I apologize for the lateness of this blog... I'm still not over my sickness! At least my throat isn't sore anymore. I swear, I would take a million days of a stuffy nose over feeling like I was swallowing needles. Seriously, last weekend was terrible.
Where we left off: I went to the Olympic Trials to cheer on the runners, and then treated the bf to a boozy lunch, in appreciation for him getting up early and going with me. Also, I drank beer. While on cold medicine. Not the smartest thing I've ever done, but the Flying Saucer is my absolute FAVORITE, and I wasn't going to miss out on it for anything.
After a nap, 2 great football games, and a pasta buffet at our hotel's restaurant, I went to sleep still swallowing needles and praying for a miraculous recovery.
It didn't happen. I woke up 6 times during the night. I drank a crazy amount of water. I prayed hard for my own death. I stayed awake for good at, oh, 5:30. Drank some Diet Coke. Watched TV. Got dressed in all my running stuff, then sat on my bed and whimpered.
We left the hotel around 6:15. I was armed with Garmin (which I kept telling myself I know how to use, not like that Tucson disaster), my hotel room key, and cough drops. The start line was right alongside Minute Maid Park, which is right where I started last year when I did the full. How's that for symmetry?
I got into the start corral around 6:40, just in time for the opening ceremonies. The guest starters? Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter! I was geeked out to the CORE. How freaking cool is that?! Some blah blah speeches from people, national anthem, and the weirdest prayer ever. I won't get into it. Alls I have to say is, I was glancing around me while it was going on, thinking, Am I the only one here NOT drinking the Kool-Aid?
Then at 7am, we were OFF!
Mile 1: I must have sick brain. Because why else would I not line up in FRONT of the 8:00 min/mile pace sign? I'm passing walkers, those damn Galloway "runners," and people doing 11:00 min miles. Grrrrr. And we're on a HUGE bridge, merging with the full marathon runners, and there's nowhere to move. Great.
Right before I entered the start corral, the bf told me to not worry about breaking records, but just to have fun and ENJOY IT. So I will try to relax. No records today. Fun. Got it. 8:57
Mile 2: Starting conservatively isn't so bad. I'm having fun. I could run forever at this pace. The cough drop I sucked down in the start corral is actually helping. I CAN SWALLOW! (Insert dirty joke here, hee hee.) 8:41
Mile 3: I've settled in nicely. One of the best things about this race is the amount of spectators on pretty much every inch of the course. It was one of the things I liked most last year - even during the late lonely miles of the marathon, I never felt like I was alone. 8:33
Mile 4: Pretty stoked about my decision to drop down to the half. Next year, I will only sign up for the half. Also, I will rent a car and drive to the NASA museum. And I will not be sick. See how much I love this race? I am already planning next year's trip! 8:50
Mile 5: Feeling pretty good, so I pick it up a bit. When I run, I feel better. The fact that I haven't run since Wednesday might have a little something to do with that too! I've missed you, running. 8:26
Mile 6: Another reason why I love this race, and it might seem a little weird... I think that the aid stations are placed perfectly. Whenever I feel like I need a drink, an aid station appears. And there's not a mile marker sandwiched in between the tables, which makes walking through them like Hal tells me to MUCH easier. It's something so simple, and it sounds so dumb, but not having to rush through because I'm more concerned with my mile split than my hydration is a huge boost. 8:29
Mile 7: I have no idea why this mile was so slow. La-la-land is my best guess. 8:55
Mile 8: Fastest mile of the day... for no apparent reason. In my defense, we were going downhill off a bridge. I LOVE bridges. Then the truly fast people in the half were on the other side of the road. I think my subconscious wanted to catch them. So I flew. And it was awesome. 7:53
Mile 9: Reined myself in a little bit. No need to spoil the last 5K. 8:40
Mile 10: Split off from the marathoners (who have a much more interesting course, by the way), and headed back to downtown. It's a LONG straightaway, practically made for PRs. I seriously need to not be on death's door next year. This is a terrific PR course. 8:22
Mile 11: Did I mention we've had perfect weather today? 40s, cloudy, perfect. I am glad I packed a pair of Under Armour capris instead of rocking out the shorts. This is fun. The tall buildings are getting closer and closer. We're running the same part into downtown that the Olympians ran yesterday. I'm channeling my inner Shalane and going for broke! 8:27
Mile 12: There's a huge banner on one of the bridges over the highway announcing 1.5 miles to go. Garmin concurs. (Glad I learned how to operate it today, haha.) I pick up my pace a tiny bit. Once I hit the mile marker, I'm going to run as quickly as possible. I'm a little tired, but nothing hurts and my throat is no longer killing me. I think running cures all. 8:26
Mile 13: Going as fast as I can, running the streets of downtown that I've been wandering for the last couple of days. I can hear the faint sounds of the announcers and the cheering crowds of people. The end of this race is the best - people are everywhere! Right before the mile marker, I see the bf on the side of the road. I ham it up and blow him a kiss. (Hey, I'm supposed to be having FUN, remember?) 8:06
Mile 13.1: Sprint to the finish... I'm going to end up with a decent time! If I weren't sick, I'd be under 1:50 for sure... gives me some motivation to come back next year and finish what I started! I wish I could share a great finisher photo with you, but sadly, one does not exist. I am short. Tall people finished in front of me. You can see my arm though! (I was wearing blue sleeves.) 0:47
FINAL TIME: 1:51:39
AVERAGE PACE: 8:26
LESSON LEARNED: Whatever your anticipated pace is, there's someone out there slower than you who thinks they are minutes faster than you. Line up accordingly.
NEXT PIKERMI: InStep Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon, 1.21.2012
After the race, I got my medal and headed inside for some food. They give you a hot breakfast, which is pretty nice. Then I hit the ice cream stand. At around mile 9, when my throat started to burn again a little bit, I told myself to hang on, remembering about the ice cream at the end. It hit the spot.
Houston, I can't wait to see you again in 2013!