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!