I put my keys by the medal so you could see the size of it… 6”!
I bet on the Mayans…… and I lost…… The world didn’t end, so that meant I had to be in Humble, Texas early in the morning on December 22 ready to run a half marathon….. 13.1 long, sandy, dirty, hilly miles lay before me. To say I was a nervous wreck would be an understatement. I knew the course was tough, because I’d done about a 1/2 of the loop at a practice run a couple of weeks before…. I was feeling good, the weather was a bit chilly, but I was pretty sure I’d warm up, and I did.
This was not the first time I’d covered this distance. I did do the Hot Mama Virtual Half in July, which had it’s own set of issues (undertrained, heat, heat, more heat…. did I mention heat? I mean July in Houston…. Not smart…..) But I completed that one, and survived (barely) to tell about it…. Thanks to my BRF Jessica.
This one had me a bit more nervous for many reasons.
- It was my first “official” half
- I had trained for it
- I had trained well for it
The fact that I had trained for it *should* have made me less nervous….. but it made me more nervous! I had approximately 6 weeks invested in the Hot Mama…. And I was perfectly ok with WHATEVER happened. For the Day After….. I had approximately 6 MONTHS invested, and I was NOT ok with WHATEVER. I wanted to finish. I wanted to finish strong. I originally wanted to take my time below 3 hours, but after the practice run I figured that was probably not realistic. Still, I wanted to finish faster than the Hot Mama…. So my goal became to finish in under 3:15… Still a hefty goal given the course….
In the end, it turns out the Mayans measured the course, so it ended up being longer than 13.1 miles…. It was a little over 13.5…. For that reason I will go with the time on my garmin to determine if I did, in fact, beat my Hot Mama time……
It says 3:12:01!!!! So I did beat the time over the same distance, and let me tell you this track was HARD. I have complete confidence that if it had been a road race I would have totally killed my time.
The start finish area before the race started… pretty, huh?
Let me give you some perspective…. The race director’s facebook page had this message written to him:
“Wow what a marathon!! 75th marathon I have ran and toughest course ever!! 100% trail run that had everything from ruts mud and sand. I told Steve Boone he was not getting any gifts for Christmas because he was Naughty Naughty Naughty for designing that course:). And the mayans can't measure a mile any better than they predict the end of the world. That thing was 28 miles and craziest thing is I am running the same course tomorrow in the Day after the End of World marathon. 5:01 today and I expect tomorrow will be slower.”
Ok, I’m not trying to boast or anything, but let me tell you….. about 8 miles in to this thing I began to question my entire world. I didn’t even know if I cared if I died out there. I was seriously contemplating laying down in the grass and never getting up. Time didn’t matter . Pace didn’t matter. I was so in my head it wasn’t funny. I was angry that I was there. I was mad that there were so many freaking alien trip wires everywhere (stringy grass that kept tripping me)… If I rolled my ankle one more freaking time I was just going to let it take me down entirely. Then came the wall around mile 10….. It hurt to run. It hurt to walk. It hurt to move. I felt like I was in a giant pile of quicksand… Oh wait…. I WAS in “dehydrated quicksand”…. a little funny trap out there on the course…. NOT>…. (Ok, today it’s funny…. but yesterday….. it just made me mad)…. Right towards the end there were 3 hills. STEEP hills…. I seriously didn’t know if I would make it over them. I knew they were coming because over the course of this race we had already been over them 3 times….
Jessica decided to go on ahead (at my urging.. I’d been urging for a couple of miles now, because I knew she could do better than what I was doing, and I was holding her back and THAT too was making me mad and frustrated, so I was SO glad when she took off…. Run Jess! RUN!!!) I was VERY glad she was there, because, in all honesty, I might have given up at the turn around if she wasn’t…. After she ran ahead, for a brief moment I thought about walking the rest now that she was gone…. I really was only running to appease her at this point…… And finally, I broke through. NO SEMALEE!! If you don’t finish this thing at least attempting to run you are going to be so disappointed in yourself…. Do NOT let yourself down…. No one else will know but YOU always will, and you only run your first official half ONCE…..
Ah… There it was…. So I ran a SLOW pace in my 3/1, walking the hills and water stations for the remainder of the race. At the end for the last stretch I don’t even know when my watch beeped to stop running because once I could see the finish line I just wanted to finish.
“Semalee Bilbrey from Katy Texas finishing the Half Marathon” went the announcer…. Everyone cheering…. I am proud to say I maintained my goal of 3/1 the entire race (with walking hills and water stations)
In the distance I saw Jessica coming back towards the finish. She’d gone to go to the bathroom thinking she’d have time and heard my name and turned around mad that she missed me crossing the finish line…. It didn’t really bother me that much. As soon as I saw her I burst into tears…. I totally didn’t not expect to be that emotional… Then she got scared that she shouldn’t have left me…. Did I fall apart out there??? LOL…. All I could say was “That was TOTALLY more than 13.1 miles!”…. sob sob sob…..
Even though I was glad to have finished I was still frustrated that I struggled so much out there after training like I have. But, once I plugged my Garmin into the computer and saw the crazy elevation changes I felt a lot better. Then, seeing the above post by the guy who has run 75 marathons saying it was the toughest course he’d done REALLY helped me to feel better, and actually, now I might even be game for another ….. some day…… LOL
At this point I could barely walk….. But I did… We got my medal, went over to the turn around area to pick up my jacket I had ditched the first time around, and then went to find the pizza. I laid out on the concrete and tried to stretch a little, but I was so sore I couldn’t do much….
After about 45 minutes of resting/stretching etc we were headed to change clothes and drive 2 hours down to Galveston to get our race packets for the 5K we were doing the next day! We were nervous about sitting for so long in the car, but we actually did ok. We made it a point to walk a little in Galveston while picking up our packets and by the next morning we were ready to go for our 5K (Mostly walking planned)
All in all, I have to say this was a great race. The atmosphere was great. So many friendly people, and the race director, Steve Boone, I understand is a legend in the marathon world… I found him to be incredibly humble and encouraging. I am very glad I did this race
And, because my phone got too tired to work I have NO after pictures… but here we are before the start…. It was cold….
Until the next one……