Monday, May 19, 2008

Something I Never Thought I'd Do


I used to hate running. I would've rather had a mole excised than run. It just was not for me. Then about 5 years ago, I started doing little sprints during my walks. Those led to me joining my friend Christina for an occasional around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I remember being shocked the first time I ran the full 3 miles around without having to walk in between.

Christina and my other friend Alysha ran often and each had a few 1/2 marathons (Alysha has a few fulls) under their belts. When we were training together to climb Half Dome last summer, they talked me in to doing 2 laps around the Bowl. 6 miles. I never thought I'd do that and live to tell the tale.

After we climbed Half Dome—17 miles of hiking up and back—I realized that I, too, could probably run a 1/2 marathon. And so began the commitment to making it happen.

Saturday, I completed the Palos Verdes race.

We were at the race village around 6:30 a.m., stretching in a park that overlooked the ocean. The view was breathtaking—a 180° view of water. By the time we got our numbers, stood in line for the bathrooms, downed some water, and crowded behind the starting line with the other runners, the temperature was already starting to rise. I'm guessing we ran in 75-80° temps the whole time.

I felt like I was in a slow-moving cattle stampede when we began. The runners were thick until about mile 2, when we hit the first hill. It was a doosey. But thankfully there was a water station at the top of it. We stopped there—and at every water stop along the way as a preemptive measure to stave off heat stroke.

By mile 4, we were face-to-face with the fasties who had already looped back. We cheered for them as we passed, trying to keep our pace and conserve our energy. Only 9.1 miles to go...

I think I hit my stride around mile 5. There was a live band playing Foxy Lady on the side of the road, and I think it energized me. Or maybe it was the incredible mansions and perfectly manicured, beach-side golf course. There was plenty of beauty to distract me (and plenty of hills to climb). Before I knew it, we were at 6.5, our turn-around point. The race seemed like cake after that. We did walk some, and we continued to stop for water and Gatorade. But we did okay—about 10.5-minute miles. We came across the finish line at 10:02—2 hours and 32 minutes after we started.

I was grinning ear to ear when we crossed. What an awesome accomplishment. Despite the heat, staying up until midnight the night before, thinking I was going to die on our last long training run—and previously hating running(!)—I had finished.

And ya know what? I'm going to do another one in the fall.

23 comments:

Lara said...

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! YOU ARE MY HERO!!!! I just wish I could have done it with you or at least been there to cheer you on. I love you!

justrun said...

Congrats! That's great!

Diz said...

You seriously ROCK! I'm so proud of you!

laura said...

Good for you --- congratulations!!!

brookem said...

awesome!!!! you rock!

Mr. W. said...

Congrats to you, Christina & Alysha. And you guys saved a bird too.

jen tarara said...

WAY TO GO!! Very proud of you, Mel. You've come a long way, baby :) So psyched to hear you'll do it again too.

Nilsa S. said...

CONGRATS! As a former marathon (5) and half marathon (3) runner, I know those emotions all too well. What a great accomplishment!

semichrmd said...

Thats so awesome! Isn't it really the best feeling? To accomplish something that huge? Way to go!

geekhiker said...

Congratulations to the three of you. Well done! All the more impressive given my thoughts on running, which I posted on Aly's blog...

But here's my question: whenever I run, within the first two minutes, I become a sweaty, disheveled mess. In your photo, you all look well-rested, energetic, and there's nary a drop of sweat to be found. Don't you think you should sell the secret to that and make gobs of money? :)

Anita said...

Congrats Mel! I completely agree with geekhiker...how the heck can you look that amazing after 13 miles in 100 degree heat? Tell me your secret!

Mel Heth said...

Lara - You're the wind beneath my Adidas.

Justrun - Thanks!!!

Diz - Thanks, kitten. I'll be saying this to you too on graduation day.

Laura - Let me know if you ever want to do one in OC.

Brookem - Thanks, gal. Have you done one before? I believe I read somewhere that you're a triathelete?

Mr W. - Thanks. If only I'd come in first, I could've dedicated the race to you...

Jen - Thanks! I remember being in awe of you when you'd tell me you did an 8 mile run on a random Tuesday morning. Now I can go with you!

Nilsa - 5 marathons?!! Holy schnikes! Now THAT is an accomplishment!

Semichrmd - It WAS a great feeling. I'm sure the endorphins amplified the feelings of accomplishment, too. :)

Geekhiker - I am a sweaty, disheveled mess too. And my face usually stays red for about 1/2 hour after I'm done. The picture on the blog was taken about an hour after we finished (and stretched, and drank water and cooled off). If you look closely, you'll see salt deposits all over the sides of my face and back of my neck where my sweat dried. Okay, you can't really see them, but they were there. :)

Anita - Thanks! It was only 75 or 80° - not 100. And after growing up without air conditioning, I seem to do well in the heat. ;)

Michael C said...

Way to go!!! That is so awesome!! It's always something I have wanted to do, but because of my heart issues, I can only walk - fast, like an idiot ;-)

I do about 6 miles a day, but what you did is so much more amazing!!! Congrats and let it be a reminder that you can do anything you want!!

laura said...

Hmmmm. a half marathon in the OC...maybe...just maybe...i'll start training and let you know when i am up for it!!

Big Sister said...

I'm not sure we are related after all....The only place I have ever run to is the bathroom. I don't recall anyone in the whole family ever running anywhere either. I will live vicariously through you once again. We're all very proud of you...I'll be cheering you on for the next one from the couch.

mom said...

I agree with big sis, where did you come from. You must have gotten it from the Dr.O & Dr. O side. I can't even walk without falling, so would never attempt to run - unless it was for my life!

geekhiker said...

Yeah, yeah. I looked at the picture again and I don't believe a word of it. I'll bet you three are just part of that rare group who look good even while exercising. I should be so lucky! ;)

Mel Heth said...

Michael C - You do 6 miles A DAY?! I'm sorry, but that is WAY more impressive than my one-shot 13.

Laura - It's easier than you think, I promise.

Sister - Thanks. You could totally do it. Just tell me when you're ready for bootcamp.

Mom - I definitely seem to have gotten a coordination gene that you don't have...maybe it's a mutation.

Geekhiker - I PROMISE you I turn into a disgusting sweat monster when I work out. You would scream and run away from me if you saw me running towards you.

Alysha said...

YOU ARE ONE HOT STUD MUFFIN! :=) I love that you remember that they were playing Foxy Lady as we passed. It is so fun to read someone else's perspective of the same event. And did I mention that you are AMAZING?

geekhiker said...

And I PROMISE that I make it a practice NEVER to run away when a good looking woman is running towards me!*

*Okay, this has never actually happened, but if it did... I'm just 'sayin... LOL

Hannah said...

Good for you. I started jogging recently too. I used to think people who ran were on crack. But it is actually addicting.

Dingo said...

Woohoo! Way to go!

Sorry I didn't get back here sooner. But I was definitely thinking about your on Saturday!

Jake said...

Great job for your first race! Great job on the race, I ran the half and wrote up my own report with lots of photos and links to other race reports.

PV Half Marathon race report.