What a sense of accomplishment! I completed my very first half marathon yesterday morning!! What a journey!!
I have shared before that before a race I typically have a bout of anxiety, actually my last race was a 5K and every time I thought about signing up for another race I just couldn't do it! I was afraid of that feeling. So on Friday, two days before race day the anxiousness showed up and started to settle in. My heart raced and my belly grumbled all afternoon and evening. Saturday morning I woke up bright and early, loaded the car and picked up my race buddies and set out for our 5 hour drive to the beach! I tried hard to hide my angst around my seasoned runner friends but the heart palpitations and nervous belly were in full force! Saturday night I barely slept and spent much of the morning back and forth to the bathroom... I was seriously stressing.
I was not stressed about the race it's self, I didn't register with the intent of winning. This was my first half. I had run long so I wasn't overly concerned about the distance either. I can't pinpoint what was working me up so much, maybe just the excitement of it all and the mass crowd that I was about to be a part of! After a cup of coffee I walked out side, witnessed the sunrise over the ocean and finally felt a calm come over me.
We all got dressed, geared up and walked to the starting line of the Divas Half-Marathon Race! I was blown away! This particular race had a 5K and a half. We arrived just as the 5K took off, there was so much energy, it was invigorating.
We then got into corral with the other 2,160 half marathoners and within minutes we were off!
The first three miles I ran my heart out! I know now that I started off too fast! I was pacing between 8:54 and 9:34 for the first 4 miles (my 5K pace is right at 9:00) then I started to tire and slowed down drastically. By 6 miles I was at a 10:12 pace and around 11 miles I was pacing 11:17 and I finished with an 11:27 pace.
While I know I could have done better I am happy with this! I came in with a 2hr 30 min time which put me at 213 out of 444 people in my age division and 960 overall out of 2,160 half marathoners!!!!!! Top 50%!! For my first half that's not too shabby!! Especially considering I hadn't made it past a 10 mile run before this half!!
I realized by about mile 6 that my Runtastic, the app I have used for two years to map my runs, was off in distance. It started running ahead by .25 miles, then by .5 miles and at the end, at 13.1 miles my app said I had run 14.39 miles... Ooops... So what this tells me is when I thought I had run 10.35 miles a couple weeks ago (my last long run before this race) I had actually probably only ran 9.5! I have my Garmin now which is much more accurate and I am going to give Strava a try!
Now if I could have a do over, or at lease certainly for the next race, I will pace myself better and try hard to start out at a 9:30-10:00 min mile, actually it would probably be best for me to pace at a 10:00 min mile out of the gate and sustain that through the race. I used up a lot of my energy in the beginning where I wished I had saved it up for the finish!
In addition at about mile 10 and throughout the remainder of the race I had the most severe foot and calf cramps that I had ever experienced in my life! I had to stop several times and stretch and walk them out. It was excruciating, I am going to do some research to try and determine what went wrong here. Was I not hydrated enough? I did stop and almost every aid station for water and a couple of times I had Gatorade. I have been taking a Magnesium supplement and making sure I consume plenty of potassium. I am just not sure what I did wrong but I will work to figure it out! I also had issues with my IT band again but honestly dealing with the severe cramping was way worse! At mile 12 I wasn't sure that I'd even be able to run across the finish I was in so much pain. I rounded the corner however, saw the finish and ran for it!
I completely expected to have an emotional finish, this was huge for me, but I was in so much discomfort that I couldn't feel much else! LOL! I earned that pain though and I am proud of it! I am so proud of this milestone in life! I never in a million years thought I would ever run a half marathon! April 2013 I ran 1 mile and here I am April 2015 running 13.1!!
Such a celebration at the end of this race!! Near the finish you are crowned and given a feather boa and at the finish your are donned with your Diva metal! I highly recommend this series if you haven't already done one! We had an amazing time! The metals were also awesome! Tiaras!! Such a blast!
Today I am struggling a bit to move but I will do this again!!! I'm going to give my self a week to rest and recover and then I am back at it! Ready to train for the next!