Monday, September 17, 2007

My very first half marathon...

Thank you guys for checking in and for all your support. Above all, thank you for believing in me! I am done with my first half marathon and I am happy with it. Here's a detailed report (apologies in advance for the length). I'll highlight my finish time if you want to skip to it. ;)

I crashed at around 9:30 the night before. But I woke up at around midnight with a sore knee. I think I turned in my sleep and must have turned the wrong way on my right knee and it cramped up. Luckily, it got better once I started moving around. I was too tired to do anything so I proped a pillow under my knee and tried to get back to sleep. I was so nervous that I think I woke up at least 5 times before the alarm went off.

I had my stuff ready the night before so all I had to do in the morning was change and eat my breakfast. I was a big ball of nerves though so all I was able to eat was a slice of WW toast with PB and a cup of tea with honey. I was so nervous I was almost sick to my stomach.

I got to the race area in good time. My dad dropped me off near the Art Museum while he and my mom went to find parking. I met with some friends then headed to the nearest port-a-potties. The line went on forever! One of my friend was kind enough to save my spot while I ran to get my bag checked in.

It was a really close call. We were in line for so long that we were still there when the race started. Luckily, we got done quickly enough that most of the people were still walking towards the starting line. I just kept walking through the crowd until I saw most people around me had "13" in their bibs, which indicate our corral #.

I passed by starting line and everything was just a blur from then on. I remember looking up at the starting line and seeing Philly's Mayor Street standing on a platform, cheering the runners on (can't miss the hair, ya know. ;)). I heard my mom calling me so I waved at her.

We weaved through the streets of Philadelphia. The sun was in my eyes the whole time so I cannot even tell you where we were because I was looking on the ground the whole time. My dad later asked me if we passed by City Hall and I couldn't even tell him!

I had my first drink of water at around mile 3. I usually don't need it until mile 5, but I decided to play it conservatively since this is my first half marathon. At around mile 4, I remember seeing a runner with a shirt that says that he beat open heart surgery. I thought that was really inspirational.

At around mile 4.5, I saw my parents and slowed down a bit so my dad can take a picture of me running.

Shortly after that was a water stop. The next water stop was supposed to be a little bit after mile 5, but I figured it must have been off a bit so I decided to go ahead and take my first gel then. Thankfully, it was the right decision because the next water stop was a couple of miles later.

We ended up around Kelly Drive, with the Schuykill River on the right hand side. At around mile 6, I remember looking across the river and seeing all the fast runners already making their way back to the Art Museum.

The entire course was fairly flat, until around mile 8.6 where we go a little bit uphill to a bridge to get across the river. Normally, this wouldn't even be considered a hill but at that mile, I definitely felt it in my glutes. Luckily, it didn't last long and it was all downhill once we crossed the bridge.

At around mile 9, I remember being passed by a girl who I was running on her toes! I swear her heels didn't even touch the ground. And she was obviously a serious overpronator. But whatever she was doing, it must be working for her because, like I said, she passed me.

I took my 2nd gel at around mile 10 and kept telling myself "only 5K more!". Some girl passed me with some serious B.O., and for the first time I was happy for someone (her in particular) to pass me. If I had some energy in me, I would have yelled at yer to "Run like the wind!". With my luck, I would have gotten her backdraft. LOL.

I really started hurting at around mile 12. It was bad enough that I had to walk a couple of times to ease off some cramping in my legs. At this time, I knew I was well under my goal time so I decided to take it easy until the very end.

I picked up my pace at around mile 13. However, everybody had the same idea because it felt like a big wave of people passed me. However, I was determined to get a good finishing picture for once! My last one at the Broad Street Run was horrible! I was blocked by a big guy on all the shots. So this time, I made sure nobody was around me, even though I was still running in the low 9 min/mile pace. I made sure I was smack dab in the middle of the finish line banner with my hands held high! Now, if I don't get a good picture from that, then I'm definitely cursed!

My finishing time? I signed up for this race after the Broad Street Run with a goal finishing time of 2:20. I was in a post-race euphoria then and injury-free. Since then, I have suffered from chondromalacia patella and ITBS and my training has had its good days and bad days. So I revised my goal to just finish in under 2:30. I finished in 2:25 on my last 13.1 training run, so I know sub 2:30 was doable. But I'm happy to say that I smashed my goal and finished in an official chip time of 2:14:46!!!

I got my chip cut off and quickly got my medal. Luckily, my parents were able to find me among the crowd of people. I quickly got my bags in truck #10, which was lucky indeed since truck #9 had a line to Timbuktu! I was cramping up and needed banana pronto! So I'm sorry to say but I cut the long line to the food and snuck some goodies in between people.

We got some pictures taken around the Art Museum. I even got a picture taken with Rocky. Rocky was very in demand so I had to fight my way amongst runners and tourists to get the picture taken. I also got my free Spenco sandals after that, which was way too big for my 5 1/2 feet!

Walking back to the car was slow. But I wasn't the only one suffering. We were joking about needing some cortisone shots because our legs were sore.

My overall impression of the PDR is positive. I'll definitely do it again! Fast & flat course, great weather, what else could you ask for? The only thing is I wish they had more entertainment along the course. There were miles around Kelly Drive where it was dead silence except for the pounding of the feet and conversations from fellow runners. Luckily, I had my iPod. And just for the record, I had people almost bumping into me, and ALL of them did not have earphones. So it's not the iPod people!

Oh yeah, and running skirts rock!!!

Day After
OMG! I'm in pain! My legs are so sore! The good news is that it's sore enough that it's making the knee issue secondary. ;) I'm also experiencing some pain on the outside arch of my right leg. I think it's from the horrible cambered roads along the course. I used to do the AIDS Walk along the same path years ago and experienced the same kind of pain. I'm going to ice and massage which will hopefully help.

I have a massage scheduled after work, which I am looking forward too. I also bought The Stick at the expo so I've been using that continuously.


The elites (Kenyans) lining up at the start of the race:

And the elites are off! See me running with them? Didn't think so. ;)
Still smiling at mile 4.5. :)

Can you see me? I'm the little lilac dot in the distance. This was taken towards the end of the race and I was hurting! I don't know what I'm doing here. Either I'm looking at my Garmin and hoping for the end, or looking at the ground and praying for it to swallow me. LOL
Posing in front of the Art Museum, proudly displaying my finisher's medal! Don't you just love my knee brace!
Gotta have a picture with Rocky! I had to fight my way through other runners and tourists to get this taken. ;)
Trying to get a formal picture done. Don't know what that idiot next to me was doing.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Final Countdown

10 more days guys! I'm so nervous! I'm switching between wanting the half marathon to be here and over with and wanting for more time!

My training is going. I expected my weekly mileage to be up to 30 mpw, but the most I have done I think is about 25 mpw. I hope that's enough. I was supposed to run yesterday but was just too exhausted! This morning I ran ~3 miles. I was supposed to run more after work but I currently have a migraine. Taper starts this weekend, so down to 10 miles for my weekend long run. As you can see, not much mileage going on. But I am getting my long runs in, which I hope will help get me through.

Physical therapy is going well. My ITBS is greatly improved, although there are still some tightness in the leg muscles. Chondromalacia patella is still there, although better. The leg strengthening exercises are really helping. Today was supposed to be my last day, but my therapist wants to re-evaluate in another 2 weeks. I still have to keep up with the exercises though.

That's it! Nothing much going on but I just wanted to give an update of my boring life. ;)