Sunday, March 15, 2015

Race Report: Shamrock'n Half Marathon

One year ago, I ran the Shamrock'n 5K on a slightly-overcast Saturday morning. At the time, I was training for my first 10K and swearing up and down that I'd never run further than that. I wasn't even entirely sure about the 10K thing.

Yet here I am, one year later, having just finished my second half marathon. Amazing how things can change.

For starters, I looked adorable:

Green sparkle skirt, green bandana (for snot and sweat...what can I say, runnners are gross), green striped socks (not pictured) and tiny adorable green hat clip from Party City. The rest, all black standard Meg Running Gear (leggings, t-shirt) and Brooks shoes. And my bug-eyed movie star sunglasses.

Today was pretty much just as difficult as the Urban Cow was in October. Even though I trained well, and even ran 14.5 miles two weeks ago, I had a few things working against me:

  1. Minor sciatica. It started on Thursday, and wasn't easy most of this weekend, especially with all the stand-up-sit-down in last night's choir concert. It felt mostly okay this morning, but I did have a couple of moments during the race where I felt tingling down my left leg. 
  2. Race crowds. I'm not a fan of crowds anyway (I nearly started to panic just getting out of the lobby after last night's concert), so being surrounded by people when I'm trying to run doesn't put me in my best frame of mind. It also doesn't help me pace, because I'm either going too slow behind the walkers who insist on starting up front, or too fast going around them.
  3. Sudden weird pains today--my right foot starting somewhere around mile 4 (a shoe thing), shoulder cramping in the first four miles or so (breathe, Meg, breathe). and later, a bit of abdominal cramping because I didn't quite pre-hydrate enough this morning.
Still, overall, the race went well enough. I had an extended walking break between the 11- and 12-mile markers, but ran most of that last mile home...including the last half-mile, which I commemorated by taking my phone out and taking a running selfie on Tower Bridge.

I finished running (of course!). The finish line is on the third-base line of Raley Field, and packed with official race photographers. I threw my arms up (as I did at the Urban Cow). I was smiling the whole way down that base line, so happy to be finished. There were some...not so bright...moments in the middle miles of the race, where I really just wanted to be anywhere but running a half marathon with six thousand of my closest friends. Especially that one lady who power-walked while swinging her elbows so far out she nearly decapitated a few people. Those elbows looked like razor blades.

But yes, I finished:

"I'm not actually smiling, I'm gasping for air and grimacing..."

First they give you water, then they give you bling. 
My official time was 2 hours, 58 minutes...a whole one minute more than the Urban Cow. Nice to have some consistency! I was pretty worried for a good chunk of the race because when I got to the halfway split, the time clock read two hours, eight minutes. I thought I'd finish the whole race in four hours or more! I was feeling pretty deflated until I took that Tower Bridge selfie and saw that the time was 11:30...then it occurred to me that the clock started with the first wave at 7:45, and I took off with the fourth wave at 8:30. 

My legs are, of course, very sore tonight. A hot bath helped, and I've been sitting here with a hard roller between the chair and my lower back. It helps that sciatic nerve pain, by loosening the muscles that are irritating it. And yes, there was also wine tonight.

For those of you who like numbers:

For me, it's all about the fact that I finished. That's Half Number Two under my belt...what's next?

(Hint: NOT a marathon. I promise you. Halves are hard enough on me.)

No comments: