Guys! I did it! I completed my first half marathon! My official time was 2:12. My Garmin told me that the race was .13 too long, so according to when my Garmin said 13.1, I was at 2:11. It may not seem like much extra distance but it certainly felt like it!
Thank you all for your well wishes and support! I’m going to do a full recap-since I don’t have a ton of photos from the actual race, I’ll mix in the photos from the weekend’s events.
Since I consider myself so lucky to have been able to run this race, and since I really do think it is marvelous, I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM!
Yesterday my mom and I went to the expo for packet pick-up. It was pretty uneventful; there was a huge line to enter but it moved pretty quickly, and meant that once we were inside, it was way less crowded.
I must admit though, I was tempted to sign up for every single race they were advertising for!
Pre-race dinner (plus tons more carbs).
I had a mini-crisis the yesterday. I normally take a probiotic supplement, but I ran out Friday, and couldn’t seem to find them anywhere. The places we went only had the pills (and not gummies) and I didn’t want to try anything for the first time on race day! Luckily, I stopped by GNC to get some chews and all was fine.
Luckily, I fell asleep plenty early for my 4:45am wakeup call. I was so grateful for my normal 5:10 wake ups for spin 2x a week. I woke up completely and totally pumped. I hopped out of bed, and my cat got up with me.
Hey, lucky cat? Right?
We left a little later than I had hoped for-and had to make a 2 minute detour because apparently we received wrist bands that we needed to wear for the race. Whoops!
WHen we arrived, we immediately got in the porta potty line. It wasn’t too bad-there were a couple farther away in the parking lot that fewer people seemed to know about. Still, we weren’t loaded with time.
And yes, I did put some make-up on at 5 in the morning. Why? I guess it’s a leftover belief from softball-you need to look sharp to play well. And hey, it took like a minute.
I dumped my jacket with my parents near the start, and then started
shoving my way through braving the crowds towards the front.
I had my iPod and Garmin ready to go, and slowly made my way towards the start. I was really hoping to find the 2:15 pace group, but I just couldn’t get that far up. Oh well! And around the 10 minute mark, I crossed the starting line and was off!
Race day adrenaline is a real thing my friends. My ultimate goal for this race was a 2:15, but when I injured my calf 2 weeks ago I had just hoped to limp across the finish line in one piece. I am so incredibly grateful for my fast recovery. Just 6 days ago I couldn’t run at all!
I took off at a fast pace…and it felt easy. My general goal is 10 minute miles, but I did most of my training runs at a 10:30 pace. Well, I had to actively slow myself down! I was easily breaking a 9:00 pace, and I knew that I would die later on. I was running around a 9:30 pace (according to my Garmin) for at least the first 3 miles. That was still faster than my training runs, but I was feeling great. For the first half of the race I was thinking how it kind of is my style to fly and die. It certainly was for rowing for our 6k tests! And hey, YOLO.
The first part of the race was amazing. I didn’t run all week for fear of hurting my calf. I was just so happy. I had some awesome pump up music, there was tons of crowd support, and I was just running. I think there were actually tears streaming down my face. 2 weeks ago I didn’t think I’d even be able to race, and here I was kicking butt on my goal pace!
One of the best moments of the race was when the incredibly fast 10k racers (they started at the same time) were running back through all of us. Everyone cheered for them like crazy. I was just so happy.
Right after we passed the 10k turn-around, we hit some hills. Now, this race was really pretty much flat. But when you’re expecting it to be completely flat and a hill appears, some swearing may ensue. The hills weren’t too painful (they were short) but I was annoyed because they slowed my pace a ton. Boooo.
I got new inserts for my shoes which help my toe pain/numbness a lot-but not completely. It didn’t come in until much later, like mile 5 or 6. That might be partly why I had a better pace.
The first part of the race took us down the Embarcadero towards the Golden Gate. The turnaround point was pretty close to the bridge. I took my goo around Mile 5. I had planned on taking it around Mile 6, but once we left the 10k course, water stations were VERY sparse. This is my one big complaint about this race-after the 10k course there was hardly any water! I had been expected more stations so I didn’t carry water.
For the first half of the race, I was feeling really good and flying at a sub-10 pace easily. I did have trouble keeping pace a little when my toe starting hurting a ton though, and I stopped to stretch my calf a few times because it was starting to feel a little tight/sore, which was around Mile 5. I was annoyed when the turnaround point was farther than 6.5 miles on my Garmin. I was more annoyed when I turned around and was routed to a gravel path. New realization: I HATE RUNNING ON TRAILS. Cement felt sooo much easier to me, and it was better on my painful toe because I had a firmer grip on pavement than on the trail. So I spent that whole stretch cursing trails.
Right after the trail ended (around Mile 7?) I was thirsty and saw a sign for water up ahead. But there was no water, only volunteers high fiving runners. Now I love the crowd support but I wanted my $%*$% water! I had been planning on taking another goo around mile 8 since I didn’t have the entire first one, but there was no water until it was probably too late anyways!
And then there was a hill. And I audibly swore. But it actually wasn’t too bad, and was followed by a downhill. Sidenote-for all you sailing fans, we ran past all the America’s cup stuff! There was nothing going on but it was still cool!
So where were we? Around Mile 8. I’m still feeling good, happy that I’m more than halfway done and keeping pace. I’m also thirsty. I start worrying about getting stomach cramps from dehydration (I didn’t-I think I hydrated really well before the race). But then I thought about this book I’m reading:
It has a whole bunch of interesting things related to exercise-many of them surprising and unconventional. One of the chapters was talking about how many runners actually overhydrate-and the ones who win marathons are the ones that are most dehydrated. Not that I’m recommending doing this, but it made me feel better about not having water!
I finally got water around Mile 9, but I figured it was kind of late for goo. (Looking back, maybe this was a mistake…) This was pretty uneventful. I have to say though, having catchy, upbeat music really does help. I found myself mouthing the words when I was really hurting. Sometimes dancing along a little can really help (guilty…).
That being said, I wasn’t REALLY hurting until the last 2, 3ish miles. I remember thinking I only had 5k left and feeling okay, but around 2.5 I really starting hurting. My toes hurt, my calf had previously gotten a bit sore but now was kind of numb, but mostly my IT bands were super tight (which may have overshadowed calf pain). I really struggled to keep up pace-up until this point I had visions of sub-2:10. Even though I was running a 9:30-50 pace most of the race, the couple of quick stretch stops, walking while taking goo, and walking a few steps every few miles to shake some feeling into my toe, really added up. Sad.
Anyway, this is the point where I was counting down .1 mile increments. This stretch right here is what makes me want to train harder for my next half-I enjoyed the race SO much, and had a ton of fun-except for these miles. They felt AWFUL. I kept thinking-“Aurora-this right here is where your true character comes out.” Hah, ohh self-motivating talks. I was at that point!
So let’s not dwell on the dark part of the race. I was sooo happy to see the ballpark (where we finished) and ‘sprinted’ (hey-it’s all relative!) into the park to the finish line!
Some people talk about the amazing feeling they have when they cross the finish line. I really didn’t. I guess that point for me was the beginning of the race. I was hurting so badly when I finished! And I was really angry because I was tired and couldn’t find my family, and all I wanted to do was sit down but I knew if I did that I wouldn’t be getting back up.
Hah, no pain on that face at all!
I decided to grab my food-at that point all I wanted to do was cry because my legs were aching like crazy and I couldn’t find anyone. Looking back, my blood sugar was probably pretty low and I probably could have used another goo…Oh well.
They gave out bagel thins (I grabbed an oatmeal raisin), yogurt, bananas, and potato chips. Honestly, I wasn’t hungry at all but forced down some carbs.
I finally met up with my family and put on my compression socks (THAN GOODNESS) and a change of shoes. We ‘walked’ around a little. I use this term loosely. I couldn’t really tell if my calf was sore because I was walking completely stiff legged. Heh…
The worst part? Walking DOWN the steps after the stadium. Let’s just say it was clear who was and was not a runner….
I had been planning on getting awesome froyo after the race, but I didn’t have much of an appetite and all I wanted to do was sleep….so we just went home. Froyo later happened though 🙂
And after an amazing nap, dinner.
Cinnamon raisin toast with butter and cinnamon sugar-perfection. I promise these weren’t all for me….
So, that’s that! My first half marathon! My calf is getting sore now, but it’s not terrible. My hips are kind of killing me though. But I couldn’t care less. This was such an amazing experience. Bring it on Nike Women’s Half!