Thursday, March 10, 2011

Run for Ryan House Half Marathon Race Report

"Runners just do it - they run for the finish line 
even if someone else has reached it first."  
~Author Unknown

Well I did it!  I completed my first half marathon in 3 hours and 19 minutes! 

Almost there!
I had some frustration getting to the location in the morning, but ended up having enough time to find parking, pick up my number and timing chip and go to the restroom, so it worked out just fine.  The weather was a nice and cool but windy!  The course has far more hills than what I usually train on and the wind likes to blow down the hill instead of up it so it was challenging!  But in a good way.  My plan was just to focus on keeping an even effort throughout even if that meant running slower at times, and that plan turned out to be an interesting lesson for me.

At some points when I was heading up hill with a strong wind coming towards me keeping an even effort meant walking.  It was somewhat tempting to try to ‘muscle through’ and ‘keep up the pace’ but that would more than likely mean burning out to soon, the last thing you want when racing 13.1 miles.  I had to realize that there are other factors outside of my control that impact my effort level and all I can do is do my best within those circumstances.  To avoid burning myself out I had to really acknowledge how those forces were impacting me and adjust accordingly. 

That meant slowing down when it felt like I ‘should’ keep up the pace and at other times it meant pushing on when it seemed as if I ‘should’ be struggling more than I was.  The mind is a funny thing and it can play tricks on you, sabotaging your success if you don’t catch it!

There were times when it didn’t seem like the hill was all that steep and yet I knew I was putting in more effort than I was a little bit ago so I had to slow down a bit.  There were also times when it really looked as it the grade of the hill had not changed and I still had a ways until the top and yet it felt like it was getting little easier so I picked up the pace.  Tricky, tricky mind! Silly tricks of the eye!  You can’t fool me!

I paid attention to the sound of my breathing, the heaviness of my foot falls and how I felt overall far more than anything else.  These are all ques I pay attention too during my training but during the race I would catch myself in the excitement of the moment and not realizing that my feet were starting to shuffle a bit or that my breathing was getting somewhat labored. 

The environment of this race really challenged me to pay attention and be in the moment instead of thinking ahead to far or holding on to expectations of how I thought I 'should' be feeling.  It was an awesome opportunity for me to work on practicing awareness

The finish line is within sight!
I am pretty pleased with my first half marathon finish and am very grateful for the experience.  I would highly recommend it!  :)


2 comments:

  1. I love reading your take on running. I think it really is a great opportunity to work on practicing awareness but that's not something that you normally think of as associated with running. (At least I haven't, before) It's fun for me to hear your perspective on running. It pushes me to think in ways that I don't think I would come to on my own.

    I love that running can be as much about philosophy as it is about a good work out. What a great way to get mind and body in line! (Although I suppose you can take that approach too any physical activity. Workout and meditation in one?)

    Great job on your race!!! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  2. Thank you so much for the kind words Amanda :) That means a lot to me!

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