Monday, November 10, 2014

First Half Marathon Complete! Light House Loop

 It has been accomplished! With help from my dear friends and running buddies we did it! This was my first half marathon and the scenery was beautiful. The food after was eh... but lets start from the top.
I saw the beast of a bridge we had to conquer the night before and freaked my self out good! My nerves were getting to me and the lack of training was starting to scare me. Let me add some to the scene as well, I had a tooth infection and my wisdom tooth was killing me so Tylenol became my friend so I could get thru the race. The cold air gave me worse pain then childbirth! Oh you evil pain killer how I avoid you but yet loved you on race day. 
The crowd we raced with, view from the bridge
Race day started out early for me and my running buddy (and dear friend) as we woke up at 4:30am to down some quick food and coffee before we set out. The bagel with peanut butter and coffee was welcomed by the butterflies in our stomach. Weather was cold and crisp at 49degrees, cold for Florida! I chose my running gear that was most comfortable to me, shorts and tank-top. But not a good match for the cold and my nerves! So on went the light jacket and race shirt.
We parked near the finish line thinking in all our wisdom and race experience (haha!) that after 13.1 miles the last thing we wanted to do was walk another mile to our car. Well that was in the end a really good choice! We warmed up our cold tired racing legs by running over the bridge to the start line. 
I had on a baseball cap not a skull cap.....
 Once near the start line we searched for our other running buddy and dear friend who got there before we did. She was already by the 2:30 pacer and ready to go. We had bags to drop off and waited in line for 10min to not get much closer, race was starting we still had 10+ people in front of us! (Note to self, don't bring a bag! Leave it in the car!) Getting anxious my friend starting asking who was in line for the 5k and could we cut in, thank goodness that worked! We quickly jumped in line and dropped off our bags, then ran to the start line. Found our friend and so began the race! The adrenaline was pumping and we were cold so off we went. I kept telling myself "Make adrenaline your friend, use it at the end". If not then I would have burned myself out by mile 3!

I didn't get many pictures along the way, but I will do my best to give you 'word' pictures of the race. It wasn't very crowded at first, I was expecting a sea of people (since 1,600 had registered) to have swim thru to find my pace but it was nicely spaced out. It was cold! My 3 top layers helped me stay warm as the 3 of us started off slow with our 11:30 per mile pace. Once mile 2 hit I was ready to go! My fears over lack of training and the over all nerves of the race were gone. The course was beautiful, we ran parallel with the ocean and watched the sun rise. As we ran and watched the sky change from a dark blue to vibrant orange and then the amazing sun rise over the waves and sand! What a scene!

By mile 2 our one friend who had trained way more then us jumped ahead. She had done 10miles as her longest run and myself and my other running buddy had only done 5miles at best. Horrible I know!! You see now why I was so scared of failing! She wanted to keep up or pass the 2:30 mile pacer, and in the end she did. Girl did great for her first half marathon! 2:22! We all want to grow up and be like her.

The first goal me and my friend had was to make it past mile 5, once we did that everything else was a Personal Record (PR). And we did it! Mile 6 came and went in a flash! After that we had the Ponce Inlet Light House to look forward to. That was our half way point for the race.  

Once we got there I finally used the dreaded porta potty, GROSS! I was not about to squat in the trees so there it was... but done and done we carried on. The stinky thing (like that pun?) was when you wait in line for the bathroom your time does not stop. So I'm sorry but my time was wrong for the race. I'd like to protest that the large man who was using it before me took way to long and I'd like 3min taken off my time. Stepping off soap box...

After the Light House we circle back and on a different road. So new things to see! But man mile 8 was the slowest! My knees started hurting, and my pain killer for my tooth was wearing off. I know, whine whine, boohoo, no sympathy for me.... 
The knee pain was new for me tho, until that point I had never had knee pain! So maybe I need to strengthen my hips? Will look into that more later. After mile 8 we did a walk run combo, it was run till it hurt then take a fast walk break. Run again, walk, run walk.

The last mile was over the dreaded bridge! But once that bridge was in sight I knew the end was near! "Just go" I told myself, "use the adrenaline"! So I did! I ran thru the pain in my knees and now in my foot, we had come so far. This whole race was a new PR for me and something I had always wanted to do, it was almost over. Breakfast was waiting on the other side of the bridge. GO GO GO!
There waiting on the other side was our friend who had ran ahead of us and was there to take pictures thankfully. She got this nice cheesy shot of me coming to the end. After that I used any bit of energy left and ran across that finish line! We did it!!

Gimme that thing!!
 Then breakfast awaited, I was starving at this point! Give me some food! Found a banana but that was not enough. They had promised a glorious breakfast buffet provided by a local restaurant that is really good. So I was looking forward to some pancakes, waffles, fruit, anything at this point! But reality set in, we had the choice of sausage (not vegan), cheese grits (obviously not vegan) and some sketchy looking eggs (again not vegan). That was all!!! My stomach was NOT happy! Boo on them!

Things I learned from this experience:

Not doing the full training can hurt you but won't stop you. If you are intimidated by the hours and miles it takes to train for a half marathon, please don't be! I totally understand, as a busy mom the hours of running you have to commit to the training look like a mountain on top of the mountain of laundry we already have. I did not do near what I was supposed to do! Yet I crossed the finish line on my feet! Amazing! My knees hurt at the end, but considering I only ran 5miles as my top long distance run I think that was nothing in comparison to what could have been.

Do cross training. It helps you on your off days stay on track and keep focused to the goal of running the following day. You get a stronger core, which is never a bad thing in my book. So pick a YouTube video to do some cross training when the baby is sleeping for 15min and cross that little item off you list.