Good Monday morning to you all! I’m in a very chipper mood this morning because…
…I completed my very first half marathon! Cue big cheesin’ smile.
I couldn’t have been more pleased with how the race went. I was expecting to endure a terribly rough 13.1 miles, but to my surprise the race was actually bearable. Don’t get me wrong – it was tough – but it was nowhere near the difficulty that I was anticipating.
My official final time was 1:57:34, which was pretty close to what my Runtastic app had recorded. I finished 16th out of 60 female runners in my 20-24 age group and 237th overall out of 621 entrants. My average pace was about 8:59mi. Not bad for my first half, if you ask me! 😉
Kaitlyn walked up to the race with me this morning. It was great to have my running buddy send me off! I seriously appreciated it because a 7:30 a.m. wake up call is no small thing for college students.
At the course start, I saw my neighbor Allison (she lives in the same small building as me). We decided to start the race off together.
I knew that the start signal was going to be a cannon, but I was so not anticipating it. All of a sudden, I heard the loudest, most startling BOOM. I may have screamed a little. And we were off!
The first two miles of the race were on the street. We were directed downhill from the start, so I didn’t have to work too hard to move for the first half mile. Within those first two miles, there was only one hill, which ended up being the only one of the race. The crowd was still pretty congested at that point and moving quickly. I soon lost Allison because I knew that her pace was just too fast for me to sustain.
Around mile three, we moved onto the bike path that I’d always run on. That was consoling, but I was feeling relatively anxious at that point because I was trying to stay slow enough to conserve my energy yet not fall too far behind, not to mention that I was only one-fourth of the way through. The first four miles of a run are always hardest for me.
The temperature yesterday morning (8 a.m. start) was in the upper 30s. I wore a t-shirt and shorts, foregoing any Underarmour because I wasn’t sure how the temp would rise as time went on. I noticed around mile four that my hands were really cold and stiff. This was problematic because I knew I’d soon want to eat a Gu Chomp, but I didn’t have great motor control. I kept the Gu Chomps in a plastic baggie I’d safety pinned to the inside of my shorts because I don’t have a wrist wallet.
Also around that time, some super fast dudes were starting to make their way back from the turn around. How intimidating is that?! I was only at mile four, and they were on track in finish in about an hour. I tried to tell myself that I would finish in good time, and I kept going.
From mile three to six, I stayed behind one particular girl because I liked her pace. Then, she kicked it up a notch, and I couldn’t see her. At mile five, I was able to successfully wrangle my first Gu Chomp out of the baggie. I looked like a fool, I’m sure, because my hands were not cooperating. I had to shove the Chomp in my mouth like an animal so as to not drop it.
Finally, I made it to the turnaround, which was at mile 6.5. That was a huge confidence booster. I continued on, stopping for water only once on the way back. I had another Gu Chomp at mile 7 when I saw a break in the crowd coming the opposite way so that I wouldn’t look silly trying to pull it out.
At mile 8, I was really hitting my stride. I’d picked up my pace at the turnaround, and I was feeling good. Then, I saw the girl I’d been behind earlier, which kept me pushing harder. My music also helped to keep me going because there were a bunch of songs with some awesome mantra lyrics in a row. I just kept saying to myself that I was almost at double digits and that I could totally finish strong.
Before I knew it, I was at the track where the race was finishing. My calves were feeling rather tight in the homestretch, but I was not about to walk with the finish in my eyesight! We were required to run one and a half laps around the track to make it to the finish line. When I crossed the timer, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
Now that the race is over, what’s going to happen to Half Marathon Mondays? Well, they will go on a short hiatus while I get into a different training program just to switch things up for a bit. Buuuuut, I’m so pumped to say that…
…they will be back at the end of May when I start to train for the Pittsburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with my bestie, Emily! I signed up for this on Saturday afternoon, before I’d even run this half (kind of gutsy, but to my defense there was a discount on the 13th!).
Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement during my training for the Athens Half. It meant so much!
Until tomorrow, friends!
Question of the Day:
What’s your next race or fitness goal going to be?