It's been about ten hours since I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon. Since that time, I have been out to a lovely breakfast at Just For You, taken a hot bath in arnica salts, napped like a fairy princess, watch two episodes of The West Wing, taken two Aleve, and had Ginger's white wine and garlic pasta for dinner with fresh squeezed grapefruit spritzers. And despite all that, believe me when I tell you: I feel like I've been hit by a truck.
Yesterday, after waking up with my period a week early, I went to go pick up my number, race gift shirt, and timing chip at Sports Basement. I also got myself some nice commemorative wicking socks. I spent yesterday rolling out my hips and IT bands on the foam roller. Like many things I am learning, recommended practices for the good of the body are often uncomfortable. The foam roller feels great on my neck, but the IT band rolling hurts so bad. And as soon as it's over, my legs feel about five years younger. So, okay. I do it. I gathered stuff for my race back pack including dry clothes and two cans of my favorite organic coconut water to reward myself with when I finished, which I believed was a good possibility. I left the backpack at the door with a camera and directions for Ginger to tote it with her when she arrived on the scene as my personal paparazzi.
My alarm went off at 4:45 am. I hopped out of bed and took care of injured dog first, who is feeling SO much better, thanks for asking. Then I made myself coffee, oatmeal, and a tall glass of water. I gave myself a little extra time for 2 reasons. And I'm warning you that I am going to just go ahead and be honest and graphic about bodily things because no one ever talks about them and they really play a part in life as we know it, so me? I'm gonna give them their due. I wanted enough time for the coffee to do its work and provide some movement for my innards, and I wanted to wait until the last possible moment to change my tampon, because like I said, today is the second day of my uninvited period. This condition makes a woman feel sludgier, slower, bloated, and often crampy. By the time my pal Ange honked for me at 6am, no movement, but on the bright side, no cramps.
I'm going to spare you a complete play by play of the whole 2:51:58 process, but I will give you some highlights:
1. The course was three times as punishing as it looked on the internerd. Never believe those people when they tell you the hills aren't that bad. This course didn't simply head up to the bridge, but up to it, down again, back up, over the damn thing, down a ravine on the other side, and back up it AGAIN. And these were not the only hills. There were many, and they were steep.
2. The race was packed with all kinds of people. Over 2000 and it was amazing to be out there with everyone. There were blind racers, old racers, gay couples, and plenty of my pudgy sisters representing! There were young people, elite runners and limping champions. And folks just got out there and tried.
3. My race began with times well under 12 minutes. By the time I made it up the final hill, I was up to over 14 minutes. I was barely running at all, and spent three tenths of a mile walk/running.
4. On my way back to the city from Marin County, which I had run to on my own two feet, the grey sky opened and the mist morphed into a steady downpour, which was then overtaken by driving wind and a little bit of hail. I still had about an hour to go. I was drenched, in the middle of a bridge I had dreamed of running over, and feeling a little bit screwed. But in such a situation, quitting wouldn't help, hitchhiking seemed unwise, and well, something about it was vaguely exciting. I got really into the essence of the stride and thought about how the rain itself didn't make the running feel terribly different. My body felt just how it always feels at eight miles: fatigued, heavy, and hopeful.
5. Something about finishing the bridge gave me a new sort of energy. I was on terrain I had run before, it felt familiar, and I knew I'd be back into Ginger territory soon. She had found me in the crowd and driven around to various street corners to cheer for me and take photographs. I felt surprised by the sheer glee her appearance produced.
6. I got to Crissy Field and not only did Ginger reappear, but there she was having a tailgate party with Schaefer and Dana! They all did the wave for me and that really cracked the sixty year old lady up who was kicking my ass. Two miles to go. I was a mile past the furthest I had ever run, and I felt like things were starting to seize up.
7. My feet were barely moving. My pace counting had gone from sets of 88 back to sets of eight. I couldn't close a deal for anything above eight, really. My hips burned, my knees ached, my ankles felt stiff, and the bottoms of my feet screamed down every incline. All this pain, and quitting was out of the question. A girl goes this far, quitting is just inefficient. Alas, I had slowed down so much in the wind and my exhaustion that it was unclear whether I would make it in time to finish.
8. They announce your name when you cross the line! My friends went crazy. I got a medal. I made it with 8 minutes to spare. I burst into tears. I have a lot of feelers.
Anyhow... I did it! I'm officially halfway there. Although my fundraising is NOT officially halfway there. Sister Spit is out there on the road bringing brilliance to everyone. Please help this continue. In the name of my big, round, hardworking hips, and my aging knees, and my fundamentally sound mind, please help RADAR in times of arts-go-first economics. Let's get to halfway by the end of the month. That's a little over six hundred clams.
In the mean time, I'll try and figure out how the hell I'm going to run 26.2 miles. It once again seems not only impossible, but a little dumb. Nonetheless, I'll do it.
In other news: Gus finally has his first post surgery movement. Let's hope that's foreshadowing for me because, well, something's still not quite right. Ok, I'm done with graphic. I hope you're ok.
Thanks for all your help.