I did it! I completed my first half marathon today and I didn't even pee my pants!! And I'm very pleased with my time! I completed 13.1 miles in 1:53:14. My pace time was 8:39. Holy crap. Everytime I think about my time I think holy crap, I finished a half marathon in under two hours. This is the same girl who used to walk at cross country practice. I guess this is why we train - to become better! The hardwork is paying off. I felt so strong today. The course was challenging and had a good mix of flats and hills.
I woke up at 4:45 this morning so I was wide awake by the time the race started. I was a little nervous going into this morning's race. After running Broad Street and coming in with a really great time on a very flat course, I wasn't sure how I would do on the half marathon since there were a lot more hills. While I was excited to run the half marathon this morning, I was super psyched for the Broad Street Run. I think there was just an excitment to be running with a friend, running with 30,000 people and running in Philadelphia. I didn't feel that super psychness for the half marathon. Because I had never run a long distance race before, I was really cautious about what I ate before Broad Street. However, some of my pre-half marathon meals from yesterday included chocolate chip cookies, cake, chips, pretzels and more junk. But I was sure to drink plenty of water.
Whatever it was, it worked, because this morning was awesome. The weather was perfect for running. Cool and overcast! I started the race feeling a bit crappy. Mile 1 was the hardest of all 13 miles. I felt a bit slow going out, but by the time I got to the first mile marker and saw that my time was 9:03 I was feeling good because I knew I was on pace... just another 12.1 miles to go!
The first three miles were flat and fast... we headed around the outlet stores back up near the start line and through the ghetto a few blocks away from the Sunday Breakfast Mission. I saw a homeless man sleeping on the side of the street. From there we made a left on 4th Street and then up Walnut Street. Walnut Street was a bit of an incline, but nothing bad. We made a left on 16th Street and then a right on Market and then made the first left onto the street that runs along the river and past the zoo. That was a nice part of the run. I was running with the same group of people for most of the race and my goal was to never lose site of them because they were helping me to set my pace. We continued up the river and then crossed at the swinging bridge and back down the river before heading up South Park Drive (a hill!!!!). I knew the next part of the run would be difficult. The next mile or so was all uphill.
Okay I don't feel like writing about each part of the run anymore. I don't even feel like writing right now, but I don't want to let my fans down... (all three of you) HAHA! So anyways...
As I was running I kept telling myself to keep pushing it because half marathons aren't supposed to be easy. Whenever I had a cramp or my feet or legs started hurting I told myself I'm supposed to be in pain. If there was no pain, more people would run half marathons. I kept chugging along. At mile 10 I was at 1:26 about 5 minutes faster than my time at the Broad Street Run. At that point I knew I was going to finish in under two hours and I kept telling myself you only have a 5k left to run and most of it would be down hill. I picked up some speed going back down S. Park Drive and when I got to the 11 mile mark I said this is it... I'm almost finished. When I made a right on to King Street, the last stretch of the race, we started going uphill again. At this point I was tired and, seriously, the only thing I kept repeating in my head was oh s***, oh s***... another damn hill. The hill wasn't big by any means, but I wasn't digging any sort of incline at that point. I got up the little hill and kept moving... there was probably one more mile at this point. When I turned the bend and saw the finish line I kicked it in high gear... I sprinted to the finish line. I was tired when I crossed the line. I limped to the refreshment tent. My calves, shins and quads were all burning. Stretching was not an option at that point. I just wanted to sit. I sat and ate a soft pretzel and banana. Eventually I found my mom and stepdad and we left.
After the race I went to breakfast, vacuumed my house and got a pedicure - my feet were a hot mess - and went shopping. I talk a lot about eating, but just like the Broad Street Run, I'm not really all that hungry today. No big post-race meal for me. My legs are feeling tight right now, but not anything close to what they felt like right after the race. Tomorrow will be interesting. It typically takes my body 24 hours to really start feeling the work. I'm hoping I'll be okay though.
Well that pretty much sums up the half marathon experience! It was an awesome feeling to finish and I'm still thinking I'm nuts because 13.1 miles just doesn't phase me when I think about it. I'm ready to train for the marathon. But before I begin I'm taking probably a week off from long distance running. On Saturday I'm running in a relay race for work. Each runner takes a mile leg. I'm not sure how I'll do with that... I want to go out and sprint it but I know I'll die doing that. I'm hoping to run an 8 minute mile. Maybe I can try 7:30.
Peace. Love. Run.