Sunday, 22 June 2008

From Denali

OK.  I obviously lived through the race... see that fine looking finishers' medal?  I totally overestimated what a difference sea level makes.  I also totally underestimated what hills would be on the course.  And also crazy surfaces.  And rain.  And coldness.  

(okay, this picture is in here twice, and I can't seem to delete it, sorry)
So, my nephew decided to run the half-marathon.  Somehow, even though registration was closed, he was able to register at the expo.  So, it was great fun that he was there running a half marathon with his old aunt.

Before the start of the race, it started pouring rain.  It was quite cold and pouring rain.  Once again, thanks to Team in Training folks for plastic bags that I was able to get from them.  My nephew and I were safely wrapped in plastic, and ready to rock. 

The first mile was cold and dripping wet.  After the first mile, I warmed up, ditched the bag, and started feeling good.  Someone came up behind me and I heard "Mary!"  It was someone from a contingent of racers I met at the Portland airport on a 4 hour layover.  That was fun.

I was keeping a good pace for me, not too fast or slow. I felt good.  At about 6 miles, we turned onto a trail that wasn't even a trail... through the forest.  It was an uneven surface and grassy.  It wasn't even a path!  I thought I had better slow down for safety's sake and I am glad I did.  The woman in front of me fell really hard on her knees.  I stopped to help her.  I really considered what was really important - me considering a PR, or helping someone who had just fallen. I chose helping her.  I probably didn't spend all that long doing it, but I am glad I did.  

It was at about 6 and  a half or 7 miles that I just kind of ran out of energy. I decided to walk for a while.  And then I decided to walk a little bit longer since my walk pace wasn't necessarily slower than my "run" pace.  I decided to just try to enjoy the race.

I don't know where it was, but I heard someone say "Careful, there's a moose!"  A Moose?  Well, give me a camera, and my deepest fears turn into something I pursue.  I just HAD to take a picture of it with my cell phone.  After I took two of them, I realized that my lens cover was closed, so I took a few more.  They aren't worth posting because the moose just looks like a brown spot.  Damn!  It was so cool.  It was at that point that two more of the folks I met at the airport passed by and said Hello.

Maybe I was a tad irritable, maybe not.... maybe this will lose me some readers, maybe not.  But I have to say there were so many purple Team in Training racers and their support people that I began to feel that I had crashed a private party.  There were cheerers along the road who were screaming "go team!!!!!" and when I would go by, it was silence.  Would it kill them to cheer for someone who didn't raise $20,000.?   

At mile 10, I started walking with a woman who was keeping a good 13 to 14 minute pace.  We were talking and really enjoyed each others' company.  I asked if she minded me tagging with her because she was really helping me - and she said I was really helping her, so that was nice.  By that time, I knew I was going to have a PW (personal worst), but I just wanted to enjoy myself.  So, I did.  It was pretty great.

In the last couple of turns, another woman grabbed my hand and pulled me through.  I just kind of lost any energy at all.  

All in all, it was a great experience.  My poor nephew had to wait an hour for his old Aunt to finish, but it was great to have him there at the finish.  A friend of my sister's from New York City was also there and cheered as I finished.  How cool is that!  

I am anxious to start training for my tri in August.  But for now, I am on vacation!  And boy, is it rainy and cold at Denali National Park!!!  Perfect for sleeping!


Marcy said...

CONGRATS Mary!! You look so cute in your outfit! Very nice legger too!! Looking very buff there ;-)

I'm so glad you got to enjoy the race!! Sounded like a fantastic time ;D ;D

Adam said...

Great job!!!!

Running Knitter said...

Yay! You did it! You sound like you had fun, and to me, that's the most important part. Congrats!

Michelle said...

Woo hoo, Mary!!! Sounds like a great race!!!

And that was awesome of you to stop the woman who fell. I know when I biffed it at my HM, it really meant a lot to me that another runner stopped to help me. Kinda makes me feel bad that I outran her in the end. ;-)

Kevin said...

Congratulations on making it through it. Its great you were able to enjoy the race

Wes said...

Nicely done! Of course, achieving a personal worse is secondary to having fun!! and you got to see a moose :-) How cool is that?

Emily said...

Congrats on finishing!! I know the frustration of getting a PW, but you should still feel awesome about what you accomplished! Good luck with the tri.

Jess said...

Congrats on your finish! That's one of the most unique races so you should be pleased with having it in your race repetoire!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Sportin' that medal in style! WooooHoooo!

Enjoy your vacation!!

Marathoner in Training said...

That is awesome. You FINISHED, that is the important part. You had fun, that is icing on the cake. Now you have a great vacation and recover. Next January PF Chang 1/2 marathon?

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Nice job getting through the race. Enjoy yourself in Alaska.

Joe said...

Late to comment but way to go to finish! You had all sorts of doubts going in and wow, you did it!

Very cool you helped the runner who fell..then other runners helped you. Yes, giving does return to us, so very often.

Hope the recovery went well...way to go!

Joe said...

Wow, that sounds like an awesome event! Great job and enjoy the vacation. You earned it!