Saturday, November 2, 2013

Zeitgeist Half Marathon

When I was pregnant with Gideon I began formulating a plan for getting back to running after he was born.   I knew that I wanted to get myself back in half marathon condition so I figured that I need to find a race and just plan on it.  I needed something that was this calendar year, but not so close to May so as to allow myself adequate time to train after he was born.  After some searching I decided on the Zeitgeist Half Marathon.  It gave me 5 months from my due date to recover and train.

I trained, only missed one long run, and after my 12 mile run 2 weeks ago I was feeling good.  I'd incorporated some hills into my long runs and I felt ready to rock this race!  I have been having trouble sleeping lately, and even though I went to bed late last night, I still managed to get a good amount of sleep and woke up ready to go.  As ready as you can be, right?

We ended up running a little late this morning so we arrived at Optimist Park only 30 minutes before race time.  I picked up my packet and nursed Gideon then handed the kids off to Tyson and went to line up, ready to go.

The race started, I felt good, and started out a bit faster than I should have.  It wasn't too bad though, I was doing great, for a while.  You see, Zeitgeist is not a flat half, not even close.  Over the course of 13.1 miles you gain about 1180 feet.  Around half of the way into the first hill I switched to run/walk intervals because it was steep.  I'd trained on hills, but my biggest hill was only 200 feet up over the course of a mile and the first hill here was well over double that.
I survived the first hill but around mile 4 my IT band started giving me grief.  I hadn't had issues for ages, but today is acted up so I had to slow down on the downhill, I kept running, but I wasn't booking it the way that I would have liked to.  Once we hit mile 6 I went back to my run/walk intervals and then turned into straight walking between miles 7 and 8.  That hill was so steep, the headwind was so strong, and I honestly wanted to just sit down and cry rather than go another step.  It took everything I had to keep moving and then I finally turned the corner after mile 8 and started heading back downhill.

However, then I another issue popped up.  I started cramping.  First they were wave-like cramps through my calves, so I stopped for a minute to stretch and that seemed to help, but around mile 11 I got a strong cramp, almost a charlie horse, in my left calf and foot that forced my foot to curl up.  That eased, I started running again, and then it happened again.  I was really disheartened.  I'd survived the hardest parts of this just to cramp up and turn lame on the downhill.  I managed to run/walk to rest of the course and finished with a time of 2:48 (not official, just according to my watch), which is more than 30 minutes longer than it took me to run my first half marathon.  I'm not too disheartened though.  This course was a challenge and in so many ways I'm still working on coming back from having Gideon.

When I got to the finish line Tyson and the kids were waiting for me.  It isn't often that they come to my races, but it was so heartening to see them there waiting for me as I approached.  I was also greeted by a bottle of water, chocolate milk (the BEST post-race refreshment on the PLANET), and a finishers shirt.  Sadly, there were no medals.  I'm rather sad about that.  I love collecting race medals!  That was the most disappointing thing of all, a $50 entry fee for a race should pay for a medal, just saying.  Other than that one detail, the race was great.  The course and scenery were beautiful, Fall in Boise at its finest!  There were wonderfully cheering groups along the way to encourage you on, random cars drove past blaring songs like "Eye of the Tiger" and one home along the way was blaring music from inside while they stood along the road cheering.  Boise has a wonderful running community, it just doesn't get any better.

After the race I was able to meet up with 2 of my fellow mamas from our Moms Run This Town club who both chose this beast for their first half marathon.

There was a post-race party with really good looking food, but Tyson had to leave for work right as I finished and after I finished feeding Gideon it started to rain and since I had 3 little ones with me I decided that we'd best just go home.  The girls were tired and cold, Gideon was squirmy, and I was struggling to get back to the car which was parked quite a ways away.  Thankfully this sweet lady, also headed to her car stopped to see if I could use some help.  I smiled and intended to say no, even though I really did need help, somehow, I just wasn't sure in what capacity.  She asked if she could carry my baby for me (since he was screaming about being in the stroller) and I said that I would love that.  So she carried Gideon while I pushed the girls in the stroller back to our car in the rain.  I was hurting and cold and this woman was my angel today.

Half marathons are hard, excruciating at times, but honestly, I love the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment.  I'm amazed by the fact that even though I am hurting and this race made me want to cry, I want to do it again, but not until next year.  I need a while to recover.