On Sunday, the morning of my half marathon, I got up at 4am, brushed my teeth and ate breakfast in my pajamas. I was advised by my girlfriend's marathon-running-personal trainer husband to eat the same things I would usually eat for breakfast, but add about 200 calories and maybe eat earlier in the morning. I opted to increase the amount of oatmeal I'd been having from 1/3rd cup to a half, add a banana, and cut the milk from my latte - making it straight espresso. Ultimately this only increased my breakfast by about 40 calories, but by the time I finished I was too full to eat any more. I made up for it later anyway. ;)
I drove up to Ventura by myself while it was still dark out. Hubs and my momma were going to meet me at the finish line. I got myself together in my car and then walked over to where the people were. I did some light stretching and tried to keep my legs moving.
I wasn't really sure which wave to start with. So, I just started with the second one. A lot of folks were passing me, so I figure that means I should have started with a later wave, but I don't really care. They weren't running that much faster than I was and I didn't get trampled. After about 2 miles, we'd all pretty much found our pace and were running near the people we'd stay near the rest of the time.
It's hard to take pictures while you're running the furthest distance you've ever run, but I did manage some. You'll have to use your imagination for the rest.
The first mile was the hardest. I kept having to remind myself not to think about how fast anyone else was going. I knew if I tried to go to fast I wouldn't be able to run the whole thing, and running the whole thing was the only thing I cared about.
I'm still surprised by how quickly the time and the miles go by when you just accept that this is what you're doing and you're gonna be doing it for a while. Around the 4.5 mile point, we started seeing people who were already on their way back. It was a relief that the halfway point was so close. I decided to try one of those Clif Shot Energy Gels. They had three flavors out on the table and I just grabbed the blue one because I thought if any flavor was going to be refreshing, it would be blue. It was vanilla, and it tasted like vanilla. Not gross, but not exactly what I was hoping for either. I can't help but wonder if I should have grabbed the citrus flavor.
I took these just after I turned around at the halfway point.
Excited to be halfway there! Look at my sweaty ponytail and the mascara under my eye. Haha.
For the next few miles, I really relied heavily on my music to get me through. Katy Perry, B.o.b., Backstreet Boys, Sweet, Demi freaking Lavato, anything and everything that could keep my energy up. My run turned into a little bit of a dance for a while.
There was something beautiful that happened at the 10 mile mark. Even though my joints were starting to ache and I was battling with my psyche to keep running, I realized that that was the furthest I had ever run, and each step I took after that was one step further. Each tiny movement forward I was making the longest distance I'd ever run one step longer.
One of the families cheering people on had a sign that said "CHUCK NORRIS NEVER RAN A MARATHON". I liked it and I told them so.
At 11 miles, my hips were telling me to stop, but I couldn't shake the thought that I was so close and if I could just make it the last two miles, I'd be finished. I had run 11 miles and I would be so disappointed with myself if I gave up with so short a distance to go. So, I kept running. I'd take a few walking steps as I passed a few of the water stations so I didn't spill quite as much all over myself. I still spilled a ton. It's hard to drink on the run, but I still think I ran the whole thing.
At the 13 mile mark, with .1 mile to go, I started sprinting. My legs felt like they were just floating underneath me as I flew towards the finish line.
My hubby and my mom were waiting there cheering for me. I know it's small, but if you can see my face in the far right picture, that's the face I made when I first saw them. It was so wonderful to have them there rooting for me as I crossed the finish line. I was already so full of adrenaline from finishing, but having them there made all the difference. It was amazing.
I finished in 2 hours and 33 minutes for an average pace of 11:41 per mile.
I ran through the snack station and loaded up with fruit and a bagel and little clif bars, and then immediately sought out a place to sit down and stretch.
Baddha konasana, how my hips and I love you.
Then we loaded up in the car and drove down to Camarillo for breakfast, where I snapped this photo of my awesome bottle opener finisher's medal... because you may want a beer after you run a half marathon. I don't know. I wanted an egg and cheese sandwich.
- Carry water. I tried a hydration belt by Asics before I went back to my original plan to use a cheap hydration backpack we got at Big 5. It's some off-brand something or other, but it had a clip in the front to hold it in place and a pocket in the back for my phone, plus enough room for the water bag to share the main pocket with my car key and energy gels (which I carried with me, but didn't use)
- Get some good shoes. In July I bought myself these Asics at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale without even trying them on. I lucked out because these are my absolute favorite shoes on the planet. They are comfy, supportive, fit perfectly, the whole deal.
- Have a sweat repelling system. I went with a Nike swoosh sweatband headband. I tried some wristbands, but they were too tight - even on my skinny wrists - and I kept getting irritated with them while I was training.
- I needed something to distract myself, so music was key for me. I opted to take my ipod shuffle instead of using my iPhone to save my phone battery. Best decision because changing the track and volume is easy. The battery lasts because it doesn't have to support any kind of video. I loaded some podcasts on it, but when 3 tracks out of 250 are podcasts, the chance that you'll hear one is slim. I was disappointed, but not crushed when I didn't hear one.
- If you're like me, a lady who's a little on the busty side, invest in a high quality supportive, moisture wicking sports bra. I found this one by Under Armour. I sized down because whats the point of a compression top if it doesn't compress? It was a little more than I'm used to spending on my C9 sports bras at Target, which are great for your average medium intensity workout, but for 2 and a half hours of solid running and sweating, I needed something that was in it for the long haul.
- Meal planning - I know me and my stomach and when I can eat how long before a run, etc. So, for me, eating at 4am was necessary. It's not for some people. The key is to know your body.
- Extra essentials. I put a little ice chest in my car with ice packs, protein shakes, protein bars and a banana. I only had one protein shake because of the snack buffet they had set up at the finish, but I was still super happy I had brought everything else just in case.
Have you ever run a half marathon or set a goal for something that seemed crazy in March but totally achievable by September? :)
The folks who organized the race posted a bunch of pictures from the race on facebook a little while back. I was able to find a couple of myself and decided instead of putting up a brand new post for them, I'd just tack them onto this one!
|I'm on the far left in the pink.|
|Not in this picture. This is that sign I liked.|
|Making a stupid face at about the 4 mile mark|