Stratton Faxon – Fairfield Half Marathon
There are three words I would use to describe my experience in running the half marathon on Sunday. Hot. Humid. Hilly. I was not prepared for any of them.
I started my day by waking up a half hour late. I had slept at my Mother’s house in Connecticut on Saturday night so it wasn’t a big deal. But still, it meant rushing around in the morning and not having the “I’m completely ready this morning” feel that I had for my last race. So my super awesome Mom drove me to the race (avoiding me having to park a car 2 miles away from the starting line or having to take a train to the race).
When I got to the race I immediately ran into my good friend/nemesis for the day Kiley. You see, Kiley is one of my best friends. She is also someone with whom I compete. She was one of the best cross country runners in the state of Connecticut when we were younger and she has also completed a marathon. So when she told me that she was running the same race as me, I decided that we should place a small wager on it. (at the time I was eating meat and we decided upon dinner at Outback….they have a great salmon dish so we’re still good on that one).
I checked my bag, drank some water, peed, and got up to the starting line. I was one of the last people to cross the start line. I like it that way. It makes me start slower, thereby, keeping the race day adrenaline from making me want to sprint to the back of the pack AND I have always found it good for the psyche to be passing people.
Here is the rundown of how the race went:
Mile 1 – Nice little day for a run. I feel pretty good. Woops, forgot to start my watch….(another sign that mentally I just wasn’t with it)
Mile 2 – Boy, sure is warm out. Maybe I should grab water earlier than usual.
Mile 3 – Fuck me, it’s hot out. Wow. (By this time I had been running for 17 minutes and felt like it had been an hour. I was completely soaked in sweat.)
Mile 4 – Alright, this is just stupid. Why did I decide to run a fucking race at the end of June? And what is with these hills? Ok, time to get my tan on. Shirt comes off……ladies, you…are………welcome.
Mile 5 – Ok, that’s it. These hills are debilitating. This is not even close to being fun. This just sucks. Why did I pay 90 dollars to run this race? WHY? Thank God for the people spraying their hoses on you along the course. Oh, there is someone I know…..”Hi Kristen”
Mile 6- FUCK ME!!!!!!! I hate running!!!!! I hate hills!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate the sun!!! (I wanted to vomit at this point)
Mile 7 – Oh thank you 6 pound, 8 oz baby Jesus. CLOUDS!!!!!! Let’s get some Gatorade and maybe we’ll be able to make something of this race. Ok, feeling better about things.
By the time I hit mile 7 the sun and hills had just about completely wiped me out. I was seriously lacking energy and was running just to finish at that point.
Mile 8 – running through a stretch of trees. Lots of shade. Energy coming back. But wait……….another fucking hill. Son of a bitch!!!!!
Mile 9 – Oh, look……..a hill. ( I eat my last energy gel packet)
Mile 10 – Is it me or is it humid? Another hill. I exclaim, “Jesus Christ!!!” and a girl who heard me responds, “You can say that again.” By the time I got to the top of the hill I was pretty much speed walking. Long strides that were barely coming off the ground.
Mile 11 – No more hills. Just a long death march to the beach where the race was ending.
Mile 12 – Ok, let’s put this into gear and get a nice kick into the end.
Mile 12.5- Shit, started that kick too early. Let’s slow it down a notch so that you can finish.
Mile 13 – Sprint – Just a dead sprint to the finish. I had an old dude who I had been running next to the whole day come up to me in the finish area and congratulate me on the finish, “That must have hurt”
Finish line – I was out of it. Dizzy. Nauseous. My eyes were burning. But I was done running. There is a lot to be said for being done.
Notes from the race:
People, stop running with IPods for races. Enjoy the race, the people who are cheering you on, and your own thoughts. It is also really dangerous when you don’t pay attention.
I saw a guy throw up at mile TWO. MILE TWO. Just give up buddy. That wasn’t your day.
There are some really fast old people out there.
I lost to Kiley by NINE seconds. Yep, I lost to a girl by nine seconds.
Another friend, Jess also beat me. Of course, Jess beat me by 22 minutes. Yes MINUTES.
After I run the Chicago half marathon in August, I’m not running another distance race in the summer.
I saw a guy running outside as I was driving to the train station last night. I wanted to yell at him. To ask him why he is so stupid. Why would anyone voluntarily run in that heat?
Toward mile 12 a couple of buddies of mine saw me and yelled out, “Goodnow!!!!” You know hearing your name on the race course it very satisfying, it motivates you to do better, it gives you a boost. It makes you want to perform. I would almost compare it to hearing you name while having sex. You feel like you must be doing something right and it makes you want to do a little more.
Met up with some high school buddies for lunch and beers after the race. I had ONE beer. That is all I could handle. A far cry from my last half marathon where I drank for 9 hours after I got done.
Thanks to everyone who sent me texts and made calls to wish me luck and to check on how I did. It meant a lot.
I took today off from work. The idea of putting on dress shoes is unappealing to me right now.
Chafing. Lots of chafing. Lanacain, you failed me.
Final time……1:51.03. Not as good as the NYC half, but considering the conditions and the course, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.
I’m glad I did it and I’m glad it’s over.