Gallowayed: How I Ran, No Walked, No Ran My First Half-Marathon
I did run the five, though, and I got back on schedule, though I never did feel as fit as I had on that glorious treadmill eight-mile day again. Because my feet were so tender, I stopped doing any form of speed training. I focused on landing correctly on my feet. I kept up my Galloway run/walk/run pattern, but other than that my training became completely my own. I still wonder what would've happened if I'd never injured myself, but that's sort of pointless, isn't it?
On Saturday, I lined up for Rock the Parkway in Kansas City. In my mind, the race was a gradual uphill until the turnaround point, then straight downhill from there. I don't know why I thought this, because I used to live about six blocks from the race road. I think it's called "magical thinking." My plan was to run miles 1-7 in the middle of my comfort zone (read: slow), then run miles 8-12 at the high end (read: about a ten-minute mile) and then hit the last stretch like winged lightning. That ... didn't happen.
Everything was really great until I got to mile eight. I was passing people from the very beginning, because I lined up in the slowest heat (2:40+). I was also feeling really good about my legs and my lungs. The lead-up to mile eight was a long hill, and as I went up the hill, the wind started blowing hard enough to knock my hat off. Psychologically and physically, my plan really fell apart there. Previous to running the race, I had run twelve miles twice: once indoors and once outdoors. When I ran the race indoors on a treadmill, I felt pretty good afterward and maintained a good pace. When I ran twelve miles outdoors, it was in gale-force winds and I came home, barfed and ended up on the couch the rest of the day with my calves in violent convulsions. I am probably unrealistically scared of wind now.
Mile nine was also the point at which I started to really have to pee. bounce bounce bounce don't think about it don't think about it don't think about Niagara Falls and bathtubs filling and water fountains and how full your bladder is
I tried for about another mile to achieve the top end of my comfort zone, but then there were a few more hills that I hadn't anticipated. AND I HAD TO PEE. And some more wind. But the worst part? The people around me started walking. Not taking walk breaks—just walking. Without realizing what was happening, I found myself taking a walk break after every song instead of after every two songs on my iPod. The walk breaks started to get longer. I started to focus on my legs hurting instead of on finishing. I took my last way-too-long walk break during the final mile of the race, which is really just ridiculous, but at that point I had pretty much run out of gas. I was able to muster myself across the finish line running, but that was because there were people watching me. Most of the race didn't have spectators. I crossed the finish line a few minutes ahead of the 2:30 pacekeeping runner while nearly wetting myself. I didn't even let them clip off my timing chip. I handed my water bottle to my husband and hobbled as fast as I could over to the port-a-potties.