at last, sub-2

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This is Matt.

Today we had an adventure. And that adventure involved him pacing me to a sub-2 half marathon.

It began when I showed up and immediately started listing all the reasons I was probably going to crash and burn: My left hamstring feels weird. The weather is too sunny. I am wearing old shoes. I went to the port-a-potty and looked in the bowl and it was horrific and all I could think of was I am peeing on someone's poo and then the thought of that plus the smell made me start gagging and then I almost puked. Oh, and by the way, I think I may have to pee again.

I am surprised he ran with me at all.

But he did, and I ran faster and harder than I ever have before.

Matt, Arvan and I started off running together. We passed hot air balloons lifting off. They sounded like whales surfacing. And we talked a lot about "The Vampire Diaries" because Matt is also obsessed.

Mile 1: 8:55
Mile 2: 8:42
Mile 3: 8:47

At some point, Arvan said he felt heavy. And this turned into a discussion about poo. Of course. Because if you're around me, everything eventually becomes a conversation about poo.

Mile 4: 8:57
Mile 5: 8:57

Then we started the gradual climb to Eastside Road. I was heating up. (I don't care if it sounds like I'm whining -- it really was too sunny out there.) I began taking two cups from the aid stations – one to drink, and one to dump on my head.

Mile 6: 9:40

We ran into -- of all people –- Maniacal Laughter Guy! And he remembered us from the Santa Rosa Half! And he had his headphones in and was listening to podcasts again! But unfortunately, no laughter this time. Although his compression calf sleeves and bright orange shoes still sort of made him look devilish. He told us he was chasing sub-2 also. The four of us ran together for awhile.

Mile 7: 8:50
Mile 8: 8:55

Arvan dropped back. I immediately missed him. I had been hoping we'd sub-2 together. Also, I realized I was hurting, too -- my butt and hamstrings began to ache. And I found myself wishing for downhills -- anything so I could build momentum and take the work out of my legs.

Mile 9: 9:22
Mile 10: 9:42

Matt announced we had to run at least 9:30-pace miles to hit our target. I was fading fast -- my legs hurt, and my mind was slipping into thoughts of woe: That grass looks comfortable. That curb looks nice. Gee, I wish I could just walk or maybe lie down or perhaps just call someone to come get me. Matt began making some kind of animal noise, just to distract me.

Mile 11: 9:30

Matt kept asking me if I had any kick left. I said no. He said: "I know how to make you run faster." I said: "How?" He said: "I just ripped a big one." Somehow, I found some kick.

Mile 12: 9:26

If your pacer threatens to chase you, you discover you can do anything for one more mile. Even if you feel like you are breaking and could potentially projectile vomit.

Mile 13: 9:16
.12 miles at 7:14 pace

Official: 13.1 miles at 1:59:54 / Garmin: 13.11 miles at 1:59:55

I just barely squeaked in under the 2-hour mark (and almost took out four walkers who were finishing the 5K while I was at it). I wanted to cry and laugh and collapse all at the same time. There were sweaty hugs for all.

And now I am trying really, really hard not to think about how much I'd like a 1:55 next time.


RoadBunner said...

Cogratulations!!!! Way to gut it out! My half PR is just a coupe of squeaks under 2:00, too, and I also fought really hard for it and was elated! A new half PR is also on my radar for this year or possibly next. No matter what you think you just keep lowering the bar for yourself a little bit.

Layla said...

Yay!! Congratulations!! That's a great time!
I always try so hard not to look in the bottom of the port-a-pottie, but I think that's impossible. And it always grosses me out. UGH.

Average A said...

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to go!!!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

CONGRATS! That's so great!! I am going hard for a sub-2 half in the fall!

Michaela said...

Thank you! I still can't believe I did it! I almost feel like I have to do it again -- and faster -- just to make sure.

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