I, Danielle Shurtz, am no longer and half marathon virgin! Last Sunday I successfully completed my first half marathon. It was the most surreal feeling ever!
As you have read, Amanda pretty much covered the entire weekend. What a fun weekend it was! I've decided to do a recap of the actual race. From the 3...2...1...RUN to the zombie-like finish, I'm here to give you the deets.
During our conversation Friday night, I expressed my concern to Amanda about only having run 8 miles, at the very most, for my long runs. The look on her face was priceless. It was a cross between "I'm gonna have to leave your ass and uhh buhhhh". In my head I knew I could do it, I was going to do it, and there was no other option. The 10/1 pace was right up my alley.
During the start of the race I made it a point to keep track of my pace. The No Meat Athlete warned that the adrenaline will push you into a 9min/mile pace for the first few miles and around mile 10 you'll be ready to throw in the towel. I didn't want to be one of these people, I wanted to be the one running past one of these people in the end.
I think it was right around mile 4 when I was ready for it to be mile 12. Not because I was tired, out of breath, or sore, but because I was ready for the feeling of crossing the finish line. I really focused on the scenery of downtown, the neighborhoods surrounding downtown, and the people who showed up along the course to cheer us on. It was all so motivating, I tried taking as much in as possible.
Then 6 1/2 miles hit. My legs started to hurt, I was halfway done, but I still had 6+ miles to run. This is where I have to thank the good lord above for Amanda. If it was not for her I would have slowed down and thrown my goals right out the window. She paced me, she kept me going, and she gave me the cue to walk when we needed to. Could. Not. Have. Done. It. Without. Her. At one point I had to walk and she couldn't so she stayed with me by running backwards. That was motivation enough to keep running!
The craziest part of the race was mile 12. The beginning of mile 12 started out amazing. I was happy, feeling great, and thought the finish line would be a piece of cake. Then the end of mile 12 crept up on me. Part of me wanted to cry, my legs were numb so I was focusing on not falling over, on top of keeping my body going. I shouldn't have focused so much on the finish. In my head the finish was closer than it actually was and at that point my mental toughness was shot. Right when I needed it the most. Lesson learned.
Amanda and I crossed the finish line together (one of the best feelings ever!), gave each other a high five, and then zombie Danielle showed up. Not sure about Amanda, but I felt completely out of it. I couldn't stop moving, my legs and head felt best if I was walking around. Thinking about anything else wasn't really an option. My mind and body were exhausted, but my adrenaline was still going. After some walking around, stretching, 1/2 water 1/2 gatorade, and my complimentary beer I was starting to feel like myself again! I was sore the rest of the day and the following day; however, after that I was good to go!
Through all the craziness and up and down feelings, I have to say that I cannot wait to do it again in January! I am more motivated now than I was before. My training schedule will look somewhat like Amanda's. Give or take a few days.