I can't even describe how nervous I was about this race. After the troubles I have had with my knees and running a distance I have never run before, I was freaking out. I went out and bought a little strap for my knee to support my knee a little better. I had done a 3 mile run on Wednesday and my left knee felt good, but the right still hurt a bit, so I ended up walking the last half mile.
I went to the Deckers Creek Half by myself, which didn't help my nerves. It's about 30 minutes from my home and they only had morning packet pick-up, so I got up a little before 6 am. I had an English muffin with egg and Canadian bacon with some hot tea. The weather was feeling nice while I ate breakfast. It had rained the night before so it was nice and cool, but no clouds were now in sight. I left around 6:45. We had to catch a bus from the packet pick-up to the start, the bus left at 7:45 for the 8:45 start time. After I found some parking, I walked to the park where the pick-up and buses were. There were long lines for the pick-up. There was no option to pick packets up the day before, which I definitely recommend they do for the next year. They went pretty fast, but still it held everyone up. I went back up to my car to drop my bag off, put on my shoes, got my gels, headphones, a granola bar, and my bib. I got on a bus very quickly, thank goodness, because of course there were lines at the starting point...for the porta potties. I know some people started late because of the lines, but it was chipped timed so as long as they weren't trying for first, I don't think it was a big deal. I was on time, barely.
I'm not sure you can really see this picture. But the trail has a significant elevation drop, which for a first half is nice. You can't really feel it, but it's not up hill! The first 11 miles are crushed limestone and dirt and the then the last bit is hard top. I'm lucky that the trail is not all paved since the dirt is much easier on my knees. I felt good the first 4 miles then both of my knees were hurting. I switched my strap from one knee to another a couple of times. It seemed to really help my left knee. After about mile 7 or 8, my knees just kinda stopped hurting, but I didn't walk because I was too afraid that if I stopped the pain would come back.
I ran a slow pace, but I wanted to take it easy so that I could make it. It worked out well. Other than the water stops (there were 7 total), I only walked for about 2 minutes total. A lot of my little stops were switching the strap.
The trail was extremely pretty. It followed Deckers Creek the whole way and for the most part was shaded by trees. The beginning was clustered, but it wasn't long before everyone spread out. I could see this being really frustrating for the faster runners who actually compete in these things. They do have to start times to try and alleviate this issue as much as possible though.
Around mile 10-11, there was a band playing a water sprayer. This was a nice distraction since there were no trees at this point and it was getting hot! It was in the high 80's when we finished, with lots of humidity of course. I was afraid that the black top would just destroy my legs, but I just kept telling myself to trudge on. I was one of the very few people running the last mile which made me pretty proud. There was a bit of a hill, but this was better for my legs than going downhill. The spectators at the end were cheering us through and my name was announced which is always fun!
My boyfriend didn't come along, so I didn't have anyone waiting for my at the finish line which was disappointing. I headed to the food tables, which unfortunately for me were down some stairs. Oi, it hurt to up and down those! But they had a nice spread of food with water and Gatorade. I drank and ate while listening to a different live band they had. It was nice.
I was going to stay for the awards and raffle, but I had to travel later to go to a bachelorette party. I texted my two friends who have done a few sprint triathlons with me and I may have started crying in the car when they texted back how proud of me they were. It had just set in that I completed a goal that I worked so hard for and was so nervous about! I ran 13.1 freakin' miles! A girl who couldn't run 30 seconds two years ago, just completed a half marathon! Hell yeah I'm proud of myself.
My official time is 2 hours 25 minutes and 40 seconds. My first goal was to get under 2:30. I definitely succeeded!
My next half will be in August. I'm hoping that my knees will be healed and I can get an even better time. I'm thrilled, absolutely thrilled with my first half time though!
After I finished!
Our swag. Cotton shirt, recyclable bag, and a key chain token.
I'm sore today and my right knee is a little swollen. That's okay though, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Lots of rest, ice and stretching in my future. I still can't believe I did it!!