Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guest post: The BF talks about running his first half

I couldn’t drive down to the beach with Jess, so I headed down on my own after work on Friday. I guess the traffic wasn’t as terrible as it could’ve been, but it was enough to put me in a bad mood by the time I got there. My car is a stick shift and my left knee felt like all the cartilage had disintegrated. Not exactly the best way to start a race weekend. When I got there I pretty much crashed onto the hotel bed and passed out.

Saturday morning I had to go to the expo to get my race number. I thought that it could wait – the expo wasn’t going anywhere – but Jess had other ideas. She was super excited to show me my first race expo. I could tell she was in heaven: running all over the place, making sure I had all my race essentials, showing me where to sign up for the best free stuff. I’m really glad she was there to show me around, because otherwise I would have been lost. I got lots of cool free stuff, the most important being my wristband for the beer tent after the race.

After the expo we went and sat on the beach, but not for too long because we didn’t want to get sunburned. We hung out until it was time for dinner, which was pasta at Pizza Planet. The four of us ended up ordering almost the exact same thing – water with spaghetti and meatballs (Jess had to go and not get the meatballs). I asked her if she was going to take a picture of her food for you guys, but some people we knew were sitting two tables over. I guess you’ll just have to use your imaginations. Then it was off to bed.

I don’t exactly remember my thoughts when I woke up, but they were something along the lines of “This is the worst idea I’ve ever had … what am I getting myself into … why is the sun not up yet? …” Anyway, I managed to drag myself out of bed, into my race clothes, and onto the shuttle. Then we were at the race with lots of time to sit around.

Jess had been excited to meet Lindsay all weekend. They couldn’t meet up on Saturday and she was really hoping to meet her before the race. They were having a little trouble because the most accurate way Jess could come up with to describe our location was “by the porta-potties.” There were 20k people at this race – there were a LOT of porta-potties. I wasn’t optimistic, but Lindsay managed to find us.

Jess and I were originally signed up to be in the same corral, but I moved mine back since I had basically stopped training. So I was the last out of the three of us to get into the huge mass of people waiting to start. I waited until my corral got pretty close to the front to minimize the walking I had to do. I was kind of overwhelmed and I forgot to start the timer on my phone as I crossed the start line. What a rookie mistake.

I didn’t realize that I hadn’t started my timer until I got to the first mile and saw the clock they had there. I figured late was better than never and started it up. It was really fun to see and hear all the people cheering the runners as we went along.

The hardest part of the race for me was stopping and walking the first time. I really wanted to keep running, but I knew if I did that there was no way I’d finish – I was in no shape to run 13 miles. So I slowed to a walk around mile 1.5. After that my strategy was pretty much to run a mile and then walk a mile or two. I think I ended running 5.5-6 miles total.

I can’t say enough about the spectators and volunteers. I couldn’t believe how many people came out to just stand on the side of the road and cheer for complete strangers while clanging on a cowbell. Very cool. And the people working the water stations were great – there were always plenty of cups to grab.

I had to stop to go to the bathroom once – I think it was around mile 7. It was a set of 2 porta-potties with only 3 people waiting (and 2 of them were guys) so I figured it wouldn’t take too long. It really didn’t, but of course as soon as I started running again I found a group of 5 with no line at all. Anyway, after the race I was telling Jess about how it looked like someone had puked up chocolate GU all over the toilet. She told me that some runners have a bad reaction to GU that’s, well, unpleasant. She didn’t mention that bit of info before the race when she gave me 5 of them (I had never tried them before). Guess I dodged a bullet there.

I didn’t have as much problem with the heat as Jess did, but that’s probably because I was walking so much. I did run the last mile though – I figured if I was going to finish I might as well finish strong. I ended up coming in at 2:54:54. Considering I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish at all, I was pretty happy with breaking the 3 hour mark.

It was really nice to see my relatives after the race. Jess and I had some trouble finding each other, but we eventually all met up and hung around for a couple minutes. Then my grandparents had to head back (they can’t walk around too much). It turned out they had parked pretty close to our hotel so we all walked back together. I debated going back to the beer tent but decided it was too far away for my poor hamstrings. I had to throw away my wristband without using it at all (the most disappointing part of the weekend).

Then we relaxed until dinner. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was some of the worst service I’ve ever had. There was one waiter and one waiter/hostess/bartender. For the whole place. Unreal.

After dinner we went to get some Kohr Brothers ice cream. We walked about 7 blocks north to get ice cream, then back down to the hotel, then back up about 10 blocks to meet Jess’s high school friend for drinks at a bar, then back down to our hotel again. 13 miles wasn’t enough for one day, I guess. Needless to say, I slept pretty well…

For all of 5 hours. Then it was time to get up and head out so we could miss the traffic. I also didn’t have coffee for the first half hour, which was brutal. But we ended up getting home in good time and relaxed the rest of the day.

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. I’m thinking it would be fun to do another, but hopefully I’ll be a little more prepared next time.

-Matt

(Note from Jess: I guess the BF is cool with you all knowing his name.)

6 comments:

Wes said...

That's pretty awesome that Jess wanted to make your race experience a great one, and you are a stud for letting her ;-)

I was kind of overwhelmed and I forgot to start the timer on my phone

Well, running with your phone is kind of funny! Everyone forgets to start their timer! ha!

Carolina John said...

good job making it through your first half! Now you know why we always want to do better the next time, huh matt?

X-Country2 said...

Thanks for the guest report and CONTRATS on your first HM finish!

Emily said...

OMG Matt who knew you were such a funny writer? That is *just* like Jess to not tell you that Gu can make some people violently ill, right after she gives you five of them. Just kidding of course! :) Anyway congrats on running the race, and I'm sorry you didn't make it to the beer tent. There's always next time.

X-Country2 said...

PS to Jess: Here's my recipe for recovery smoothies- http://crosscountrysquared.blogspot.com/2009/08/wednesday-wonderful.html

Nom nom nom. :o)

lindsay said...

congrats matt! enjoyed your race report. too funny about the gu (way to go jess, haha) - good thing your stomach handled it ok! glad you guys had a great weekend and that you are using words like "next time" :) hopefully your knee will cooperate better for the next one.

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