Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Here it is...Half Marathon Recap!

So, I'll try to make this as entertaining as possible! First, let me just say, that the heat advisory went out on Wednesday that the weather was going to be warm...like 87 degrees warm...so I started water-loading, drinking an INSANE amount of water on Wednesday, and peed like crazy. Then I started carb loading Friday, but not going crazy, just eating better protein and carbs to boost energy. Saturday I ate a lot, but in small(ish) portions in order to get my energy levels up. Many things happened throughout the weekend, including standing in line for 3 hrs for the NFL Draft, going to see Joel Osteen at Yankee Stadium, but that's another time, and another blog!

Saturday night after the Yankee Stadium service my parents decided "The city never sleeps" (In fact, my father kept repeating this mantra over and over in a giddy voice and embarrassing himself on the 4 train...going downtown...he'd want me to mention these important specifics!) We went out to dinner at Uno's and I didn't feel like pasta at 9:30pm, so I opted for the perfect combo: Crispy honey chicken salad, sans bacon. It is a DELICIOUS cobb-inspired salad which features spaghetti. Strange, you might say; try it, you'll be hooked! (Can I BE anymore of a watiress?!)

Anyway, we went home, I set out my running clothes, shoes, pinned my bib on (Number 9571 out of 10,000), set out socks, looped in my chip, and attempted to go to bed. Poor Bri was tired from being at the NFL Draft but I was a nervous wreck.

My alarm went off at 5am, I got up, went into the bathroom, and at my clif bar (I live in a studio, wanted to have a happy husband so I made my noises and turned on the light in the bathroom out of view of the bed!) I tried to go back to sleep, but it was fitful, so I finally awoke at 6:15, WAY earlier than my original 6:40 plan. I lotioned up, including sun block, because it was ALREADY hot out. Brian grudgingly but dutifully got out of bed at 7am and drove me into Manhattan and dropped me off on Park Ave, two (avenue) blocks away, so I could get some warm up walking. Brian was so sad that I was running alone, so his last words were, "Make a friend." Boy did I ever.

As I was walking to my alley, I overheard someone saying, "The marathon's been canceled." (There was a full marathon and a half marathon planned) I guess the heat was considered too much, what a shame for those hard working women! Then I overheard the same sarcastic guy say with a laugh, "Yea, this isn't even going to be timed. It's a fun run." I rolled my eyes. What a thing to say! How stupid would that be.

Oh wait, it was true.

Yes, I made my friend Dot when I got to my alley. "Hi I'm Dot." She said. Bam we were friends. The following is our oral account. D will represent Dot and K will represent me.

K "It's so hot."
D "I know. I can't believe they're not timing this sh*t."
K "WHAT are you talking about?"
D "Oh yea, I already gave in my chip. It's a fun run. Come one, I trained for this! You did too right? How old are you?"
K "24. But wait they're really not timing this?"
D "Wow I'm 43. Yea no they're not timing it. Look at these fatties with their hydro belts. Get out of my way!"
K I didn't know what to do...I giggled because she was a Jersey mom of 3 totally toned and speaking her mind WAY too freely!
Man comes by and gives us salt packets to help us retain water.
K "I don't want to eat a salt packet."
D "Me either. It's gross. Let's do it."
I felt like peer pressure like taking a shot. Dot was like that: An instant friend who would always be fun!

Needless to say, our encounter went on for about 45 minutes and was THOROUGHLY entertaining!

On to the race:
I was sweating the INSTANT I started and almost had a breakdown because the STUPID walkers actually thought they had just as much right to be there taking over the ENTIRE race area so you couldn't pass. I almost pushed some on purpose because I was so annoyed...thankfully I rose above and was patient. According to Ryan Hall, if you walk at the fluid stations and drink a meaningful amount of fluids and keep running right after, you won't lose as much time by trying to balance running and drinking, and you will retain more water. I knew I HAD to take this advice, because it was already 80 degrees. Thankfully, there were fluid stations every other mile, so I drank a cup full of gatorade, one sip of water, then poured the rest of the water on my head. Long hair is SO not cool when running in the heat!

By mile 3 I wanted to die. I couldn't believe how long it was feeling like, I felt like I should be on mile 5 or 6 by now, I hadn't even completed half of the first of two loops of Central Park! After mile 5, I broke through the mental wall and was cruising. Thankfully the walkers only did one loop, so as I was rounding the corner to complete the first loop, I heard "Kristin Kristin Kristin! WOOHOO!" My mom, dad, Hubby and friend Laurie were there to cheer me on! I got such a push mentally and physically! The second loop was awesome, totally cruising, stopping at the spray stations (Which I nicknamed wet tshirt contest station!), in which giant hoses were propped up and water sprayed everywhere! Mile 10 was the hardest, because mile 11 was the last hill, so leading up to it was super hard. That last hill I actually felt my thighs BURNING, which hadn't happened the entire race until then! When I hit mile 12 I knew I was homefree. I saw my cheer section again about halfway through mile 12, and this time they were also joined by my friends Drew and Sarah! That was all I needed. I had the biggest smile on my face and knew I would finish strong. I went for it, going as hard as my body would allow while keeping my breathing even; at least every mile someone was being carted off in an ambulance because of the heat, so I didn't want to push it too hard.

As I saw the finish line around the corner, I couldn't believe it was about to be over. 3 months of training, 2 years of working up to the 8 miles to begin training, support from my husband, family and friends, all coming down to stepping my foot across the finish line. I welled up and as I crossed the finish line, a few tears made their way out (conveniently masked by sweat!). It was a truly emotional moment, when all my work came through, thinking about how I unsure I was if I could complete it, overcoming the INTENSE HEAT, seeing my cheer section loud and proud; wow. What a great moment. They handed me my medal and I grabbed 3 gatorades and it was over. Chip was removed and I found my family. Brian gave me the biggest hug, I felt like I made him so proud, and he really showed it all over his face. My parents were so proud too, and it felt great. I recalled finishing my first race in Manchester, CT, when I was 18, 4.78 miles, in 62 minutes, and how proud I felt then.

Amazing how far, literally and figuratively, I've come. It's all because of God's strength. Seriously. I pray everyday, and during every run, for strength and endurance. I repeat scriptures and pray for people. God truly gave me the strength I needed to complete this.

Thanks to all the people who supported me, encouraged me, and kicked me in the butt when I needed to train (BRIAN MY LOVE, THAT WOULD BE YOU!!!).

Ps. The Italian dinner in Little Italy afterward, including ice cream and a canoli, was wonderful too. ;-)
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