Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon- Check!

One of my goals for 2014 was to run a half-marathon, so back in February I put my name in the pool for the one that takes place during Grandma's Marathon weekend here in Duluth.  My name was picked, and yesterday I laced up my running shoes at 4:30 in the morning to catch a bus to the starting line of the Garry Bjorklund 1/2 marathon!
Gonna be honest- I was not really prepared for the race.  Sure, for a few weeks in May I was dutifully running 3-4 times a week.  I was working on controlling my breathing to avoid a massive side-ache, on telling my body that pain is fine, and running at a pace that I could keep up for more miles than a 5K.  A little over 2 weeks ago, I did a 5 mile training run with Scott.  I felt good.  I was optimistic that I was almost training to half the distance I would have to run in the big race.
Then life kind of got in the way.
I had dance.  Then I was in the cities helping with a garage sale.  Then I came back to Duluth and had competition tryouts.  I mean, really, I definitely could have thrown on my shoes for an hour or more of running here and there, but... I didn't.

Soooo you can imagine my mild trepidation while standing at the starting line yesterday.  I tried to throw it off, thinking, "Aaaah, it'll be fiiiine...", and "You've hiked this far before with 45 pounds of gear, and it wasn't a problem!" I handed in my swag bag and shivered in the early morning mist until the gun went off.
It was time!
The first 6 miles were actually great- I warmed up quickly during the first couple of miles, enjoying the fog and slight drizzle and breeze, and rocked hard to musicals in my headphones.  My left foot was sore right at mile 2, but I just told myself I would be fine and ignored it.  I was so pumped that I even had a moment during "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen that I sang a little out loud (much to the confused looks from fellow runners).
Around mile 6, we get to the edge of Duluth, and the change in scenery to the city was really nice.  Onlookers were cheering us on, and when I started to feel sore or unhappy, I would see people I knew: An old college friend ran out on the road and gave me a hug, and a line of dancers from my dance studio actually gave me high fives and starting shouting "My tap teacher is sick!" at mile 8, which cheered me up considerably.
Just before mile 10, at the only real hill in the run, I started to feel like I was going to die.  My foot was throbbing, my legs felt like jello, and my breathing was ragged and uncoordinated.
Luckily, that's when I saw my biggest supporter standing on the side of the road, cheering me on!
Scott was hanging out in front of a Taco John's, holding a big cardboard sign that read "Oh. My. GOODNESS." on one side and "GOOOO KATIE!" on the other.  He gave me a huge hug, told me how proud he was, and took a couple of pictures.
I'm pretty positive that getting that boost was what got me through the end of the race.  :)
The last 3 miles through town were full of cheering people, signs cheering us on, and lots of positive energy.  By then my legs were just one big mass of pain (maybe I should have trained more... oops), and I was so emotional about being close to finishing that when "Let it Go" came on my headphones, I had tears clouding my eyes and I had to pull my headphones off so I wouldn't start bawling right there on the course.
Luckily I pulled it together for the end, and when I saw the balloons and Scott right next to the finish ready to give me a high five, I was only smiles!

It was a huge personal victory to know that I could do this run, especially with barely any very sporadic training.  I just told myself I was going to do it, and I did!

I definitely couldn't have done it without the support of friends and Scott along the course- now I know how important it is to have onlookers cheering you on.  I don't think I could have finished without that positive supporting energy!

My official finishing time was 2 hours, 42 minutes, but I had "Map My Run" on during my run, which I paused while waiting in line for 10 minutes for the bathroom halfway through the race, so my "Map My Run" time was 2:32:27.  Not bad for my first (and possibly only) half-marathon!
About 20 minutes after I crossed the finish line, the adrenaline wore off and the pain began.

Scott and I stopped at Burrito Union, where I scarfed down a breakfast burrito, and then came home and proceeded to lie on the couch with hot pads on my knees and feet.  Two naps, half a season of New Girl, a box of Mac & Cheese and an order of Thai food later, I finally passed out for the night.
I'm still sore today, so I'm going to take it easy with ibuprofen and knitting time.  I've only got an inch left before starting the colorwork on Kyle's vest, so I'll keep going on that while moving the heat pads around and taking more ibuprofen.

I have to admit, I'm pretty proud that I finished that race.  A lot of is was mental for me, being able to push through pain and doubt in order to finish something I set out to do.  I like to think that it's Grit training- learning how to suffer in order to achieve something or succeed at something.
I'm definitely excited to get back to training hardcore for climbing...
though my cousin did send me an email about another 1/2 marathon at the end of August I could do with her... hmmm... :)

1 comment:

Mark said...

So when in pain, your priorities were (1) food 1st, & (2) rest 2nd. Like father like daughter. :-)