Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Dreaded Race Photo

Race photos are one those things that I have a love/hate relationship with. I'm not going to lie, I'm one of those girls who will take twenty-five five pictures, and choose my favorite one to post as my new facebook/twitter/dailymile profile picture. Back to the topic of race pictures. I love having pictures of darn near everything, so the theory behind race photos are great. However seeing my sweaty-in-a-ton-of-pain face in pictures was something I really needed to get used to once I started running races.

Post race, I always have a mini anxiety attack when I see Photos from [fill in the blank] are online! in my mailbox. Oh boy. The thoughts in my head start going a mile a minute. "What crazy face am I making?" "Do I look like I'm about to cry?""How sweaty did I look? Because I know I could smell myself." So before opening the email I'm always anticipating an entire album of pictures similar to this:

In human form, of course.

This leads me to the dreaded The Rock n Sole 2011 Photos are Online e-mail that showed up this morning. I was expecting to not want to show a soul these pictures, and honestly I wasn't even sure if I wanted to see them myself. This race was a disaster, and I sure felt like I had to have looked like a HOT MESS. The reality? Best race pictures I've ever gotten. Major kudos to the photographers, and whoever spent hours photoshopping me to look my best.

Alright Runners World, I'm ready for my cover.

Channeling my inner Adam (The Boring Runner)

Why do I look so happy?!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

These Men Deserved A Post Of The Own.

On Sunday's Summerfest Rock n Sole Half Marathon I had three special men accompany me during my race. They were with me all 13 miles, and had my back even when I wanted to give up. These three men many have never heard of, though they should be household names. These men? Cpl Paul Zanowick, LCpl Jason Hill, and Cpl Mark Goyet. All three Marines were deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion 4th Marines, where they made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Cpl Paul Zanowick

LCpl Jason Hill

Cpl Mark Goyet

I never knew these men personally, but in the Marine Corps everyone is like family. Scratch that. They are family. When you move away from home, especially at a young age, you are forced to make a new family and new connections based on common experiences. Everyone is there for each other through thick and thin. You laugh together. You cry together. You mourn together.

May these men will never be forgotten. 

Summerfest Rock n Sole Half Marathon

I'm officially a half marathoner.

A half marathoner? I'm not going to lie, it's a weird word to get used to. I worked so hard to complete 13.2 miles that it almost seems weird to look at my medal, and realize that my first half marathon is now behind me. I'm no where near happy with my finish time of 2:58:23, but considering the conditions that I was running in I'm happy that I was able to finish and not end up on the back of an ambulance.

Time: 2:58:23
Pace: 13:30 min/mile
Division Place: 291 / 341
Gender Place: 1,401 / 1,616
Overall Place: 2,666 / 2,954

Pre-race I was excited to see the amount of people who came out for this race, especially the amount with the half marathon bibs. I guess my reasoning was the more people running the half marathon the better chance I have of not finishing last. Please God, do not let me finish last.

Pre-race. I may look calm, but can you see the panic in my eyes?

Mile 1-3: This isn't so bad.
I lined up around the 12 min/mile pace flag, figuring that it should be a good pace for my first half marathon and get me to the finish line around my goal of 2:30. Just before 8am I was waiting for the National Anthem to be played, but next thing I knew we were off. I started off slow and I felt good. The Hoan Bridge was the first half of the race, and I really underestimated the incline. I swear. It really doesn't look that bad while you're driving! The view while running over the bridge is amazing and loved seeing Lake Michigan to my left, even though the wind way high up could suck it.

Mile 3-6: Should have switched to the 10k.
Seriously. What did I get myself into?! By the turn around point on the bridge I was already hating life. By 8:30 am Bradly clock tower was registering 87 degrees and the water tables were either running out of cups, water or both. Thank goodness I had my hand bottle, but I was hoping to refill my bottle soon with fresh cold water. By mile 4 I had started getting really nauseous, ate Hammer Gel #1 and forced myself to walk for a little bit. Wish I knew if it was because of the heat, bad choice of breakfast or the scent of dead fish from the lake front. I guess I'll never know, but I do know that I almost lost my breakfast a few times on the bridge. Sexy.

Don't let that smile fool you into thinking I was having fun.

Mile 6-9: I. Need. A. Tall. Drink. Shade.
HALFWAY! I never had even thought for a second the lack of shade along this course. Pretty much from mile 1 to mile 9 it was completely in the sun. Thank goodness I put on sunscreen, otherwise I would have been a lobster! Still didn't help the fact that I felt like I was burning alive in 90+ temperatures. Continued to keep a run/walk routine going during these miles. The sun was just draining me of all my energy, and the humidity was a killer on the lungs. By mile 7 the flags had gone from low to moderate, but kept pushing. Around mile 8 I ate Hammer Gel #2, I was so ready to get some energy back!

Mile 9-13: What do you mean the race is black flagged?!
The dreaded black flag. When did we skip the red flag, and go from green to black? Not sure if it was because of the heat, humidity, lack or water or lack of aid but by this point they were urging us to walk, and told us that they had stopped the clock. Eff that. I just spent the last couple miles walking so I could run the last miles in SHADE. I made a new friend along the course, it was nice having a running partner for the last few miles. We weren't running fast enough to be out of breath, just fast enough to keep our legs moving and get back to the finish line.

Mile 13-13.2: Run like hell and finish strong.
My legs were killing by this point, but I kept them moving. My body felt like I was going to pass out, but I kept pushing through. I was hungry. I was thirsty. I just wanted my mommy, daddy, husband.. anyone. Crossed the finish line and it was probably the most amazing feeling ever. Even though I know I was no where near my goal, I had finished and it felt amazing.

Bad. Ass.