Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rocked It! or At Least Survived It!

I began training back in December to run my first ever half marathon. The day finally arrived last Sunday, and quite frankly it is a day I will never forget! The race was on the same day as my daughter's 9th birthday, so we planned a family mini-vacation and spent a long weekend in New Orleans.

We took the girls to the zoo on Friday and of course made a visit to Sucre' for a little decadence.

On Saturday we went to the Audobon Insectarium where we learned a lot about bugs and dung and even had the opportunity to eat a bug! That's right I ate a bug, but I was just trying to make sure I got enough protein

At the expo the day before
The more I read and the closer t got to race day, the more I began to get nervous. After all I learned there were going be over 22,000 people running; had I trained enough? Would my knee that had been bothering me hold up? Was I going to embarrass myself? Had i bitten off more than I could chew? The closer it got to Sunday the tighter the pit in my stomach began to feel.

I got a bit more nervous when I went by to pick up my number and race packet on Saturday and realized the race organizers had set up a huge expo of all sorts of running gear, supplies & memorabilia.  I could not believe how many people were there and how crowded and yet well organized it was.

We had a great opportunity to see some old friends from when we had lived in Texas, they were there to run as well. It was great to see them and glad they were doing so well.

Finally Sunday arrived and the race was scheduled to start at 7:00am. I was out of bed getting ready by 4:30. The beautiful wife and kids dropped my off in Downtown New Orleans around 6:15 and I begin to make my way to the start village. On my way I bumped into an old Schoolmate and co-worker who had decided to run his first 1/2 marathon as a fundraiser for a child who had died from a rare skin disease. You can learn more about Scott's race on his page.

It seemed like we waited an eternity, but finally the race started and all the nerves were behind me, it was an absolutely perfect day for a run, not too cold, and not too humid, the huge crowd wound through the  streets of New Orleans and the atmosphere was amazing. There were crowds all along the roads and the sidewalks cheering for the runners as we passed, there were bands every few miles keeping everyone in good spirits.

I was feeling great and having a great run. my body was feeling great and I was keeping a pace of less than 10 minutes per mile until Mile 7. I learned a very valuable lesson. Never let your nervous energy get the best of you and "over hydrate" I drank too much water and had to stop at a port-a-pottie. even more unfortunate is that I was not the only one. After standing in line for nearly 3 minutes and finally relieving myself I really struggled to regain my rhythm. My pace never got below 10:00 again, but I was still feeling good
Look at the mass of humanity

9 Miles in and feeling great!
I finally saw the family around mile 9 and as you can see from the pic I was still feeling pretty good. As i passed the 10 mile mark I kept telling myself I only had a 5k left to go. I was going to need all the encouragement I could muster as I was really starting to feel some fatigue. In my head I begin to really battle with myself as I approached the 11 mile mark. I new I was winding down, but I was also starting to hurt from my feet up to my knees.

The last 2 miles I actually had to walk a little bit, but I would not allow myself to walk more than a few steps then I would keep running and keep encouraging myself, I was almost there. My goal for the race was to finish in 2:15:00 and I am a little disappointed I did not make that, I am However thrilled that I finished. When you consider the toll the bathroom break took on my time 2:20:15 isn't too bad!

Crossing the finish line felt so relieving, exhausting, and amazing! I have rarely had the kind of sense of accomplishment I felt in that moment, I have also not felt quite so worn out, nor do i remember my feet ever feeling so much pain. Overall, it was a completely amazing event, I had so much fun.

For now, I have to focus on recovering and resting; but I can't wait to do it again, only better!

Search Results (Search Criteria : Runner Number (bib) = 14898)
OvrPlBibNameCity, StateTime
680114898Eric CollumOcean Springs, MS02:20:15