Saturday, November 10, 2012

Becoming a Runner: Dirty Happy Girls Race Report

Running a half marathon for this beginning runner was foremost an enlightening experience.  My relationship with running first started for me two years ago when I moved to Bend, OR and my husband had to coax me to run a block. Through the support of my co-worker Jenn Smith, last Christmas Jingle Bell run marked my first 5k and my first 10k was Happy Girls Relay in spring of 2012.  In light of my thirtieth birthday recently passing and the realization that my times were not going to win me Olympic medals anytime soon, I decided it was time to work on a new goal for myself, up the ante and run a half marathon.  Knowing that I would have difficulty running longer distance runs on my own and that my sweet husband would not always be able to endure mile pace that is quite a bit slower than his, I decided it would be a great opportunity to join the half marathon training group at Foot Zone.

The support of my pace group leader, Nikki Cheney, and the Half Marathon group leader Caitlin Mastenbroek, along with the members of the group motivated me and kept me going as we upped our mileage. 

Even though the night before Happy Dirty Girls Half came quickly, the following morning came even faster.  That morning I did my best to eat my routine “race day” breakfast and then I set off to Sisters to meet my running friends.  I arrived and my nerves continued to plague me; we took the bus to the starting line and before I had time to think about it, we were off! As soon as we got going, I tossed aside my previous knowledge and made the new runner mistake of letting my excitement get the best of me.  I started too fast.  At mile three I felt a little dizzy and pulled over to regain my composure.

This is where it became an interesting mental game for me.  Realizing that though I had the support of my running group, it was up to me to keep myself going.  I decided I needed a plan; on previous training runs I had broken my mileage up into increments of three miles, so this would be my new strategy.   I ate a few chews, drank some water and began again.   
Mile six came and went in a blurr, followed by mile nine, and then mile twelve.  This point marked the farthest distance I had ever run. Muscle cramps started to set in and the only thing that kept me going at this point were the smiles and support of the women around me; my husband at the finish line; and finishing what I had set out to do; run 13.1 miles.  I crossed the finish line and was happy to be greeted by the support of our running group and cheer on other finishers. 

I did not know how to feel when crossing the finish line.  I had not accomplished my goal time and had not quite been on my game that day.  As the day went on and I analyzed what I could have done differently and realized I was missing the whole purpose of what I had set out to do.  Running a half marathon was my goal and I did it!  Along with this accomplishment I met wonderful people and learned that I was much more capable than I had imagined.  No longer am I the newcomer to Bend who can breathlessly run less than a half a block, but I am thirty -year old woman who can run 13.1 miles!!!

Written by:Alanna McGlone
2012 Happy Dirty Girls Race Results

1 comment:

Marianberry said...

What a great blog post! What an inspiration you are Alanna and I'm glad you realized that life is never too short to learn some new tricks or set great goals for yourself. 30 - we've just begun to live! Congratulations!