Saturday morning at 8:30am we had our children all "farmed out" for the day and evening. It was just us two grown ups, and we were heading off on a date. Scott was bundled up in layers, and I had packed my "secret agent" watch, my ipod, and two packs of GU.
"Wait," one might say, "I thought you were going on a date!"
A date ...yes
A Duley Date... definitely
Scott and I were going to Starkville, MS together, and I was going to participate in my first half marathon. (Technically my second, but the first was 4 years ago, and I just jogged for fun w/o training.) We arrived in Starkville about 10:30, got signed in, and then hung around the wellness center for an hour or so. Anthony Mathenia and his fiance, Hannah, arrived shortly thereafter.
At 11:45, it was time to head to the starting line. Runners of all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders filled a train of 5 buses, and took off. We drove 13.1 miles out of Starkville to a little town (I don't even know if it could be considered a town... it would be like calling Keownville a town) called Pheba. The official started us off promptly at 12:30, and it was a race back to Starkville. Anthony and I getting on the bus
The course was a far cry from the pictures of fan-lined streets in Boston; the squads of cheerleaders and bands were absent. However, there was an occasional cow or horse, one or two stray dogs, some roadkill, and the people working the water stops to cheer us on!
The first ten miles went fairly smoothly. The hills were rolling and not too terrible, and I was able to keep my pace right around 7:30/mile. The last three were a different story.... the word "brutal" comes to mind... Quite hilly, and my legs were beginning to feel heavier and heavier! I slowed to an 8:00-8:30 pace and gutted out the last 5K.
I was thankful for my ipod, especially at the 12 mile marker. Just when I thought I had lost my mind for doing this, a song with a good beat came on and stirred up something within me. Scott was waiting at about the 12.75 mile point, "encouraging" me, as only my husband/football coach could. I gave him the plaintitive "I CAN'T run any faster look," then smiled to myself and booked it as best I could (with legs weighing at least 75 pounds apiece) to the finish line. My finish time was 1:40:03, and I was the 5th female finisher, and 2nd in my age group. Not too shabby for a big mama! :) I feel much better about being able to continue to train and complete the Nashville marathon at the end of April.
I should have mentioned this before... Anthony wasn't just running the race. He was running the race after arriving only about 12hrs prior from Ethiopia! Crazy man... his legs cramped up about mile 10 or 11, but he finished! Wow... that was an accomplishment, b/c I would have been at home recovering from African water and jet lag....
I got showered and we headed off to the post race dinner and awards ceremony. We got nice embroidered backpacks instead of trophies, which was really nice. I wonder how much landfill space is being used up by old 5k trophies that people don't know what to do with? :)
Aside from a really upset stomach and sore calves, I feel fine and ready to continue training!
SPECIAL NOTE TO MY RUNNERS: As you know, there are 3 qualifiers as to whether or not you have given a race everything you've got... Yes, I officially gave it all I had. I had to have a little help in the finish chute, and I made a super fast break for the bathroom... I am not asking you guys to do anything I am not willing to do myself! :) Love you guys! :)