As far as I can tell I finished around 2:07, which was a bit disappointing because I had a secret goal to finish in under 2 hours. (They say you're not supposed to set any goal for your first race of a new distance aside from just finishing... but I knew I'd finish... Have you met me?!)
I did learn however that my Nike+ for my iPod isn't quite totally right. By the end of the 13.1 miles it was about a half a mile off. I noticed it in the beginning, because it would announce mile completion a little out of sync with the mile markers. But it was pretty close, but each mile of course made the difference wider. It really wasn't a big deal, though my iPod announcing "Congratulations!" When I still had a half a mile to go wasn't super helpful!
Let's start at the very beginning. As Maria says "A very good place to start".
--hydrated like a maniac, drinking as much water as I possibly could stand.
--cooked a very delicious dinner for the DBF and myself, of whole wheat pasta, chicken sausage, peas, olives (can you tell I was fridge-cleaning?) and a side of green beans. It was a perfect combination of complex carbs, light protein and veggies.
--In bed reading by 10pm
--asleep, I think by 11.
However, I woke up all night long, worried that I overslept. I decided that once I could see light outside I could actually check my clock. So when I woke up and a little sun was peaking through, checked the clock and realized it was 5:13 (I had my alarm set to go off at 5:00!), I was very pleased with my internal clock.
I took a very quick shower, if only to wash a little of night cream off and provide a good clean base for sunscreen! I stood in my shower post drying off and just doused myself with 70 sport spray... every nook and cranny I could think of, then I rubbed it in, and then I did it again. I ate a delicious breakfast, my traditional strained yogurt (I strain my own Greek yogurt, because I'm a dweeb like that), granola, chia seeds, and for fun today I put in some peanut butter (figured the extra protein couldn't hurt!).
The DBF and I left my apartment via his luscious automobile by about 5:45. I was positive I hadn't forgotten anything, but of course worried about it anyway. The plan was to get on the road (the drive to Fairfield should have taken a little over an hour), and grab coffee somewhere on the road. We had some navigation issues getting there, partially GPS fault and partially because we had a breakdown of Team Communication. (Basically I had been reading the directions from NYC and he had wanted to use the directions from Connecticut, because they brought you closer to a better parking lot. No biggie. Though we never did find coffee. And though I haven't had caffeine for a week, driving directions at 6am are always harder than they should be, and coffee would have helped.
We arrived in town by 7:00-ish, but then had issues getting to parking. But we did procure a good spot in the second most ideal lot. We went and I used a PortaPotty (p.s. I hate that word). We also went and found check in and all the interesting race related stuff. There were over 4500 people registered, which was amazing, and stressful (I hate large crowds...). The DBF had a Diet Coke and I had a bottle of water (and some of his soda, no lie). And by about 8:10 I was ready to go to the race line up. I shot a Vanilla GU Gel (ew! ew! ew! fake sweet is the worst taste ever!) The DBF came with me and stayed with me until the gun went off, kissed me goodbye and I was off, as soon as I could.
I almost immediately started to cry. A few times I choked back tears in that first mile, thinking about how I never thought I would ever be doing anything like this. I think in retrospect it's possible that I started out too fast. I hate people passing me, and I also hate crowds (see above). When I'm alone running I can just "take it slow" but I really wanted to get "out of the way"! I saw my first woman stop after mile 1. It was definitely crowded until about mile 5... I did take advantage of the water stops at Mile 1 to just take some water, pour it on my wrists and some on my face... It was a beautiful day, but definitely mid to high 70s, and sunny, so I figured I'd try to keep cool preemptively.
I didn't start crying again until Mile 3, when I flashed for a moment on where I was a year ago. Very sad. Very hopeless. Sitting on my futon in my living room, wondering if my career was over. Wondering if I would ever feel whole again. Wondering if I could possibly do anything right, wondering why I somehow managed to f---- up everything... But in remembering it I felt so proud of myself! I didn't even really start running again until maybe October of 2009, and here I was at Mile 3 of a Half Marathon!
Shortly after Mile 3 was the first hill.
Yea. Connecticut has hills. NYC does not. Or it "does" but they ain't real hills. More people started dropping like flies at this point. Not actually dropping, but the walking started. My other goal was to not walk. I knew I would walk through some water stations, but just enough to walk and swallow and then get moving again. Luckily I was home visiting my parents in Minnesota over Memorial Day Weekend and got a great 8 mile run there with tons of hills (CT ain't got nothing on the glacial-deposited landscape of beautiful Minnesota!).
I didn't cry again until after Mile 6. The Fairfield Half has great and awesome amenities, like bands playing all along the route. And between Miles 6 and 7 there was a Bagpipe Band (ensemble?). I love me some bagpipes, so I took off my headphones and they were playing "Amazing Grace". You know I cried. I can't NOT cry when I hear bagpipes, and I'm pretty sure I can't NOT cry when I hear amazing grace.
Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far, and Grace will lead us home.
The next few miles were a bit of a blur. The longest I had run on my own was 10 miles, so I was waiting for that one, knowing I would be okay until then, at least. Miles between 10-12 almost killed me. It didn't help that the stupid iPod kept giving me faulty information ("Only 2.5 miles to go!" YOU LIE, iPOD! YOU LIE!)
I don't remember much about the last chunk, though I do remember thinking I would cry when I saw the DBF and collapsed into his arms. And then I would start to cry a little thinking about it. And then at some point I realized:
"I think I'm going to pee my pants."
But of course I wouldn't stop. By this point I realized that my calculations at being able to finish under 2 hours were totally off (STUPID NIKE+!!!), so my next goal was "Okay, just under 2:10. But I really thought I might pee my pants. I debated being hard-core and just going for it, I figured it would all be mostly water anyway, but I am too much of a control freak to wet myself while running down a public street.
I found it very emotional and amazing how the people of Fairfield all lined their driveways and yards to cheer everyone on, to spray us with their hoses from their gardens, and their little kids gave us high fives.
As I reached the finish line, I knew the DBF was out there, but stupidly we hadn't agreed what side of the finish line he'd be on. So by the last 200 meters or so I just gave up looking, and raced to the finish (and concentrated on not peeing my pants).
I did not cry into his arms, as I thought I might. He met me with a glass of water and a big kiss, and even let my soggy, sweaty self collapse into him a bit. I felt exhausted. And I really had to pee. Luckily the lines for the Porta Pottys (I hate that word) weren't so bad, and I was able to relieve myself really quickly and then we headed to the beach! I took off my shoes, walked through the sand and then got into the ocean! Ice bath it wasn't, but it was still cold. The DBF very smartly pointed out I might as well wade up to my calves and get my knees in the water. Epsom Salt and salt water have to be pretty close, right? If I'd planned better I would have bought my swimsuit! (and gotten a bikini wax, though at that point, I wouldn't have cared).
I ate a delicious hot dog afterwards, and then we set off towards the car. There was discussion of getting on the road then stopping for lunch, but I was worried time wasn't on our side because... I had an audition this afternoon! Seriously ran 13.1 miles and then went to an audition...
The DBF (who is so very smart) demanded we get out of the car about 15-20 minutes into our drive so that I could stretch and move my muscles, and he was so right to do so! I was starting to cramp. We happened to stumble upon a Trader Joe's, so we purchased some Turkey Jerky, some Snack Pea Crisps (I love these things) and of course some water... I have drank so much water post-race, and peed quite a lot, so no worries about kidney failure here!
It is now time for dinner, so the rest of my recap will have to wait for later. But the plan now is to go eat an amazing hamburger at the Brooklyn Public, and sufficiently re-dehydrate myself.
I am so awesome.