I'm an official half marathon finisher, woo hoo! This is the largest race I've been in and it was very well organized. The half marathon sold out at 12,500 participants. I was very nervous about this race, mostly about if I trained well enough.
Kicking off the weekend on Friday was the race expo. Lots of vendors selling cool running gear. I've read repeatedly not to be tempted to wear something new that hadn't been tested out on training runs; but I really wanted to try out the iFitness belt, which I'll get to in a sec.
Saturday was the 5k race which both my sisters participated in. It was their first race; I think I may have gotten them hooked on races! They both did great beating my first 5k time by minutes!
My race was Sunday 7 a.m. Despite my impeccable planning skills, I somehow ended up running late. It had something to do with my gas light coming in during my commute downtown! That little gas fill-up detour costs me a few minutes. Then, after zig-zagging through a few street closings (totally unrelated to the race and bizarre) I found a parking spot on the street close enough to jog to the start line. About half way there, I realized I forgot my ipod and had to high tail it back to the car. I made my way to the 11:30 pace group with only about 10 minutes to spare. Thankfully, after the start gun went off it took about 15 minutes to get to the start line. Just enough time to stretch out and get relaxed. When we finally got moving, I pretty much knew right away I would not keep up with the pace group. My goal was to run the first 3 miles without walking, to do that, I had to start off pretty slow. I made it through the first 3 miles without walking, took a 5 minute walking break, and then ran the next three without walking. I still felt pretty good at the 8 mile marker where my family was.
This point of the race was significant since my longest training run had only been 8 miles. After this point, I wasn't sure what I was in for. I still felt ok up to the turn around at the 10 mile mark. Unfortunately, this is where the course turned back towards the sun and when the hills really started to kick in. After 10 miles, I started trying to run one mile, then take a walk break, but a few of the hills really slowed me down. The energy of the other runners was really down too, most people were walking. I thought more people would be motivated since we only had a few miles to go. At 11 miles, I started to really get frustrated with the hills. I had just enough energy to run, but not enough to really push it up the hill. I switched between walking and running quite a bit in the last two miles. I only had about 20 minutes to come in under 3 hours. I started a fast run once I finally saw the finish line. I made it with 3 minutes to spare! I was excited to pick up my medal, but also immediately started to feel stiff in my legs and could not wait to sit down somewhere. I still have some soreness today, and my knees are a little achy. I took an ice bath after the race, which I think really helped. I expected to feel a lot worse.
About my iFitness belt, I had read really good reviews and was happy to be able to buy one at the expo. This belt is amazing, super comfortable. No riding up and no bouncing; Big enough to carry my cell and a camera. I could have fit more in there, like energy gels. I ended up carrying those in the back pocket of my running capris.
My first half marathon turned out to be alright! I would definitely do another. The distance is challenging enough without being overwhelming.