What I’m most excited about, of course, is my new blingy medal. I’ve been getting some looks in stores from people, but I know they’re all just jealous that their jewelry isn’t as big, shiny, or accomplishment screaming as mine. My medal holds up well for all occasions, although I have to hold it down while running, since it likes to smack me in the face. I think I almost strangled myself in my sleep with it the other night, but I woke up just fine.
Actually Getting to the Event
All the literature from the marathon planners said to be at the race at 6:45 to ensure you’d be nicely in place at the 7:30 start. Christopher and I did all the right things for this to happen. We were out the door at 6 am. We were in Frederick at 6:30. We stopped on the highway and didn’t move more than an inch for fifteen minutes.
Yes, true to form, I panicked. I proceeded to panic for 15 more minutes, until about 7 am. We weren’t even on the exit ramp. At this point my stress ramped up into the red zone. 7:15 rolled around, and we were still just before the exit ramp.
So I did what any rational person who’s $70 half marathon starts in fifteen minutes would do. I got out of the car, waved Christopher goodbye, and ran down the highway toward my race. A few other runners had the same idea, so I luckily didn’t get lost.
I ran up right as the national anthem was playing. I felt a little guilty for shoving my way through the crowd in search of the restrooms during it, but there was no way I was going to run 13 miles without…well, you know.
I got to the start line about seven minutes after the race started. Magically, Christopher had parked the car and was walking up right as I ran toward the start line. Guess I could have waited. Oops.
And then I was off!
Mile 8 was when stopping sounded like the best idea ever
The first few miles through downtown Frederick were exciting – the crowds, the spectators, the shops and buildings. One guy set up a bacon pit stop in front of his house, yelling “Electrolytes!” I felt pretty great. I experimented with my pace a little, running with the 2:50 pace group before deciding my legs could withstand a little more.
My knee started to throb around mile 2, and it continued to do so the rest of the race. I wasn’t thrilled, but I ignored it the best I could. Aside from that, my body was pretty happy until about Mile 7, which was when I started taking a one minute walk break every half mile, since my knee was starting to really ache.
The course was flat up until that last 0.2 miles, when it suddenly turned into a giant hill that ran right through manure country. I tried to run a little faster to escape it, but no one could escape the stink!
Then there we were, at the track with the finish line! I had some kick left in me and set into an all-out sprint over the finish line.
Christopher completely missed my awesome finish. “I saw someone sprinting and thought, ‘Nah, there’s no way that could be Allison. She looked so dead at mile 8.’ I didn’t think you could move that fast, anyway!”
The man has NO FAITH in me.
After standing in line for 30 minutes to get my t-shirt post-race (No, not joking. Yes, it was awful and my legs cramped) we finally made our way to our car, where I could finally sit down.
Resting on my laurels
I really did enjoy the experience! At about mile 8, when I decided I was insane and so over this half marathon thing, I decided instead to sign up for the Army 10 miler in October. Because stopping at ten miles seemed so much more awesome than going for another five.
What surprised me the most was how fast the time went by! I felt like I had just started the race when I rounded mile 11. I had pictured many more moments of excruciating despair.
And in all seriousness, I’m really proud of myself, and my shiny medal is really cool.
Photo Credits: MarathonFoto.com, since Christopher didn’t take a picture of my cool finish because he didn’t think I could sprint. Hrmph.