Yesterday was the 4th annual Run for the Animals Half Marathon and 10K on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The weather was beautiful, the crowd was huge, and the bling was fabulous. I have trophies from every year prior and I really wanted one from this year to add to my collection! This year’s trophy was a cool cat design. But if I didn’t win a trophy it wouldn’t be the end of my world, just being able to finish my first Half Marathon would be enough for me.
My training over the course of the past 2 weeks was lax because of traveling and a nagging pain in my left hip. I was hoping/expecting to finish with a time somewhere around 2:10:– judging by my training pace. After breakfast I downed 800mg ibuprofen to, hopefully, keep any hip or other pain at bay to make the run bearable.
I arrived to the event later than I had hoped, since I had some fundraising stuff to set up. I managed to get the majority of the items in order before my “helper” arrived, but I had to bolt on him and hit the potty before the race began! Thankfully some seasoned volunteers of mine were nearby to help out with the fundraising table while I was out getting my run on.
There were just over 150 total participants this year (10K and Half Marathon combined). By the start of the race, the weather was at a comfortable temperature in the upper 40s/lower 50s with just the slightest breeze. Perfect running weather! I’d have run in shorts if it wasn’t for the fact that I had just gotten the coolest pair of running tights ever…just in time for this run! So I had to wear them.
I’ve only ever run the 10K portion of this race in the past, so I’d bolt out of the starting gate and push as fast and as hard as I could for as long as I could. This time I had to remind myself to take it easy! When the start airhorn sounded I just took off at a gentle, comfortable pace, a little faster than my average training run. I felt great! Made it to the 3.1 mile mark (the 10K turnaround) and kicked it up a bit. Just a tad. After 2 more miles I slowed it up a bit for a mile or so. By mile 7, I started to get a hint of side stitches. I hate those! So I slowed down a wee bit at that point and started some breathing exercises. After another mile the pain went away. So I picked up the pace just a bit.
At mile 10, I was ON FIRE! My legs felt great and I was able to speed it up and pass a couple of people on my way down the home stretch! Damn! I can do this! That’s what was going through my head. Then I hit mile 12.5. My legs started to give in. I’d try to do the “mind over matter” thing and convince my legs to keep moving, but they needed a break. So I stopped and walked for about a minute. Then MIND won as I told myself “the finish line is right there and then you can rest all you want!” So I started running again, not super fast, but fast enough to finish with a time of 1:54:15!
Holy crap! I just finished my first Half Marathon in LESS THAN 2 hours!!! I could hardly believe it! And I actually felt pretty good afterward, as long as I kept moving. I was welcomed by my friends, dogs and other awesome folks at the finish line! I DID IT! FINALLY! Another milestone reached!
Today I’m a bit stiff, my left hip is nagging me, hamstrings are a little tight, and my knees are not quite up to par. But I still feel great. After a few weeks of rest, I’ll be back at it. This time in shorts and a tank top.
The Final Results:
- I finished 17th overall out of 65 Half Marathon participants
- I finished 1st in my age group for women 40-44
- I earned 3rd place fundraiser, raising $751.00
- I FINISHED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON at a venue that I hold very near and dear to me!
I did get a couple more trophies to add to my collection of Run for the Animals bling.
Now to work on improving my pace for next year so I continue to collect trophies from each year! 🙂 Thanks for all you do Andrea D. putting this awesome event on every year! Can’t wait to hear what the final fundraising tally was (it was EPIC this year!)! Love what you do, and I’ll see you again next year…