February 25, 2013 by toheaveninahooptie
Hello, half marathon runner speaking. 🙂 As a newly dubbed half marathon runner, you can call me lead legs because that’s what’s going on over here.
Today we woke up at 5:30, walked to the start (about a 10 minute walk), stretched, checked my bag, then got in the corral (for an estimated 2:10 finish) and before I knew it, we were
running shuffling along for the first mile until the pack thinned out (which it never exactly did.) The race was so much more crowded than I expected- 16,000 runners makes for some tight spaces! The first mile was something like a 14 minutes because it really was that crowded. Even with the crowds, it was an awesome race and an addictive experience. (addictive as in I already have future races in mind ;))
My dad ran ahead of me after the first mile which, I must say, I didn’t really expect. It turned out for the best because he ended up running an awesome race and was much faster than me, but I was a little bummed to begin with. I was surprised that I was running much slower than I had anticipated at the height of my training, but after my “baby-injury” with my achilles, I was okay with taking it easy. I kept telling myself not to get hung up on pace and remember that today would be a PDR no matter how fast I ran. I was itching to bolt and run the race I had hoped for, but my body just wasn’t having it. After the first 5 or 6 miles I fell into the run and stopped getting hung up on pace. I ran until I stopped thinking- once I got to this point I began really enjoying the race! 🙂
I took a Gu at mile 5ish, bathroom break at mile 6 (that I really didn’t need and that ate up about 10 minutes…), and another Gu at mile 9. They gave out free Gu of all flavors at mile 9 and being the curious little free-loader I am, I grabbed the fun looking flavors that I want to try in the future and stashed them in my bra. Um, bad idea. The $5 it would cost to buy the flavors would be worth the cuts I got from the bra Gu! I was all cut up and sweating into my cuts-NOT a pleasant experience for the last 4 miles.
Mandarin orange and Strawberry Banana better be damn good flavors.
Anyway, BREAKING -GOOD- NEWS!! When I crossed the finish line, I thought my time was 2:38:48 because that’s what the clock said. (I didn’t have a watch time since my watch screwed up in inexplicable ways) I sort of felt extremely-very-alot-tremendously embarrassed that I finished nearly 40 minutes slower than projected, but check out these (official) apples:
Aw yeah, aw yeah. Well, rollin’ with the good things, the post-race party thing was fantastic. I got water, chocolate milk, and a banana in the chute literally 5 seconds after finishing. (I didn’t eat them until about 20 minutes later on account of I was still coming off of Gu stomach and probably would have thrown up)
Now for the things that will be helpful for future comparison:
1. Breakfast: english muffin with pb and a banana (no coffee)
2. Dinner the night before: Pasta with tomato sauce and an ocean of water
3. Sleep: 11:30PM-5:30AM
4. Previous preparation: late night the Friday night before, no running for two days before, last long run was 9 rough miles, minor achilles injury
5. Recovery: 3 mile walk from the finish back to the condo (yes, seriously. I wanted to kill), ice bath, ibuprofen, and chocolate milk/banana/power bar
Now for the ushy-gushy: I love running. I love it. I love waking up early in anticipation of a race, I love logging miles of a long run on lead legs, I love bracing my face as I slide into an ice bath, I love carb loading, I love surprising myself, I love making process and testing myself, I love that running gives you a constant place to improve; always a future to do better. The finish line for RNR New Orleans was in City Park, where many of my away meets were during Cross Country. It was in these meets that I first saw people throwing up, having muscle cramps, and falling out all for the sake of running. It was in this park that I first saw the passion for the sport of running alive in the gritted faces of the hell-bent runners. It was here that I first raced and learned the thrill of it, and it was here that I finished my first half; a long set goal that required the same hard work and commitment that I gave to Cross Country.
Walking back from the finish line, I realized that we were walking on the exact course that I ran for Cross Country. Usually things like this don’t mean much to me, but for this I got sappy about it. It’s like my running is building on tradition and keeping itself going. This got me to thinking, and I’ve realized that (at least for the time being), I don’t want to give up running. I want to keep this little “phase” alive and see how far it can take me and what I can surprise myself by accomplishing. I’ve got a couple races in my mind, so stay tuned 🙂
What was your first half/marathon like? Any advice?
Recovery beer or no?
Do you have any weird pre-race/recovery methods?