… and the post-run endorphin high is still running, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m wearing my pretty little finisher’s “medal”, and my sore calves are reminding me of yesterday’s epicness.
It is weird to think that Nike Women’s Half-Marathon 2010 is now a thing of the past. I have been looking forward to this event on my calendar ever since receiving a confirmation e.mail that my best friend Courtney and I were both picked from the lottery to participate in the race, which we entered on April 5th! Unfortunately, living in different towns meant we wouldn’t be able to train together side-by-side like we had for our first two… but, that did not mean we couldn’t and wouldn’t still enjoy our 3rd half together.
Not nearly as excited to start training solo, I officially began marking down my minutes [and miles] in the middle of the summer on July 17, 2010, and have been giving exercise my all for the past three months. Yet, not having my friend physically by my side meant I’d be training a
little bit lot differently this time around. Rather than doing most of my training on real road [or trails], I spent countless hours at the WREC being a hamster on the treadmills, running lap after lap around the indoor track, pushing the pedals of the spin bike song after song, BodyPump-ing, strengthening and stretching. There were many a times when I was skeptical that this whole indoor training ‘method’ would even work, but it turned out there was no reason to have my doubts :)
What I did doubt was that I was even going to be able to participate in the much-anticipated race after running my body down from a stressful, sleepless week studying for three difficult exams. I pushed through – as I always do – and after a solid night’s sleep Friday night, I woke up rested. I decided to loosen up my muscles with an easy 28-minute run around my old college neighborhood before sitting in the car once again. Oatmeal –> showers –> Starbucks + gas, and Court and I were headed into The City to join the pink parade!
Once checked in at our hotel and refueled, we joined the gazillion runners standing in the line that wrapped around Union Square to pick up our race packets at the expotique.
The expotique wasn’t all that impressive; though, Courtney and I didn’t stick around very long to snatch up all the swag as us small town girls don’t do crowded city-life events so well. We did convince ourselves that we mustn’t miss the scene at Nike Town though, so we wandered around that zoo of a store before heading to the top floor of Macy’s where we happened to randomly run into friends from home at The Cheesecake Factory [another madhouse!].
Instead of making it any more of a hassle trying to get around the city with an extra 20,000 hungry runners at dinner time, we staked out a couple seats at The Factory for a standard pre-race meal of a monstrous serving of pasta, salad and bread. After much race strategizing and lots of laugher, we headed to our hotel room and got to bed at a decent hour for our 5:00am wake-up call…
I woke up hungry – yay! – and chomped on my SF-made 18 Rabbits bar and banana as I got ready to run. Court and I met up with my other bestie running the race, and we daringly headed out our hotel lobby doors together into the dark street lined with porta potties and a sea of people.
Are we sure we want to do this!?
The NWM is the 10th largest half-marathon in the world and largest women’s marathon & half-marathon!
We plied on through the saturated streets of anxious runners until we found a spot of pavement to our liking. There we waited for the next short while, gearing down for our trek across town.
We plugged in our ‘pods and started to get excited! We were doing this!
Strong. Happy. Healthy. Women.
Running buddies for life.
At 7:00am, the running got under way. It took approximately 6-7 minutes until we
ran danced across the start line – faster than I expected! Courtney and I jig-sawed through the streets of moving feet together for the first 5.5-6 miles at a decent pace until I decided to give it a rip and give this race all I had!
y-axis = speed. x-axis = distance.
I felt strong and comfortable the entire 13.1 miles. Well, I take that back… comfortable isn’t the right word. I pushed myself to discomfort on several occasions. The hills, for which I didn’t train for, were challenging, but defeatable. The beautiful scenery and wonderful, encouraging signage was a great distraction. The weather was ideal – costal cloudy coolness – so I really didn’t have much in the way to worry about.
I jammed through my iPod playlist and chanted positive mantras inside my head. “You are stronger than you think you are!” The time on the course flew by. It didn’t seem like long at all before I was passing the Mile 10 marker and stretching out my stride for the final 5K. The endorphins increased, my music got louder, and my feet got faster. There it was – the hot pink finish line. I wasn’t holding anything back. “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.”, I repeated to myself.
I crossed the finish line of my 3rd half-marathon feeling accomplished, as I squashed my old PR by nearly 16 minutes!
Half Marathon #1: 2:04:16 [9:30 pace]
Half Marathon #2: 1:59:13 [9:06 pace]
Half Marathon #3: 1:43:21 [7:53 pace]
Smiling runners sporting their cute finishers tees [& a “baby” belly apparently].
Something else made us smile too…
If you didn’t know already, every single finisher of the NWM receives a very special blue box from a [handsome!] guy in tux and red bowtie at the finish line… only the best type of
metal medal a girl would dream of. Of course I sported my prized, hard earned possession today :)
More NWM reviewing & race talk to come, as this post is already getting quite lengthy.
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I run to be… strong, not skinny.
It’s your turn!