Monday, October 21, 2013

(Half) Marathon Monday

82 Days 'Til the Disney Marathon!

*hyperventilation and despair*

Yesterday, Hubs and I "ran" the Athens Half Marathon with his brother Jimmy.  It was not fast, it was not pretty, but we did it.

The course yesterday was AMAZING.  Not too much in the way of uphills or downhills, no tedious down and backs, and a great reminder of why I will always love this town.

We started the morning with a quick worship service at First Presbyterian Church of Athens.  So wonderful of them to open their doors- providing hot coffee, a warm place to stretch, and a peaceful time of prayer and singing before the start.  After that, it was a quick walk to the start and then we were off!

The course ran through so many beautiful old historic neighborhoods in Athens.  (Hubs spent most of last night looking up real estate listings in Cobbham, our favorite little section. Alas, until we hit the lotto, it is not meant to be!)  People lined almost every street, waving hilarious signs ("Our government can't run, but you can!"  "Worst parade ever!  Where are the floats?") and offering oranges and high fives.  It is impossible to put into words how much spectator support can mean while running! We wound our way down sorority/fraternity row (real quiet that early on a Sunday morning!), through Memorial Park (the only really hilly part of it all), and past my old apartment.  Milledge Place represent!

We made our way back to campus, finishing up with a victory lap around the field of Sanford Stadium, waving at ourselves on the JumboTron.  A quick sprint to the finish, and we were done!  *we actually crossed the finish twice-- this was Jimmy's first race, and he had hit the proverbial wall, so we jumped back on the course and cheered him to the end.  So proud of him!*

My goal was 2:30- there was a man with a little sign leading a pace group for that time, and I tried to keep him in my sights.  I lost him at one of the water stops, and never found him again.  I did know, however, that I would at all costs stay in front of the 2:45 sign lady.  And in front of the one I termed "Smelly Man", who left such a cloud of BO in his wake that it was hard to breathe.  *shudder*

I wanted to finish at that time so I could send a good qualifier to RunDisney-- hoping to escape the last corral and move up even one, so that I can build as much of a head start as possible before the Van of Shame starts rolling after the last starter leaves.  I THINK my time will get me out of the last corral, which will give me a few precious minutes.  Every second of padding I can get, I will take.  That marathon will be more of a mental game than a physical one, especially for someone like me who is about as far from an "elite endurance athlete" as you can get.

While I didn't make my goal, I was close. I took 28 minutes off my best half marathon time (35 minutes off my first one), and finished at 2:40 by their clock, 2:38 by mine.  That comes out to a little more than a 12 minute mile, which is not fast.  For lots of people, that's barely moving.  For me, however, it felt great!

I am not a distance runner.  I take liberal walking breaks. But I go.  And go and go and go.

Training runs are getting up to the 20 mile mark soon, and the race date approaches.  The run yesterday was a pretty easy one, and I didn't push it as hard as I could have at some points.  My music player battery died at mile 12 (SERIOUSLY?!?!?) and that made the last stretch much harder. My ankles were a little sore yesterday, but I feel fine today. Still, the concept of what was the finish line yesterday being the halfway point in January is a little daunting.  Or completely terrifying.

Nothing to do but keep moving.  Past the smelly man, past self doubt and worry, and onto a finish with a high five from Mickey.

Comin' for you, Mouse.