Well, I finished my first half-marathon ever on Sunday. The farthest I had ever run before Sunday was 8 miles so the race was a significant increase in distance. It was also a significant event mentally, mainly because it had marathon in the title.
The race was a relative success. I held what for me is a good pace (about 11 min/mile) for the first 6-7 miles, then dropped down to about 11:30 min/mile for the next three for four. Miles 10-13.1 were a real slog! My legs felt heavy, my toes hurt and everything on my iPod was boring (that was possibly the worst problem of the three, at that moment.) Multiple bathroom breaks were a necessity. It was so frustrating to realize what a toll those breaks took on my time! I ended up being the slowest one in the group I came with by about 7 minutes – minutes spent not running!
Mile 12 was pretty much just miserable. I was frustrated with how slowly I was covering the distance and I was upset also that I felt so drained. I had really wanted to finish strong and hustle past the finish line – that just wasn’t going to happen. There was a full marathon on the same course as the half-marathon I was participating in so full-marathoners were regularly running/walking by me on their way to the finish line. This was both inspiring and demoralizing as I was impressed and encouraged by how well these runners were completing their race and disappointed that they were still going strong (after twice the distance!) while I was inching my way towards the finish line.
In the end, I did finish. I got my Sauvie Island strawberries, finisher medal and water bottle and met up with the people I had carpooled with. I was glad to have finished, glad to have one half-marathon under my belt but, above all, anxious to finish even better the next time!
(Sauvie Island, by the way, is beautiful! Definitely a great place for a run and a good place for a visit anytime. The photo of the island above is from: http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/North_America/United_States/West/Oregon/Sauvie_Island/photo262427.htm)