Today was the day I'd trained for and then worried about. About 5 weeks ago I hurt my IT band and took a lot of time off. I tried cross training but it wasn't the same. Our alarms went off at 5:00am and we made toast and I taped up my outer knees with KT tape that I got at the expo yesterday for free! Woo. We also stretched and applied sunblock and body glide (at least I did).
We walked to the start from there and I was brimming with excitement. I saw Chris and Christine at the start and hit up the port-o-lets a few times. Before I knew it they were calling us to the start line.
Mile 1: This was a slow mile to account for the hill up Pearl Street and I think for the large crowd at the start. Correction: it was supposed to be a slow mile, but we ran a sub 9...whoops.
Mile 2: we passed my house!! Then we worked our way back to downtown to run our first pass of Church Street. It was hopping and I loved it.
Mile 3: I saw one of the dietitians who I worked with and interned with, which was exciting! I love seeing people while I run. This was also where we picked up the belt line. This is a short "highway" that connects two parts of Burlington. It's an out and back on the course and there is no shade whatsoever.
Mile 4: The belt line starts kicking my ass. Julie and I were on a high up until this point. The road is completely slanted and hurts all of your joints. My left IT band immediately hurt and Julie urged me to run on the side of the road as it was the flattest. I would have just kept complaining.
Mile 5: We passed an epic samba band. It was amazing. At this point I saw Max ahead of me at the turn around and cheered. I turned to Julie and said "he's catchable" and she responded with "not yet" as in hold back, Megan.
Mile 6: I saw Rebecca and Molly on the other side a bit behind me. I loved seeing them.
Mile 7: Left knee still hurts, now my hips hurt too. This makes me a little nervous but I keep telling myself that nobody said it would be easy and I knew it would hurt.
Mile 8: Julie talks of how she listened to a runner admit that you have to respect the marathon. We finally finish the belt line and one guy asks if we are sisters and I yell "yeah!!" I also ate my first bag of fruit snacks because I realized I had been running for more than an hour. I like to stay ahead of the "wall."
Mile 9: We pass the start again and ease back up to Church Street. People are out having brunch and cheering, um sign me up!
Mile 10: We are on a long stretch of Pine Street and pass Colleen. She is the best cheerleader ever. A girl next to me said "if only we could bottle up her energy. Julie was amazed at Colleen's capabilities. A bit further down we pass Maia and Joe!! Although Joe was lacking the air horn he said he would have, but I'll forgive him.
Mile 11: We start heading towards the dreaded neighborhood. This was the worst part of the Unplugged half marathon because it drags along and there is a nasty hill.
Mile 12: The dreaded neighborhood. Julie must have been running too fast during Unplugged because she was in awe of the scenery. It was a perfect day and we kept commenting on that as we looked at the calm lake.
Mile 13: We get up to Oakledge Park and Christine screams our names. I was not expecting to see her!! She did the relay and I was sure she would be in the coral. Our first half came to about 2:00:59. We pick up the bike path shortly after and finally get some shade! It didn't last long enough. I took another bag of fruit snacks here. The 20 grams of carbohydrates per bag wasn't cutting it for me.
Mile 14: We are back out into Pine Street. I learned of a new way to get from the bike path to the Main Street! We see Melissa on a corner cheering and it made my day! Earlier this morning she sent me the meme of Phoebe running and told me to have fun. It seriously made my day. I also saw Maia, Joe, and Colleen again.
Mile 15: We start the terrible trek up Battery Street. Longest hill of my life. But there was an amazing drum band. Julie and I commented on how it was hard to slow down for that mile because of the energy. By the top of the hill I was dying though.
Mile 16: Things start to go a bit downhill. Julie could tell and asked if I wanted to play a game. At Mile 18 we would take turns leading a mile. I was slowly fading though. The pain in my left knee/hip/glute was unbelievable. Still the right knee was fine.
Mile 17: strugglingggggg. We turn into the first of two neighborhoods on the route and I'm instantly saved by a freeze pop that some girls were giving out. I knew I needed fuel but I did not want to chew anything.
Mile 18: Maple syrup shots! Probably 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Julie goes, "WOW! That's a lot of maple syrup!" I chugged it down because I needed all the help I could get at this point. I don't think Julie and I ever started playing her game which is more of a strategy.
Mile 19: We turn into Leddy Park and I hit the hardest wall. My legs were not moving properly and I couldn't fathom going on. I could barely talk. I felt bad for Julie because in the beginning, the first half actually, I was very talkative and now not so much. Julie took one look at me and my pain and was like "Megan, your muscles are probably cramping up." She rips open her Untapped maple syrup and gives it to me. It was so much easier to take than gummies because I didn't have to chew anything. Unfortunately some went down the wrong pipe and I was coughing up a storm on top of dying of leg pain. Julie led me right along to the next water station. Passing the water station I paused for maybe half a second and told Julie to keep going. She turns around and goes "No, Megan. You can't stop or you'll cramp up and never start again." Little did she know I had no plans to start again. But her tone of voice hit me emotionally and I remembered how badly I wanted to cross the finish line with her.
Mile 20: How the hell am I at mile 20?! No idea. Julie told me that a guy once told her that the race starts at mile 20. She also told me that mile 17-20 suck for her too. It's where the struggle occurs. Julie and I grabbed more freeze pops. These things saved us, literally. Well they saved me.
Mile 21: The 4:00 mile pace group reaches us and I swear a few times. Julie is so upbeat and tells me that we should try to stay with them for until mile 23 and then we can evaluate if we need to ease off a bit. She also says that I have two choices. I can throw my time goal out the window and just finish running or I can walk now but she thinks I would regret it if I walked. I knew she was right, she often is.
Mile 22: We pick up the bike path finally. Home stretch but there is still so many miles left. Julie tells me we can still do it and reach the goal. I whine that I've already slowed us down so much. Julie, the angel that she is says, "You really haven't. You're still around 9:30 and everyone has those points in their race." She's the best. We also went out a bit fast.
Mile 23: I thought we were at mile 24 so I whined to Julie. At this point she told me to pick a person and we would try to catch them that mile. I asked if we could do it the next mile and she compromised. We would have two miles to catch them. The first guy I picked walked after a water station. Score. The second person we caught and the third I never did catch. We also see the cutest chocolate lab puppy. Think chubby baby Lyla... At one point Julie told me this was probably my last time running on the bike path. So true...
Mile 24: We pass Leddy Park again. Things start to get troublesome. Usually with 2 miles left I'm in good shape knowing I have one mile until the last mile. But Julie pulled ahead here to keep me chasing the goal. She looked over her shoulder every minute to make sure I was still running. I love her.
Mile 25: Hot damn. We are near North Beach and it's amazing. Julie asks me what my final mile goal is and being the whiner that I am, said "to survive." Julie didn't really like my attitude and I don't blamer her. She had put up with a lot. We pushed it a little, pulled back a bit, and so on. Julie tells me at one point that we have four minutes to make it to the finish line. No way.
Mile 26: The first 100th of a mile was a little rough but I did start kicking it. The second 100th I totally kicked it through the finish line corral. It was amazing. There were hundreds of people and it totally inspired me. We turn a corner and I see the clock at 4:00:xx. I was excited to hit 4:00 even if it wasn't under!
Finish: According to the gun time I crossed in 4:00:43. I crossed the line and my legs literally gave out beneath me. Julie comes over to hold me up and before I know it two medical workers are holding me up and helping me to walk over to the medical tent. They offer me water which I take and I ask for ice. They asked how many bags I want and I asked for the whole bucket. The guy didn't understand my sarcasm and told me he couldn't give me the whole bucket. Julie was wonderful and got me a medal and took my shoes off. I had been complaining since like mile 7 that my feet hurt. Julie had told me that everyone's feet hurt. But once she saw my blisters she was shocked. Apparently not running for five weeks makes your feet a bit sensitive. I couldn't move for a while because my muscles hurt. And so we drank copious amounts of fluids and cheered on runners. I hit up almost every water station and yet I felt so dehydrated. The salt on my body was insane. At one point my eyes started burning and I couldn't open them. Luckily the woman next to me helped me out.
Christine and rebecca soon finished and we all congratulated one another. Rebecca, Julie and I headed to the beer tent after rebecca gave me some flip flops. Bless her. There was no way my sneakers were going back on.
Julie and I stretched for a bit and then slowly trudged up the hill. We went to American Flatbread for pizza. There was a bit of a wait, but we survived. We ordered two large pizzas and I think the guy was very surprised. We also got maple lemonade. Amazing.
Currently sitting on the futon watching our third movie and eating some garlic bread and grapes. We also had more leftover pizza. ¾ of a pizza, garlic bread, and grapes. Refueling at its finest! It will be early to bed tonight if I can make it into my bed...