I didn't have any expectations going into MDI. I would have aimed for a PR if I hadn't messed up my back last week. With almost 2 weeks between my last long run of 21 miles and MDI weekend, and only about 13 miles, I really wasn't sure how things would play out. I knew my back wouldn't be an issue and that was a giant relief.
Sunday morning, Ally and I got up bright and early and headed down to breakfast where we met up with Sara, Danielle, Andy and Meg. After a quick breakfast, we packed up the car and made our way to the Start.
It was already drizzling and pretty cold and I was having a hard time deciding whether I should remove my top layer or not. I always have a hard time deciding just how much to wear when it gets to those awkward temperatures in the 40s.
|Sara, Danielle, Me, Sarah and Ally|
I decided to toss my first layer and line up with Danielle and Sarah. After the National Anthem and the sound of the gun, we were off. We started off at a relatively easy pace and I was feeling strong. The course was all rolling hills but I didn't find any of them to be that bad. I've always felt pretty strong on hills...with the exception of that damn mountain at Mile 26 of Marine Corps.
At Mile 5, Danielle and Sarah stopped for the porter potties and I went on ahead. The rain was starting to pick up at this point but it wasn't really bothering me. This was my first race in the rain and I was worried how I would do with the weather, but I was fine.
Right around Mile 7.5 or so, my right knee started killing. It almost felt like I had just slammed my knee into something. I had had this pain for almost 2 weeks after Marine Corps but never since. I tried to stop and stretch it out, knead it with my fists, nothing was helping. The inclines were ok but the descents were absolutely killer. There was one particular downhill (see below) that, as I saw approaching, I literally yelled out, "Holy shit" much to the amusement of the runners around me.
|I seriously felt like I was going to fall and roll down the hill into the water, it was so steep.|
By Mile 9, I didn't think I was going to be able to keep going. I was in so.much.freaking.pain. I was desperately hoping Andy would ride by on his bike or Meg would drive by in our support car so I could bail but at the same time, I knew I wanted to finish this race...and I knew that I wanted to keep going beyond the 13.1 exchange. The last 3 miles of the Half were such a mental battle as to what continuing would do to me for New York. I was trying to be smart but at the same time, I knew I how badly I needed this run, since I hadn't run long the weekend before. At Mile 11, I stopped again to knead out my knee and felt like I actually shifted my knee cap. From that point on, I felt like I could handle the distance. I was still in pain, but I knew that I could keep going.
I got to the exchange in 2:07. Not my worst half, not my best. Considering what was happening with my knee, I was happy to finish. When I handed off to Ally, her first comment was "Your HAIR!". You can see where her priorities lie. Yes, my hair gets wet and curly in the rain. NOW GO RUN! I told her I was going to try and catch up with her in a bit.
I stopped to stretch my knee out some more saw Sarah and Danielle come through the exchange. Then, I decided to keep going. I told Meg and Sarah's mom to come pick me up at Mile 18. I caught up with Ally and Ruddley who were running together within the first mile and decided to stick to their pace for as long as I would be running since it was nice and easy and wasn't too hard on my knee...except for those freaking down hills. I was feeling pretty good and when we saw Meg at Mile 16, I told her to pick me up at 20.
At 20, I told her to pick me up at 22.
|The 2nd half of the course wasn't as bad as the 1st...at least the next 9 miles of it weren't.|
Also, I have no idea why I reset my Garmin after 13.1. Rude.
I wish I could say that at 22, I said I would see her at the Finish. I would have loved to have titled this post "Oops...I ran a marathon (again)" but I was hurting and Ally talked me out of it by saying that there was no way she was going to let me compromise New York to be selfish and go an extra 4 miles.
So, at Mile 22, I stepped out of the race. Ally (my relay partner) went on to finish strong. It was honestly tough to step out but I knew that I needed to. I would never forgive myself if I injured myself 3 weeks out of my goal race for being dumb. I took a prescription anti-inflammatory as soon as I got in the car and I'm happy to say that today (3 days later), I went out for a run and felt great...no knee pain at all.
The majority of the course was on a road that was a bit slanted and I felt like my form was off because I was running with a very slight incline on the right side, rather than on flat road. I think that may have had something to do with it, but who knows. What's important is that I finished, I added on and that now I don't have to run 22 miles this weekend and I AM OFFICIALLY TAPERING FOR THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON!
Half-marathon #9. Check! Here's to not suffering through taper tantrum and gearing up for N.Y.C.