|Toni White and Lesley Looper|
This was my first race with the custom orthotics I picked up in mid-February. I was curious and concerned about how things would go, since I hadn't trained beyong 3.5 miles with the new custom orthotics in my shoes. I wondered if my right toes would hurts, and how my feet and legs in general would handle the orthotics. Mostly, I was concerned about my lack of training in general this winter, but I was determined to start the race and see what happened.
George and I parked at NetApp in RTP around 5:30 AM and caught the shuttle bus to the park where the race would start and finish. (We were glad we got there early, because others arriving later had problems with the shuttles and late arrival to the race.) We didn't know until we got there that the bus drop-off was about .7 mi. from the start and finish line, an unexpected hike, both before and after the race! The race itself started about 15-20 minutes later than expected, as we were waiting on some of the late shuttles to arrive.
Before the race, George and I had a good visit with Emily, Jon, and Ashby. At the start line, I saw Barbara and Toni too. Toni, pictured with me above, is the cousin of Danny, someone I met on the Outer Banks Half Marathon course back in November 2010. Danny introduced the two of us through Facebook, and Toni and I met for dinner in Raleigh a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun to walk with Toni for the first half of the race (her first half marathon)! (Thanks for Cara Greening for taking the picture! Cara was a water stop volunteer at Mile 6.)
Speaking of volunteers, there a lot of Raleigh Galloway runners on the course, both participating in and volunteering for the race. It was a lot of fun to see so many people I knew out there!
My right toes starting hurting a little before the Mile 6 mark, and the tendonitis in my right ankle started bothering me as well. At one point, I was glad I didn't see a bench, because I might've succumbed if I'd seen one! When I told my mom about the pain later, she asked, "Well, couldn't you have stopped?" Yes, I could have, but the truth is, I didn't want to, not really.
With about a mile to go, George found me! He finished a while before I did, and after a stop at the first aid tent for his knee, he walked backward to find and walk in with me! How sweet was that?! :)
I finished the race with a chip time of 4:50:06, my worst time ever in a half marathon, but I was mighty glad to finish! I've been thinking about it over the past few days, and here are some things I learned from this race:
1) It pays to train! My longest walk since my last half marathon was 3.5 miles. Even though I've been crosstraining, nothing beats time on your feet when you're training for an endurance race.
2) The extra weight I've gained had an effect, and I don't like it. I need to find a "healthy way of eating" (avoiding saying the "D" word) that works for me.
3) The pain in my right toes came several miles later, a good sign! Time and training will tell if that's the new norm.
4) When my tendonitis gets better, I need to work on building stronger calves, and continue to work on my upper body and core strength.
5) I continue to love, love, love Race Day and all the runners and walkers out there. I pay for it for a few days afterward, though, in "recovery" since, by nature, I'm an introvert. I think I've been quieter than usual the past few days as I've tried to recharge internally. I've also been much more physically tired than usual since the race, so that probably has something to do with my quietness too.
6) I want to stop my trend of slower and slower half marathon times. I'd like at least one more that's faster than the last one!
7) I found out last Thursday that I got into graduate school, and today when I registered for classes, I learned that one of my classes in the fall will be every other Saturday. It'll make training a little more interesting, but the things that are important to me will rise to the surface.
Meanwhile, I haven't exercised since the race on Sunday, but George and I are planning to meet for water aerobics this evening. Should be a good way to start my comeback! :)