I know you have just been chomping at the bit waiting for me to reveal how the race went, right?
Well, it was amazing! It’s hard to believe that after training for so many months, it’s now over. What’s a girl to do? I guess cut back on all those extra calories I’ve been eating. Boo.
If I have learned anything from running it’s to keep things simple, race day is not the time to experiment. Stick to what you know works.
With that being said, I made the three of us drive to Target Saturday night to pick up food for breakfast. I knew we needed something in our bellies and I wanted that something to be easy to get down and stay down.
At 5:15 am I was greeted with a 100% whole wheat sandwich thin, Justin’s almond butter and a banana. Yum! Thanks Target.
Yay… I love race day!
Around 6, we headed towards the starting line. I am completely anal when it comes to getting to places on time and though I had an idea where we needed to be, I made sure we left with plenty of time to get there. Good thing because we did end up a little lost, only for about 10 minutes though.
Of course we still arrived around 30 minutes before the start time and of course it was freezing outside. So Sarah and I huddled together. During this time Dan snapped some pictures.
Then he got tired of being cold and left us to go hang out at Starbucks. I was just a bit jealous.
Lessons Learned From My First 1/2 Marathon
The race started exactly at 7… I just love when that happens. I was actually pretty calm considering I had a terrible sleep from excitement and nerves (the kind where you wake up every hour to make sure you didn’t miss the alarm).
At the start, I just reminded myself of the training I had put in, that I had an awesome book on tape to listen to, and that one of my best friends was by my side.
Lesson 1: Leave the jacket at home.
I was freezing before the race and decided that I would keep my jacket on. When I got too warm I would just tie it around my waist. That’s exactly what I did but it was so annoying!
Not to mention that I warmed up by mile 1… so for 12 miles I had that thing around my waist. The idea of tossing the jacket came to mind several times, but I knew I would be mad if I did that. If you think the weather will warm up enough to not need a jacket, just leave it behind. What a pain in the butt!
Lesson 2: Don’t look at the mile markers… for the first half of the race.
To be honest, the first 3 miles seemed to have been the longest 3 miles ever! When I saw the 1 mile marker I thought.. “ugh, I still have 12.1 miles to go!” Even during my training I found this to be the case. But once I got to mile 8, the miles seem to just fly by. And then once 10 rolls around I just reminded myself… it’s only a 5K left!
Lesson 3: Set a goal and figure out how to make it happen.
I know some people just want to get out there and complete the race. For them it doesn’t matter how long it takes. And that’s fine.
But for me, I knew I couldn’t just settle for a completion. Saturday I sat down with my calculator and punched a few numbers to see what pace I would need to hit my goal of finishing in under 2 hours. That also helped me to find the coral to start with (they had pacers).
It was so amazing to look down at my GPS from time to time and see that I was doing better that the goal pace and feeling great. In fact, I kept the same pace from the start to the last mile. Success!
Lesson 4: Running is 90% mental.
This is a lesson that Sarah taught me. Since moving to DC she has started grad school, moved into a new apartment, dealt with being sick a few times and because of it, her training kind of fell apart. She was pretty nervous about her abilities since the longest run she has EVER done was 6 miles.
It was hilarious when about 10 feet past the 6 mile point she looked at me and said “Look, each step is one step farther than I’ve ever run before.” She stuck with my until mile 10! That’s incredible. But what’s even more insane is that she finished just 2 minutes behind me. Freaking crazy, she was a machine. She said it was all because of her state of mind.
Her ipod was pumping out her favorite running tunes, she kept smiling at the people cheering us on and kept herself in a positive zone. It worked.
Lesson 5: The last 25 feet matter.
The last 1/2 mile of the course is on the boardwalk, as soon as we got there the wind was in our face and I was huffing and puffing. I was okay with the pace I was doing but when I saw that there were just a few people in front of my at the end, I turned it on full throttle and sprinted to the finish.
As I did so did one of the guys I was trying to get past. It was awesome to finish strong like that… oh and I beat him
Lesson 6: Feel like a rock star.
When I crossed that finish line I felt like a rockstar! And you know what, I should. I worked my butt off to not only accomplish my goal but to do much better than it! Like I said, my goal was to finish right under 2 hours.
My actual time was 1.53.59.
I ran every mile faster than I ran my 10K back in March! So yea, I think celebration is a must! Dance, brag, and maybe go jump in the freezing cold water!
And eat whatever you want. Though, I didn’t feel the urge to put down the calories and go crazy so I went with a veggie burger with side salad and I took the bun off.
I was so excited to see this vegan burger on Hard Rock Cafe’s menu! After lunch, we said our good-byes and headed back to Charleston.
This race was well organized, there were water stations every mile, bands randomly placed on the course for some fun, great pacers, and of course flat roads. The flatness of the course was the reason I chose it for my first 1/2 and I am glad I went with it.
I definitely have the running bug now and can’t wait to decide what’s next! Any suggestions?
As for my workouts, it’s time to make some serious changes. I am going to keep my runs in there but my strength training workouts are going to get a bit more intense and a lot more heavy. I gotta get some more muscle!
I am so proud of Sarah and I, it seemed to happen so fast!