Health

My First Half Marathon

5 months, 60 training runs, and 9! pounds later…

It was finally time to head up to Portland and run the damn thing. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t even nervous. I was just ready to get it over with. Unfortunately Ryan had to drop out due to an emergency that took him to New York. I felt a bit guilty going ahead with my “fun” weekend without him, but sometimes life is like that.

Michelle and I had joked months earlier that we ought to use this trip as an opportunity to force each other to do the other’s favorite cult workout. For me, it was Bikram yoga. For her, Crossfit. Both patented exercise regimes, mind you. Both a bit misunderstood and militant. Both costing about $20 bucks a pop. Still cheaper than SoulCycle!

Anyways, considering how grueling the half would be, I’d given no thought to working out the DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER the run. In fact, I packed only one set of workout clothes. How wrong I was. I was going to be wearing those nasty Lululemons all weekend. The moment I hopped in Michelle’s car she asked me to look up a Bikram studio. Shit.

Anyways, we did end up doing Bikram. And a half. And Crossfit. And we survived. But this post is about the half, so let me get back to the point.

We woke up a little early because there was an hour drive to the run site. Oh, and I also wanted to get Burgerville for breakfast. Yum! Getting to Hood River was a little nerve wracking because Google Maps sucks. We ended up driving over a nondescript toll bridge, paying a dollar, and then paying another dollar to get back across once we realized our mistake had taken us to Washington!! We told the toll booth operator about our amateur mistake, but there was no sympathy for the two lost out-of-towners. She was a true toll bridge troll.

The instructions on the marathon website were utter trash, and we found ourselves in a long line of lost cars. The blind leading the blind, as there was no signage mentioning the race anywhere. A gas station attendant pointed us in the right direction, and we were on our way. Parking was a bit of a frustration, and we almost had an altercation with a self-important soccer mom and teenage volunteer who were being a bit unreasonable about our car. The difficulty of just getting to this stupid race was starting to become comical.

By the time we got to the disorganized start line, we were not excited. Michelle was a bit grumpy. Maybe she would have liked a bagel from the food tent, but it was too late for bagels.

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But hey! There was a rainbow! That’s a good sign, right?

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Rocking my commemorative pullover. Minor gripe: there were no free t-shirts at this $80 race >:(

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I’d had some hesitations about this run because the course was pretty much ALL hills. But hey, I live in SF, so I “trained” for it.

For the first mile or so it rained. Then it was just a long wet slog up the hill. At one beautiful overlook I tried to take a photo while running, fell and skinned my knee.

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Beautiful, right? Worth the bruises.

By mile 4 my mind drifted. I was slow. I was dying. Why was I doing this again? I focused on the cute dogs that raced by in the “dog half marathon.” Then I realized that the dogs were trotting the half marathon happily, and I was struggling. That was depressing.

Around Mile 6 things started to come together (aka my Gu chomps kicked in). I passed Michelle as she was returning and felt a good surge of energy. This was really happening! What to say? I kept running up and down the fucking hills. I spent time checking out my fellow runners and making up elaborate background stories for each of them.

Mile 9? I felt a little queasy. I tried to throw up.

Around Mile 10 I did throw up. It was awesome. Then I kept running. I made up for lost time by speeding down the 2 miles of hills.

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Woo! Downhill!

The last mile was miserable. We did zigzags through the muddy parking lot to the grassy area where the finish line beckoned. I started to cry. It was very overwhelming to have come to the end of such a long and in my mind unattainable goal. I was so proud of my  body for hanging in there.

My time: 2:26! Faster than I’d estimated in training. And with hills too!

When I finished, I didn’t even want to get my rightfully earned free BURRITO AND BEER from the food tent. I was just empty.  We got the hell out of there with our ceramic tile Georgia O’Keefe medals. It was back to Portland, where we could pass out in peace.

So, that was that. What should my next fitness goal be? Please don’t say a full marathon.

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