E. Murray Todd Half Marathon: Recap

Well, I did it! I am officially a half-marathoner 🙂  I’m feeling pretty decent considering I ran 13.1 miles today.  Legs are feeling a little stiff but nothing too crazy, it’s my calves that took the beating.  I only have a couple pics of me and I was reluctant to share because my hips look much wider than they really are…I’m vain I know!.

Before I start the timeline of the day, I’d like to share this tidbit.  In fall of 2009, I decided that I wanted to race longer distances and signed up for my first 10k. As I’m running, I find out that it’s one of the toughest 10ks in NJ because of the ridiculous amounts of hills.  A month later, I decided to sign up for my first 15k called the Navensink Challenge.  hmmm they didn’t call it a “challenge” for nothing….there were hills that I was afraid to run DOWN let alone run back up! So low and behold today….my FIRST half marathon…CRAZY hills!!! OMFG it was nuts!  Moving on…..

I woke up this morning feeling fresh (thank god!). I was able to sleep the entire night and didn’t wake up once with any kind of pre-race jitters. I was able to have some coffee and force feed myself a piece of bread with pb. I was dressed, out the door by 7:30 a.m. and to the race location by 8:00 a.m. (1 hour before the start).

The weather was warm (55 degrees) and cloudy but there were definitely showers on the horizon.  I was prepared to get wet as the forecasts all week called for a “soaking rain” all day today 😦 The good thing about this race was that it started and ended on the campus of a community college so the packet/shirt pickup was inside and we were free to hang out there until the start time.  I met up with my friends Amy and Evelyn and we all walked to the start line together.

As I made my way over to the start, I figured I would get my Garmin ready by having it find the satellites, etc. As I glance down and hit “training” on the bezel, the whole thing locks up and the screen goes dim.  OMFG! I’ve had this thing for over a year and it’s never ever EVER froze on me….today of all days.  After frantically pressing the buttons trying to unfreeze it, I finally said to myself that everything happens for a reason and decided to run “blind”.  (come to find out later that I had to hold the buttons in for about 10 secs and it would’ve rebooted…oh well).

The gun fired and we were off! Me fixing my iPod.

It wasn’t raining for the first 3 miles or so and it felt rather muggy.  My legs also felt tight but I kept reminding myself that usually after the first 4 miles, everything sort of loosens up and I feel good.  Since I had no way to judge my pace, I just went with what felt right and comfortable. And so started the hills and the rain and the wind 😦  For the remaining 10 miles we were hit with a soaking rain while running up and down hill after hill after hill…..at first it felt refreshing, but as the miles ticked on it was starting to grind on me. I literally looked like I jumped in a pool 😦

Around mile 6, I started to run next to a girl named Jennifer who seemed to be keeping the same pace as me (what that was I had no idea as she wasn’t wearing a watch either).  We stuck by each other for the rest of the race and chatted on and off.  It wasn’t her first 1/2 and she made it look so effortless….she was definitely one of the reasons I never stopped running the whole time.

Once we passed mile marker 11 things started to hurt 😦  The temperature was starting to drop and the wind was no longer my friend…and I was TIRED of being SOAKING WET. As much as I wanted to slow down and just walk a bit, I surged forward knowing that every step was one step closer to warm, dry clothes! There were absolutely no clocks and no crowd support on the course either so it was mentally starting to get tough.

I crossed the finish line a 2:10:21 🙂  I’m definitely happy with that time given the circumstances (weather, garmin and ridiculous hills). I never stopped to walk and I really was feeling strong the entire time.

Totally look like a boy in that picture.

So while I didn’t hit my “lofty goal” of under two hours, I’m really proud of my accomplishment and this race did the job I wanted it to do….give me a benchmark to beat the next time around!

Now for the funny post-race stuff….. So after I finished, the only refreshments were bottles of water and bananas….WTF? I just ran 13.1 miles and all you got are bananas?!?!  PLUS, the refreshments table was down a hill and in the rain so I had to walk up yet another hill after grabbing some water.  Amy was there to see me finish (she finished in 1:57 — her first 1/2 under two hours!) and we both waited for Evelyn (her first half and she finished in 2:23). After seeing Evelyn cross, we high tailed it to our cars for our warm, dry clothes.

I have an SUV so I put the seats down in the back and used it as my private dressing room.  I was so darn cold that I couldn’t even imagine going back out in the rain to walk into the gym. I thought I was diligent in packing extra clothes but idiot me forgot two VERY essential things — a towel and DRY SHOES!  Lucky for me I keep wads of napkins in my glove box…so…..yeah you guessed it, after peeling off super soaked under armour clothes and compression socks, I used NAPKINS to dry myself off.  The worst part was putting my nice dry socks back into my sopping shoes 😦

We all went out for a nice lunch afterwards and talked about the race and travel and just had a nice “girls afternoon”.

Now for the highlight of my day (as if the race wasn’t enough).  Remember a couple of posts ago when I said that I was sad there was no finisher medal?  Well, before I left the house this morning, my husband gave me this:

MY VERY OWN MEDAL!!!!  He had one made for me!! How cute is he?!?!?!?  He was too excited to wait for me to come home so he said it was a good luck medal too.  I carried it out with me but I wore it around my neck when I came home because I WAS A FINISHER 🙂

Okay well this has gotten long enough.  Time to lay on the couch!!! Thanks for reading 🙂

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7 Responses to E. Murray Todd Half Marathon: Recap

  1. Courtenay says:

    Dana!
    I am so happy for you!! I literally just teared up at the end when I got to the medal part! Your husband is SO sweet! That is wonderful, and honestly, that medal probably means more than one the race could have given you.

    Congratulations, my bloggy friend! Sounds like a tough course and you conquered loads of obstacles. You should be so proud! When’s your next one?

  2. Lisa says:

    Love that medal – so sweet! Congrats on an awesome first half and staying strong the whole way. It sounds so cliche, but ” You go girl!!” nice work 😀

  3. Courtenay says:

    I just gave you a blog award! Go to my blog for details!! 🙂

  4. Brit says:

    Congrats! Awesome first half!

  5. […] friend Dana recently had the same experience at her first half. Her husband was wicked awesome and surprised […]

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