Ok so get ready for a long post… lots of photos and a variety of things.
This weekend was *the big weekend* for me! I ran my first Half Marathon after Surgery. It was the Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K. I ran it Last year as well, so I was much better prepared for ti this year, and I had about a 110% better experience, though it was not without some craziness.
To start with, I had rented a Beach house for 6 women who I know through various ways. Early on, one of the women I know personally cancelled. I was annoyed, especially as she cancelled and did not offer to offset the costs. She is someone with means, so it was especially irritating. But, in the end, I was relieved that she did cancel, as I would not have had much fun around her. I scrambled and did find someone to replace her. After that a week before the race 2 more people cancelled due to some family issues. They were not personally known to me, and oddly MUCH more gracious about the whole thing. I was disappointed that they were unable to come. So I felt a lot of stress regarding the house.
Secondarily, no one in our little group except for me was really trained for their initial goals. So many things had happened for each person in life that they were unable to train, so that was a bit of a let down I think for everyone. I also felt a little aggressive as I was SO ready for the race. AND I was so focused on the race that I am sure it made things difficult for the non-runners to understand the extreme concentration that goes into preparing for something that feels sort of momentous. People sort of get it, but they don’t really get it until they get it. It became very apparent how one of the folks did not get it when we all went for dinner one night and were about 4 miles down the race course road, and one woman said “Oh yes I saw this when I was on the course” and the other lady said—you were “ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE?” So I found it harder to focus than I would have had I had racing buddies in the house with me.
So my first lesson for next time is that while I probably will rent a Beach house, I will rent one I can afford all on my own, so there will not be the financial worry.
Still the house itself was LOVELY and enjoyable and very centrally located. It was 100% better than staying 20 miles away from the race like we did last year. We were a 10 minute walk to the beach.
I drove up on Friday and got the rental keys and met up with the ladies. one of the women drove down and met us late at night. She drove like crazy, and I was amazed that she managed to bring along beautiful fresh daffodils!
Saturday we had torrential rain. No Kidding. It rained very heavily- not the usual foggy and misty rain, but BUCKETS…on Saturday. We went and picked up our packets, had lunch at a nice local place and really basically took naps. The weather was so terrible. I was cranky because that sort of weather makes me that way. Plus, I was nervous about the race and really needed some time to be in “race mode”
As you can see the red flag was up at the beach. We still enjoyed walking on the edge of the surf, as it was just really windy and wet.
This Fellow who sits on the upper porch of one of the homes pretty much explains how I felt.
So you know….I do not do well in this weather. Plus the heavy rain…made me start to wonder what was going to really be happening on Sunday.
Well. Sunday came. I got up nice and early and got ready for the race. Not being used to being able to walk to the start, I was a little confused by what to do with my time! Everyone else in the house who was running was either still in PJ’s or not even up yet.
I got a text from some running buddies so I headed off to join them…
I am the short one in the Pink sweater….
Anyway. These ladies were fresh off a different race with their daughters. We all had a nice time getting to know each other a bit and then we parted ways for the race.
This year I was very distracted by all the social-ness of the event, and indeed, since I only had to wait about 15 minutes from getting to the venus and starting, there was a lot less of the usual standing about and getting jitters with others.
I was SOOOO worried about going out to fast. HA! the race was crowded at the start, like many races and so I was right on target pace. I ran on the target pace with no problems right up until Mile 11 actually.
It was a fun race. People were happy and chatty. I planned to pray for 13 people that had so helped me on this journey. I started out really well and mile 1-3 involved a lot of prayer for these people…for upcoming weddings, for upcoming races, for the hopes and dreams that I am not even aware of…it did help me to move along, and I was very overwhelmed by the generosity of people as I reflected on what so many had done, so that I could run this little race. After a bit I got a little fuzzy headed, and the prayer continued but it was a lot less focused, so those of you in the first three miles…you really got prayed for HARD…the rest of you all, I am sorry. I jogged along, seeing the sights I remembered from last year. It was actually quite an emotional experience as last year I struggled to run this race. I saw specific spots where I recalled being just MISERABLE. This year, with a lot less pain (and sadly less training), I breezed through most of those spots. I chatted briefly with people, but mostly focused on running my race. Initially I was extremely irritated by the Galloway runners. There were A LOT right in my 11 MM pace area and they were all running different intervals and sooooo…someone always seemed to be stopping right directly in front of me. This got better as I got further into the race. Either they passed me or I passed them, but soon I was not bothered. I think the Galloway Method is wonderful…I just struggled with them all stopping and starting all the time. They were very courteous Gallowaians though, as they always raised up a hand when the walking was about to start, so I had a tiny warning.
I got to the turn around point…and was still on target pace. There was a huge crowd, with one man in the middle trying to high five everyone. I got my high five and turned around, and was ready for the second half. I am eagerly awaiting the hideous face I was making in the pro race photos because I was grinning ear to ear and also trying not to cry. I just finally felt that I was back. I was running a nice pace, and had no pain or problems. It made all that jazz with my hip this past year worth it.
This was one of the signs on the road…as well as several of course exhorting us to “RUN FOR THE BAG!” (the Vera Bradley Schwag at the end of the race.)
At about mile 9 I started to feel a bit weary, but still pretty good. But suddenly at Mile 11 my perfect race fell apart. I just started to have some pain, not actue sharp pain but my legs were starting to feel tired and sore. I had trouble at mile 11 last year as well. I started to do a bit of run/walk/run. My time was not that off for my goal time of 2:29 but I think I knew I was about a minute off. I could hear my coach saying to me, “Sometimes you just give up too easily”
So I kept pushing as much as I could, but I really could not get back on pace. I was able to jog a good part of the last 3 miles, but never really really sped back up. Still I crossed the Finish line at 2:34….and later my Official time was 2:31:18. (it had taken a while for me to get to the actual Start line and get electronically recorded on the start…)
So I was still Happy!!! It is about a 6 minute PR. I texted my coach and did express some disappointment. He reminded me that I had not had a good amount of training and that this was a lot of improvement. I felt better, much better. After some discussion we all agreed it was better to train to about 16 miles ahead of a half, but I had not had that time…So I am pleased as punch!
I really did do quite well for not only not running for almost a year inbetween the two races, but also having surgery and going through rehab for it all.
After the race I got my Schwag!
the thing I wanted most was the water actually. I HATE this picture of me because I finally figured out wearing clothing that is too big makes you look BIG. the shirt is 2 sizes too big and I felt like I look like a line backer. Can you see my bright white sneakers?
I finished this race about 17-18 minutes faster than last years. It was fast enough that I had multiple color choices of Vera Bradley. I am thrilled by the choice I got this year, as if really reflects ME. unlike last year’s bag which was lovely but not really me. I took a photo of all the free stuff I ended up with over the course of the Weekend.
AS you can See, Vera Bradley was quite generous. i do not know much about her, or her company, but I think she has been very very very generous to this race.
The day after the race I got to meet up with my Blogger/Daily Mile Buddy Jayne!!!! it was definitely the post race highlight. I just love her in person more than on the blogosphere!!!!
I got my PR Pancakes.
and my PR eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon. I actually ate about 90% of that breakfast. OMG. Over the entire weekend we ate very well. I have gained 3 pounds. I do not regret ANY of them..
Again a totally wonderful race.
Volunteers are Superb.
organized packet pickup
Timing results up early
the water stops were in strange areas. I would have preferred them at 2,4,6,8,10,12 miles. They were more at 1.2 (for the 5K too), 4, several clustered around 5,6,7 miles, then none til ten and then maybe one at 11.8? At any rate the stops did not correspond well with my personal fueling strategy. but they were alright. Also they were filling the cups SOOOO full of water…
That was really the only Low point that was out of my control!
So kudos to Seaside Florida, and Kudos to Vera Bradley! Will I be back? Oh yeah, I can not see any reason not to run this again.