Race Report – McDonald’s Half Marathon 11/12/11

My workplace was one of the sponsors for the race so I had the opportunity to work the expo on Friday. I had so much fun distributing race numbers and meeting so many runners! On the other hand, perhaps standing up on a cement floor and talking for 4 hours the night before the race might not have been my smartest idea ever. LOL!

After working the expo, we had guests over. Pre-race dinner was ham, bacon and pineapple pizza. Not the best choice, but quick and easy given the time constraint. We stayed up late talking and I didn’t get my race supplies ready. Again, not the smartest option, but at least it kept me from pacing the floor or freaking out.

The temperature when I got up to get ready for the race was 30F – much colder than I had originally calculated for the start. So yesterday morning I quickly made a decision to change out the short sleeved shirt & arm warmers for a warmer long-sleeved half-zip shirt to wear under my team singlet. I knew it would make it harder to bare my arms when I got warm, but it has convenient fold-back mitten pockets at the end of the sleeves. I ate a bagel with cream cheese in the truck on the way into the city.

The team was supposed to meet on the Capitol steps for a picture an hour prior to the race. My husband drove me into town, but there was a traffic jam so I grabbed my big trash bag, jumped out and walked the last 4 blocks to the capitol building. I was a few minutes late, but I got in at least one picture. Not that you’ll be able to tell who is who anyway with that many people. Plus, it was still 30 minutes before dawn so the light was weak.

After the picture, I discovered the fancy magnetic pouch I had bought at the expo to hold my extra gels had fallen off my belt on the mad dash to the Capitol. Save yourself the trouble and leave it at the expo. I had a mild panic realizing that half my planned nutrition was missing in action, but my friend, Pam reminded me that I still had 2 gels, and there was a gel station at mile 8. And really, I only need 3 to get through the race. Whew!

It was about this time that we got the text from Janelynn that her race number had been left at home. It was a bit of a squeeze for her family to get it to her, but she made it to the starting corral mere minutes before we took off. We all chose to be in the last corral so we wouldn’t be tempted to go out too fast. I felt kind of silly standing around in my trash bag, but it really did help. We ditched them on the side of the road shortly after the start. Once we got moving, the temperature was perfect.

The entertainment and crowd support throughout the race was wonderful. Near the beginning was a really amazing Japanese drum group with the enormous booming drums. I love drums! Then there was the really terrible duo singing bad 70’s ballads. Pam and I had a great time singing “I can’t help falling in love with you” at the top of our lungs. After all, why do this if you aren’t having fun, right? But most of the bands were pretty good. And I saw my favorite sign – “Worst Parade Ever!” at mile 3. LOL!

The first 4 miles felt really good. Miles 5 and 6 went through the park, which has some hills and was pretty dull because there weren’t any crowds and we were pretty far behind the front runners. I grabbed some extra gels from a sweet little 4 year old volunteer at mile 8 right after running through a stone arch that some smarty pants had written “Don’t Hit the Wall” in duck tape. Cute!

At mile nine there was a row of tents offering coke, chocolate chip cookies, gummi bears and beer. I had some of the coke. It was good, but a bad choice. Not doing that again. A couple of blocks later, there was a family that had set up a couch, a lazy boy, an end table and coffee table in the median. They were passing out wine. No, I did not partake.

I walked about a block with Pam who was having an issue with an old injury. At the 10 mile marker, I yelled “10 mile warm up, 5K race!” and everybody laughed. I tried staying at our 12:30 pace, but started feeling like I needed to go faster because I was tired and it was too tempting to stop and walk. So around mile 11 I took off ahead of Pam and caught up with Janelynn by mile 12 and we sprinted to the end. My theory being that the faster we ran, the sooner I could stop.

The marathon started 12 minutes after my wave and ran along the beginning and end of our course. It was pretty amazing to see the Kenyans go by us at warp speed not once, but twice. They don’t even look like they’re working all that hard!

I was really excited when I looked at the clock at the finish and thought that I had come in at 2:30, but realized later that it had been reset for the marathon. My official time was 2:44:36, with a 10K split time of 1:16:45. As you can see, the walking in mile 9 killed my shot at a negative split.

The finish line amenities were great. There were packages of sliced apples, fruit cups, bananas, bagels, pizza, water, powerade & pineapple mango smoothies. I felt like a real racer for the first time because someone handed me a space blanket right after I got my medal. Dumb, I know, but sometimes it’s the little things.

Janelynn, Pam and Me

We three made our way to the team tent to sign out. Moe found me and handed me a bouquet of a dozen red roses. My kids had decorated a sign for me. Sadly, we missed each other as I came in, but knowing that he cares so much and that my family has been so supportive over the whole process has meant the world to me.

Last night my awesome husband, Moe, took me to the Capitol Ale House for dinner. I had a cherry lambic with my dinner and it was awesome.

I feel really good today. My calves and ankles are mildly sore, but not so bad that I need to take an ibuprofen for it or anything. I even went Christmas shopping this morning.

Only 20 weeks until the Shamrock Half Marathon. Can’t wait!

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6 thoughts on “Race Report – McDonald’s Half Marathon 11/12/11

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