I Did It!
It’s time for the recap of my first half marathon! Warning: lots of text and pics to follow after the jump!
Yesterday we ran a few errands and I took a nap before we drove down to Wilmington, DE. We found parking right away and made our way to the expo. I got my race packet and it was easy to remember my number since it was 1111. I was thrilled to find out that on top of the New Balance tech shirt, we also got a pint glass! The beer lover in me cheered!
Since the event was sponsored by New Balance, we had to check out their tent. Scott immediately started talking to a shoe guy about running shoes. He doesn’t run too far (had ACL surgery in college), but he’s never had someone help him through picking out a good shoe and the fact they were on sale helped influence him to check it out. After he got set up, the shoe guy moved on to me. I have 2 pairs of Nikes (one older, the other I blogged about), but I figured I might as well see what he suggested. Of course the pair I tried on were $99, but the original price was around $150 so they were a good deal. I told him I have plantar fasciitis that flares up occasionally, and after trying on that shoe I could feel a huge difference. I ended up getting them since variety is the spice of life and testing a variety of running shoes will only make me better.
I was a little surprised he fit me in a 9.5. I normally wear an 8.5 or a 9, but I do know NBs run smaller than a lot of brands.
Now that we had put some dents in our wallets, it was time to check into the hotel. We stayed at the Double Tree which was within walking distance and had a garage. We only had to pay for the parking since Scott has a buttload of points from his previous traveling job. The hotel room was pretty nice, and DTs always give you fresh baked cookies when you check in. I gobbled mine instantly. Hah.
Once we got settled, we showered up and I got in touch with my older sister Molly to see where we were meeting her and her hubs Josh for dinner. She told us to head to Mrs. Robino’s in Little Italy. It wasn’t fancypants, which was good since I didn’t pack fancy pants. Instead I wore this!
There was time to take a few goof pics before we headed out the door.
We got to the place and only had to wait a little bit before Molly and Josh showed up. I meant to take a pic of all of us, but of course forgot because we were talking too much. We ordered some wine with dinner and Scott, Molly, and Josh split the antipasto appetizer. I munched on bread until the entrees came out. I had the gnocchi with olive oil and garlic. It was soooo good and hit the spot perfectly. We chatted about traveling, running, and plans to hang out more often. Molly and Josh were flying the next morning for Josh’s surprise birthday vacation (which I almost blew because I didn’t know it was a surprise!). I was happy that even though they couldn’t be there to cheer me, they made time to visit with us. After dinner, we went back to the hotel, I cursed at my iPod for an hour while trying to set up my half playlist, then we went to bed.
This morning I got up 15 min before the alarm. I had a little bit of butterflies in my stomach and started to get ready. I decided to wear the tech shirt, paired it with my Under Armour shorts, the new running socks I got from the expo, and my Nike hat. I wear Moving Comfort sports bras, btw. They’re awesome for reducing bounce. I pinned all my stuff to my shirt and was ready to rock. I ate a handful of reduced fat Wheat Thins and had the protein bar that came with our running packet. The walk to the starting line was quick and we passed a few marathoners on the way. I felt more and more excitement as I got closer to the start. We took a few pre-race shots before the cannon went off.
The cannon went off and I was on my way. The first couple miles went by really fast. I felt pretty good and told myself to just keep whatever pace I was going as long as I could. We ran down to the waterfront area and across a stretch of boardwalk. The weather was low 60s and misty which felt perfect. I dialed back a tad on the boardwalk section. The last thing I wanted to do was wipe out.
Once we came back to the starting area it was off into the city. There were a few inclines I was not expecting. Delaware is flat! Where did these hills come from? Miles 4-5 took us through the Wilmington Zoo. I know this was a good idea in theory, but it smelled like animal crap! I didn’t see any animals but I could smell them for sure. That was really unpleasant and the last thing I wanted to smell while running! Between miles 5 and 6 I ate one of the Gu gels I packed in my race pouch. I had debated skipping them, but I wanted to make sure I kept my energy up. I’d never had one before and it wasn’t bad. It was also a good idea because shortly after we had an incline to scale. I’m pretty sure I muttered “F these hills!” multiple times!
Miles 7-8 I was still feeling relatively good. We were running through some really nice neighborhoods and I spotted a few houses for sale I’d love to buy. The things you think about when running, haha. My playlist was perfectly timed as the songs I picked were helping me a lot. Apparently people were told to either turn their iPods off or down, but I rarely listen to mine loudly since I don’t want to miss hearing traffic.
Miles 9-10 took us through Little Italy and back again. I passed the place we had dinner at and got really happy for a while. I passed a water station and a little girl shouted she loved my shoes. That made me feel good. There were a lot of groups of kids helping pass out water and I made sure to grab from one of them figuring they’d feel happy about it. One kid shouted, “This Gatorade makes you younger!” I guess he was trying to be Mr. Popular. Hahaha. When I got to mile 10, my arches started feeling a little sore, and the hills had really worked my glutes. I told myself it was only a 5K left and imagined I had just started that part of the race.
The next mile or so went by pretty uneventful. I was keeping pace with a group of chicks that had been around me since the beginning. I passed a guy playing drums to inspire us along and a guy in his 80s that up until that point was beating me by a long shot. I knew I was ahead of my race pace that I trained for, so the good vibes kept flowing. That’s when I left the park area and hit the last leg of the run, an f-ing hill. The climb was brutal and I slowed to around an 11 min or so mile. I was sort of pissed at myself briefly for not investigating the elevation changes of the course ahead of time, but it was too late to change that. I pushed myself and didn’t let myself walk. My butt cheeks were on fire and I just kept throwing one foot in front of the other. This lady from the sidewalk yelled, “don’t let the hill beat you! You beat the hill!” to all of us and that cheered me up.
Thankfully, the hill crested and I hit mile 13. I started heading to the finish area and people were yelling and clapping. One guy shouted, “eleven-eleven! I love that number!” which made me smile. I came around the bend and saw the finish and took off in a full sprint which made the guy next to me sprint as well. I was happy he took off with me because I think we were both feeling exhausted.
I felt so elated when I was done I thought I was going to cry for a second, then instead just wanted water and gatorade. I got my finishers medal and hugged Scott.
My gun time was 2:08:34.5, chip time was 2:08:19.2, and I placed 323 (My birthday! How weird!). My legs felt like jello and I stretched it out. I didn’t feel terribly hungry, but figured I should get some food. I had half of a terribly melted ice cream sandwich, a soft pretzel, and a Vitamin Water. We walked back to the finish line and Scott introduced me to this guy Rich he met while waiting for me. Turns out Rich’s girlfriend was also running the half and she finished just under 3 hours. We met Jamie, hung out while they got food, exchanged names for facbooking, and walked back the hotel to check out.
The trip home was fast and I passed out for 2 hours. I woke up and finally felt hungry enough for a large bowl of cereal and I made a steambag of veggies with cheese. I am feeling very proud of myself and learned a lot about mental willpower and what to do and not to do for the next race. On my to do list: squats and lots of hills! I’m also hoping to do more speedwork to beat my finish. I believe work will pay for a team at the ING Rock’n'Roll half in Philly in Sept, so count me in for that! Thanks for sticking around for this lengthy and pic-filled recap! I’m going to take a break from exercise (other than stretching and maybe some really light yoga) for the next few days. Cheers!