Happy Monday, everyone!!
I hope everyones weekend was fantastic! Mine was a blast because I ran in the Cypress Half Marathon, which was my first half! I’m thankful that I took the day off of work today because my body is extremely sore. But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I took it very easy on Friday night. I did a bit of stretching and began mentally preparing for Sunday. Schoen and I went and grabbed a burger at Smashburger for dinner. Carbs = energy! During my training I found that my body responded very well to eating pizza or a hamburger before my long runs so I stuck to what I knew worked for me.
As you can see, I had absolutely no issues polishing off my entire burger and sweet potato fries.
I took it fairly easy on Saturday as well. I ran a few errands, one of which included picking up a new Polar Heart Rate Watch!
I was long overdue for an upgrade from my Polar FT4. I found an amazing deal on the Polar A300 so it was hard to pass up! The rest of my Saturday was spent relaxing and getting my race day outfit laid out and ready to go.
Shorts: Nike Tempo Running Shorts
Compression Sleeves: 2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeve
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 18
Visor: Nike Featherlight Visor
HR Watch: Polar A300
Water Bottle: CamelBak Quick Grip Chill Handheld Water Bottle
Bracelet: Momentum Jewelry
Fuel: Annie’s Fruit Snacks
I woke up
bright and early at 4:30am on Sunday morning. I knew that I needed to wake up early enough to give my coffee and breakfast time to digest. I ate two pieces of Rudi’s gluten free bread toasted and smeared with some almond butter and drank two cups of coffee. Again, this was my go-to meal before a run so I stuck to what I knew worked for my body. Rule #1 of race day: don’t try anything new!
We left the house to head to the race at about 5:40 and we were there and parked by 6am. Luckily the start line of the race was at a local high school and all of the runners and spectators were able to wait inside until it was time to head to the corrals. Once I got inside, my nerves really started to kick in. I started to stretch out my legs a bit, making sure to really stretch my calves.
At around 6:30 we headed outside towards the start line and were greeted with an absolutely gorgeous sunrise.
It was kind of chilly outside, so I’m glad that I brought a jacket with me to help keep me warm while I stretched out some more.
After I finished stretching I handed off my jacket and bag to Schoen. He wished me luck, kissed me goodbye and I headed into the crowd of runners to find the 2:30 pace group. This is when I got a bit flustered.
I had my Nike+ running app ready to go with my distance and music teed up. I place my phone in my belt so all I needed to do was hit the start button, zip my belt up and I would be good to go. Well, it didn’t exactly go that smoothly. I didn’t even know the race had started until all of the runners started moving quickly towards the start line, there was no gun shot start (that I heard). So I quickly hit the start button on my Nike app…but nothing happened. No pace, no music, no indication that it was tracking my movement. Then, as soon as I crossed the start line, my heart rate strap that was strapped to my chest popped off. I quickly veered off to the left to get out of everyones way. I tightened my HR strap and re-attached it around my chest and then I took my phone out of my belt to try to fix my running app. I ended up re-starting Nike+, but no music was playing. At this point I had already lost my pace group and I was starting to freak out. Once I finally got my music and Nike+ app working (it seemed like it took forever) I ended up stuffing my phone into my sports bra and took off to try to make up the time that I lost.
I’m not going to lie, I was furious that I got off to such a rough start. I really wanted to run with a pace group to try and push myself and my mile splits. I made up quite a bit of time, I passed the 2:45 pace group fairly quickly but I slowed down because I didn’t want to tire myself out right off the bat.
By the time I hit mile 2 my legs felt a little more warmed up and was starting to hit a steady pace. I was super excited to see that Schoen and our friend Mike waiting for me at mile 3 to cheer me on! After I passed mile marker 3, I ate one bag of fruit snacks and felt the surge of extra energy kick in by mile 4.
Because this was the Inaugural Cypress Half Marathon, I was pleasantly surprised that there were quite a few people lining the streets with signs cheering on all of the runners. I think my favorite sign said “Run Faster Random Stranger!”. The spectators definitely helped push everyone, and I loved all of their support!
I felt pretty good from miles 3-8, my legs were feeling strong and I was running at a consistent pace. I fueled with another pack of fruit snacks at mile 7. Schoen met me again at mile 8.5 and I ended up handing off my SPIbelt to him. Since I wasn’t using it for my phone due to the mishap at the start line, it was more annoying than anything, so I was thankful to get it off my waist.
Once I hit mile 9 my knees really started to hurt, specifically the back of my right knee. I breathed through it and really focused on my running form so I didn’t end up hurting myself. Luckily I was able to maintain my same pace despite my knee pain.
I ate my last bag of fruit snacks at mile 10 to give me a boost of energy to tackle the last 3 miles.
One issue that I ran into at around mile 10 was people were beginning to walk. At one point a group of women (5-6 of them) were all walking shoulder to shoulder completely blocking the entire running lane. Because one of the two lanes were open to traffic, I was forced to run around the cones, into the lane where cars pass, to go around this walking group. I wasn’t frustrated because people were walking, but because they were not obeying basic running etiquette. So there was a lot of weaving in and out of people the last 3 miles.
Another spectator favorite was at around mile marker 11 where there was a girl playing the Rocky theme song on a trumpet! It was great and just the motivation I needed! After I passed mile 11 I knew that I had the rest of the race in the bag. As soon as I hit mile 12, I kicked it into gear and ended up shaving one minute off of my last mile.
I spotted Schoen and Mike as I rounded the corner to the finish line and threw them a thumbs up to let them know I was doing ok!
As soon as I crossed the finish line I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. My goal was to run the entire race…and I did just that. I couldn’t believe that I just ran 13.1 miles without stopping. According to my Nike+ app I completed 13.1 miles in 2:28:56 and the official results show my time as 2:31:40. As soon as Schoen saw me after crossing the finish he gave me a big hug and told me how proud of me he was.
At this point my legs were still shaking and I was extremely thirsty. I downed a glass of gatorade and immediately found a curb to stretch out my calves. After I stretched a bit I went to find my friend Carolyn who also ran in the race with her husband.
After snapping a few pictures we went inside to get our finisher shirts and coffee mugs. Schoen and I left soon after that because I was starting the feel the repercussions of the 13 mile run. I came home took a shower and immediately started to foam roll my legs.
I took it easy the rest of the day Sunday, periodically getting up to stretch a bit. I went to bed knowing that I was going to be sore today, and man oh man was I right. I literally had to roll out of bed this morning because my legs were extremely tight. I headed to the gym to take an 8am Yoga class that Carolyn was teaching. Thankfully it was a gentle glass that focused on some good stretching which is exactly what I needed. I also have a 90 minute massage scheduled for later this afternoon. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to that!
Despite a few hiccups at the beginning of the race, I had an absolute blast running my first Half Marathon! A big thank you to The Bayou City Half Marathon Series for putting on a great event! It’s safe to say that I’m hooked, and this won’t be my only half marathon!