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My First 13.1

November 17, 2009 Family, Fitness, Friends No Comments

I didn’t let myself fall off the workout wagon after the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 23 and Claudia talked me into one of her favorite races of the year: Big Sur Half Marathon. At the time, we decided it would be a fun way to stay in touch over the miles this fall, keep each other motivated, and enjoy a fun weekend in Monterey. Sign me up!

I’ve been training pretty diligently, adding running mileage every weekend and cross-training during the week as usual. I am very thankful for being able to call on my friend Heidi to do long runs with me at the drop of a hat. Sawyer Camp Trail offers beautiful scenery, and it’s always nice to run with someone since iPods aren’t usually allowed at races.

Race weekend arrived and I was admittedly nervous. I had set a goal for myself to finish under 2 hours. Claudia was going for a personal record to beat her previous year’s time of 1:50. Greg and I drove down with Argus and met Claudia near Cannery Row to pick up my race packet and otherwise hang out the day before the race. We enjoyed lasagna take-out from Whole Foods and camped out in our hotel room with our carbs and wine, chatting as late as we dared before an early wake-up call.

The race start was 7 AM, so Claudia and I made our way in the cold, dark morning to the starting line. It was very cold — ~45 degrees Fahrenheit. I was actually glad to start running to get my body heat up. I was wearing my CW-X compression tights, a tank top with built-in sports bra, and a long-sleeved shirt over it to keep warm. The first couple of miles were through downtown Monterey and by Mile 2, things had warmed up significantly. The rest of the course largely ran along the coast with a short detour through downtown Pacific Grove. Chatting with Claudia and taking in the beautiful scenery, I almost forgot I was running and the miles passed quickly.

We saw Greg and Argus cheering us on just before Mile 7, which was near our hotel. The turn-around for the 13.1 is just past the actual halfway point, which helps me mentally to know that the return trip is shorter. We were approaching Spanish Links Golf Course along Asilomar State Beach and the views were spectacular. The morning had really warmed up and I felt great. I had to stop for just about five seconds at the turnaround point to stretch my right hip, then we were off again. I stretched it again at Mile 10 and Claudia urged me on with, “You can run a 5K in your sleep.” It was just the eg0-push I needed to keep going.

At Mile 11, I proudly announced that, “I am officially running farther than I have ever run before!” and several women turned to congratulate me. I was tired, but kept to my mantra that I Can Do Anything For Two Miles. I felt that familiar flutter of anticipation as I passed the Mile 12 marker and gave it all I had into the finish line.

I finished in 1:52, which greatly exceeded my expectations. I was so proud that Greg and Argus were there to cheer us on twice on the course and were there at the finish line. While my stomach was upset about an hour after the race and I my leg muscles stiffened on the drive home, I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction to have completed my first half marathon.

As the last race of the 2009 calendar, I feel like George Costanza “leaving on a high note.” I look forward to 2010 for the challenges and accomplishments that await me.

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