Half Marathon!

It has been a week since I ran my first half marathon. What an exhilarating experience. So many people, my mom included, asked me why I would want to put myself through it. Its hard on my body, especially with the trouble my IT band gives my knee. I paid $90 to register for it, and I didn’t win any money. So why? Nobody made me.

Except that I made myself. There were so many times during my 12 week training period that I wanted to call it quits. With everything else going on in my life, this is the last way I wanted to dedicate my time. I had to take a lot of breaks to let me knee heal and rest, which was frustrating as hell. At the beginning of my 12 weeks, I wanted to give it all I had, and actually compete for a winning time. That’s how I approach the shorter sprint races. I’m still new to running, having only run for a little over a year now, but I don’t have fun racing unless I’m breaking PRs and placing. I’m hungry for a medal. I was never athletic in school. I cheered for my little league teams, but that was as far as it went. When I showed horses, I loved winning. I loved seeing hard work pay off. Now, I get the same feeling with running.

So after taking a lot of time off, I got to the point where I just wanted this stupid half to be over with. Just check it off my list, and be done. I didn’t care anymore. My last few weeks up until the race, I didn’t even do a long run on the weekends. I would run 2 or 3 miles at a time, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. When people would ask me if I was excited, I would tell them I was excited it was almost over. 

Even though I gave up caring about my finishing time, I knew that running 13 miles, no matter how slow, would still take a toll on me. I am so happy with my carb-loading experience. The 72 hours before my race, I ate over 430 carbohydrate grams a day. When they say to carb-load, it definitely doesn’t mean eat some spaghetti and salad. Holy cow. 430 grams is a TON, incase anyone wasn’t aware. I loved snacking so much though!! 

I’m also really glad I woke up at 3:00am to eat my final pre-race breakfast. I had some frequent marathoners disagree that waking up so early was necessary, but if I ever race a long distance again, I will definitely repeat the 3:00 breakfast. The only bad part is I never went back to sleep. While I laid there for the 2 hours before we got up to get ready, my mind must have wandered through about 30 different things. Not really what I had in mind. I raced on about 4 hours of sleep…but since I had carb-loaded and my pre-race meal was 100 grams of carbs, I have NEVER felt better during a run- energy-wise anyway. Not once did I get even slightly winded. Usually during my long training runs, I have to push myself through a wall around mile 4. Not this time. My body felt great, except of course my dang knee. It felt like it was going to snap off after the third or fourth mile. Not ideal, let me tell you.

I loved seeing all the funny signs the spectators- mostly guys with the best ones- had for us all along the course. The best ones were  “try not to suck,” “remember, you PAID to do this,” and “forget the race, forget the pace, lets just drink a case!” 

Around mile 10, while I was still feeling good, I knew I had it in me to speed up and finish strong. What I couldn’t believe was that once I turned the corner and was making it down the last little stretch to the finish, with the biggest crowd possible on the sidelines, I went full out, as hard as I could….and nobody else made that hard push with me. No matter what my time is during a race, I will always be happy if I know I gave it all I had during that last bit to the finish and sprint my guts out. I want to know that I finished as strong as I could, despite the first leg of the race. Not that I am super fast, but I really couldn’t believe nobody else was sprinting with me. But in all honesty, it made for a really cool finish, passing about 50 competitors on my last stretch of my first half marathon.

And yeah, I just said first. Before my race, I swore up and down I would never do another one, and DEFINITELY no full marathons. I would prefer to speed up my time for 5Ks. And that’s true….but will I ever race another half? Yeah, maybe. I’m not addicted like everyone tried to convince me….but I would like to see how well I can do if my knee ever lets me fully recover to do another one.

We’ll just see! After all, I’m only half crazy.

Oh and did I mention the perks of a Diva Run…?

Ladies and gentleman (but mostly ladies!): the fireman finish. This is who medaled me. A hunky fireman. Well, probably a model doing promotional work wearing fireman pants. Do I care? Heck no.
Plus, a champagne toast, cooooookiesssss (not a huge perk to normal people, but I hadn’t had a cookie in 2 or 3 months! I ate 2, and got my professional finisher’s photo holding up my cookie. I was one happy camper!), and roses. Plus, a pool party at the Baywatch Resort and tickets to the House of Blues. What an awesome day. I’m almost caught up on my sleep.

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