Note: This is the first of a two part blog about running! I wanted to blog about race day in this post, and plan to follow up with a second post about what I’ve learned throughout training and from the race itself. Hopefully, someone might read it and catch the running bug like I did from Mrs. Greyhouse and her blog!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
This famous line from “Tale of Two Cities” crossed my mind several times as Erik and I ran the Wichita half marathon yesterday. “Best of times” because it was a goal we had been working towards together for quite awhile, and “worst of times” because…well…it was 13 miles and we had to run the entire race on just a few hours of sleep during a torrential downpour.
For two “Type A” personalities who thrive on planning and being as prepared as possible, Sunday’s race was quite a wake-up call. We arrived in Salina with water belts, ipods charged and loaded, race snacks and pancakes for the morning pre made. We were ready! The universe, of course, had other plans.
For starters, we stayed in Salina the night before and (naturally) planned to go to bed early. Grandma Jones and Aunt Valerie were in town for Emily’s senior recital slated for Sunday afternoon (after our race, because when you are planners you pack as much into a weekend as possible – duh). With visitors in town, Erik and I were going to sleep downstairs in my brother’s old room which now houses two twin beds. Dark, quiet and cool basement. Perfect for “pre race” slumber, right? Our dogs had conflicting nighttime plans, which instead of sleeping meant taking “no doze” or possibly eating crack. We put Madie, our bigger dog and half marathon trainer, in her kennel in the downstairs laundry room and Truman in the bedroom with us so he wouldn’t disturb anyone’s pre race/senior recital slumber. Madie cried/barked on and off again for about two hours before I went and let her into our room and (against all rules) on to Eriks bed. Truman and his “pea sized” (or nonexistent) brain couldn’t quite understand why Erik and I were in separate beds and spent most of the night jumping off of one, walking over and whimpering to the other until he was picked up and placed in bed. Around 2am I got so fed up I took Truman into the laundry room and put him in Madie’s now vacant kennel. Jerk. Cut to 4am, when he was whimpering and barking so much I let him out. We had about 45 minutes of sound sleep before our alarm went off. Poor Erik was in a twin bed with a 50 and 7 pound dog. I wish I had taken a picture!
Vowing to take the dogs to a shelter when we get home, we headed to Wichita around 5:15am and arrived just in time to check the radar and discover that the storm we thought we would barely miss changed its mind and arrive in Wichita for the entire duration of our race. YAY US! Our race training had not included lack of sleep or running in the rain. Our plan was to pick up the packets, make one last restroom stop and head to the start line. Packet pick up went quickly, but there was a severe issue with the restroom stop. The line was insanely long and we were ten minutes from starting. Knowing the race was chipped, and that your personal time started when you crossed the line, I opted to wait out the line and Erik went on ahead to the starting line. I made some fun friends in line, though – we bonded over the fact that a man must have designed the two stall park bathroom! Starting out with just a few folks and forgoing the big, crazy group start ended up being just fine. In retrospect, running on little sleep, in the rain and 5 minutes behind everyone else ended up working in my favor. I was thrown off just enough to be in the moment and take things a step at a time.
Highlights during the race included:
• Sign reading “By now you have trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage. You can do it!”
• Sign reading “Run faster, bars open in two hours.”
• Taking my headphones off to yell and clap for a woman who was (while the rest of us were not even close to being done) looping past us behind two men all competing for first place.
• Sign reading “WORST. PARADE. EVER”
• Seeing a mom (obviously a seasoned runner) wait by the 11 mile marker to join in the race and encourage her daughter, running close to me, who was running her first half marathon.
• After establishing that he was a race spectator and not a homeless man, I stopped briefly out of the rain beneath an overpass to ask the nice man to dry off my IPod. I was worried around mile 6 when it started scrolling through and bouncing around all my IPod contents that I was frying it and would have no music for the remainder of the race. I had it inside my running pack, but there was literally nothing dry. Thanks to the nice mans dry shirt, I made it through the race with music and ipod in tact!
• Large, shirtless, older man who was yelling “OLE, Ole, Ole Ole” across the river to his other running buddies.
Of course, the biggest highlight was crossing the finish line! Overall, we were both proud of our race time and each other!
This next photo may come as a bit of a shock to any of you who know Madie and Truman. Truman tolerates Madie, but does not like to play or snuggle with her. However, on the trip back to Lawrence, he was sooooo exhausted they *GASP* fell asleep touching!