March 31, 2012 was the day I completed my first half marathon. RunTheBluegrass Half Marathon was run out near Keeneland in Lexington, KY. I had run the parts of the course a few times, which was rough but nowhere near as rough as this day was.
I'll go back to Thursday which was my last run before the race. I had planned an easy 3 miler. The run itself went pretty well except a little annoying twinge in my left hip. I had tried to get into my chiropractor earlier that week but wasn't able to. Made a mental note to call him on Friday morning and never did.
Friday was my first day on the floor at my new job. I ended up on my feet a majority of the 12 hour shift. My shift ended at 11:30pm. I went out to my car and the headlights didn't turn on. I was able to follow someone part of the way home, however eventually pulled over by the police and they escorted me back home without giving me a ticket. They just told me to get the lights fixed before I drove again. I finally returned home a little after midnight and finished gathering my stuff for the morning.
Saturday I woke up at 5am. I started looking up garages to see if any of them opened early enough for me to get my headlights fixed. Unfortunately, none early enough. So I went to my car and turned the lights on...the high beams worked. Good enough for me! I left around 6:20am and arrived at Keeneland about 6:45. I braided my hair in the car, gathered my stuff and hopped on the shuttle to the start. I picked up my race packet and found my running friends. I gathered with one group to get a picture, then off to another group. I found my running partner and we headed to the official start line.
The first couple miles K and I were running about what we had planned. After mile 3, she said "there's only 10 miles left...we've run 10 miles before, we can do this!" We plodded along, had some Gu around mile 4, then started up the part of the course we had not been on before. Between miles 6-7 I started experiencing pain in my left hip again. Just enough to bother me, but not enough to make me want to stop. At mile 7 was one of the local ladies running groups manning a water station. Saw one of my friends and she gave me some encouragement. Off I went again.
Around mile 8, I started struggling more as my left knee started hurting some. K started getting further ahead of me. I could still see her. the hardest hill was from mile 9-10. at 10.5 K was still ahead of me and she had stopped to check on a runner who had stopped and was bent over on the side of the road. she pointed at me and I could hear her say the girl in the white hat was a nurse. I ran a little faster than I had been to catch up. He had experienced such bad cramps he couldn't even walk. I tried to get a hold of a friend who was volunteering, but she had already left for home. I started running to the next water station, because he asked me to get the ambulance. Thankfully a few minutes after I left him, I saw the ambulance come by. By that point, I was hurting too much to run a lot. So I set off walking and walked most of the rest of the race. I threw in a few jogs here and there and ran through the last part to the finish line.
My friend J was there waiting and gave me a hug and I almost started bawling from the pain I was in. I drank the chocolate milk they had and J had to leave. I found somewhere to sit for a little and M came to check on me. He has been one of my consistent running buddies the last few months. He volunteered during this race though. He made sure I was okay. I had to wait until the person who had my stuff came back from her water station before I could leave. I ended up able to stretch out my legs more and I'm sure that helped immensely.
Overall, it was a great experience. For this being only the second year for this particular race, the organization was outstanding. E, who organized the race, thought of everything possible and I couldn't think of a better race to have as my first half marathon.
Will I do another half? Probably. I'm looking toward the Iron Horse Half in October depending on my work/kid schedule. For now, I'm going to focus on some 5/10k's and do some speed training.