We all know I’m sort of obsessed and in love with Catas Trophy Wife and her husband G. They haven’t agreed to marry me yet, but I’m still working on it. I am SO excited to give all of you a chance to meet her, but don’t like her too much because she’s all mine! Check out her blog here.
Greetings to all you Ready, Set, Feast-ers! I’m CatasTrophy Wife and I’m honored to do a guest post for Kelsey about my half-marathon experience.
A little background first…I’m 32, married, live in Oregon, work full-time and recently became a part-time blogger. I ran in college (for “fun”), throughout law school and even for a couple of years after that. But then, life took over and running stopped…and I might have gained 30 pounds, oops. When I finally got back into running last year, it hurt. Badly. But I kept going. And ran a few 5ks with friends.
Then I started thinking about my stupid f*cking bucket list. Specifically, about two things on that bucket list: running a half-marathon and running a marathon. In September or October 2011, I realized I wasn’t getting any younger and it was only going to be MORE difficult for me to accomplish these goals. So I signed up for the Cascade Half-Marathon in Turner, Oregon. I’d never run more than 10 miles (and hadn’t done that in years) so I was a bit scared. The good news is that race was described as “flat and fast”. I am terrified by hills so flat was something I was really happy about it.
I was not very strict with my “training” and I mostly aimed to get one long run in every week. I found a training schedule on line and tried to follow its long run guidelines. I didn’t get every long run in, but I managed one 8-miler and one 10-miler before the race. I was ecstatic about hitting those milestones!
And apparently a little tired too. I also made sure to run my long runs in the outfit I planned to wear during the race. I didn’t want any wardrobe malfunctions and I didn’t even want to think about my clothes during the race. My other, shorter runs were done on the treadmill.
As race day approached, I felt good about my training and knew I would finish, I was just a bit nervous about how I would do and whether I’d finish last. So, in true professional runner form I was very serious about my night-before prep.
Okay, I guess I wasn’t that serious. But since I was having to run 13.1 miles in January in Oregon, I wanted to have some bright nails to (hopefully) make me a little happier during the race. While I was painting my nails that night, I was also checking the weather forecast like a psycho. Why? Because snow was forecasted for race day. Seriously. It snows about 1 day a year in Oregon and I was going to have to run a billion miles in it. Great.
I got up race day morning feeling fine, but not really excited about running. I kept thinking “by 10:30 I’ll be done and I won’t have to do this again”. I’m pretty sure that was my mantra for the race. Real inspiring, right? So I met up with my friend, Steph, who wanted to run with me.
She’d run a few half-marathon’s before and she wanted to make me miserable for 2.5 hours that morning. Thanks, Steph! My husband G came to cheer me on.
Well, actually, he only came because he wanted my shirt.
On our drive to Turner, we saw snow along the side of the road and Steph had a ton of snow at her house when she left. But there was no snow in Turner when we got there…it was just really dang cold. At about 7:50 am, Steph and I lined up at the start and I got really serious about not freaking out.
When we started all was well. The road was a bit slippery, but we were okay. About a mile into the race, it started snowing. Just small flakes at first and then it was like a blizzard.
I spent most of the run trying to figure out if there was more traction running on fresh snow or in foot prints…my conclusion – fresh snow. I also spent about an hour and a half doing math. See this run was an out-and-back run. I kept thinking we would turn around at just after 6 miles. But while I was running, I realized we’d have to run closer to 7 miles than to 6. That was a bit depressing. After I got over that depressing fact and we turned around, I thought I would be okay. And I would make it. We were running at about a 10:30 pace, which I was happy with considering the stupid weather and I really wasn’t trying to run the race for time. It wasn’t until I hit 10.5 miles that I thought I might not make it. I slammed into the wall.
My legs were done. Steph took off and I was barely moving, still “running” but barely moving. Even walking seemed too difficult for me. I kept going, but even when I passed the 12-mile marker I wasn’t sure I would make it to the finish. Isn’t that crazy? To run 12 miles, only have 1 mile left and I didn’t think I could do it. Steph waited for me and kept talking me to the end…she was wearing a Garmin and giving me updates about every .05 miles. It was kind of pathetic, but I needed all the help I could get at that point. We ran/walked the last mile and it was the most difficult of the entire day.
I could barely keep myself from collapsing on the guy trying to take my bib tag and chip timer.
But I was so happy I finished (my time was 2:24:19, an 11:00 minute pace) and I kept telling G “I can’t believe I ran a half-marathon”. A-MA-ZING. After running the race I said I’d never do a half-marathon again. However, I signed up for the Portland Marathon in October 2012 .
and then the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon in Seattle in June 2012.
I don’t think I’ll be doing anymore long races after October 2012, but you never know. And while I thought I might die running through the snow, I’m so glad I ran the half-marathon that day. It’s an experience I will never forget!