Sunday, May 25, 2008

Augh! I hadn't realized it's been almost a whole month since I've posted anything - oops!

We've celebrated some puppy birthdays... pictures will be posted soon. Birthday treats were enjoyed by all.

On another note, today was the end of a journey for me. I've spent the last 16 weeks training for the Madison 1/2 Marathon. Finally, the day arrived and I reached my goal of completing the race - 13.2 miles. The race itself was a pretty fun experience - the training left something to be desired. While training, people would ask who I run with, the answer: myself. Running 10 miles by yourself can prove to be a bit boring, especially since one's MP3 player battery only lasts 8 miles. Boo! So, needless to say, I didn't really know what to expect when I got to the race. I've run races before, mostly 5k races and this year, I did the Crazylegs Classic which was in 8k. Crazylegs did start people in waves because the race was so huge. The waves were sent out according to anticipated finish time. This race did not have waves, only different start times for each event - marathon, 1/2 marathon, quarter marathon and wheelchair marathon.

The half started at 7:25, so the alarm went off at 4:50am. Not such a pleasant time to wake up, but necessary for the proper pre-race eating and tending to the pups before we had to leave. We headed out the door by 5:40. The race started at the Capitol Square, but we had to park at the Alliant Energy Center where the finish was located and then shuttle to the start. We arrived at the Capitol at 7:15am. Rather than start in waves, they had pacesetters running with signs designated finish times and mile paces. When I first thought about how long it would take me to finish, I was hoping for 2 hours 45 minutes, then I thought I'd just like to finish in under 3. The more I thought about it, and thought about the training times on long runs, it seemed like between 2:20 and 2:30 would be more realistic if I race according to my training times. So, I found the pacesetter for 2:30 and decided to stick with throughout the race. It turns out, that was a perfect pace and I still had some gas at the end to sprint to the finish. Could I have gone a few miles more? I don't think so, in fact, I'm not even sure when the energy for that sprint came from. So, I busted through the finish line in just under 2:30... just under, as in seconds - 2:29:02!

Running with a pace group was much better than running in my own little world. Pacer Jim set the pace for the group. Evidently, they hire professional pacesetters for marathons who take a group from start to finish at the appropriate pace. When the race started, there were at least a dozen folks that stuck with the pace group consistently, but it seems that once we reached mile 8 or 9, we had lost a bunch of folks and upon reaching mile 12, there were about 5 or 6 of us left and Pacer Jim encouraged us to give it all we had left and finish strong. So, off we went! I picked up the pace for the last mile and then, finished the last quarter mile of the race down the finish chute faster than I thought I could. It was pretty exhilarating.

As early as the day started, the race was over and there was still a whole day ahead of us! I wasn't much use for the rest of today. My legs were aching, my knees were screaming and I had quite a headache. It didn't dawn on me, until about 6:30pm, to take some ibuprofen, and all of a sudden the headache was gone and some of my aching muscles were relieved. The knees, that another story.

Today was also kind of interesting in the sense that I was the athlete today, not Chris. He had to drag his butt out of bed at the crack of dawn to experience a long morning of spectating where there wasn't too much spectating to be had. It was also kind of hard for me to understand how tired and aching he may have felt after an Ironman or 1/2 Ironman, but now I had a little glimpse of how it feels.

When I started my whole running journey this year, I thought I would use this race as a gauge as to whether I would run a marathon in the fall. I think I'll mull it over this week, you know, see how the recovery goes. I feel like I put a lot of work into this goal and would hate to lose the fitness. Athletics only work for me if there is a goal somewhere along the line, so I've got to come up with something to keep me going through the summer!


Collin Kromke said...

Congratulations and nice run. That's a tough course, so you have a lot to be proud of. Plus, it got kind of cold and windy out there, which wasn't expected with forecasts for 85 degree temps.

Amanda said...

Wow!! A huge congratulations are in order. You are very inspiring Dria and so good at challenging yourself. Congrats on a great finishing time!

Jay Edgar said...

Congratulations on a great race! I feel the same way: I need a goal to do my best. I'm thinking about the marathon next year. Maybe see you there.


Gina said...

Congratulations! What an accomplishment. I just don't have the will to do it, so I admire those who do (especially without music). I like the new look of your blog and am glad your back to posting.