I’ve literally lost count of exactly how many half-marathons I’ve done. I know I’ve finished five full marathons, and will probably never do another. I’ve never done one in less than 6 hours and I’m not getting faster. The last one Nike 26.2 2004 nearly killed me.
One of my many delusions was that I’d be able to keep up doing half-marathons for a few more years. Now I’m not so sure. I’m signed up for the Nike ½ in October and I might also do the US ½ in November.
Why do I do this at all? Because I come from a long line of short fat women with hypoglycemia and without a run date ahead of me on the calendar I would devolve back into a slug on the couch. Getting old is inevitable, but I’m terrified of getting old and fat and sick and immobile which is occurring with my grandparents who were very active and went folk-dancing all over the world.
My running partner recently moved to LA. Before that she moved to Novato, which wasn’t all that conducive to meeting to run in San Francisco either. I did all my training runs on my own and never got over 10 miles, so I really wasn’t sure I could do this. I run with a walkman tape player. Yeah, you read that right. Tape. As in cassette. As in “come on woman, get out the freakin’ stone age and get an iPod already.”. When I started running, I was a purist and thought I could just go running miles and miles with no walk breaks. Hahahahaha. I did most of my marathons/1/2 marathons running 5 songs and walking one. I did that as much as I could in training and it’s not working any more. I went down to three songs running one song walking and even that was too much. Going in, I knew I was going to run one, walk one, for 13.1 miles.
I woke up Saturday AM with a very ouchie neck. Heat, massage and motrin made only a dent, but I was determined to run anyway.
The biggest hassle was logistics. I thought I could call a cab the night before and go straight to the starting point for the 2nd half marathon. (Less hills, more time) but when I got around to trying to call, I couldn’t get through to any of the local cab companies and when I did, they were fully booked up. So I had to go down to the start and take a shuttle from the ferry building to the part. Given my not completely unfounded paranoia about Muni, I was up at four, out at five and on a bus by 515AM. I did get to see the start of the Full Marathon which is always sort of inspiring (if somewhat sad that I can’t even pretend to do it anymore) and the sight of sunrise over the Bay Bridge and Ferry Building is breath taking.
Once the runners were off and I’d made a few trips to the porta-potties, I got on the shuttle and made the ride up to Golden Gate. The 2nd half marathon was leaving at 820AM so I had lots and lots of time to sit around and mope about my neck and try to mentally work on the Chase-smut fic that I’ve been working on (it feels like) FOREVER.
We got to see the front runners that I’d seen leave from the Ferry Building start to hit the halfway mark.
There is some weird law of biology for runners (walkers, crawlers) which states that no matter how many times you hit the port-a-potty and no matter how much you don’t drink any fluids afterwards, you will still desperately need to do it again just before the start, by which time the lines will be long and the smell horrendous.
I still managed to line up and start on time.
I had done a nice carbo-load the night before (pesto gnocchi at my favorite Italian restaurant) drunk an Odwalla Vanilla Almondo shake plus 800 mgs of Motrin at 4AM. Soaked my legs and neck. I had two Cliff Shot energy gels and a package of Gummy Bears. I was
I followed my pace. Walked one, ran one. Started with 70’s rock. You can’t not feel good while running/walking in Golden Gate Park listening to “More Than A Feeling.” The loops through the park got a little frustrating, but I managed to stay with the same batch of people I started with so I was never alone and couldn’t get lost. The volunteers were out and supportive ALL THE WAY. (I’ve done races, including SF Marathon a few years back where the slow people totally got the shaft.) The water/cytomax stations were up and stocked throughout.
I felt really, really good the whole way. I ate a gummy bear at every mile marker and shared them with those who looked like they could use a sugar shot. Yay gummy bears!
Hubby came out to meet me when the course went by our corner and took a picture. He also gave me some Gatorade and took my extremely sweaty sweatshirt off my hands.
My feet got a little cranky at about the last mile, but I knew it was the last mile so it was OK. I came in at about 3 hours 21 minutes on the clock, but the important thing is that I finished before they shut down. I got the official time, the medal and the right to wear the t-shirt.
I’m feeling pretty good today, although my tush is a bit sore. Legs too, but not nearly as bad as it’s been in the past, especially when I did a full marathon. I was able to walk down stairs this morning without making unpleasant noises. The neck is still bugging me too, but that has nothing to do with the running.
Yesterday I had a sort of “Oh big deal, it’s just a half-marathon” feeling, but writing this up and thinking about it has me feeling pretty good. So…. Congratulations and celebrations…I want the world to know…that I’m happy as can be.