once the race started, I kept hitting each mile mark between 8:45 and 9 minutes, so then it was on! I was determined to finish under 2 hours!

The first 10 to 11 miles were great! They completely shut down the streets of downtown San Jose, along with some of the nearby neighborhoods, and people just fill the streets to cheer you on! The energy was contagious and added to the already adrenaline rush. People would stand outside their houses drinking their morning coffee and clap for you. The downtown streets were filled with thousands of enthusiastic 'fans'. Since it was a rock 'n roll marathon, there was a band playing every mile. It was great inspiration because every time you heard the band, you knew you were nearing the completion of another mile! Plus, some people even set up their own mini-bands in front of their houses - little kids playing on their toy drum sets...and one guy even had his own electric guitar and was jamming out in his driveway (with an amplifier and all)! It was so much fun!! Until I hit mile 11...

Here I am at mile 4 - smiling and happy

Kristina and I had only trained up to 10 miles, and there is definitely something to be said about muscle memory. Once I started nearing the 11 mile mark, my legs were like, "Um, I've never ran this far at this pace..." and they started to freak out on me. They started to fill with lactic acid and began to get extremely tight. The thing with this though is that stopping only intensifies the cramping and tightening, so you have no choice but to push through it if you want to finish. Thankfully the last 2 miles of the race are through the downtown area, which is laden with people cheering and screaming. It definitely helped me push through those last 2 miles. They are a complete blur to me, but I know I did it because I crossed that finish line! And, I did it in under 2 hours, finishing in 1:57:20! I placed 2,325 out of over 13,000 (604th female and 119th in my age group).

Focused on the finish - I can see it!

Straining - almost there!

Done and VERY happy about it :)

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I would just make sure that I trained up to 11 or 12 miles. The pain I'm in right now is pretty awful, and I literally walk like I have two braces on my legs...but I'm sure I will soon forget about the pain and remember the excitement of finishing 13.1 miles after months of training!