I wouldn't have been doing this race, but a friend of mine offered me her bib when she accidentally double booked herself for both the North Shore Half and a half out in San Diego. Unsurprisingly she opted for San Diego (and did awesome!) which left her bib for the North Shore Half open. This just seemed like fate - it was a race I really wanted to do but couldn't justify full price for because ... well... I couldn't run it competitively. I couldn't try for a PR. And I just felt like with as expensive as the race is, if I can't give it my all..we just couldn't justify paying for it :( I hated that because I really wanted to do it, but it made sense. My husband chose, after we decided that I couldn't, to run the race (...after not being interested in before? ....) and so I never really stopped obsessing over it - so when she offered her bib I just...felt like fate. Even though I was undertrained, I knew I could finish it - and I really wanted to go out on a more positive note than Lincoln. (So Jennifer - again, thank you. REALLY really grateful!)
After arranging childcare and confirming I could run I started planning and really thinking about what went wrong at Lincoln. I decided that my problems were two-fold:
1) Pacing - I overestimated my pregnant body's abilities and paced myself in a way that caused me to short circuit after 10 miles. This wasn't intentional, of course - when your body changes fast, your capabilities change fast too and sometimes your capability changes before you've caught on. But adapting was going to require taking a VERY realistic look at what I can do hauling a much bigger pregnant belly than I did last time.
2) Attitude - when I realized my body wasn't capable of 13.1 that day, instead of accepting that I still completed a half and that by itself, I got mad at myself. I got angsty and felt like I failed. And in retrospect - this wasn't true. I didn't fail - I finished. I'm pregnant and my body can't currently do everything it did before in the same way it used to. But because my head wasn't in the right space, I robbed myself of fun - which is really unfortunate, because it was my last run with my husband (he's ramping up marathon training, and pregnancy is slowing me down) and I didn't get to enjoy it like I wish I had.
So going into this, I planned to start at 3:2 run/walk intervals - running the run intervals comfortably so as not to stress my body, and drop down to 1:1 when that started to feel like work, with the caveat of dropping down further if that proved to start feeling like work too.
But more importantly, I planned to eke every bit of fun out of this I could. Funny signs? I wanted pictures.
Sadly, it rained almost the entire race, so this group was the only one holding signs not meant for a specific person (like the ones that read, Go Mommy!). But I laughed with them and said they were the only ones holding signs, could I get a pic? They were excited - I was the only one who asked them to get one!
Kids who wanted high fives? They were gonna get them. Volunteers and course directors? I chatted and joked. I talked to runners around me. And more importantly - I don't think the smile slipped off my face except at the mega hill around 7.25ish. I literally grinned, as rain poured, as it drizzled, as the miles ticked by. I was happy to be out there, and it showed. Photographers even commented on it, because each time I saw one I threw my arms in the air as I ran past; I was already grinning, but probably grinned even wider.
I won't bother breaking down how the miles passed - my time wasn't a goal (although I suspected if I planned it carefully I could beat my Lincoln time - that wasn't a goal, just a hunch - if I hadn't done it I wouldn't have cared). I will offer these awesome highlights:
- The course was awesomely supported - aid/potty/water-gatorade stops every 1.5-2miles mostly. The bathroom stops made this pregnant woman VERY happy - I thought I'd need each one and was never so happy to see a portopotty in my life than I was at mile 1.75ish. That was awkwardly worded, but you get the idea. Props to RAM racing!
- Mile 5.5 was the best part of the first half. You know why? I got to see Kim! I didn't notice her at first - she was helping direct racers on the course, and while I knew she was volunteering I for some reason thought she'd be at a water stop so wasn't looking for her there. I had a present for her, but was so caught off guard that I forgot it until about a quarter mile after I passed her! :( Sorry Kim but it was so cool to see you - I have NO idea why but as soon as you called my name I totally knew your voice, it sounded just like you. (I don't know what that means, but my brain totally recognized your voice!) And let me say - she was pretty rad with the cowbell. MOAR COWBELL PLZ.
- I ran 3:2 intervals the first hour, and 1:1 the second. Into the third I did a mix - mostly 1:1, but towards the end I did some 30 second walks and runs, and then some 1:2s - I could have run longer but it was more important to me to run to the end, so I added more walking. I'm glad I did; it let me finish the race running, which is something I hadn't managed at Lincoln. It was important to me to never stress during this race - I wanted it to be fun. If I was starting to huff and puff, that's not fun - so I didn't do it. Period. And it worked out perfectly :)
- I felt bad when I passed people....there were a couple people who groaned out loud when I'd pass them and I knew it was the obvious baby belly causing that reaction. There was one guy who kept glancing between my face and my stomach when I'd be next to him and groan when I passed - I don't know if he even realized he was doing it out loud. He tried so hard to run past me but...he was clearly out of gas :( I did take a bathroom break at the end so he might have passed me then, but he sure caused some guilt, haha!
I ended up finishing in 3:10:31, which is about 2:15 faster than Lincoln. Not intentional, but didn't surprise me either - my attitude was better and I was a lot more careful AND mindful of my body. I had an absolute blast, smiling until the end. (Except the monster hill. I did walk most of the uphills that were more than gentle and smiled, but that monster - even walking it had me out of breath! Rude!) The course was awesome and so well supported, and I couldn't have asked for better weather - mid 50s and drizzly. Rain is usually not something to hiope for but I really think it helped me manage my temps better - I overheat really easily right now, which is why heat running hasn't been happening, and it helped keep me cool.
If I have a negative, it's that I ran under a friend's bib. I didn't realize until the day before that you're not allowed to transfer your bib - I'd heard of other runners using a friend's bib and it didn't really occur to me until I came across the tidbit on the website when I was looking up packet pickup info. I feel bad about that in retrospect; I'm not a rule breaker by nature and I am a little uncomfortable with it. Totally my fault and nothing to do with the race itself, but I do feel bad that I did that.
But, I'm overall very glad I did this race. I proved that I haven't lost all my fitness, and I got to go out for distance racing on a -fun- note, with a positive attitude. I felt very very accomplished at that finish line :)
Awkward belt is awkward, but there's no where else for it to go - it's wear it like this or go without!
Very obviously pregnant, 22w2d in these pictures, but can you tell how happy I was? And I have to say - all the rain made my hair look a lot nicer post race than it usually does, since it was damp! :P