On June 8, I ran my first half marathon. I made some mistakes, but my primary goal was to finish before they closed the course and I managed that. I’m pretty happy about it.
I didn’t quite know what to expect. Despite the fact that I knew a lot of people were running, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of human beings crammed into the park waiting for the race to start. I was there witha friend who is a serious runner and she was completely calm. I realized that I needed to consider races as events rather than as long runs, since the feeling is hugely different. My long runs are solitary times, not masses of people.
I started out too fast. It’s a rookie error, a normal thing. I wasn’t watching my watch and I was witha friend. It was much warmer than I expected – Alameda doesn’t usually get up to 80 degrees this early in the year – so I was drenched in sweat. I kept up with my friend through mile 8. We talked about anything that came up, nothing terribly important, but it was nice to have time to catch up. At mile 8 I decided I wanted to go at my pace for a while. Her overall pace was faster than my normal pace, but she was doing intervals and I generally just jog, though slowly. I jogged ahead of her for two miles and then she caught up. By mile 10 I was dripping sweat and tired. At mile 11 I ran out of water and food.
There was a water stop at mile 12, so it wasn’t completely awful, but it made the last three miles a lot harder. I told my friend to go on ahead. I was sore, more than I expected to be. I didn’t have blisters (well, none that I noticed – there was one on my toe that I found later in the day) and I didn’t feel awful, but I was out of energy. I walked much of the last part of the race and ran when I could. Xander and Katja met me about half a mile from the end, so I jogged that bit while they paced me; that was really very nice. I got across the finish line, they gave me a medal (it said “I ran for chocolate” which amused me no end), and we got a few pictures. I was, in a word, knackered.
I’m very proud of myself. I didn’t finish fast, but I finished a half marathon. I worked hard to get here, and my two favorite people in the world were there to meet me at the end.