Hey there! How are ‘ya?
For my part, work is still crazy, but I’m doing my best to try to keep up with a good work/life balance. Sometimes work can really bring you down, but it’s never something that friends, family, a boyfriend, a dog, and a chilled glass of white wine at the end of the day can’t fix right?
Anyway, I promised you guys a recap of my first half marathon so let’s get to it!
Before the race
As I mentioned on Monday, Fabio and I woke up super early on Saturday morning to head over to the race. The race officially started at 7:30 am, but runners were encouraged to line up by at least 7:00. Since my grandparents’ house where we were staying was still a good 45 minutes away, we made sure to leave plenty of time to get there.
The traffic was pretty bad (there is only one road into St. Michaels, MD, where the race was) but we still arrived with plenty of time to spare. My dad dropped us off and went to park the car while Fabio and I headed over to the starting line. At this point, butterflies were doing some serious jumping in my tummy.
We stood around for a little while and people-watched while everyone else lined up.
In the meantime, we ran into our friend Angela, who was running the 10K with her mother-in-law-to-be (is that a real phrase?) and although I didn’t know it until afterwords, two of my sorority sisters, Emily and Macey, were also running the race.
Eventually my dad came and found us in line and wished us one final good luck. My dad was a real trooper and brought Jack with him to spectate, so we were able to have the comfort of our best K-9 friend right before the run began
My dad snapped a couple more pictures of us before he stepped out of the runners line and walked back into the crowd of spectators.
See ‘ya later, dad!!
During the race
As soon as the race began, I realized I needed to pee.
I had of course realized this earlier, but I thought it was just nerves (I always have to pee before presentations, performances, etc.). Unfortunately after running the first couple miles, I realized the feeling was not going away (not that you’d know it from my goofy photobomb pic around mile 1.5, below!)
This dilemma was totally my fault, since I drank half a water bottle in the car before the race (I was trying to be extra prepared) and didn’t bother waiting in the long line for the porta-potty before the race began. Stupid.
At this point I was getting really annoyed with myself and was trying to ignore my urge to use the restroom, but it was getting in the way of my concentration and I just felt really off. Eventually around mile 5 we spotted a lone porta-potty, and I made my way over to use it.
I absolutely hated stopping during the race (having everyone pass me was the worst), and unfortunately two people were in front of me in line (wasting even more time), but I felt so much better after that it was 110% worth it. Sometimes nature calls!
Now I know not to drink water before a race. Lesson learned!
Once we got back on the road, I really got into my groove.
I actually thought stopping to use the porta-potty helped me pick up my pace afterword. I really wanted to try to catch up to the people we were running with before, so I had something concrete to look for in the crowd (e.g., I have to catch up to the girl in the Rock-N-Roll half marathon shirt that we ran with earlier!! Oh yay, we caught up to the woman in the hat with the underwear shorts! Haha, these were the thoughts going through my head).
The rest of the race really flew by. I wish I had more specific comments about the run itself, but it was actually kind of uneventful. I was hoping the route would be along the water (which was one of the main reasons I chose this race) but unfortunately a lot of it was just on the highway or in neighborhoods. The course was totally fine though; it was nice and flat and I was able to just zone out and enjoy my run.
Going into the race had one real goal: run without stopping to walk. I sort of had another goal, to run the race under 2 hours, but I hadn’t done any calculating and didn’t want to focus too much on it in case it was unrealistic and I burnt myself out.
At around mile 11 I started to get really tired (I had never gone past 11 miles before) but Fabio asked if I wanted to pick up the pace to try to run the race in under 2 hours. I said I would try, and I did the very best I could!
We picked up the pace and I felt like we would never get there. The last two miles kind of wound around a park, so every time we rounded a corner I expected to see the finish line and then get disappointed when I saw more of the trail in front of us. Come on finish line…where are you??
Those last two miles were definitely the toughest part of the whole race.
Eventually we rounded one more corner, and I noticed there were tons of spectators. They were all cheering and clapping us on and I knew we must be almost there!
After the race
At this point we immediately walked through a huge mud pit (ew) to pick up our medals.
When Fabio and I crossed the finish line, we thought we saw a digital clock reading 01:59: and then some numbers next to it that I couldn’t read, so I assumed this meant we finished in 1 hour in 59 minutes.
I was pretty excited to have finished in just under 2 hours, but when I looked at my RunKeeper app (which I had on the whole time) I thought something must be amiss; my app said 2 hours and 3 minutes.
Either way I was just super excited that we finished the race and better yet, we didn’t stop to walk!! That was my number one goal the whole time, so I was really proud of achieving it (the two hour thing was just kind of something I had in my head, it wasn’t a real goal).
I later got an email indicating that I finished in 2:08:04.1 (that accounts for the porta-potty time), my overall place was 569/1182, and I placed 14/52 in my age group. Not bad, right?
I was really happy and couldn’t wait to meet up with my dad in the runner’s village.
The runner’s village had a ton of picnic tables, live music, beer, and snacks for the runners. We didn’t stick around too long because it was pretty crowded, but it was really fun to hang out in such a positive atmosphere.
Right before we left, a woman approached Fabio and me and told us that we were her strength during the race. She was using an interval technique where she would run for a minute and then walk for about 30 seconds, and I remember seeing her a bunch of times during our run.
She said that during her intervals she would spot us going at such a strong and steady pace (I think this was around miles 8-10) and that we really helped her to keep going. I was so happy to have helped someone that I honestly got a little teary-eyed when she told me this. I guess my emotions were a little wonky after the run, but I was seriously so touched by her words. It was a great end to the race-day experience.
And as I mentioned on Monday, after the race we went out to eat and celebrate with my grandparents and had a lovely restful weekend!
I’ve been trying to corrale some final thoughts on this half marathon, and here are some things that have been bouncing around in my head:
- I was way more sore and tired after the half marathon than I was after any of my long training runs
- I definitely want to run another half marathon and strive to get under 2 hours (this should totally be doable)
- I think I’d like to run a bigger half marathon, since this one was relatively small
- My dad wasn’t really able to position himself along the course without losing his parking spot, and I would have really liked to have a spectator there, so next time this might take some planning ahead
- DON’T DRINK WATER THE MORNING OF A RACE! Haha. Oh, and thank the race coordinators for porta-potties. Seriously.
Question of the day: What did you think after your first big race? Did you have any key takeaways?