Monday, March 23, 2015

Montgomery Half Marathon

A few months ago, Carmel and I joined a running club with his work. I didn't actual do any running with them due to my schedule but we all signed up to run in the Montgomery Half Marathon. The morning of the half we met up for a few pictures and for a couple of the guys to be interviewed. 

Both half marathon and marathon runners were starting at the same time so we were all mixed together. I am used to being in the back so I was surprised how close we were to the start line. We were right behind the elite runners. I felt very inexperienced and out of shape just being near them. Their speed amazes me! When the announcer said, "start" these runners were already a the top of the hill before I took my first step. 

There were students from a high school nearby taking pictures of the runners throughout the race. I wish I would have known because I would have at least tried to smile in the midst of sweating and heavy breathing! 

Carmel told me up front that he would be running along side a friend. This friend was running his first half and planned to keep a slow pace. I started out running with them but wanted to try to do my personal best(or better than my last half) during this race. I hung with them for about a mile or 2 before I decided to go off on my own. From my training, I figured I could accomplish a finishing time of 2:30.  I was not expecting the amount of hills on this course.

They only warned us of a big hill around 10 miles. There were several all throughout this course. While training for my last half and full, I chose a neighborhood with hills. This time around I mostly trained around our apartment complex. I should….have…added…hills! Hills always slow me down!

I had to stop twice to empty tiny rocks from my shoe. I have no idea where they came from or how they found there way into my shoe but they had to go. While running long distances, tiny rocks can seem like little knives stabbing your foot. 

Before I arrived at mile 12, I noticed from afar a table with cups. As I got closer, I thought to myself "yay!!! a water station!!" My saliva is just not satisfying me anymore. I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I realized it was several small cups of beer(I don't drink). Now why would they torture a thirsty runner with an alcoholic beverage. 

At the half and full split, a man was waving us to the side of the road. I could see a group of people but didn't know what was happening. About a minute later a fire truck pulled up. By then I knew something was wrong. I figured someone had fallen or was having trouble breathing. Once the truck pulled up and we were redirected, I saw a older gentleman receiving CPR. It did not look good! As I was running the last mile of the race, all I could picture was the man lying on the side of the road. I prayed that God would watch over him and the people helping him. I did find out the next day he was revived and taken to the hospital. I was grateful for the positive outcome. 

Due to all the unplanned circumstances, I finished at 2:40. Although I did not meet my goal, I did finish in the upright position and had a new PR.

Once I grabbed a water, I headed over to the side to wait for Carmel to finish. You have to love technology. He downloaded an app which updated his location. I knew when to expect to see him. As I was waiting, I couldn't help but over hear a 10 year old girl sharing details about her race. I figured she was talking about the 5k until I glanced over and saw she was wearing the same metal as me. WHAT?????? 10 years old?????? I felt really proud of myself until that very moment! I found out from the newspaper she came in 4 seconds after me. 

I can't help but laugh at this picture of Carmel coming to the finish line with kids. The Montgomery Marathon offered a Mayor's Marathon Challenge for kids in the local schools. It was a 16 week program that would allow these kids to complete a marathon by running 2 miles per week. The students completed the last mile on this day. These kids just happen to be finishing the same time as Carmel.

After it was over, I had the same runners high as always. I am already thinking about what to do next and how to make it more challenging.

Looking forward to the Auburn Half Marathon next month.

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