Despite our very sub-par training, Nate and I managed to complete our sixth half marathon together. It was rough, it was awesome, and we still really love the 13.1 mile distance for races. Kind of want to do another one this fall but we will have to regain the ability of walking down stairs without crying in pain first.
In the twelve week training program that we always (loosely) follow, this time we were the loosest ever and even skipped three long runs during training. Not okay, and I know I've never missed a long run before (maybe Nate was a rebel and missed one here and there) but apparently May was a very busy month for us. Traveling, having visitors, and gearing up for summer meant we just didn't fit in training like we should have. Three weeks ago I sort of panicked thinking there was just no way we could actually run in this race, then Nate hurt his Achilles tendon in our nine mile training run and proclaimed himself OUT. He sucked it up and we each did our ten mile training run separately last weekend, feeling pretty good about things again so we forged ahead. I told myself that even if we had to walk a bit we would be running this race, dang it.
We always say this, but we really meant it this time: who cares about time, let's just have fun with it! So last week I did two shorter runs on weekday mornings, Nate did one, and we confirmed that Nate's parents could watch the children while we subjected ourselves to the thirteen point one.
One reason we picked the Hartfest Half was that it's local, and by 'local' I mean that we could literally walk to the start line from our house. Can't beat that! It was an 8:30 start time which meant we didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive somewhere a few hours away for a race, like we've done in the past. We woke up around 6:30, ate breakfast, drank coffee, and tended to our daughter who was the only one of the crew awake before we left at 7:45. Tony and Lois came over and played with CC, and eventually the boys did awake at a whopping 8:30 (but don't worry, Porter was up at 5:00 for a bottle, too). So we left at 7:45 but not before I made Nate take a selfie with me, of course.
This was the smallest race we've done with just 275 runners, and we got our bibs and shirts right before the race started. We went to the bathroom, remarked that it was a LOT colder than expected (upper 40s to start) plus it was drizzling and foggy. At least it wasn't 80 and sunny, I suppose! I struggled to decide between running in a tank top versus my long sleeves and was practically shivering at the time, so I went long sleeves. Really wanted to ditch them by mile nine of the race since I always underestimate how hot I get while running.
We met Laura a few minutes before we all lined up at the start line. I had messaged Laura earlier asking if she was back to her lightning-fast pace, just in case Nate couldn't run with me. And sure enough, she is faster than I could ever dream to be so I knew we would not actually be running together. But it was good to catch up and snap a picture before we took off. I decided to carry a water bottle with me for this race since I've been using one throughout my training runs. I just cannot get enough water and I didn't want to freak out about not getting enough at the water stops, so lugging it throughout the race wasn't really too awful. I also brought my phone in my arm case without headphones specifically to use for pictures. Because I'm that lame, duh;)
Why is my pinkie finger up like this??
We took off and since it was a small race, the runners all spaced out really quickly instead of taking a few miles to distance elbows from bumping into each other. The course was scenic, as it began with a paved path that is all too familiar to Nate and I, since we run on it for nearly every training run by our house. After that paved path, it turned into gravel and some packed dirt, as the course took us through a ton of loops and turns and HILLS. Seriously, so many turns and although the part near a reservoir was quite beautiful with the fog and grass, I also don't love running on gravel or dirt so it seemed rather difficult.
Nate and I chatted most of the way and I'm SO glad he was able to run with me, since running alone always means I go much slower and get very bored. I noted that by mile 8-9 I was struggling and my legs were kind of on fire. Then Nate sort of wanted to die at mile 10, but both of us pushed through after that because we were out of the woodsy turns and back at the local pool in familiar surroundings. Near mile eleven I asked Nate what our total time was, since I didn't have my Garmin set to show that (only pace and mileage show up for me right away). He said 1:38 and I quickly calculated that we would surely come in under two hours unless something bad happened in the next two miles. I also noted our pace was right at the 9:00/mile mark which is significantly faster than all of our training runs. Actually, in the past four halves we've done, we have always come in with times ranging from 1:57-2:00 so that speed seems to be our race pace. Our very first half was in 2005 and we finished with 2:10 as our time, and in my head I just wanted to beat that 'slowest' time in this current half marathon. Then at mile eleven I realized we were surprising ourselves yet again.
We hit mile twelve and the prayed that a train would not block us from the finish line, which was a good possibility as we ran over the tracks and past the Farmer's Market. We cheesed it up for the professional photographer at this point and I bought the image, first time ever but it's hilarious! We saw Tony with Truman and Porter, holding an adorable sign and our energy was renewed by those sweet faces. Then Lois and CC were right at the finish line with another sign, as we somewhat sprinted through the end. Sweet, sweet sight of the finish line, how I love you.
Also love hitting 'stop' on my garmin to see this.
Nate and I got our medals and gave each other high-fives, then met up with our crew. The kids were all a little stunned by the crowd or the noise or something but eventually they perked up and were happy to see our (sweaty) faces. We talked to Tony and Lois, talked to Laura, and then had her take a few pictures for us.
Couldn't have done it without those two bigger cheerleaders!
The kids had some awesome snack baggies made by Lois (fruit loops, Oat Squares cereal, with jelly beans added in for fun) and they were eager to tell us that they saw a duck in the water on the walk over to the finish line. Both CC and Truman also loved our medals and we noticed that they had beer bottle openers on the back. Nice!! There was a full breakfast spread for a post-race meal, so Nate and I loaded up. I had to share all of my bacon with Cecelia but it was still yummy and it felt good to sit down (horrible to stand up).
Porter was getting fussy around 11:30 since he hadn't had a morning nap this date, so I walked back with the double bob and the single bob and my in-laws (so many BOBS!) while Nate drove back to drop off another friend at his house.
The rest of the day was spent by taking the most amazing shower ever, wearing compression socks for our aching calves, and laying on the couch. Nate also had major 'potty problems' for the remainder of the day and was basically out of commission. Each of us got short naps while the two little children took stupendously long ones (Truman on the iPad for his quiet time). I walked the kids down to a neighbor's house later for a short playdate, then Tony and Lois came over for dinner. Grilled prime rib burgers, baked beans, french fries, and fruit with a half of a beer (split with Lois)? DIVINE.
Pre-shower, you can't really see how sweaty and d-e-a-d I am here but trust.
These babies feel great.
Nate and I are old now and we both decided to go to bed at 8pm when the children were asleep for the night. Except I did technically stay up until almost 10pm on my laptop online shopping in bed while Nate sawed logs;) Today we each feel pretty good but we're obviously quite sore----training part way will do that to you! But we are proud that we finished the race and we even PR'd with a time of 1:57:20! Since it was a small race, both Nate and I somehow placed 11th in our division, too. Our closest time to that would have been the St. Louis half way back in 2009 right before I got pregnant with Truman, when we finished in 1:57:43. Whoo hoo! Like I said, our other times have been within four minutes of that but it's still a great feeling to PR when we are feeling older and less trained. We still have it, baby! And we are feeling it today, but worth it.
Now to decide about the next race. Maybe something this fall? We shall see, but half marathons are our favorites. No desire to do another full marathon again and I like having a goal, especially to prove to myself that I can still run with three children and increasingly limited 'free time'. I've said it before but I'll say it again: running is more for my mental state than anything else. I dig it.