Monday, September 12, 2011
VHTRC Women's Half Marathon
After ten weeks of training I finally participated in my first ever half marathon. 4days prior to the race the weather was horrible with flooding rains, thunder, lightning, and not a chance of letting up for the race. Fortunately a miracle accrued and the rain stopped! The main road to the race was closed due to flooding, but that didn't stop us from making it to the park. Chad and Sue came over at 7am to watch Arista while Chris drove me to the park. We stopped at McDonald's for some oatmeal, and then reached Fountain Head State Park about 30 minutes prior to the race. After choking down energy beans, drinking a gallon of water, and doing some light stretching, it was time to get ready to start.
I decided the best strategy would be to stay in the middle of the pack to start, since it was all trail running. I didn't want to be stuck behind someone really slow. Fortunately we all spaced out pretty well after we made it to the "Do Loop" and passing was easy. First obnoxious thing to go wrong, I had to go to the bathroom. There were times when I seriously considered going behind a tree. Secondly, I couldn't get my ipod to turn on at all, so I kept myself entertained by thinking, practising kegels(NEVER drink too much water before a race) singing primary songs, and repeating over and over and over "This is the trail that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends."
The "Do Loop" was HARD. I had run on the "Do Loop" twice before, but somehow never did the entire thing. I think we read the map wrong. The loop felt like it went on forever and ever. Luckily they had a water station right when we got out of there.
After the famous loop we headed on a trail back to where we started, and then we entered the trail for the last 5 miles. Right as I went into the trail the leader was heading out. It was a little disheartening to know that I still had 5 miles to go and she was done, however it was nice knowing I was on the final stretch. The last 5miles were tough tough tough. I pulled a groin muscle, which was very painful and didn't help since there were a lot of steep hills covered in rocky mud. At times it took all my will power not to just stop. There were a few times when I would trip over a branch or rock, but luckily it was smooth sailing.
When I finally reached the turnaround point I got a burst of energy, and just wanted to finish. I grabbed some water and a handful of M&M's(mistake) and took off running. I think the last few miles were the longest of the entire race, and I just kept thinking about how much I hated trail running, and swore to myself I would never run one again. Finally, finally, finally, I made it out. I first saw Chad and Arista sitting on the grass waving, and then Chris with the camera.
I did it! I made it! The first thing I did was kiss Chris then walked straight to the bathroom. Then we took some photos. Oh I looked so lovely and smelled just like the great outdoors.
I was so proud of myself and relieved that I finished. I am so grateful for Chris' parents and Chris and Arista coming to cheer me on at the end. It meant so much to me that they were all so supportive. I have learned a few things about myself and things for future races. 1. I am much stronger than I think. 2. Training is important, and I am grateful I stuck with it. 3. NEVER drink too much water before a race. 4. Test Ipod before a race. 5. No matter how many people tell you it will be hard, or you can't do it, you can, and you did!
Happy trails to you!
Posted by Rylie at 7:00 PM