So yeah, we ran our first half-marathon this Thanksgiving. My time was 2:18 and Jon’s was 2:15. We checked our rankings against everyone in our age group and Jon came in 44% and I was 48%. That is to say, we were positively middling. And I’m proud of that! Totally average times, keeping right up there with everyone else. Jon especially was a vast improvement from this summer. And we’d never run this far before, either. I loved when I passed someone who was ranked in the C or B corral and they had given up and were walking while I continued to run the whole thing. Jon, too. Jon was so excited about the pending race on the day of the number pick-up:
Here are some of my thoughts/observations from the race:
– Apparently my hands swell up like crazy when running long distances. I noticed that somewhere around mile 8 that my thumbs were somehow the size of my big toes and I couldn’t easily make a fist. I was mildly fascinated by this while running. It looked like that time I was stung in the thumb by a bee. Later when I tried to research why this happened, I discovered that doctors have some twelve different ideas as to the cause, ranging from edema due to centripetal force from waving your hands around repeatedly, to an electrolyte imbalance of excess sodium, to the exact opposite- electrolyte imbalance of too little sodium. At any rate, it’s harmless and the swelling goes down soon after one stops running. And my fingers looked normal again when I took my medal picture:
– What the holy hell was up with the runners and bladder control? There were port-o-potty stations every 4 miles or so, and every single one of them had a sizable line of runners waiting to pee, the clock still ticking. Even at Mile 2- how can you need to pee after only 2 miles? Didn’t you think to go before the race? Can you not hold it for two measly hours? If people were like Jon and me, they paid $65 to register for this race, and trained for it for months. Waiting in line for 30 seconds to 4 minutes is a significant time in a race. I think if it came down to it, I would sooner pee myself than lose the 4 minutes after all that training. I did see this one woman abruptly duck out of the race and run behind a dumpster, presumably to relieve herself. I had no idea so many people have so many bladder control problems.
– Somebody actually did soil himself around mile 4, but it was uh, number 2. I could smell it and all the runners around me were complaining. But I still managed to look sporty:
– I’d run 10 miles several times before this race, but never 13 miles. Turns out that those extra 3 miles are completely miserable. Jon agreed. So did all the runners around me when I was at miles 11 and 12. Everyone who was still running was shuffling along, and at this point there were numerous people who’d given up and started walking. Not us, though! Jon’s feet were necrotic after the race, and my feet were miserable as well- I was suddenly aware of every single fragment of grit and junk in my shoes, no matter how miniscule. Since when did my shoes have so much crud in them? And dear God, what the frig was up with the endless series of hills?
– My favorite part of the race was the Sports Beans station. They’re just jelly beans, but they’re boosted with sports. I was tickled by their name. Volunteers were passing out Sports Beans to the runners around mile 7 or 8. I couldn’t eat them at the time, but I saved them for a souvenir. Seems like most people weren’t as sentimental- around mile 8, the road was completely littered with a multicolored layer of Sports Beans. In my exhausted foggy haze, I thought I was dreaming that I lived in a magical world of candy. My mind was turning toward the surreal at that point anyway, and the roads paved with candy weren’t helping to reel me back to reality.
– I just feel really lucky and happy that we both ran such a good race and didn’t get injured or anything. There was a big hospital tent full of people putting ice on their knees and tending to other various ailments of varying severity. Jon and I both got off scott-free. And we ran the whole race without walking, ran a perfectly average race for our age groups. We rule. We know this because we got medals and everything.