This half last Sunday felt very similar to the full. Like running my first full marathon with an injury, I was trying to accomplish something that seemed nearly impossible at some points, completing a half marathon six months and one day after giving birth via C-Section.
I'll give away the ending right now, I crossed the finish line. I did it. It wasn't pretty, but I did it, and here's how...
Friday night, Lynne and I went to the expo to pick up our packets in Georgetown. It was an awesome expo. Free Luna bars of all varieties ran aplenty, samples of Nun hydration drink, and since it was a women's race, Paul Mitchell would do your hair, and Bare would do your make up.
|This guy was really excited about his job with Luna|
Sunday morning was the usual early wake up, 4:35 to be exact. I pumped, ate some oatmeal with berries and peanut butter, got ready and was out the door at 5:25 a.m.
Lynne and I met at a metro station, where we parked and took the train into the District. The train was efficient and got us to the starting line quickly, where I then had the challenge of finding where to drop off my bag, that was the only stressful part of this pre-race process. The streets were packed and they kept announcing that bag check was closing, making it even more stressful!
During the hubbub to find the bag drop, I did run randomly into my old friend Chantelle from Wisconsin who told me she would be cheering at the race, but I never thought we'd actually see each other!
|Chantelle and I Pre-Race|
|Lynne and I, ready to run|
There were many good things about the route, the cool feeling of running under the Memorial Bridge, and great sites throughout the course. There was were great crowds most of the race, fun bands, and many funny signs from spectators.
One pitfall of this race were the water stops at the beginning, they didn't have volunteers proactively handing out cups of water the first half, you had to go up to the table and get a cup, or go pour your own at the table--not ideal. I skipped the first water stop because of this, which was not a good idea in the long run.
About half way through the race, my body really started to hurt. My ankles and arches hurt (read: I need new running shoes) and my legs were getting heavy. Mentally, I felt defeated at several points after mile 11. My body was telling me no in every way. I couldn't keep any liquids down in my stomach after that point, forget any shot blocks or sport beans.
Then, around mile 12, I started to feel very woozy. I told Lynne I had to walk, running wasn't going to happen. I tried running a couple more times, but every time I did, I saw spots and sparkles.
With the finish line in site, I got the chills, not because I was excited to finish or feeling all euphoric or something, oh no, but because my body was freezing cold and I was shivering. I knew at that point, I was dehydrated. I leaned on Lynne, literally, a lot that last mile, because felt like I was going to pass out, but I had to finish.
At mile 13, I told Lynne we had to run it in the last .1 miles. And we did, and then as I crossed the finish, my body crumbled nearly in a heap on the ground, I leaned on Lynne again, and she ushered me to the Medical Tent, where I was placed on a stretcher, had some water, and then received half a bag of fluids through an IV. I felt better quickly and bounced out of the tent after about 15 minutes to find Ben and Austin at the finish line, and of course get my Tiffany necklace!
At the Nike Women's Marathon in SF they had Fire Fighters in tuxedos handing out the necklaces, at this race it was ROTC students from Howard University, which was kind of weird since most them were about ten years younger than me!
Looking back at the race, I didn't plan ahead enough for how many more calories and fluids I would need to consume during the race because of nursing, and that is why I believe I became so dehydrated.
Training for a race like this with a newborn is hard, and frankly, I was not trained enough for it because of all my commitments. There is a whole other post I will have to write about that, about HOW one trains when you work full time, and parent full time, but still have goals like this you want to accomplish. After all, you can't forget who you are when you have kids, and have to keep doing what you love.
In the end, I'm proud I ran this race. Proud of what my body can accomplish in so many ways. I won't be running another distance race for quite some time, but I'm glad that if I'm taking a break from longer distances, this was the race I went out with.