I completed my first half-marathon today! I did the Gazelle Girl in Grand Rapids, MI. The money raised went to support 4 different charities, one being Girls on the Run. I thought it would be cool to have my first half-marathon be a women-only race.
I used the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training program (tweaking a few things~ like flipping a couple days around due to my work schedule, and a couple weeks I took out the 3 mile run so that I could get in some extra yoga, which saved my joints!) I thought that the "taper week" this past week would be awful since I'm a "workout-everyday-kinda gal" but it was actually a very good thing! My left IT band had been bugging me for a while and it would always hurt for the first mile or so until I got going and it loosened up. But today it didn't hurt at all! I felt great! So I'm sure that the extra rest/less running played a huge role in that.
My husband, sons, and I went to the Expo yesterday. I was able to get a couple pictures there with my bib:
Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner at Olive Garden, then we headed back to the hotel for a little swimming. (I didn't actually swim, I just kept alternating between the hot tub and the pool, dangling my legs in the cold water when the hot tub started feeling too warm).
Last night was an awful night of sleep. I NEVER sleep well in a hotel room, but this time was "extra" bad. Tossed and turned, up several times in the night. I actually woke up 10 minutes before my alarm, so I went ahead and got up. Since it was one room hotel room, I ended up sitting on the edge of the tub in the bathroom so that I wouldn't wake up my family. Was able to read my Bible, get some water in, and eat my Cliff bar. I also kept checking the weather, since for the several past days they had been predicting thunderstorms all morning! We went out yesterday to buy a lighter running rain jacket for me at Gazelles. I have a lighter one that I had loaned to a friend (thinking I wouldn't need it) and my regular running jacket would have been fine for rain, but too warm for the 60-degree temps)... I decided the night before thought that I wasn't going to cut the tags off the jacket until I knew for sure if I was going to need it. So many women were out shopping for the same thing yesterday (jackets!) because of the predicted rain, so the only one I could find that I liked was $90, it wasn't in the color I would have prepared. Well, come this morning I found out that the rain was only going to be from 6am-7am, and the race didn't start till 8am. So that jacket is going back! lol!
I was able to meet a lady that I met on Facebook through a running group that was also running the half. We actually started out running our first 3 miles together, but she is much faster than me. We were running at a 9:30/10min pace, and I knew I couldn't keep it up for 13 miles, so I slowed down a little and let her keep going. We did meet up after the race though. It was nice to have her there at the start, though! And she is very sweet! Here we are (she's in the white jacket/white hat:
My husband and sons were able to see me at the starting line, 2 miles, 11 miles, and the finish line. The course kind of went out by a highway, and there weren't really any easy ways for them to rush from spot to spot. Most of the people that were able to do that were riding bikes. I loved seeing them at mile 2, and it was a little discouraging not to see them again for so long after that! I use Runmeter on my phone to track my runs, and it's connected to my Facebook page, so I was hearing comments from friends as they wrote messages on my Runmeter. That really helped to know that so many people were thinking of me and cheering me on!
I told myself NO WALKING until I got to the water stations. Being my first half, several people told me to stop at each water station for water. It was actually pretty humid out, so I'm glad I took their advice. On my training runs I would carry a running water bottle, but I didn't bring it today so I had to use their cups. I found it harder to drink and walk at the same time without almost choking, so decided to stop to drink the water each time (they were such small cups, it was only a few sips each time, so it didn't take long at all). Whenever I felt like walking, I would tell myself no, wait for the water station! It kept me going...
My hamstrings felt a little tight at mile 10.15, but other than that everything felt good. Mile 12 was probably the hardest mentally, since I just felt ready to be done! It was an uphill finish. My actual mileage ended up being 13.35, and my time was 2:20. I was really happy with that! I had a goal in my head of 2:20, but I felt like it might be closer to 2:30. My husband (and many others) told me not to worry about my time, which I tried not to, but I think everyone has so idea of a time they would like to beat. Here's a picture of me at the finish line, and a picture of my husband and sons that they took of themselves while waiting for me...
Instead of medals, they gave out sterling silver charms. I thought it was kind of cool, since you can wear it around. Here's mine:
It was a good race. Our next race is in one month. We are doing a 25k (15.5 miles). I'm doing that one with a friend from church. She is newer to running as well, so we're not going to worry about time, just finishing! We're both very excited!