Yesterday was my first Half Marathon! I have run 2 other half marathons but they were at the end of a Half Ironman. I was excited to see how it compared. It was 32 degrees when I left my car but I think it was a toasty 40 by the time the race started. Beautiful beautiful Fall day in Maine. Perfect!!! I was envious of those who were running "their marathon" of the year. It was ideal for that. My last marathon was 1 year ago in Chicago. And it was HOT!!!! Hotter than hell hot. Miserable humid thick city hot. Ugh. Not a good day for me in Chicago. So.... back to Maine I came! But alas, I was not running the full marathon this year. I was ok with it. I thougth I might feel strange, sad, regretful. I have done this race twice before and enjoyed the course and the hometown support. I thought I would miss the challenge of towing the line for a 26.2 event. Instead, I was gleeful! I was relaxed! I was 100% at peace with my decision NOT to do a marathon in 2008. This season was all about triathlon. Even this half marathon was all part of my preparation for Worlds next month. It was fun to get ready for this race too. I arrived, got my race # and chip, changed into my shorts, done. that's it. Well, I did run in the bushes and portapotty a few times and of course, chatted with friends. Before I knew it...we were off. I ran hard from the gun. I wanted to push myself for the whole 13.1 to see what I had. I am used to training long and going pretty hard so I had confidence in my endurance. I felt strong and light. Then I had a cramp aroudn mile 3. It lasted for a while but then soon after I thought I'd never get away from it, I had forgotten it existed. I was holding my splits around 6:50-7:00. I focused on my stride. On the feel of my legs. I passed my Mom, Dad, Brother, niece and nephews on the course and even had the energy to Smile big and wave and say Hi guys!!! (during tri races I am all business and gasping for air.) Oh, and Mary, I saw DW running fast. I couldn't catch him though. :o) And then, the moment of truth. The turnaround. When running the marathon in years past, I have secretly growled at those turning around for the Half marathon. "Oh...they're just doing the half!" I don't know why I felt that way. Guess I was jealous and dreading the 13 miles I had to add on past those I had been running with to that point. It was my turn this time. Again, peace. Glee. Sheer Joy to make the turn and head back!!! Yippee!!! No serious suffering at mile 19 this year! It was also quite a rush to head back along the route I had just run with the 100s-1000s of people running the other way. Face upon face of those out to challenge themselves that day. Thousands of different expressions and types of stride. It was awesome. A beautiful sight to a runner. I loved it. And, I saw tons of people I knew and had so many cheers of "GO ANGE" thrown my way. It was a rush. I was holding my pace. I was feeling good. They had two big drums working us up and down the hills. I love drums. It's always been a dream of mine to play the drums. I smiled all the way for those 2 miles. I started to falter around mile 9 and 10. My pace slowed a bit. I lost some focus. there was a guy next to me that was driving me nuts. He kept talking. At one point he was literally On my heels!! I had to ask him to go ahead. He was drafting! Mile 11 hit and I found my groove again. Back under 7:00 pace. I could book it in for the next 2 miles! Go!! I ran hard and felt great. Finish: 1:32.10 3rd age group, 12 th woman, 96 th overall for men and women. (actually 5 th for my age but 2 of the women were in the top 5 overall women and they all "placed" so I got bumped up. And then I did what I have called others crazy for in the past. I went for a ride with a friend!! I'm officially a crazy triathlete now!! Great day. Can't wait to do it again.