Hey all!! So on Saturday I ran my first race of the Fall 2012 season! Today I’m going to give you a recap of my race and then tomorrow I’ll write a race review about logistics etc.
Friday after work I met up with my friend Sarah, picked up her car at the White House (that is SO DC right?), and got on the road to Baltimore. We stopped in Greenbelt MD for a pre-race dinner at Hard Times Cafe. Not EXACTLY the typical pre-race fuel, but for a half I don’t really get into “carb loading”. I think it’s more important for the marathon. I also have a really easy stomach so I don’t typically worry too much. I had vegetarian chili on a salad. There were some tortilla chips for a little carby-goodness. Quick stop at the expo for our numbers, swag bags, and sweet Under Armour race shirts. This year the half was a really gorgeous deep purple (everything was either purple or orange… i personally prefer purple). Then we headed to Sarah’s husband’s grandparent’s house (haha yeah I’m a big old freeloader) and went to bed around 10:45 pm.
The half marathon didn’t start until 9:45 am (the latest race start I’ve EVER had) so we got up around 6:30 am and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast graciously provided by Grandma. She made up some scrambled eggs, english muffins, and vegan sausage patties… the royal treatment! We arrived at the Light Rail station at 8 am but this took us a while (more on that tomorrow), we arrived at M&T Bank stadium at 9:15 with 30 minutes to go over to the finish line, check our bags, pee, and get to the start. It was a little tight but we made it to the start line right as the gun went off. I said goodbye to Sarah and lined up with my group.
Miles 0 – 5 : I got started at a pretty decent pace. I realized walking over to the start that I wasn’t wearing my Garmin. Where was it? In my bag… checked at the finish line. Super duper. I figured since I was trying to run a smart race, I would go based purely on feel. My goal was to feel good the first 5 miles. The first five were lots of rolling hills. Nothing horribly long or horribly difficult, but definitely enough to notice. I was able to hold a steady pace throughout. I am definitely not the kind of runner who goes slow up hill and then fast downhill. I started off a little stiff too, but I loosened up a lot by the end of three miles.
Miles 5-7: I anticipated these to be the hardest miles of the race. However, the “big hill between mile 6 – 7” didn’t really end up being that big. It was longer than the other hills, which is why I thought it looked more challenging on the chart. In reality, the longer hill made the incline grade really manageable. There was a bigger than expected downhill section after the “big hill” too which was very nice. At this point I was starting to notice that my right hip flexor and left calf muscle were getting tight. This is when I started paying for my lack of training. I held on to my pace, but kept checking back in to see how I was feeling. I wanted to run a good race, but I didn’t want to get injured. I took opened my pack of Margarita Cliff Shot Blocks and ate my first block. These have 3 times more sodium and are supposed to help with muscle cramping. Luckily, the pain in my hip and calf dissipated as I reached mile marker 7 at Lake Montebello.
Miles 7 – 8: Nice and easy and FLAT around Lake Montebello. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Lots of race photographers, so I made sure to smile real big (even though I probably won’t buy any photos… they’re stupid expensive).
Miles 8 – 10: I really underestimated this part of the course. I was able to maintain but there was a hill between between 8.5 – about 9.5 that was a tough one. I think at this point I was also getting fatigued so that contributed. However, at this point, I was running with a bunch of marathoners. I thought to myself… these people are running this hill with 21 miles on their legs. I only have 8 on mine… SUCK.IT.UP. I took another margarita shot block hoping the extra sodium would help my legs.
Miles 10 – 13.1: Suck it up I did… and I emptied my tank. I dug deep and by the time I crossed the finish line I had nothing left. At this point, I kept thinking to myself, “You’re this close. And you’ve run every step of the way. Keep moving, keep running,” I ran every step of this race, including every.single.stinkin.hill. My normal “sprint to the finish” was not as sprinty as usual but I think that was a sign of running a smart race. I pushed myself to my edge, left it all on the pavement… insert other sports related cliche here.
I crossed the finish line and literally felt drunk. I could barely walk straight (I ran into another person like 3 times) and I vaguely felt like I was going to puke (I did not). I grabbed some ice for my hip flexor and stretched out for a solid 10 minutes. I drank two bottles of water and did finally manage to get a 1/4 of a bagel down. I ended up taking one final margarita block because my foot totally cramped up while changing from my sneakers to my flip flops.
Then I found my friends and got my post-race party on!!! I missed you racing. I’m so glad we’re back together. Let’s never fight again. I literally had no clue what my time was when I finished. I only saw the marathon clock, which said 4:07. According to my official timing, I finished in 2:13. That is my third fastest half marathon (my best is 2:08 and I did another at 2:11). Not too shabby for not training! It was really a good confidence boost for me… I’M BACK BABY!!
Sarah and I post race
I thought this cartoon crab was pretty adorable.
There are few things in the world I love more than a race medal 🙂