Nerves. Nerves. Nerves.
I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Finally, I saw Aneta's message on my Facebook wall, telling me to start counting sheep and go to sleep. She is aspiring to be the half marathon queen, and I'd better listen! Lights out.
Never mind that I woke up multiple times during the night. Oh my! Feels like the night before an important test.
First, I dreamed that my right lateral incisor was loose and was ready to drop out.
Somehow, I dreamed that tooth incident was a dream, I woke up, heaved a sigh of relief and realized that it was late 9ish in the morning. OMG! I had overslept and slept past the half marathon start time. I was crying. I thought to myself, I can make it to the marathon start line and I can run it. I can definitely run it in less than 3 hours, so, I will make it. I cried. I cried really hard. And I realized it was a dream. The pillow was wet.
I was there at least an hour before the start time. I can't stay in the hotel waiting anymore. I found my "corral" and hung out in the vincinity. I had my iPhone with me and was using Whatapp, chatting with my best friend in Singapore. People were with people. If they were alone, they would say "hi!" to someone they know who walked past. I felt quite alone and quite intimidated.
I settled myself somewhere before the walkers and a little toward the end of the runners. The 2:30 pacer was in front of me. Now, that's my #1 goal. The next goal was to finish it in 2:45 hours. And finally, the last goal was to "Just Finish." Realistically, 2:45 hours was attainable.
I kinda listened to the activity around me. Women and men chattering about running and cracking jokes about running. There seemed to be a confusion about the corral. It seems as if people are lining up based on their fantasized finish time vs. projected finish time. Some people were peeved about the 2-minute wave start. Hmm.. I didn't think it mattered since it is the timing chip that measures your time, right? Anyway, what do I know? I am just a first-timer.
Mile #1 (11:05) : I started easy the first mile or so. About 0.5 mile into it, I was already weaving through walkers. Walkers seems to like walking abreast and it kinda made it a little difficult to get around them. Maybe I should have stood a little more in the front than waaaay at the back. I looked at my Garmin and realized I was going a tad faster than what I was doing during my training and tried to scale myself back a little.
Mile #2, #3 (11:21, 11:25): Still feeling pretty good. We were running down a paved trail in a park or something. Went over a cute little bridge. My mind was thinking about the hill I saw on the elevation map. Slow down, Christina, save your energy for that hill.
Mile #4 (11:30): Up the hill. It was a long, somewhat gradual climb. And it proved to be the first of many hills. I actually felt pretty good on this hill. I thought about the advice my blogging friend, Aneta, gave me - SHORT STRIDES. I chanted that in my head. "Short strides. Short strides. Short strides." Then, down the hill. I snapped a picture of the golf course we were running around. It was blurry and not worth posting. My phone beeped at me and I checked it. Apparently I got a notification from Blogger. Lisa left me a message on my blog. She said "Have Fun!" Yes. I was going to have fun in this race. I might be running this race by myself, but I sure wasn't alone. I have all of you in the blogging world, cheering on me!
Mile #5, Mile #6, Mile #7, (11:22, 11:26, 11:04): Somehow, everything is slowly blending together. At this point onward, I had already caught up with the 2:30 pacer and hung out with the group a little. I still felt pretty strong and I know I would have no trouble running until Mile #10. Of course, there were a few gentle rolling hills. I don't know where I got that burst of energy at Mile #7. That's when I went ahead of the pacer.
What was cool was there were a group of a few adults and a group of 4 or 5 tween girls hanging out in the front of their house. The adults were cheering. And the tween girls were doing backflips back and forth across their lawn. It was quite cool! Maybe that's where I got my short burst of energy. I love it.
Mile#8, Mile #9 (11:26, 11:36): I think I am starting to slowly pay for that burst of energy. Hills. Hills. Hills. What's new? Mile #9 - I got a phonecall from a friend asking if I finished my run. I had to cut it short because I was going up another hill. Nonetheless, I was thankful for that call. I also saw a quote by T.S. Eliot, on a homemade sign, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
Mile #10, Mile #11, Mile #12 (11:52,11:53, 12:15,): The 2:30 pacer got ahead of my at Mile #10 drink stop. How does one drink from a cup without wearing that drink? I don't know. He didn't stop. He multitasked really well - holding the pacing board, drinking his drink, running, and talking to his followers. For the next mile or two, he was about 2 tree spacing ahead of me. I was slowly feeling it. Ha! "Not so hot shot now, eh?" Haha! At this time, a mom (I'm assuming) was encouraging her daughter (I'm assuming) to keep going. She was telling her what's left of the run. I laughed. And I apologized. I said, "I don't know where I am at, but it sure feels like we have been going up and down the same hill and running around the same neighborhood for the past 2 hours." Seriously, it all looked the same to me at this point. I need to amuse myself. Aneta, sorry, no spraying of blister water since I don't think I have any blisters on my feet. :)
Mile #13 (11:08): Hmmm.. I am not exactly spent yet. I still have energy inside. I'm going to run hard and strong from now until finish. I'm gonna give it all I have. I'm thought about a fellow blogger orginally from Germany and how she is going to be the little German lightning. Yes, Christine, you helped me through Mile #13. I eyed a man in front of me and focused on him. We have been playing tag for the past few miles. I focused. I ran. I was ahead of him. Woo Hooo. He hurried and he was next to me. I'm gonna to "Finish hard and strong" like what AM-Goals for the Week said.
Mile whatever that's left (10:53): Ugh! Can't let him go in front of me! So I sped up and kept up with him. When he went faster, I went faster too! I ran. I heard the announcer said my name. She (or was it a he) said my last name correctly! I finished! Strong.
Chip Time: 2:31:10
Placed 789/1136 participants
And I wasn't dead last with runners in my age group. :)
Yeah. You people. You were all in my thoughts today while I was running it. The thing was, I didn't know which mile I thought about you because it was all a blur. Here's a shout out to y'all.
EMZ told me this was going to be my race and that "I've got this." Yes. I have got it. I kept telling myself that throughout the race. I can do it. This is my race.
Saw a sign that says "look at those hot legs!" and I thought about Julie .
If Candice says "I Have Run," so does Christina!
Lisa was Chasin' Bunnies and has some troubles with her back. I thought about her back and I thought about my back. :( I don't like back problems. Here's to running for all those with back problems.
I can fight through any pain, right? "Pain is temporary. Pride is forever." And if Alan Dent can run with pain, so can I. I'm not going to complain. I'm not going to whine.
I was trying to crunch those numbers in my head while running, trying to estimate my ETA to hit the finish line. Then, I wished Running Man Wannabe was here to crunch those number for me.