Half Time!

Almost two weeks ago, I was scheduled to run my very first half marathon.  I started Couch to 5K in September, ran my first 5K in November then continued training for a 10K and finally the half marathon.

My husband and Italian Stallion running thoroughbred extraordinaire agreed to run it with me.  He is capable of running significantly faster and further than me.  The fact that he agreed to plod along at my pathetically slow pace for 13.1 miles clearly illustrating the depth of his love. 

This race also required him to travel to get back in town so that we could then travel some more to get to the race.  He’s a guy that’s happy to sit around his own castle and never go anywhere.  So trekking all over kingdom come just so he can plod along at my pathetically slow pace for 13.1 miles is extra love. 
Tolerating the paparazzi while we wait in chilly drizzle for the race to start.
He also agreed to wear a tie dyed shirt for our road trip along the way.  A tie dyed shirt that matched the tie dyed shirts the rest of us were wearing.  Full scale dorky.   But that's our life!  Lucky him! After a couple hours in the car you actually forget you're all matchy matchy until your first pit stop and you start getting fun comments from total strangers. 
Matchy matchy headed to packet pickup.
We took the dork parade out to dinner to carb load.  Lots and lots of pasta went into my mouth.  So did lots of cheese and bread and even some brownie dessert.  Full scale yummy.  And I didn't feel a bit guilty.  Because I was going to run it off!  So there!
Dork Party of 4 now being seated. 

The next day before the crack of dawn my husband and I were on a on a dark, warm bus riding towards my date with destiny. 
Someone wasn't quite awake yet.  Someone was wired enough for both of us. 

I got choked up on 2 separate occasions just realizing that I had made it there and was ready and that I never in my life would have thought I was capable of it.  My husband patted my hand patiently and told me to take a deep breath.  I'm pretty sure he figured a weepy, stuffy head would not help my pace.  And then we were at the starting line. I tied and retied my shoe laces about 10 times and then it was time for the race to finally start.
At the starting line!
I’d like to tell you about the first couple of miles and how great they felt.  Except they were a hilly blur and I was a panting mess.   Hill.  More hill.  And still more hill.  It was a steady climb up a moderate incline for about 3 miles with no downhill sections.  Even the Italian Stallion commented on it.

Then, the steady incline became alternating steep inclines and declines.   On the bright side, at least we finally got to go downhill a little.  On the downside, holy cow the inclines were steep.  Two were actually so steep I could walk up them faster than I could run up them because my walking stride just covered so much more ground.  As soon as I realized that, I gave in and walked up and actually passed people that were running.  It was nuts.  Sadly, the 2 corresponding downhill sections were so steep I couldn't give in to gravity completely and actually had to run a little slower than usual so I wouldn't fall and roll down them.  Party foul.
My husband stayed in my general vicinity.  He seemed to periodically like to run a few steps ahead to motivate me to run faster.  I didn’t know that was why he was doing it until later so I mostly wondered what the hell he was doing. 

Around mile 6, I was mentally lagging.  I blame the stupid hills sapping my will to live but it did lead to some bickering between us but we regrouped and were trucking for the next mile.  I was on autopilot and the hills were finally starting to level off.  I remember feeling like I'd pushed through the mental lag time and was starting to feel tough and capable.
My husband was busy laughing at me and the crazy arms.

And that's when my husband hurt his ankle.  No really.  The thoroughbred.  The guy that at one point even looked bored keeping the reins on going at my slow trudge.  The guy that’s run 2 marathons and was going to hold my water bottle and get me to the finish line.  It's one topsy turvy world we live in when he's the one that's injured and I was fine.
He described it as a high ankle injury.  I don’t actually know what that is but I immediately suggested a golf cart to the finish line.  Mostly because that’s what I’d need because ain’t no way this girl could last another 4 ½ miles with an injury.   But a golf cart to the finish line did not fit into my husband’s world view which is apparently Suck it up, buttercup.  Because that’s what he did.

I tried to talk him into stopping several times.  I said I’d ride with him to the finish line and we’d get ‘em next time.  Nope. Let’s just get it done.   I said maybe we could just walk slow.  Nope.  Walking hurt more than jogging.   I said what if it makes it worse.  Nope.  He’s had that sort of injury before and running on it doesn’t make it worse.

So we ran.
Way slower than we had been.  But we ran.  And he finished.  Which is nuts.  I know.  And I refuse to call him a stud for finishing with an injury because that gives the impression that it’s sort of awesome. Which it is except I’m not sure he should have run on it and I hate that he was in pain so I’m not sure I should say it’s awesome because maybe that encourages that sort of thing in the future.   Dude's nuts.  He doesn't need any extra encouragement to do crazy stuff.

We finished in 2:26.   I figure an injury is about as worst case scenario as you can get so just successfully finishing is pretty great.  Finishing in 2:26 is icing on the cake and left me amazed.  My best case scenario hope had been 2:20.  We only missed it by 6 minutes.  That's crazy.

We did the last 5 miles at an 11:45 pace. I'd make fun of that pace but it's a better time than I could do back in the fall when I first started running and I had 2 good ankles.  So more power to my husband and only a troll would make fun of it. 

Before the injury, we'd been averaging a 10:30 per mile pace before the injury even despite the million and one hills.  The fact that the course had finally leveled off a bit and would have been infinitely easier the second half is the height of amusing.  I could only laugh wondering how well we would have done without the injury.  But coulda woulda shoulda.  2:26 is pretty great considering.

Know what else is pretty great?  That I finished.  That I went from couch to 13.1 in about 6 months.   A lazy can barely run for 30 seconds in a row couch to 13.1.  Wow.  I blew my own mind.
And for anyone that might have looked closely at any of the race photos, yes, we did wear matching shirts.  Just when my husband didn't think it could get any better than the matching tie dye, he got to wear a cutesy matching shirt to run in, too.  I know.  Lucky guy.  After consulting the internet for ideas, I went with, Never Leave A Good Man Behind for me and A Good Man for my husband. 
I know.  You're getting cavities just looking at them.  Tell me about it.
A couple people had the nerve to ask me later why I didn't run ahead without him after the injury and finish strong after training for so many months.  Dude flew in just to be there with me so I wasn't ditching him.  But I definitely wasn't ditching him while wearing that shirt! And as if the cutesy quotient wasn't high enough on the front, the back of the shirts said Together Since 2002. 
More cavities.
We were running in a primarily women's race.  Our shirts were wildly popular.  We had a lot of people telling us to get back in order if we ended up on the wrong side of each other.   So funny.  I'm still amazed my husband agreed to wear the shirt and he even got into the spirit of it cracking jokes with ladies in the crowd about how the shirts were all his idea after surfing Pinterest.  Funny guy.  Or should I say, A Funny Good Man. 
I was smart enough to come up with the shirt idea but too stupid to ignore my inner fat girl when she told me to order an XL.  It was a flapping tent.  For 13.1 miles.  Not cool. 


A N D Y S T Y L E said...


Jean said...

Great race so proud of you Kim!!!

Veronica said...

Fantastic! So happy for you! And the shirts are AWESOME!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Wow! Good for you! I started Couch to 5k last August and ran a race in October and promptly fell off the wagon when the time changed. I started running again last week, but I can honestly say I don't have much desire to run more than 3 miles!

ooey gooey knits said...

I am new to your blog...I love your shirts and congrats on your finish! I just started with the C25K in January and am planning to run my first Half in October. Your post is inspiring! I shuddered a little at first when you balked at your pace...with my little short legs I am ecstatic with a 12-minute mile for a long duration...but maybe by Oct. my speed will be a bit better :D Congrats again, I look forward to reading more from you!

Natalie said...

Wow great job! That is awesome...and even though he was hurt you still finished!

Shelley said...

I love everything about this post, from the matching tie-dyed shirts to the coordinating race shirts (btw, I've pulled that "inner fat girl size ordering" several times, too), to all of the race details - huge congratulations on finishing your first HALF MARATHON!!!!! Wow!!!

The Dose of Reality said...

AW!! That's so awesome! Congratulations on your race!! I love that graphic...Think like who you are becoming. That's genius right there!

Anonymous said...

You guys did great. I love the shirts. Pretty sure my husband would veto those.

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