Monday, November 12, 2007

Pain is temporary, pride is forever

On Sunday, November 11, 2007, I ran the furthest I had EVER run before to complete the 2nd Annual Seacoast Half Marathon in a record 2:48:49 (a record for me that is!)

It was a BEAUTIFUL day – about 40-45 degrees F, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Matt, my Dad, sister, mom, and family friend – along with my running partner L and her husband were all there to see me off. I was so grateful to have such a big pit crew! The race got started at 9AM sharp. The start of the race was fairly uneventful. It took me about 35 seconds to reach the start since about 1000 of the 1200 runners were ahead on me. I ran with a couple of ladies from my running group for the first 2 miles or so. I did the first mile in 11:09, the second in 10:49. An 11 minute average - I was on my way!

I saw Matt again at an intersection near mile 2 and handed off my vest. I felt great! No knee pain, so stomach issues – I was on a role. As recommended by my running mentor, I stopped at the mile 2 water stop to stretch my IT band. I finished mile 3 in 11:30, but started feeling a hot spot under my right big toe – the new shoes!! OHH NOO! I stopped to adjust my sock, stretch my legs and was off again. I finished mile 4 in 12:04. Running along the ocean was beautiful, tranquil, and just wonderful. What a perfect setting for my first BIG race.

I ate a cliff shot at the mile 4 water stop, and I finished mile 5 in 12:37, and mile 6 in 12:00. I stretched every mile, messed with my sock again, but I was still feeling ok. It was then I saw some spectators with a sign that would become my mantra - “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.” So true that would be.

A little before mile 7, I saw my dad and lil’ sister on mountain bikes. They started riding with me at cheering me on. It was then, I was starting to feel the knees throb. Mile 7 split, 12:32. At about 7 and a half miles, my knees started screaming - it felt like ice picks in my knees. I took out the Biofreeze that I stashed in my fuel belt and rubbed down my knees. By the next tenth of a mile, my knees were numb (for now)! I saw my pit crew just before mile 8 and did a full crew hand slap. L jumped on the course and ran with me for about 0.25 miles to the mile 8 mark – which I finished in 13:49. I had my second cliff shot then, and was feeling well fueled, but the pain was really starting to slow me down. Mile 9 was a 14:34, and mile 10 was 13:35. Then my knees really started to hurt again. So much for Biofreeze! I had just a 5k to go, I was on the home stretch, and I wanted to just finish.

About halfway through the next mile, I stopped, sat down, and tried to stretch my quads to relieve some of the pain. Nothing seemed to work. Mile 11 took 16:06 minutes. It was then I thought – I can probably walk faster than I can run at this point – so I started power walking. My knees stopped throbbing and I was moving faster. Yipee! Mile 12 was a 14:03! I actually passed some walkers!! (There was a walking category in this race.)

I wanted to finish the race running, so pain or not, started I running(sorta)to the top of South St hill. I saw Mike, the only guy in my running group, half way up the hill and slapped his hand and yelled, “my medal will look just like yours!” At the top of the hill I started tried to pick up the pace – using the “pain is temporary” mantra - I was so close. I saw my running coach just before the finish, and she jumped on the course to talk me through the last tenth of a mile. Once I saw the finish line, I got a bit choked up. I was thinking that it would over soon - I did it! Weeping a bit, I crossed the finish line in 2:48:49, just 11 minutes before the DNF cut-off. I got my medal and made it out of the corral to give Matt, my Mom, and L a big hug. I FINISHED!

The sign was right - the pain is temporary or at least short lived, and once it's gone,the pride of finishing something as big as a half-marathon IS forever.

Now I am, once again, on the ibuprofen, ice and stretching regimen. I’m calling my doctor tomorrow to see if I can heal my knees/IT band before the spring. I want to make this ½ marathon a learning experience by getting fitter, recovering well, and curing my IT band issues so I can come back next year get a rocking PR in the half marathon - but right now all I want to do is rest!

At the finish...


42at42 said...

Feels great, eh? I just recently finished my 1st and 2nd 1/2 marathons. It is a feeling of great accomplishment, relief, knowing that you can actually run that distance and the feeling of what's next.
The sign I seen in my 2nd half didn't have the same meaning as the one that inspired you. The sign I seen said "Run Like a Girl". I tried to, but they were too quick for me.
Congrats, now heal up and plan your next goal.

greg said...

Good for you. Now get back out there and run some more.

Found you on the Complete Running Network.

Nicole said...

Yay! You did great on your half. I hope your IT/knees feel better! Great running mantra, too!

btw, nice bottles! :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks all the support! I plan to get back out there as soon as I can!

Nik, I know how you feel about water - I can carry lots!

Lisa said...

I ran the ING NYC Marathon yesterday and saw a woman holding this sign during one of my toughest points. I said this mantra over and over for a mile straight and many times after that. It got me across that finish line and I will never forget that sign.