Monday, September 05, 2011

Thirteen Point One

I know I still have a Harry Potter birthday party to blog about, but I had to talk about this huge accomplishment yesterday.

I completed my first (and possibly last) half marathon!

I signed up back in March and all but planned to train hardcore for it, but when I started, my shinsplints were horrible. I thought they would go away after I got my new running shoes, but they didn't. So even though I was only up to 2 miles on the street, I stopped running for a while to let my legs heal.

And then I suddenly had a Harry Potter party to plan. And out went my desire to train.

Which then led to the Disneyland Half Marathon fast approaching. When it was one week away, I jumped on the elliptical and tried to work on some stamina, but with as little impact to my knees as possible. And I tried to eat lighter.

Well, I only did the elliptical twice and as for the eating thing.. let's just say Hooters and burgers and Chipotle and Yogurtland and Korean BBQ and.. got in the way.

So essentially I was screwed.

The Saturday before the race, I Metrolinked down to Anaheim and met up with Chelsey who had signed up with me. We went to the required Health Expo to pick up our race kits. Seeing the marathon bib suddenly made this entire thing so real.

We carb loaded on beignets, Boiling Crab, and a homemade spaghetti meal. And the rest of the Saturday we spent constructing our last minute Disney costumes.

She was going to do an Incredibles costume, but decided to turn her red shirt into Lilo from Lilo & Stitch. My costume was a bit harder to think of. I already bought a tan running shirt and black running shorts and pink running hat. So we looked in the Disney library to see if any characters fit that color scheme. And we thought about Little Brother from Mulan. Yes, the dog.

There's a great scene (and maybe his only scene) where Mulan ties a bone on his back that dangles over his head. As he chases the bone, he helps her feed the chickens. What a great idea for a running gag (pun intended). So I started gathering material to see if this could work.

I cut out a bone from a paper plate. I wanted to keep it light as possible. Then I found a durable wire (a stem from a fake rose). I taped that to the bill of my cap and hooked the bone through. It worked remarkably well. Then I rounded out the costume with a giant paper bag spot on my back and lower back for my tail. Paper bag ears safety pinned to my hat. And a green collar made from felt.

On race day, we woke up at 3AM to prepare. I put Body Glide EVERYWHERE and we were out of the house by 4:10AM. When we arrived, we saw NO ONE ELSE in costume! But when we went to the round up area we saw some good ones.

The race itself was grueling, but fun. Around Mile 2 my ankle started to feel achy. Then around Mile 4 my knee started to feel like it had a knife jammed in it. And all down Ball Road, the run completely sucked. Like a trudge to the slaughter.

Chelsey was exhausted at around Mile 6 and wanted me to carry on without her, but I wasn't about to do that to her. So I did my best encouraging her; trying to pump her up to get going. We picked short term goals and ran to them and rewarded ourselves with breaks. Walked all uphill segments and allowed gravity to trot us downhill. We took every water break along the path and ate nasty protein shots. BLEHH!

We arrived at Angels Stadium where the Ong family was waiting for us. They spotted us and had encouraging signs. We snapped a few photos and continued on our way. They provided a MUCH NEEDED boost at the Mile 9 mark.

After Angels Stadium it was more or less a straight-shot back to Disneyland. My calves started cramping up but I took some time to stretch them out. My knee felt like it was going to fall off. But we kept going along with a great crowd.

Before we knew it, around the corner after 12.5 miles, a giant cheering crowd cheered! Running at this point was extremely painful, but their chants to keep going helped us muster the strength to go. We passed the Mile 13 marker and saw the finish. Chelsey and I made a mad dash to the finish. And my god, crossing that finish line was the most incredible feeling. I was so proud of us and could not believe what we had just accomplished!

We wore our medals proud. I'm still on the fence about repeating this next year. Now that I know I can do it, I feel like why not?? But it was tough and it helped tremendously to do it along with someone; to help push you along.