Last night I went to bed at 9:00 for the first time in ages, but because I did, I got almost a full 8 hours of sleep. I woke up at 5 a.m., got dressed, and ate a bowl of cereal with a banana on top. Buzz picked me up at 5:20. We drove downtown in the dark, parked the car, and headed for the bright lights of the convention center. We used the bathroom, ate a power bar, pinned our numbers carefully on our shirts, lubed up with the sportglide, and left our sweatshirts at the baggage area. We shivered for 10 minutes in the semi-darkness, the sun just beginning to creep up. Suddenly, there was a boom like a cannon (literally–it scared me) and we were off!
My plan was to start out running 11 minute miles, because that is the pace I know I can handle over long distances. At the first mile marker, I glanced at my watch. 10:50. Pretty close. I was feeling good, and kept plugging along.
All along, I have been saying that my first and only real goal was to finish the race. To give Ron and Buzz some idea of when to look for me, I told them that I should be done in 2:30:00, and maybe 2:20:00 on a really good day.
By the 10K mark, which I passed in 1:05:15 (my best 10K time ever), I realized that I was indeed having a really great day. I was averaging a 10:30 mile and was still feeling fantastic. The crowd was cheering, and I couldn’t help but smile. I was going to finish in 2:20:00!
I saw Buzz heading back the other way around mile 8, and cheered for her. I reached the turnaround at mile 9 still feeling strong. When I checked my watch at mile 10 and saw that I was under 1:45:00 with only a 5K to go–and I still felt great–I started to get really excited. I turned my headphones on for the first time, Counting Crows singing in my ears to keep me going.
I passed mile 11 on Allen Parkway, and mile 12 just shy of downtown. With 1.1 miles to go, I pushed against the breeze that had picked up between the tall buildings, and could see the convention center looming in the distance. I was almost there! I never saw the mile 13 sign, but saw the still-covered mile 26 marker, and knew I only had 0.2 miles to go. I picked up the pace again.
I rounded the corner for the last tenth of a mile and could see the finish line ahead of me! I looked at my watch and almost fell over right then and there. Instead, I went from run to full sprint, breath heaving as I steamed toward the finish line. I crossed it and looked at my watch…
My first half marathon ever, the farthest I’ve ever run, and I did it in 2:15:03! 10:19 a mile!
Ohmigod! I don’t know if I have ever been so excited in my life. I am so pumped up right now! When I stopped running, my knees tightened up for a while, but it’s been almost three hours now since I finished, and I’m feeling great except for one thing: my stomach is rumbling and I am famished. Off to make myself a great big celebratory lunch!