Monday, May 3, 2010

The Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon - Race Recap

Running the half marathon was probably the most physically challenging thing I've ever done.

I woke up super early that morning, full of nerves and had my typical pre-run breakfast - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with half a banana and tons of water. When I arrived at Barton Hall at Cornell about an hour prior to the start of the race, the hall was already filled with people and there was a long line waiting to register.  After I had made it through the line, I tried to mentally prepare myself for the race. I was so nervous, but so ready to just do it.

While I was walking around, stretching out and waiting to line up, I ran into a friend who I had no idea would be there. We figured out that we were both planning to run at a similar pace - about 10 minute miles- so we decided to stick together.

The first portion of the race was through Cornell's campus and then it lead out onto some country roads with beautiful scenery. The first six miles absolutely flew by. My friend and I were chatting the whole time and there were beautiful mountains and fields in the background that helped to distract me from what I was doing. I so often run the same route, that it was really cool to run somewhere completely foreign to me. At that point, we were holding pretty well right under a 10 minute mile pace.

Then at mile 7 the "rolling hills" began. Nothing too bad, but it was also getting more windy, which created an additional challenge.

Then right as we were approaching the end of mile 10, we turned a corner towards a massive hill. It was so steep that halfway up I had to stop to walk to get the top. I had hoped that I would run the whole way, but I don't regret stopping because at that point the length of the run was taking its toll, and my body was really telling me it needed to slow down. I only walked for about a minute and a half before continuing to run.

Up until this point my friend and I had been talking pretty much the whole time, but once mile 11 began, it started to get pretty silent. I think we were both pretty focused on just finishing the last 3 miles. Those were the LONGEST three miles I've ever run. Of course it was partly mental - my longest training run was 10 miles so after that I was in uncharted territory running farther than I had ever run.  Also, I felt very physically weak. I don't know if I "hit the wall" as some runners call it, but I began to feel like every step would have to be my last.

I made to the finish line though, without walking again, in 2:18:01, a time slower than I had hoped, but one that I am extremely proud of.
Crossing the finish line!
Cool things about this race:
  • Set a PDR - personal distance record! yay 13.1 miles
  • Ran the entire way WITHOUT music - this was all conversation (and my breathing and my feet pounding on the pavement). I normally rely so much on music to keep me going, most of the time I would say I can't run without it.
  • Got to know the friend I ran with a lot better - nothing like over two hours of bonding time to form new friendships
  • Spent a beautiful morning exploring areas of Ithaca and nearby that I had never seen
This was such a great experience for me and I learned a lot. I learned to trust my training and have faith in myself and my abilities, I learned how to breakdown mental blocks, I learned that with hard work and dedication to something there are so many possibilities as to what we can accomplish.

post half marathon!

This is such a long post! Thanks for reading:)

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