it’s dega, baby!

like i mentioned in my previous post, i ran the talladega half marathon last sunday! although i’ve run 13.1 miles numerous times, this was my first official 13.1 mile race. as i’ve said before, i usually have two goals for any race i run: one i’m confident i can achieve and one i’m not so confident i can achieve. the latter is always the goal i have my heart set on, the former is there to make me feel better if i don’t achieve the latter.

for this race though, i only had one goal – a not so confident goal: to finish in under two hours. i knew with the way i trained (minimal running), it was going to be a challenge. i also knew that if i didn’t finish in under two hours, i was going to feel like i failed. that’s just how i am. 

so to help me reach my goal, i spent some time the day before coming up with a pacing strategy, which ended up being a waste of time (keep reading). 

casey and i left the house around 5:30. it ended up taking way less time to get to talladega than we thought, which left us with a little over an hour to watch the sun rise and wait around before the race started. 

sunrise..talladega style.

we wandered around, chatted with some people i knew, waited in the bathroom line, and played on the race track. 

help me tom cruise! help me oprah winfrey!

the longer i waited around the more anxious i got, so i left casey and made my way to the start line. finally, after more waiting, the “gun” was fired and the race was on! i looked for casey in the crowd of spectators and was able to easily spot him because he was standing on a wall a couple feet above the crowd!

can you find me?

for the first 2.5 miles, i stuck to my pacing strategy. as i was running, i started thinking about my pace/time. something didn’t add up and i couldn’t figure it out. finally, it hit me! for some reason, i had only strategized for 12 miles. since when has a half marathon been 12 miles? since never.

i was mad at myself. having one pace in mind at the start of a race only to realize it’s way off DURING the race, is not good for the mental aspect of running. this revelation really discouraged me. i thought i’d blown it. after doing some correct math, i realized it was still possible for me to finish in under two hours, but i was going to have to fight for it. 

so that’s what i did. there were several moments along the way that i desperately wanted to slow down, to walk, to stop all together.

here’s me at mile 10 telling casey how i’m about to pee in my pants. *literally. 

the last three miles were, not surprisingly, the hardest. i was so tired, *i was wet, things were hurting, and i realized just how close a call it would be for me to finish in under two hours. like i said earlier, i was going to have to fight for it. slowing down was not an option, but neither was speeding up. it was all i could do to maintain a steady pace and luckily, it was enough.

i barely totally did it!!

it felt so awesome to across the finish line and realize that i had accomplished something i had my heart dead set on. and the fact that i gave it my absolute all to do so, made victory even sweeter.  

race results: 

5th in my age group!  
if you can’t figure out why my official time is 1:57:13, yet the time in the above picture reads 1:57:37, it’s because i crossed over the starting line 24 seconds after the “gun” was fired. 

this paragraph is me being anal about my time/distance. like i just said, i’m super anal when it comes to running. when i crossed the finish line, my garmin said i had run 13.03 miles. i couldn’t live with that. so i stopped my watch, got my medal, turned my watch back on, and slowly jogged until my watch read 13.1 miles. my guess is that the course was measured accurately and my watch was slightly off (my satellite signal was interrupted when i ran through the stadium). anyway, in my mind, if my watch didn’t say 13.1, it didn’t count. so according to my watch my time was 1:57:59. since i don’t know which time to count as my PR, i’ve just been telling people it’s 1:58:00, which i’m still totally ecstatic about!

so there you have it. my first half marathon. it’s one i definitely won’t forget for a number of reasons, one of which takes picking up on some *context clues. 😉

thanks for reading!


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