Thursday, October 18, 2012

My First Half Marathon

Three days later, and I think I've finally come down from my runners high...I think.

Sunday was nerve racking, exciting, challenging, rewarding, and fun.

We arrived in Newport the day before the race and I'm so glad we decided to stay overnight. It took away a lot of nerves and anxiety about getting there.

On the morning of the race, I got up on time, ate, hydrated, put on my clothes and was ready to go.It was a little confusing navigating to the start line. I can't say it was very well organized, but I found my friends in line at the bathrooms and shortly after we headed to the start line. It was hard to get into our time corrals, but we squeezed in a gate opening shortly after the gun went off. We ended up crossing the start line almost two minutes after the initial gun.

The first mile went by pretty quick. I spent most of my time weaving in and out of people trying to get to my comfortable pace. I wanted to make sure not to go out too strong. At mile 2, I ditched my long sleeve shirt and was able to check my pace on RunKeeper. I was pacing at about a 9:15 mile and knew that I could pick it up. My goal was to stay around 8:45.

The first three miles flew by and before I knew it, I was at the 6th mile marker. I was very careful to make sure to stay hydrated, I knew this was going to be key to finishing after my struggles during my last long run. I choked on drank water at every rest stop I could, even if a majority of it ended up on the ground. I also took advantage of the GU Chomps I had on hand. My plan going into it was to take them at mile 6, almost an hour in and at mile 10 to help push me to the end.

When I reached mile 7, I looked down at my app to see that I was just under 1 hour. As I continued to run, I did the math in my head. If I kept up my pace, I would be accomplishing one of my goals... to finish in 2 hours. I also knew that there was a chance I would finish in under 2 hours. But I didn't want to burn myself out, so I maintained my pace and kept trying to learn how to drink water while running myself hydrated.

Miles 7-9 went by pretty slow. I remember thinking 10 miles felt like they were never going to come and started to get worried that I would have a hard time when I reached 10. But shortly before the 10 mile mark, I saw a spectator holding a sign, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The sign said: "Take a breath and enjoy the moment". And you know what? That's exactly what I did. Before I know it I hit mile 10, and I felt strong.

The last 3 miles, adrenaline took over. The crowds started getting thicker and louder. I kept my pace until the last mile, and then picked it up. I was so excited to find my family and the Fiance. The last part of the race was a downhill into the last stretch to the finish line, and I gave it one last push.

Right before crossing the finish line, I saw my family and fiance and pure happiness and excitement came over me. I finished...I finished strong. I stopped my app, grabbed a water, checked my time and ran to my Dad.

My unofficial time: 1:48:52

I was on cloud nine. My first half marathon, and I had exceeded my own expectations.

On our way out to the shuttles, I noticed that some of the times had been posted. I quickly went over and found my name on the list.

My official time: 1:48:38
61st out of 662 woman

And the reward...totally hit the spot.

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