2012 Unite Half Marathon — Getting to the Starting Line

2012 Unite Half Marathon — Getting to the Starting Line

Forgive the delay in this post — I should have posted quick results yesterday, but it was a busy day, an amazing day, an overwhelming day in many respects.  I’ll explain…..

First, let’s get the results out there!!!   I’ve said to many people yesterday — I feel that I was a winner before I even started, because it was all the training that really mattered, not the race.  My Chip Time was 2:43:49.   Just what I expected — just inside the window of 2:30 to 2:45 that I had set for myself.  Yay!   My Gun Time was 2:47:21, because it takes a few minutes for the herd of gazelle to disperse — and for everybody to make it across the starting line.  They announced there were about 4500 runners this year, and I finished 2527.   I’m in 7th heaven, because this experience brought so many wonderful lessons, experiences, and friendships — many of which were unexpected, and more rewarding than words can express.  So here is a play-by-play of how yesterday went — through the eyes of Runner # 3006!  LOL

My husband Peter and I were up at 5am.  Getting ready included things like washing up and getting dressed.  I banded my hair into a pony tail, knowing the rain was coming today.  There was no avoiding the rain, said the Weather channel.  The question was only — just how badly would it pour down on me.  I had decided days ago that I was running in Yellow!  My Yellow tank running shirt.  The temps were in the low 50s, so I was second guessing if I would be cold in the tank.  but again, here is where experience rules.  I had run so many days in the winter where I overdressed, forgetting the 20 degrees of warmth my body would put out once i got going.  So I ultimately decided, rain or no rain, my tank would be enough.  Being a little cold was better than being hot.  For Me.  It was the right decision.  I got wet, but didn’t feel cold until the race was over.  Don’t Overdress, you just end up carrying a bunch of annoying stuff  (gloves, rain ponchos, jackets).

I also wrestled with whether to take my water belt or not.  Marathon Brian’s advice of —” treat this like a normal long run, do what you’d normally do”, kep ringing in my ears.  But I ultimately decided to leave it home, and to rely on the water stations.  Without it, I would feel less bulky, and lighter.  This was the best decision.  There was plenty of water stations and I quickly learned the runner’s technique of bending the cup into a funnel, so I could drink and keep moving.  Always learning, always learning.  Everybody with water belts finished the race with full water bottles.  GOOD LESSON for all of us new runners.

Because of the rain, I lube up with Body Glide, to prevent chaffing in the spots where my clothes would be rubbing against my skin.  I contemplated buying new socks, to try to keep my feet as dry as possible, bt that would be breaking Race Rule #1 — Never Run in Anything New that you havent worn in training.  So, I went with my normal Asics socks, and Asics.  By the end of the race, my feet were the wettest part of me AND a blister was forming on the bottom of my right foot.  but luckily, it never became a problem during my race.  But this is an area I will explore for future races.  Better socks, perhaps a different sneaker that is more closed, and less mesh, and Blister prevention.

I wore my Garmin Watch — this little Christmas device has quickly become my lifeline.  Oh, don’t get all bunched up — I’m not becoming robotic, or worse…neurotic!  The easiest mistake for a new runner is to start out Too Fast, letting all that pent-up “excitement” lure you into using too much of your energy to early in the race.  The Garmin helps me reign that in.  It shows me my pace, mile by mile…so I can sloooow the baby gazelle down…..and save some energy for later.  You’re gonna need it girl!

I chose to skip the cool R U face tattoos….mainly because I just wanted fewer things to worry about.  No muss, no fuss.  Minimalist was the word of the day.  No water bottle, no jacket, no face tattoos.  Heck, I kept looking at the sky and the clouds wondering if I should take the ball cap or not.  In the end, I left it home.  I was gonna get wet.  Once I accepted THAT fact, it became ALRIGHT.  Sometimes, Acceptance is All you can do….and its best to just get right with it, as soon as you can.

We ate oatmeal, drank our coffee, scarfed down a banana.  Then, it was time.  Time to pin on my Bib…Become Runner #3006…..and Roll.

We left the house at 6am for the drive over to Rutgers.   I drank a bottle of Vitacoco on the way — visualizing all the potassium going straight to my muscles.  Cramp Prevention Is A Good Thing!!   The race started at 8am, with runners needing to be there by 730a.  We left early, mainly because parking is complicated over there with the road closures.  Plus we were hoping to get a good spot near the finish line, to make it easier to get out once the race was over.  We found a meter spot right by the finish line, and very close to the Shuttle that the race was providing to take Runners to the STarting Point.  The Unite Half Started in one spot by the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center, and Finished about 1.2 miles away.    Peter took the Shuttle with me,  along with a couple of other women who are apparently early birds like us.

The Unite Half is an incredibly well-organized event. The Shuttle took us right to the Starting Line, where there was a tent with a DJ acting as MC — working to keep everybody organized and upbeat.  Peter hung out with me at the Starting Line.  We chatted, listened to the music, and he kept me calm.  We joked with each other.  He said, “it’s OK if you are getting…..Nerv…..More Excited!  LOL”.  I laughed, but told him it was Ok.  Yeah……I was a little nervous.  But oddly, not much.  My mind was in that perfect place that Marathon Brian groomed for me.  I felt like I was stepping out of my house to run my normal Sunday long run.  I mean, Ok…..I was gonna do it with 4499 other people, but….whatever!  HA!   The other people is what caused the small bit of nerves I was feeling.  Otherwise, my mindset was in that place that said …..”Diane, this is going to be a fight.  So go out there and fight for YOU.” As I typed those words just now, the emotions come flooding back again.  My eyes tear up, and my throat closes tight.  Fighting for Myself is not something I have done alot of in my life.  So, I’m still feeling Wonderful about having done that yesterday.  It’s a lesson that I have to do More and More of that from here on out.

Around 730a,  the MC announced that it was time to start getting ready to enter the running corral.  So people started to move.  I used the port-o-potty, and handed over my jacket for Peter to hold for me.  For runners who needed to ditch their stuff, they had a neat, organized system of Bagging your belonging by Bib#,and dropping them into a truck that would be waiting for you at the Finish Line.  Nicely done CGI.

When I came back from the p-o-p, Peter gave me a good-bye kiss, and said this to me — “See you at the Finish Line, You are Going to Do Great.”   With those words dancing in my head, I walked past the metal corral barrier that separated the Runners from the Spectators…….something magical happened.    In that moment, I became a Half Marathon Runner.     To me, at that point…..the race was already won.  The only question that remained outstanding was….how long it would take me.

More to come…..

Ciao for now…….Diane

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