This was my 4th half marathon. It seems weird that I have actually only raced this distance 4 times, because I have run it countless times on my own. My last half marathon was in October 2014 when I was struggling with compartment syndrome. My longest training run for this race was 10 miles one week before the race. Despite this I was not nervous going into the race, I knew my legs and lungs could handle 13.1 miles and I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the race. I think from now on I’m just going to throw time goals out the window and just enjoy the fact that I can run pain-free again. This quote from Kara Goucher (love her!) is so relevant to me:
“Nothing in my life has ever broken my heart the way running has. And yet I cannot breathe without it.”
Now for the race breakdown….
I did not sleep very well the night before, which is typical when I have a test or important event. I tend to wake up every hour during the night and frantically look at the time afraid that my alarm did not go off and that I am late. I woke up at 4:30 am before my alarm (set for 5 am) and went ahead and got up. I had my gear set out the night before to streamline my routine. I headed out at 6 am to the race. Start time was at 8 am, but I wanted to have plenty of driving time and parking time.
Once I parked, I pinned on my bib and headed off to follow the flow of runners headed to the start corrals. I warmed up, empty my bladder three times, and chilled until the race start. I was in corral 7 (there were 16 total), so I actually started running about 10 minutes after 8 am.
It was crowded pretty much the entire race, with over 8,000 half marathoners in total. I weaved around people a lot in the beginning and inadvertently added some extra distance onto my Garmin, but it was no biggie.
There were some funny signs including:
“1 mile to go! #alternative facts” right after the start.
“If Trump could do it, so can you!”
There were live bands along the course, two cowboys on stilts high-fiving runners, and lots of spectators. One guy in particular I saw three times along the course. His was very loud and encouraging; all of the runners got a hoot out of his comments. One runner went to high-five him, and he said, “Oh shit! I’m not good at high-fiving! Ah, okay here it goes! Ah! Did it! Yes GO runners!” People were laughing and commenting that he must be a fast runner, since we kept seeing him around the course.
The race atmosphere was really great and it kept me distracted from how hot and sunny it was. I sweated a lot and was basically a human salt lick after the race. I ran out of water in my handheld after 10 miles, which was a bummer. There were some tough hills in the race. I had just finished climbing the hardest one around 8 miles in when I ran into an Instagram friend that I have known for 3 years. She was running her 79th half, we ran together and chatting for a bit before going our separate ways.
My legs felt pretty good for most of the race, the hills tired out my quads, but I did not have any pain or blisters. Always a plus! The last mile was across a bridge in the sun and it was a bit of a mental challenge. I just tried to stay focused on putting one foot in front of the other and not the fact that I was thirsty and it was hot.
After I crossed the finish line I promptly downed 16 oz of water. My official race time was 2:12, but my Garmin half time put me at 2:08. I had added and extra 0.37 miles onto my 13.1 mile half. I know my Garmin is accurate, because it is spot on when I run on the track. So it was just the curves of the course and weaving around people that added distance.
I had a really great race and I am looking forward to running some more half marathons in the very near future. It’s a distance I can easily crank out, but still challenges me at the same time. Plus my love of long runs gets satisfied. 🙂
Afterwards, I went home and made vegan chocolate chip pancakes. My tummy was a bit upset after I drank all of that water at the finish, but it settled down by the time I got home. I was glad to get out of my still wet clothes and wash all of the sweat and salt off of me.
I would totally recommend running a Rock and Roll event. It was a lot of fun and I will be running another one of their races in the future.