Wounded Warrior Half Marathon Race Report

Wounded Warrior Half Marathon Race Report

By Shelly Pfuhl

Shelly after finishing her first half marathon!

The days and weeks and months leading up to this was all worth it. I think if I had run a Half Marathon prior to this one, I wouldn’t have been prepared. I think I would have limped along and possibly come across the finish line injured.

I trained for June 10, 2012. I trained well. I ate right. I drank water. I cross trained. I put in the time and miles. I merged together 3 Half Marathon plans to fit my run schedule.

Every long run day I would call Jerome, panicked. I wasn’t sure if I could cover the distance. I would go through the what ifs in my head. The furthest I had run at one point was 6-ish miles and my next run was 8. I was panicked. I didn’t think I could do it. Jerome said: Shelly, it’s just 22 more minutes. That’s all. You can do anything for 22 minutes, right?

Big Exhale. Right.

My next distance was 10 miles. I ran the White Rock N Roll 10-mile race. I of course called Jerome. Freaked out. He again talked me through it. I met an RRC member for a ride down there. I ran a good race. It was hot. It was humid. It was over the crazy bridges of White Rock. But I did it!! I made good time too!! My goal was 2:00 and I crossed the finish just at the clock struck the 2 hour mark!

I ran an extra long run, just to prove to myself I was ready for the distance. I could do it. 12.41 miles. I did it! Now I was ready! I could have stopped at the 10 miles and tapered but I felt I needed to get one more run in.

Then it was taper week….. WOW!! I’ve never been in so much (imagined) pain in all my life!! Becki was so kind as to welcome me to the taper madness club!! YAY!! I’m a full fledged member now! Hmmm….. not sure if I’m happy about that! LOL

Saturday before the race I went to a 5K race for the RRC. A new C25K Class was graduating. I went out to cheer them on! πŸ™‚ Tempted to run, but just helped direct traffic to protect the runners. I came home and did nothing. I seriously sat in the recliner and worked on a quilt.

I drank water, I ate lunch, I drank water, I made dinner, I drank water, I gathered my race day things, I drank water, I watched a movie, I drank water oh! And I drank water!

I checked that I had all my things again. Hat, headphones, sunglasses, fuel, fuel belt, arm band, socks, shoes, race day clothes, D-tag, bib and pins…. I was so worried I’d leave my bib at home that I pinnned it to my shirt before bed! I checked the weather again. No rain. A little wind. And hot. 75 degrees at race time plus 65% humidity.

Set two alarms, took some melatonin, like I always do before a race, and went to bed. And I actually slept! This is the first time I’ve slept the night before a race.

The alarm went off, I jumped up and got dressed. Text to Melody I was making coffee and gathering my things. She arrived, I used the facilities one more time and we were off!! WOOT!!

No traffic. We drove right to the race and found parking. We walked over to the Marriott to meet up with my MRTT and SparkPeeps!!

We found Jessica and Ashley and Christy! We took pictures. Christy finished her breakfast, we took more pictures and we were ready to walk down to the start!! WOOT!! This was for real!! Oh Em Gee!! I was about to be at the start line of my first Half Marathon!

I was a little nervous but ready. A group of navy cadets sang the National Anthem and we were lining up!

We found our pace group and waited for the horn to sound! The count down started and we were off!! Yes I was really running in my first Half! KA RA ZEE!!

The horn sounded and we were off!! WOOT! The first 1/3 of a mile was on the street, over the rail road tracks and then down hill to the trail. As I headed to the trail I heard Jessica and Ashley! Waved at them, wished them a great race!! Awesome running mommas, without whom I wouldn’t be in this race today!

Listened to a couple of funny conversations about the water stops. Christy and I had a chuckle about it, as well as the other runners around us.

Made it down to the path and to the first mile/water stop. I drank two cups of water and was on my way! The next water stop was at mile two with some shirtless buff college guys who had funny signs, attitudes, lemonade and water. I drank two cups of water.

We still hadn’t thinned out much when we begin to hear β€œon your left”! I thought it was halfers who were late to the start. Christy made a comment about this not being good on ones psyche to have these runners speeding past us! After a few of them went by we realized it was the 10Kers. They were flying!

When I got to the 5K mark I saw a familiar face… well I felt a familiar breeze going past me!! It was Tiffany from my local running club. She and I touched the 5K mark at the same time! Although she was the front runner-girl for the 10K and I still had 10 miles to go! πŸ™‚ I yelled out to her Way To Go Tiffany!! Get it Runner-Girl!! πŸ™‚ I’m never sure if she hears me; but I cheer her on anyway! She is phenomenal!!

A runner-girl in black to my right kept falling out…. she’d be on the path, then get off the path to heave. That concerned me a bit because I didn’t bring my water; and I was already wet/sweaty from the humidity. I was determined to not carry it for this race. I was feeling light headed; almost faint and then I remembered DUH! Fuel you crazy girl! I had my crackers but nothing else. I needed calories! Had a Honey Stinger with Ginseng and felt a lot better. And stopped panicking about water! πŸ™‚

We got to mile 4 and I was still feeling great. I had energy. I wasn’t hurting. All my phantom pains had disappeared like magic the moment I stepped up to the start line! YAY!

Christy and I stayed consistently between the 2:30 and 2:40 pace groups. One of the 2:40 pacers asked me about my shirt. The night before I put on my Moms Run This Town decals. We were chatting about that. Come to find out she lives one town over from me. She’s joined my local MRTT chapter! πŸ™‚

We got to about mile 5 where there was another water stop and Christy was experiencing some knee pain. So we decided to take it a little slower and walk a little more through the water stops. Which was fine by me because I could use the break just to regain my energy, take a fuel break, soak up the experience!

About this time we see some emergency vehicle lights in the distance coming our way and were worried it was an injured or ill runner. However as the motorcycle officer got closer to us, we heard a cheer through the crowd and then thought it was the front runners! I thought wow, now that’s some quick running!! It was a parapalegic competitor on his arm-cycle! He was amazing!! We cheered for him as he rode by.

Not too long after that though the front runners started their way toward us! We cheered for them as they came by! And then here she came, the front runner-girl!! Christy and I and many others cheered for her yelled out Way to go Runner Girl!! Make us proud!

A few of the front runners cheered us on, gave us High Five! It was awesome!! So Inspired! πŸ™‚

We went into another shaded area and to another water stop. We were keeping good pace, ahead of schedule 3-5 minutes and were running with the 2:40 pacers.

We wound around through the turn around and WOW!! We’d made it!! Half way!! I felt great! Nothing was hurting. I had enough water and fuel. I hadn’t keeled over. And was ready to take on the rest of the course.

Ashley found us about this point and ran with us for a bit. It was a nice surprise to see her, although she wasn’t having her best race, I was glad to see her.

We made another turn and one of our pacers was on the side of the path in the grass. At first it looked to me like she’d been bitten by a bug or stung by a bee; however as we came up on her she was having what seemed to be an asthma attack. She couldn’t get her breath. We stopped to help her. Lots of other runners stopped as well. Offered her water, electrolyte pills, cold paper towels for her neck.

I offered to take the 2:40 pace sign and keep up with the group, Amanda said that was OK, and that she would stay with Shannon. We caught up with the group and got some really funny comments.

One guy talked our ear off about how we helped him come back from an injury. Regardless to me telling him the actually pacers had to make a pit stop. He continued his story. It was comical about him still saying how much we’d helped him.

Another guy said he was trying to catch up to us and when he saw the 2:40 sign he realized he was trying to catch up to the 2:30 pacers!

Around the 8 mile mark, we’d been though another water stop. I was still feeling fine! I hadn’t fell out. I wasn’t over heated. My body was holding up. I still had 5.1 to go! But I was over half way! WOOT! Christy was still holding up! She was very encouraging and I was so happy to run with her! An Army guy passed us and shouted out to her: Keep It Up # 94!

Amanda caught up to us and said a friend was helping Shannon and that she was able to walk and would finish the race! I was so glad to hear that!

I was still feeing great! There were a few water sprinklers on the path and that was awesome, just what we needed. Refreshing!

Christ and I kept comparing my App with her Garmin. We were off on milage but not on time. We were on track to finish a little early… maybe by a minute or two.

Mile 11 water stop was the same as Mile 2. Christy has a bit of bantering with them about β€œshowing off their guns!”

I was little sore at this point, not hurting, but sore. My hand were swollen, fingers were like sausages and I could tell just about everything else was swollen too. My left shoe had gotten wet in the last sprinkler and my toes were feeling sore, blistered, and I dunno… off, not right.

We went though the last water stop and then it was up the hill to the street! EEEEKKK!!! This was it!! I was about to be a half marathoner!! I was nearly in tears, but if I cried, I wouldn’t be able to run!

The hill was steep-ish and long. I knew Christy needed to walk before the push to finish and I could use the break. So we walked up the hill and kicked it into high gear on the street.

I was less than Β½ a mile from the finish. I was sore and not so much tired, but feeling ready for this moment!!

We made the turn to the finish line and I saw my friends!! Jessica and some of the MRTT ladies. I saw Melody. She was taking pictures! I heard Christy tell me β€œwe’re allllMOST there!” And we were!

I ran across the finish and got my medal!! WOW!! It’s so awesome! I love what is says on it; We Started Together, We Finish Together. And that is how Christy and I were, the whole way together!!

I heard Ryan call my name. And I saw Corbin. I found Christy and Jessica. We all had a sweaty hug. I called my sister back – my phone rang just as I crossed the finish. My awesome sister brought me Starbucks for the finish! πŸ™‚

We hung out for a bit. Talked to the military personnel. Ate some pancakes and fruit. Drank more water and then headed home.

Shockingly I needed to find the facilities, so on the way home we made a pit stop. Then stopped at In and Out for grub, I was starving!

Got home and could barely get out of the car. I was V E R Y worried. I was limping and couldn’t put much pressure on my right leg.

Made it in the house and ate lunch at the kitchen bar. Bad idea… the bar stools are higher than normal, then I had to get down; hubby had to help me. My ankle still really hurt.

I took a shower and a nap. Totally needed both!

Jessica invited me over to eat dinner that evening. Yummy BBQ!! My hubby and kiddo went to the in-laws.

So here are the stats:

1. 11.15 2. 11.24 3. 11.00 4. 11.15 5. 11.57 6. 11.54 7. 11.42 8. 10.53 9. 11.20 10. 11.48 11. 12.25 12. 12.16 13. 11.53

App Time: 2:35.32 Chip Time: 2:40:15.4

When I signed up I set my time as 2:45! I did it!! I came in earlier than my goal time and uninjured! I was sore, but after the shower and nap and more water, I was feeling fine. No more limping.

It was a great experience. I’m so glad I signed up for it and did it!! I know that it was a long time coming. Not sure I’ll do another one this year since I have Capital To Coast in October. But I’ll make plans for another one in the spring in cooler weather.

Thank you to all of you! You have each been a BIG BIG part of this journey and I couldn’t have crossed the finish line without you! (particularly Christy, Jessica, Ashley, RRC Peeps, & Spark Peeps!!)

By Shelly Pfhul


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