Happy Birthday To Me!

11 Aug

Happy 31st Birthday to me! This birthday I’m going to reflect on my 30th birthday and give you a little recap of my very first half marathon.

The Hub and I had been watching The Biggest Loser for a few years when they began having the contestants complete marathons. I was utterly shocked! I had some friends who were great runners that ran half marathons but these ladies were pretty fit. I never even imagined trying something of that magnitude without being an elite athlete. In high school I was captain of the soccer team and the downhill skiing team, but I wouldn’t say I was extremely talented in either. In college and a few years after college I played intramural soccer (which ended about four years ago after an awful ankle injury during an indoor game), but I didn’t ever really run just for fun. I’d done one 3k when I was twenty but other than that, the most I ran would be about 3-5 miles. And I thought that was a lot! But I was feeling pretty down about turning thirty. In my head, I thought when people turned 30 they went on fabulous overseas vacations, took a girls trip to Las Vegas, or bought a really fancy car. Well I knew I certainly didn’t have enough money for any of those unless I wanted to go into debt (no thank you!). I decided I would run a half marathon.

Which half marathon was another question. I wanted to find one that was as close to my birthday as possible, and that pretty much the only thing I looked for in a half marathon. Rookie mistake. I chose a race that was August 14th called The Cougar Mountain Half Marathon. There are quite a few mountains out in Washington so I didn’t really think anything of it. When I started to read more about the race, I got pretty nervous. Turns out the race was trail running and total elevation gain was about 2,000 ft. So really, not an ideal race for any beginner runner.

For the training I did a lot of trail running. I didn’t run any mountains but there were certainly looks of hills, dips, turns, etc. I was pretty confident that I could finish the race and run the entire time. I used my trusty Cardio Trainer app on my phone and didn’t really focus on pace. I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon training guide.

Before

When we got to the race start I wasn’t too worried. I told the Hub to come out of the car (it started super early in the morning and Hub doesn’t do mornings) when it was about two hours and thirty minutes after the start. That’s what I’d been averaging on my runs, and then I added about ten minutes just in case. We drove a good portion up the mountain so I didn’t think it would be too much of an incline.

After we got started, I was in for a reality check. Most of the trail was up up and up. My goal was to just run through the whole thing without stopping. Looking back I should have ran much slower. I did pretty well for the first half, making sure to stop at all the water stations and eating my energy blocks. After the last water station, things got pretty bad. I’d been running at a good pace and speed walking some of the inclines with a gal with a Garmin, but I started to get a side ache, slowing me way down. I even had to stop and walk for a little bit. When I started to run again the trail began to go straight up. I had to stop and walk. There was no way possible I could keep running, and nothing left in me that would allow me to run. When I got back to flat land, it was too late. I was out of water, exhausted and extremely hot. My body would physically not go any faster. I was wondering if the Hub was worrying about me, and if he would have to send someone out to get me. I didn’t know if I was ever going to make it out. I finally heard some noise so I tried to run again. When I got to the finish line all the tents were packed up but my Hub and the poochers were waiting for me. I honestly thought I was the last person to finish. Turns out I ran 3:29:48, placing 150 out of 174 runners (men and women).

The Hub said he was pretty worried about me when he saw some of the people finish. He saw people as skinny as pencils coming through the finish line saying, “Boy, that was a tough one!” He also saw quite a few people who crashed and burned (there were a ton of rocks and switchbacks). He was convinced that I broke my ankle (I’m famous for hurting my ankles) and was laying somewhere on the trail waiting for help. I didn’t take any of that as an insult because it’s quite possible that could’ve happened. I am proud that I made it through unscathed with no injuries and that I actually finished without having to be picked up by a park ranger.

After...much after

Needless to say, my second half marathon I completed one month later was a breeze (well, compared to the first one!). Off to go celebrate the rest of the night with the Hub!

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3 Responses to “Happy Birthday To Me!”

  1. Marsha August 12, 2011 at 10:59 AM #

    When you make it through hard things it makes you stronger and gives you some good stories to tell.

  2. the obfuscated jogger August 12, 2011 at 8:52 PM #

    I’ve just done my first half. Loved reading about yours. Good on you for sticking with it. 🙂

    • baybaybites August 12, 2011 at 8:56 PM #

      Congratulations! I hope yours was better than mine. 🙂

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