Thursday, November 27, 2008

A great way to start the day!

Well, I have another half in the books! After all the errands were run and chores as done as they were going to get post-work yesterday, I went to bed. At 8:30. This is one of those weeks where the 4:44 AM alarm was getting to me already. Normally, the "I'm so tired I can't stand myself" doesn't kick in until Friday night. I think the addition of boot camp caused it to rear its ugly head early this week. Not that I have any problem at all going to be bed before most 2nd graders. I truly don't. I love sleep. I am one of those people that needs 8 hours a night. I just do. Rick told me once about this show he saw on how the more sleep you get the less chance you have of getting a heart attack. To quote him, "I guess you won't be dying of a heart attack". True.

So... back to the story.... in bed at 8:30, three alarm clocks set. I have this habit of turning them off in my sleep which can be a problem. Up at 4:44 to meet my Dad at 5:30 for a ride to the MARTA station. He dropped me at the starting point which happened to be close to Chamblee. Loads of people there trying to find a place to park, etc. Having someone drop me was the way to do it. My Dad had run the race before and suggested it. Normally, I would not ask ANYONE to take me ANYWHERE that early (unless I was having the aforementioned heart attack) but he is one of those people that gets up crazy early anyhow and it was his idea so there you have it.

I got there around 6:20ish, dropped my bag off at bag check. This was the third half marathon I have done this year and my second race that had 8,000+ runners so the only comparison I had in my head was the ING I had done in March. The main thing I remember from that race was being absolutely freezing from the time I finished until I got home so this time I packed a jacket and sweatpants in my bag for bag check. After bag check, I made stop number one to the port-o-lets and walked to the race start. My corral was at the end so it was easy to find - right in front of the police car and ambulance ready to scoop up the stragglers. Nothing like a little pressure to keep the chase vehicles off your butt.

I located my corral and pretty much just stood and waited. I had about 20 minutes to kill. It was freezing so my main goal was to stay warm. I had brought some gloves with me that I got for free at the expo and a pack of hand warmers which helped. I shoved the hand warmers inside the gloves and actually ran that way for the first 5 miles. Pretty crafty if I do say so myself. The last few minutes pre-race were brutal as I pretty much was in full on shiver mode where you just can't stop shaking from the cold.

At 7:08 we start inching forward! The first several corrals started at 7:00 and then the last sections got their start at 7:08. I am not sure what the thought process is with the 8 minute lag but I am sure there is a method to it. I took off pretty fast to get out of the crowd. I was a little worried because my legs were feeling pretty tight pre-race from my boot camp workouts but my legs actually felt good. The first 4 miles just flew by which was kind of odd, I have never really had that sensation before of not being aware of what mile I was on. I kind of liked it! Somewhere around mile 6 or 7 I did start to feel tired. I think we were getting into the hilly section of the run at that point. This race was about as hilly as ZOOMA was a couple weeks back. ZOOMA probably had more steep hills; today's race had longer gradual hills. The race was billed as a "flat start, uphill middle and downhill finish" which was pretty accurate except the finish, while technically was downhill, had quite a few uphills leading up to it. Mile 10-11 I kept wondering where the downhill section was, we have to be getting to it soon I kept telling myself. HA. There were probably two quick downhills followed by more steady uphills and then the finish.

I made it through the finish, got my medal, my mylar blanket and head over to get my bag I left in gear check. I am anticipating the wait of a lifetime to pick up my bag. Again, comparing this to ING in which I had waited at least 30 minutes to get my bag. The track club has this gear check thing down! The bags were arranged by race number and it was self serve. Find your number, get your bag. I walked right up and had my bag in 2 seconds. I found Heaven in the Turner Field parking lot! I got a picture taken for memory's sake - hopefully when I am in the home for the memory challenged old ladies down the street these photos will make me happy :) I also grabbed a free pair of running gloves courtesy of The Weather Channel. (They were free, I did not mean that to sound like I grabbed them off the table when no one was looking).

Dad was to pick me up at the MARTA station at 10:15 so I headed from Turner Field to the nearest train station which was about a mile out. There were lots of runners still finishing the race - I even got a shout out from the Metcalfs! I must be easily recognizable. I swear I always look for my friends I know that are in my various races and never see anyone. I always hear later that so and so saw me as I was at the trunaround or getting to the race in my car or, or... The Metcalfs are running Disney as well so maybe I will make an effort to find them there!

As you will recall at the ING, I had that weird fainting issue on the train going home. I am proud to say, I DID NOT do a repeat performance this time. I really think I have gotten the race nutrition thing under control. (or at least for a half marathon - a full might be different). I pretty much make sure I hydrate extremely well the day before (which accounts for multiple trips to the port-o-lets pre-race), don't drink any caffeine the night before or morning of and take a GU gel about halfway into the race. That ritual seems to have solved my issues which is a big relief because that ING post-race was enough to make you think you might not want to do a long race again.

Back at the train station... I had the foresight to get a train pass at the expo which turned out to be brilliant! There was quite the line for the machines to get a train token. The cruel twist here was the UP escalator to the train was broken so I had to walk up to what amounted to about 4 flights of stairs. Post-race, that is Just cruel. I won't lie. It hurt. Once I got done dragging my lifeless legs up the stairs, I had a 10 second wait for the train and was on my way home. As I got off the train, I exit to the right expecting to wait a few minutes for my Dad to show up. As I was walking to the parking lot, Dad had just arrived and was walking up the sidewalk to find me. PERFECT TIMING!

On the way home, I made the mistake of stopping for my daily trip to the grocery. It is not like there is no food at home, I just always get something in my head that I can't live without and I stop. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT got to the grocery store after you have run 13 miles. No good can come of it. Trust me on this one.

All in all the race was a good one, I would definitely do it again. It was overall a much better experience than ING (Not that the ING race itself wasn't fantastic - it was - just personally I had my issues that day - it being my first race and all). So.... guess what people............. my chip time was...... 1:59:51! BUH-BYE 2-hour mark. YAY YAY YAY.

Off to take a nap!


Kevin said...

Congrats on a great race. I like the look of this year's medal. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary Elizabeth (MErider) said...

Great job, Karen, and congrats! I was shivering just reading about the cold you had to wait in before taking off. That has to be hard! Oh, and any food you may have consumed from your grocery stop has already been burned off! ;-)

Lindsay said...

congrats on a great job in the half! those hills were definitely not so lovely! good luck in these last 6 weeks of training for goofy!

Marcy said...

YAY!!! Congrats on hitting a sub 2!! Whooo Hooo!