Today was the day. The day I was going to run my very first half marathon. I was nervous (read about it here).
I was so nervous I even had a dream about it last night. I dreamt I was running the wrong direction, when I figured it out I realized I’d forgotten to start my RunKeeper, so I had no idea what mile I was even at in the race. And then I realized I’d forgotten to take my Peanut Butter GU. Basically the whole first part of the half was a disaster. Ugh, good thing it was a dream. Or, I guess nightmare.
Luckily, my sister, Karla, got to my house early to watch the kids. It’s like she knew I was stressed. So, Preston and I left, then turned the truck around and came back to grab a few apples. I had about 3 bites of my apple and decided it may not be a great idea. So, I chugged about 15 ounces of water, on the way to the race, and hoped for the best.
It was around 40 degrees with 10-15 mph winds. Perfect running weather for me! As we neared the race, it started sprinkling. Then, we had a few detours (roads were blocked because of the race, how in the world were we supposed to get to our parking lot!), but we finally arrived at 7:10 am. I was very antsy.
I knew I needed to use the bathroom (apparently so did 10 million other people), so as we walked to the port-a-potties, I ate my Peanut Butter GU. It’s not great, but much better than the fruity-flavored ones. The bathroom lines were long, but there were lots of half marathon bibs in line so I knew I’d be okay.
As the announcer said, “Five minutes to race time.” it was my turn, finally! I made it in, out ,and to the start line in record time!
I made my way through the swarms of people and stopped at the 2:15 group. Two hours and 15 minutes was the time I hoped to get when I started my training, so I thought I’d stick with it. If I needed to slow down, I would. But if I thought I could speed up, I’d do that too.
I just knew what ever happened I couldn’t give up!
Racers on your marks…
I’m so glad Preston told me to pick a pace group. I really liked actually running with a group. It helped me keep the pace and not worry about listening to my pace on RunKeeper. I felt pretty good mile one. My adrenaline was still going. I finished my first mile in a 10:23 min/mile pace.
They had water stations every two miles. I had my water bottle, but I thought I would get water at the stations if I started to get low. I decided to run past this station, but took a sip of water. Mile two went great, I stayed with the group and wasn’t strugging at all. I finished mile two in a 10:14 min/mile pace.
Mile three is sometimes rough for me. It’s when I start wearing down. This time I was able to keep up the pace with the group, but was happy when I saw the mile 4 marker ahead! I finished mile three in a 10:18 min/mile pace.
Mile four went great, I slowed down a bit at the beginning to grab a cup of water. I pinched the edges like they tell you to do, however, most of it splashed in my face and ran down my shirt. I guess I should have walked. I even aimed for the trash can, but apparently I’m not meant to be a basketball player either… I missed, but so did a million other people. Thanks to the people who clean up all of the trash! I finished mile four in a 10:14 min/mile pace.
I felt pretty awesome in mile five, usually miles 4-7 are my best time. So, I was really starting to get that runner’s high during mile five. But, I knew I needed to take my second Peanut Butter GU soon. I didn’t want to be too much behind the group, so I sped up early so I could try and walk and eat and then get some water. At about 5.85 mile, I started the GU. Weird thing was I didn’t see a water station… Well, shoot. I half walked, half ran while I ate the GU and hoped for no ill effects. This was my first time taking it while running. I swigged some of my water bottle and picked up the pace. I finished mile five in a 10:10 min/mile pace.
I really felt like I rocked mile six. I was in my running groove, I wasn’t really feeling too sore. I had a rhythm. Then we ran over the halfway markers and it beeped me in a 1 hour 8 minutes (I had no idea until I finished what it was, my sister and Preston had a tracker on their phone that told them when I hit halfway, that was pretty cool)! Finally, I saw the water stations. But, I knew I was kinda behind from the GU, so I ran through it. I finished mile six in a 10:03 min/mile pace.
I was so glad to see the mile seven marker, I knew I was over halfway there! Woo! I was getting kinda tired, but I didn’t want to walk yet. I could tell I was lagging behind on this mile because I’d go from being right behind the group pacers to 3 rows behind the pace keepers. I was just ready to see the mile eight marker. I finished mile seven in a 10:14 min/mile pace.
I decided I should get some water here. I think it was at the 8.5 mile. I really tried to get ahead of the pack so I could walk a bit while I drank. I was feeling pretty good, so I just took a couple sips and threw the cup away. Apparently mile eight I was feeling like a rockstar, I finished in a 9:59 min/mile pace.
I don’t really remember much of mile nine. It was fun watching the people around me running, but most of all watching the people standing outside of their houses and cheering us on. So cool! I never thought I’d like that so much! A lady was even holding a sign that said, “Hurry up! It’s freezing out here!” Ha. All I really remember about mile nine is hoping to see mile ten soon, because then all I’d have left to run would be a 5K. I finished mile nine in a 10:05 min/mile pace.
Right as I hit the mile ten marker I remember thinking, “Oh no, I have a WHOLE 5K to run!” I was pretty tired by that point. All I wanted to do was walk. Like the whole way to the finish line. I really tried to focus on how everyone around me was still running, but I ran out of gas. I started to walk, I only got about 20 steps and the 2:15 group was already getting ahead of me! I knew I had to get back ahead, but it was a lot harder this time. I finished mile ten in a 10:21 min/mile pace.
The only thing I can remember about mile eleven is being mad. Mad at this annoying chick who was talking really loud. So, so loud about chocolate milk (milk makes me want to throw up) and then she started in on mexican food. For real, lady, I’m gonna throat punch you if you don’t shut up. I think she was trying to be a motivator for someone, but I knew I needed to get past her. That was motivation enough for me. As I dug deep and picked up the pace, I heard another chick say, “no food talk when we have two miles left to run!” I would have high-fived that chick, but I just needed to get ahead. I finished mile eleven in a 10:07 min/mile pace.
Oh, mile twelve, I was so happy to see the mile twelve marker. I remember thinking, “only 1.1 miles left, I can do this! I have to do this!” And then a lady was trying to help her friends to keep running, she said, “we’ve all been through child birth, that’s so much harder! Keep running ladies. Remember that pain you went through when you had your babies and keep running. If you can do that, you can do this!” Now, that’s what I’m taking about! So, thanks for that speech, lady, you totes helped me! I finished mile twelve in a 10:15 min/mile pace.
When I saw the mile thirteen marker I was so tired. Like really, really tired. I wasn’t sure how I was going to even get that 0.1 miles I had left to run. I kept thinking the faster I ran, the faster I would get done, but I was so tired. So tired I had to start walking. I only let myself take a few steps and I knew I had to run again and keep running until the finish. There would be no slowing down until I passed over the finish line. I remember as I got up to the finish line I heard my name called over the loud speaker (they announce random runners and I guess they picked me?) and then I saw Preston and my sisters and then the kids. I saw my sister’s camera so I, of course, smiled and waved. Who wants an ugly picture while you’re running your first half marathon? I rocked my thirteenth mile in a 9:50 min/mile pace.
Half Marathon time: 2 hours 14 minutes 06 seconds
I was so happy to be done. Like, so, so, so, so happy to be done. I just wanted to sit down. But I also wanted hugs and kisses from my family.
Thanks, Karla and Kelly for watching the kids, making signs and being there to cheer me on! And, thanks, Preston for being my number one fan! You guys are awesome.
Here’s how I felt post race. Spoiler alert: good enough to have me itching to run the FULL in October. (:
I’ve also decided I’m going to be adding a half marathon (run 13.1) button on my side bar. Eventually, you’ll be able to read my training days leading up to my first half.