Saturday, my running group, SOAR (Streets of Alameda Runners), trained along our 1/2 marathon course, to familiarize ourselves with it. The night before, Mary Grace and I marked the course with chalk: the turns and the miles. That morning, we parked a "pitstop" car at the halfway point with drinks, snacks and a first aid kit.
8 of us met at the starting line and met each other for the first time. We all had our SOAR running hats on, which looked great! Most of us took off walking, some as a warm-up and others as a workout. It was nice to see the mileage along the route! About 3.5 miles in, my right knee started hurting! Damn it! I'd been doing exercises and stretches for it for the past couple weeks, but learned that I need to be more diligent about it for the next 4 weeks before the actual race.
I made it to the pitstop, where I stretched a lot, ate, drank and took some ibuprofen. Mary Grace had taken some before she started running, and Annie said she always takes some before a long run! Wow! Why hadn't I ever thought of that? Ibuprofen is my new friend. It really helped decrease the pain in my knee for the second half of the run. I don't want to depend on it for pain relief; I'd rather stretch and strengthen my body than take drugs to kill the pain, but I will take it before long runs in the future, just in case.
I ran the 12.5 miles on my training schedule and walked the last 1/2 mile to the finish line, where Laurie was there to congratulate me. That was fun! We laid out a picnic blanket and had more snacks and water for the finishers.
I finished 1/2 mile short of race length in 4 minutes over my goal time. On race day, can I run 1/2 mile farther in 4 minutes less time? Well, Saturday, I walked the first 5 minutes as a warm-up, which I won't do on race day. There will also be the excitement and adrenalin rush of the actual race, which will make me run faster at the beginning. Plus, I have four weeks to improve both my distance and time. On the other hand, I won't have a nice pitstop in the middle of the race, when I turned off my stopwatch! Hmm, I think I can do it. That's good to know. I can achieve my goal for my first 1/2 marathon!
One of the best things is that I felt pretty good afterwards and still do. I immediately stretched a lot, ate well, and drank even more. The rest of the day I felt pretty good, although I did take a nap in the early evening. The next day, my legs felt a little stiff in the morning, but I stretched again and they felt fine. Today (2 days later), I feel fine. That's great because I've heard of recoveries taking a week after a long race, and I can't do that!
Thank you, Ibuprofen and Mary Grace, for getting me to do this 1/2 marathon training!