This past Sunday I completed my first half marathon – phew glad that it’s over. My finish time was a little longer than I was hoping, but given the events and stress of the past few weeks, I’m really happy.
Overall thoughts about the race: The course is really flat and somewhat scenic – perfect for a first long distance race. Everything seemed to be very well-organized – from checking in, lining up, water stations, to the directions telling runners where to go – it all seemed easy. The post race spread was also nice: hot soup, bagels, bananas, apples, bottled water, soda and hot dogs. I still can’t understand how some people eat hot dogs after running. I only have a few suggestions for the race organizers: add more porta potties along the race course and have police/volunteers on hand to help with exiting traffic. Although I never actually stopped and used the one porta pottie station, I think if I had seen more stations spaced out throughout the course it would have helped me mentally (more on that).
My race recap: Sunday was perfect running weather – sunny, cool, and no humidity. I walked up to the starting line wearing a long sleeve shirt over my tank. 10 minutes before the race kicked off, I decided to take off the long sleeve shirt and I’m so glad I did. Although I was sweating, I never felt like my body temperature was an issue during the run.
I started off feeling great. However, I really need to work on pacing myself. My first few miles and eventually the first half of the race, I went out too fast. Also, as soon as I started the race, I thought I might need to find a porta pottie, but I assured myself that there would be plenty along the route – nope! This started to give me some anxiety. I was jealous of the men who could just run off into the woods for a minute or two and take care of business.
My playlist was really random and not the best. I totally forgot about putting one together until Friday night and I didn’t feel like searching for new downloads, so it was mostly music I already had on my Ipod. I didn’t allow myself to skip over a song if I wasn’t feeling it, but around mile 5 I decided to replay one of my songs on my playlist. When I was going through chemo, I listened to an old church school song performed by Bruce Springsteen – “This Lil Light of Mine.” Cheesy, yes. But you have to go with what works. Right after mile 7, I passed my fan club: Bri and my BFF Jen and her son Ryan. I was super happy and motivated to see them. But I knew I was starting to slow down and after I passed mile 8, I really started to drag. I was walking through every water stop. By mile 9, I started to lose the fun of the run and was mainly just counting down the miles to the end.
By miles 11 and 12, I seriously thought I was dying. I knew that I would finish and knew that I had the endurance to finish, but my body was in so much pain. My left knee and hip were the causes of most of my pain – ugh. And I felt myself compensating. So, the last mile probably took me about 15 minutes because I did a mix of walking and running. I was kind of hoping that some of the other runners would call me out on walking, which would in turn motivate me – nope. In fact over the whole race course, I never felt/saw other runners motivating each other.
I was so relieved when I approached the finish line.
Would I do it again? Maybe. What would I change for a possible future long distance race? I would definitely try to start out slower. For the first 5 miles of the race, I wore my Ipod around my bicep. Believe it or not, I had never done this during my training runs, and even though I have a sport band, I always just carried my Ipod in my hands. So, I have a nice lil burn on my arm from the irritation caused by the unfamiliar sport band – next time, I need to stick with what I’m used to. And finally, I would ask someone to jump in the race for the last few miles and run with me. That might have saved me as I approached the last leg.