Tuesday, October 22, 2013

First Half Marathon!

Whew, I'm going to write this now...if I wait for a free night, I might be waiting a couple of weeks!

To address a few questions about my half marathon, here are a few facts 1. No, it was not a last minute decision. 2.  No, I did not train for it.

You're probably thinking "Well, that's a dumb move" and you'd be mostly right! :)  This was a race that was only happening once.  It took place on a highway that has been built, but not opened yet.  Only one chance at something?!?  I had to do it!  The race options were a 5K or a half marathon.  And the drive is over an hour - I'm not driving all that way for a 5K!  So a half marathon it was!  I knew I had a busy couple of months before hand.  With 3 tris, 2 long bike rides and a 3K open water swim, there wasn't really time (nor interest!!!) to train.  I had one Saturday open for a "long run" and did my run/walk for 6.8 miles before I went home and got ready for an afternoon of heavy drinking (aka bourbon bar crawl...the most delicious recovery!).  The half marathon was one week after my Wet & Wild Triathlon, so I didn't really have time to over analyze it either!

For the race day, I decided to wear this jersey I got on clearance from the bike shop I go to, mesh bike shorts with adidas short over.  I went with the biking jersey because it had built in pockets in the back, which proved to be invaluable.  I wore a hat I got at one of my tris and my race belt as well.  It was my first time wearing that jersey, so I didn't want it to put holes in it w/safety pins.  I used tri slide all around my sports bra and arm holes of the jersey.  I used my hoo ha ride glide down below.  The one thing I forgot was sunscreen! 

They had sent emails that week to get there early because parking was limited.  It was a 9am start and I arrived around 7:15am.  I got my packet (which contained my timing chip, tshirt, and visitors information for the city it was in - lol!) and went to the restroom, where there was no waiting!  I went back out to my car, rearranged some stuff, and decided to hit up the bathroom again a little while later.  The day before, I had a pork chop and salad all ready to go for my lunch, then i dropped it on the break room floor. :/  so then I went to Taco Bell.  Yes, taco bell the day before my half marathon.  Another bad decision!  luckily, I was able to remedy the situation during that trip to the bathroom and was fine the entire race.  Pretty soon, it was time to go to the starting line!

The race course was shaped like a t with only one arm.  We started on a side street and ran up the ramp to the highway.  At this point, the 5Kers went north and the halfers went south.  The halfers went south to mile 5.5, turned around and went north past the ramp to the highway and up to the 5K turnaround, then the halfers turned south, again, to the exit ramp and back down that side street to the finish line.

I started in the back of the pack and was dodging a lot of people on the side street and the ramp to the highway.  Once the 5K split from the half, there was a lot more room!  I ran my first mile in 13:39.  I was worried about the 4 hour time limit, so I ran for the first 20 minutes before starting my run 4 mins, walk 1 min routine.  The lead runners came back our way when I was at the 3 mile mark!  So speedy! This part before the first turn around was so, so good.  I felt great!  My 5K time was in a good range and at the hour mark, I was at mile 4.5, which was great for me!  The scenery, albeit a bit boring, was very pretty with the sun coming up and a little fog over the many, many corn/soy bean fields.  I took a hammer apple cinnamon gel, which was delicious, at the 45 minute mark.  I was sipping camelbak elixir in lemon lime from my full size water bottle too.  During this time, I had written the names of people or things on my arm that I wanted to pray for.  I dedicated each mile to someone different, so that helped pass the time and made me feel like I was helping out my family/friends. 

I made it to the 5.5 mile turnaround in 1:16 (the winner of the half finished in 1:15!).  There was a timing mat there plus some music, which was a nice break.  I took a margarita shot block at this time, and could barely wait for the next mile to get to the water station.  Too much lime flavor going on in my mouth!  After that, I had water the rest of the time because I was SO over the lemon lime flavors :)  I looked over because i heard someone run up behind me, and wouldn't you know it.  The longest mullet I have EVER seen!  Oh man, that made my day.  The kid was about 12 and he was struggling, but still going faster than me.  I told him he was doing a great job and he quickly high tailed it out of there.

I was feeling alright, but needed to eat some more so I had 3/4 of a honey stinger waffle around mile 6.5 and drank the rest of my camelbak elixir.  I told myself to keep up the 4 min run, 1 min walk ratio at least till mile 7 because that had been my farthest run thus far, so I knew it was possible.  When mile 7 came up, I switched to run 3 walk 1.  Between mile 7 and mile 9, things really went downhill fast...and unfortunately, not literally downhill.  I downgraded to run 2 walk 1 and by mile 9.5, I just couldn't run anymore.  I took a couple more shot blocks and had them refill my water bottle at every water stop.  At one point, I touched my face and it felt like sandpaper with all the salt on it - not sure that was supposed to happen, but I didn't like it!  I had popped in my ipod - borrowed from my brother in law, Coach, around mile 8.  It was a needed distraction.  I didn't care what was on the ipod!  It ended up being rap and hip hop. Then, just before mile 11, I had been running a downhill where my toes in my right foot had been cramping up and trying to curl with every step, such a weird sensation!  I was tired and just wanted to be done, when a song came on.  Not any song, but a really moving song from my mom's funeral 3 years ago.  I had forgotten this song even existed, but it is a really beautiful song and I like it, so I kept it on.  And then the tear started!  I put my head down through a water stop as I was just sobbing and walking.  Love and miss that woman SO much!!!  The song was over and a hip hop song started in with the swearing and sexual references again, but I was still crying :/  

At the next turn around, there was 1.5 miles left and I wish I could have run more, but it was not in the cards for my ill prepared legs!  I probably ran 2 times for 3-4 minutes each in the last 5k, plus the last 200 yards of the race.  I made it to the finish line with my finishing pose ready to go, but there was no camera :/  My time ended up being 3:22.  There was also no medals because they ran out (we knew this beforehand), but they said they would mail us our medals.  I hopped right over to the refreshments line and grabbed a granola bar, pretzels, a water, and four apples (they were in bags from the orchard - they looked and are delicious!).  I skipped the chocolate chip cookies because they looked super oily and the paper they were on had grease stains.  Must have been bad because I don't turn down cookies!

I found a patch of grass and stretched, drank my water, and sent some texts alerting family and friends that I was done.  I had asked (begged a few) that no one come watch me because spectating was limited to overpasses.  I had not planned on taking my phone because 1. I didn't want to carry it and 2. I knew my family would be calling me asking me where i was, how to get to the overpass, etc I didn't need that!  Really I would have liked someone to drive me home!  I got in my car and headed straight to an amazingly delicious mexican restaurant.  Their taco salad is my favorite, so I headed to the bar and chowed down.  That may have been the best salad of my life! There was a place across the street that touted an indoor swimming pool with a swim up bar.  I was intrigued, but I also think that is superbly creepy!!!

I am very happy I finished and am proud of myself for doing a half marathon.  It is a long distance that not a ton of people can say they completed.  However, I didn't/don't think it is that big of deal.  My first tri was so special because I had been training for it for many months.  All that time and effort had an amazing result!  Tri Coach Jeff said that he was impressed that I did it because I hadn't trained for it.  Made me go "Awww...he always often sometimes once in a while says the right thing!"  The half marathon was more of a thing I did just to do it.  It was an experience I'm glad I had.  People were asking me if I was planning on doing another one.  I'm not going to say no, but I do know I don't really like running that much to begin with!

Have you ever done an athletic event just because you knew you could finish?


  1. A chance to do a one-time only race on a brand new road? Dude, I totally would've done it, too!!

    Congrats on finishing!! Great job sticking with it!

  2. Isn't a T with one arm just an L? Also, my face becomes sweaty salty sandpaper after every single run I do that's longer than about 5 miles. No big. P.S.: Great job! Maybe one day you'll catch the running bug and love half marathons. :)

    1. No, like a lower case t so the cross is in the middle, not at the top :)

  3. Good for you. I teared up when you talked about the song at your mother's funeral.
    Yes, this whole year I ran races because I knew I could finish! Not the smartest, but I did it!