Only a Half

“After the race, we can go to the lake, go on a hike, and perhaps check out the Fall Festival. Oh, and maybe stop at a winery or two” I said to my bff on Friday when I arrived at her house in Mariposa.
“After all, I am only running a half.” Famous last words.

I participated in the inaugural Yosemite Half Marathon. I hadn’t ran a half marathon since April and was excited to not only run this inaugural race that was primarily downhill, but also spend some time with my best friend who had just bought a house an hour away from the start line.

BFF's since 6th grade!
My alarm woke me up at 2:30 am and I was out the door by 3:15. Since there was no runner drop off at the starting line, I had to catch a shuttle by 5 am. I allowed some extra time on the chance that I got lost which in my case, is always possible. This time however, I did not get lost and I got to the shuttle pickup point by 4:15, and boarded at 4:30. It took an hour for the bus to get to the start line up a windy road and I tried to take a little nap but failed.

Disclosure  - The whole waking up in the middle of the night to catch the shuttle was the worst. This will be my only negative comment about the race. I understand why the race organizers did not allow drop-off’s at the start as there was only a single lane on the drive uphill. Traffic would get pretty congested, but still, it was too much middle of the night madness for this non-morning person.

I had an hour before the start where I helped myself to the offerings of hot chocolate, coffee, and porta-potties. Then, just like that - it was time to toe the start line. I was really excited to run! I love running downhill and thought I would be in heaven running downhill for ten miles straight.

The first three miles were fast! Actually, I was running at my 5k speed. I kept telling myself to slow down, but of course I didn’t listen. I was enjoying the pull of gravity. It felt amazing to feel the ease of the speed and I kept going. By mile four I started to feel a bit of pain in my quads, reduced my speed (slightly) and took in the beauty of the trees surrounding the course. For those ten miles that is what I saw--runners, trees, and steep downhill pavement. At mile six, I really started to feel the pain. I stopped at the aid station to stretch and chatted with other runners doing the same. At one point, I saw someone stop in the middle of the course, turn around, and get herself into a downward dog position. I did not think this was strange, other than it occurring in the middle of the road. It was smart. Those ten miles of steep downhill were no joke.

The last three miles took me around Bass Lake. A beautiful lake (low water levels of course) surrounded by a cute lake community (with a few houses for sale, I might add). While the hills were gentle rollers, it felt intense coming off all that downhill and my legs were toast. It was at this point that I wogged (walked and jogged) to the finish. With only a half mile left, I was walking. A gal coming up from behind me told me to run with her. And, of course I did. Thank you Ellen for the push and the small conversation we had as we headed towards the finish. I really appreciated the motivation. After I crossed the finish line and hobbled around, I noticed EVERYONE was in the same condition. I started laughing, I couldn’t help it. Another runner caught my eye and without having to say a word, we both started laughing. We chatted about how we both felt like we ran a marathon and that this was suppose to be “only a half.”

Needless to say, I was pretty sore and happy that I was not alone. Seriously, I could barely walk. I don’t think I have ever experienced pain in my legs to that degree. No, really! My friend and I did not accomplish everything on our activity list. We did take a dip in the lake, and went to one winery. We ended up taking a short nap and a soak in the jacuzzi. She, also being the amazing friend that she is, made me homemade ramen. And it was delicious!

Bass Lake
This Breaks my heart!
Homemade amazingness!
Overall, I liked this race a lot! I really liked the shirt. The medal is huge and fun. No complaints on the pre and post run food and the organization and communication was on par. The course was beautiful and challenging. More challenging than I anticipated. Would I run it again? Perhaps. I just hope that if I do, that I am more conditioned for the hills and that maybe, just maybe I could get an extra hour or two of sleep.Otherwise, well played #yosmitehalf, well played.

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