Hi friends! Today I completed the Nike Women’s Half Marathon!


Clearly such an attractive picture of me.
My official time was 2:09:24- a PR for me AND just under my goal time! (I wanted to run a sub-2:10).
Now let’s back up a little bit.
My alarm went off at 4:40. I hurried to shove food down my throat and get ready-pre run breakfast is a egg, banana, and cocoa powder “pancake” plus berries.
Here’s a before leaving the hotel shot:
Then, we headed out to the starting line. We found our pace group (my sister and her boyfriend were running the full marathon!), waited in a short porta potty line, and were ready to go! My sister and her bf stayed back while I weaved my way closer to the front-I knew I wanted to go out on the fast side.
Then-it was go time! The start was run really well-they did it in waves, so it wasn’t super crazy. My garmin was kind of going insane for the first mile or 2-I’m not sure if it was all the city buildings, or all the other people with garmins out there-but it did the same thing in the Giants race. Yes Garmin, I’m pretty sure I’m not running a 5:00 pace. I wish! I wore an old under armour long sleeve-my mom pointed out to me beforehand that it was super old and pretty threadbare-and I’m glad she did because otherwise I wouldn’t have considered tossing it-which I did at mile 2. And for the record, I got the long sleeve off UNDER my t-shirt, all while maintaining pace. Skill my friends.
My feet started hurting around mile 4-right on schedule. My dad met me at mile 5 with backup water (which wasn’t super important here), and I took my first goo. Then, just before mile 6-we climbed the first hill. It was long, but not super steep. It didn’t kill me. And I flew down the backside, making up the time I lost. Want to know the crazy thing? My feet stopped hurting. Which is insane. They didn’t bother me all race-and I’m not really sure why. Maybe something clicked in my stride and how I land? I’m not going to question it though!
I ran into trouble for the first time at the second big hill around mile 8. Suddenly, all the miles and the previous hill hit me, and I really struggled up it. Plus, it was so foggy that you couldn’t see that far ahead of you, so I had no idea what was coming!
Then, there was more sweet, sweet downhill. I decided to take my second goo, even though I didn’t have any water at that point. It gave me a much needed boost! About a quarter mile later, my dad was waiting with water for me-a lifesaver! I told him that if I could just hold on to the pace, I’d have a PR! And then. Mile 11. I hit the wall. Hard. Like, smashed into the wall. My legs felt like bricks and I was questioning how I’d ever make it to the finish line. I kept thinking about where I’d be on my home running trail with that much distance left. I couldn’t keep pace at all, and it was all I could do to keep from walking. And then out of nowhere, a miracle. The last mile was all downhill. Not even a slight downhill-that wasn’t even enough-but a significant downhill. I was able to finish strong and just eek in under my goal time! Right when I finished, I could tell my legs were not going to hurt as much as my first half. My legs were in so much pain last time-all I wanted to do was sit down and cry. I grabbed some chocolate milk, my necklace, and my t-shirt, and I was good to go! A little stiff of course, but nothing crazy.
I’m so much stronger and in so much better shape than my first half. I felt pretty recovered pretty quickly. We returned to the hotel to change into dry clothes and to eat-my mom packed bagels and chive and onion cream cheese-the best thing ever. IMG_4848
My sister brought a panini press to make her breakfast sandwich, so we used it to toast the bagels. I then topped it all with a hard boiled egg. Perfection. And ate the free chocolate. IMG_4846
Spandex and compression socks-the best way to recover post race. We then checked out of the hotel and left to watch the marathoners finish-and I snagged this guy free from the hotel lobby.
Before I go on-if you’re wondering, here’s the necklace!IMG_4849IMG_4852IMG_4853
It was so inspiring to see all the marathoners finish! We still had about 2 hours before we were expecting my sister, so I took some pictures. IMG_4872
(Half marathon course near the finish).
Finish line.
I then began walking up the marathon course to try to meet up with my sister before the finish. As I got farther from the finish, the area was pretty sparse of spectators, so I tried to encourage the runners as much as possible. This may have included me dancing to Gangham Style. Anything to make them at least smile!
Finally, I saw my sister and her boyfriend! I ended up finishing the race with them (I mean, I didn’t cross the finish line-but I went close!). I hope I was able to help them have that little extra push! I talked them through the last couple miles and blasted upbeat music. My legs were a kind of tired, but they were running 26 miles! I had done nothing in comparison to that! They finished strong, without walking the race! They lost a lot of time due to bathroom stops, but oh well!
Finishing strong!
The little extra run brought me to a PDR for the day-15.5 miles! Confession-the last couple miles with my sister felt pretty good, and I briefly considered running more when I got back to campus to bring up my total. And then I came to my senses!
Today was interesting-after dying at mile 11, I vowed to never run long distances in the future. After seeing the marathon runners and running with them, I kind of want to do it. But not now. Not for a while. I need A) an athletic boyfriend who will run with me and carry everything and B) figured out my foot issues. And it just doesn’t fit into my life right now-it would severely limit my other forms of exercise, and I love weight lifting, and I’m about to get my spin teacher certification. But maybe one day. And a totally flat course.
The free food lines were insane after my race, but there were significantly fewer marathoners, so we were able to snag lots of free food after my sister finished.
Vega protein shake-may better than I was expecting.
Cookies! There were 2 varieties of chocolate chips. You could get on or the other-or both! Is that even a question??
Random wraps with hummus.
I have eaten an insane amount of food today. I had 2+ bagels with cream cheese, plus pumpkin pie and some chocolate, plus all the free food. I realized I didn’t have any veggies until dinner-no picture of that today since I uploaded my pictures before dinner. But hey-I ran 15.5 miles today. I’m pretty sure I can eat anything and everything.
Here’s a picture from the start:
So, my overall feelings about the race? I’m happy with the outcome-definitely happy. I PRed by 3:30, and this was a much tougher course given all the hills. I’m also thrilled that my feet behaved themselves. However, I didn’t really feel like I was that focused. And my that-I don’t think I was focused enough on enjoying the feeling of running. I was busy trying to pass people at the beginning, and then I was trying to hold onto my pace for dear life. I also wasn’t as amazingly happy at the start like last time. I think since last week was really rough in terms of school, I didn’t get a chance to really think about this race and get excited for it. My legs also didn’t feel as amazingly strong at the beginning like last time. This could be because I probably didn’t sleep more than 6 hours a night all last week (thank you midterms), or because I’m most likely sick. Can I use that as an excuse for slamming into the wall at mile 11? (Those of say “hit the wall” don’t do it justice. It’s more of a body slam.) I’m either sick or have allergies, but I feel like I have that sick smell. And it would be a weird variety of allergies…I kinda thought I was getting sick this past week but didn’t want to admit it to myself. What’s going around is just a cold, so I hope it doesn’t hit me hard tomorrow!
Anyways, it was a good race. I’m kind of glad to be done with super long races for a while, but at the same time, nothing beats the feeling of a long run.
My next half is in April-Rock n Roll SF. It’s going to be hilly. I’m planning on running it as a warm up for summer racing, when I’m going to try to PR on a fast course (the Giant’s Race). That means, I’m going to take it easy on the pace and just enjoy the sights and sounds of the race. I might not even bring my Garmin. Because races need to be fun-they don’t all need to be a push!
So-would I run this race again? Probably. Although I’d probably do it for fun with friends in the future instead of run it hard to PR. Those hills, man. Saved by the downhill! What goes up must come down, right??
That’s all I have for you today! I’ll get some official race photos in a few days.
Confession: I’m signing up for a race next weekend. But it’s just a 5k. And it’s a costume run. And since I’m obsessed with Halloween, it’s perfect.
Did anyone else race this weekend?? How was it??

12 comments on “What Goes Up Must Come Down…THANK GOODNESS (Race Recap)

  1. Miranda @ Lovely Wife Lovely Life

    Oh man I feel you about the whole “mile-11-kill-me” feeling. I did the saaame thing! Still unsure about whether I want to run another half. Christian refuses to run again (haha). But YAY congrats!! You totally rocked that half!!! 🙂

    1. Aurora

      Thank you! Haha during this race, I kept thinking-NEVER AGAIN. But lo and behold, I already miss it!

  2. Shawn @ Fruity 'N' Nutty

    Congrats on the PR Aurora! Your shirt looks awesome and the necklace is so lovely. Hills are definitely the bane of my existence, the only time I do hills is during races. Not the best idea I ever had but still looking for the motivation to do hill training. Congrats again and can’t wait to see what costume you put together for the 5k!

    1. Aurora

      Thank you! Yeah, I’m definitely not a hill fan!

  3. Bree

    What an awesome race. The fog looks so nice in the pics but I know it sucked during the actual race. Congrats on that PR though that’s pretty darn awesome!! I think doing a Nike half would be really fun and hopefully I’ll do one someday!!

    1. Aurora

      Thank you! And you totally should-it’s a fun race with a great atmosphere!

  4. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate

    Congrats on the great race!

    1. Aurora

      Thank you!

  5. Kaitlin

    Congrats! I’ve completed that race twice and really enjoy it from start to finish. How funny about your garmin because it certainly was acting up when I ran last year. Possibly the fact that thousands of people are trying to get satellite and reception? The post race looks like a blast too. Even though people who run marathons encourage me not to try it (not sure why when they are doing them), I’ll probably hold off for awhile.

    1. Aurora

      Haha right? I mean, the look of shear pain on some of their faces at the finish! Yeah, the garmin thing was bizarre! It took forever to even locate the satellite!

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