Half Marathon Recap

Cinco de Mayo 2013 marked an awesome day…. I completed my first half marathon.

I’ve talked about the race many, many times and as I sit here and write this, 15 days later, I still can’t believe I did it!!! I was incredibly nervous (but ready) and I knew that I worked really hard to follow my training plan.

My friend Lindsey and I have been planning to run this race since September 2012; however, neither one of us could remember why we actually decided to do it.

Here’s a little photo montage of our weekend in Kalamazoo — I am now officially a half-marathoner. 🙂

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After exploring around the check-in venue, trying to find where to get our bibs, and (of course) purchasing our 13.1 car magnets, we stopped to snag a picture to show we were actually there! 🙂

Our “pre-game” meal didn’t turn out as planned as we wanted to go to a specific restaurant, not factoring in the other 3,000 people there for the race as well as proms and typical Saturday traffic.  So we ended up at Monaco Bay, a piano bar.  We got decent food (no pasta), had a pre-race celebratory beer, and prepared to be the DDs for our trusty fans.

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We went to the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange next – where Matt and Stange enjoyed “playing the market” and drinking fantastic beers. Lindsey and I decided to get in our carb load with this delicious bread pudding. I mean, why not? We’ve been training for way too long…

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And yes, we are broke and paid the waitress with those quarters. Don’t judge.

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I mean, this didn’t make us crap our pants or anything – I thought it was a good idea to have a countdown app on my phone, until 24 hours before the race and it just kept reminding me non-stop…. ummm helllloooo of course I know there’s a race coming!!!

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Besides for watching Stange and Matt get really excited at the prices of beers, this young gem was our other form of (sober) entertainment.  Who brings their young kid to the bar to play his handheld video game while hogging the pool table??? People these days…. 😉

Okay, but seriously, I’ll start talking about the actual race now. 

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Ahhhhh…. nice early morning shot. We didn’t sleep so hot the night before – probably because we jammed 4 people into a 2 person room.

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Saturday night, Lindsey was saying that the final .1 was going to be the killer and that she was just gonna stop at the 13 mile mark. Lucky for us, we parked right by the 13 sign and of course, she just decided to sit and refuse to move further.

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Ahhhh walking up to the start/finish line. How cool!

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Couldn’t wait to get the rest of the day done and over with so I could come back and see this side of the sign.

backdrop

Straight cheesing.

I wore Remedy (white), size large, calf compression running socks.  These made a WORLD of difference.  I didn’t do much training with them because I made kind of a last minute decision to buy them.  I am so incredibly happy I did.  I get chronic calf pain and shin splints from an old fracture of my tibia.  I also wore a heel cup in my right shoe as I know I have a leg length discrepancy because of the fracture.

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Yes, we were nervous.

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Let’s just say our 2.5 hour block of people was a littttttle far away from the start/finish line.

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Thumbs up?

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Double thumbs up? I’m pretty sure my knees were shaking non-stop at this point. At least I was representing my SoleMate shirt. Was so happy to be running for Girls on the Run.
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Of we go! This is the only picture I took out on the course.  If you look towards the middle/left side of the picture, you can see a white tent on top of a building…. that is where we are getting married!!! We ran right by it. I won’t lie, I cried. I especially cried because my iPod decided to play Bruno Mars “Marry You” as I was running up to it. I wish I had planned that. haha

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So, here’s the thing.  I thought that Linds was going to fly past me and that I was going to be running the race on my own, which I was totally cool with.  However, we decided in the beginning that we were going to run together.  We got each other through the race. The first half of the race was tough for me. The second half of the race was tough for her.  We pushed each other straight through.  I couldn’t have done it without her.

As we were running past that final 13 mile mark, I told Linds we were going to stick together til the end. If you can’t tell by the picture above, I didn’t hold true to my thought.  I got too caught up in the moment and pushed myself. In all honesty, I turned the corner and saw 2:46 on the sign and I was SO PISSED at myself for not even being close to the 2:30 that I wanted to be under… so I booked it. ((I was looking at the marathon time, not the half time – they left 20 minutes before us, I found that out after the fact))

Sowa and I

Immediately after.  Yes, I took advantage of the chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, banana, orange slice… And yes, I cried when I hit the finish line.  I had it all planned out that I was going to throw both arms up in the air like Rocky… instead, all I could do was one.  There is a really good professional picture of it, but I didn’t wanna post the picture.

One of the coolest things about crossing the finish lines here is that the announcer said each one of our names as we crossed the finish line. It was a really nice, personal touch and it made me feel really special.  I’ve always done smaller races, so I don’t know if this is typical of big races, but it was awesome!

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I wish I could fully express how awesome I felt at this point in time.  I called Mike right away (he had to work so couldn’t come, but was tracking me as I went) and called my mom.  Then stretched, a tiny bit. Not enough.
Stange Sowa Sims

Los Tres Amigos…. Stange came out to watch us race.  The coolest thing about the iPhone is group texting. The three of us have been group texting since September and she has been involved in many, many, many texts, complaints, and rants about our training.

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Apparently my calf sleeves made my legs look like transformers…. And you’ll see the blisters on the back of my heel. That’s all I had! I felt pretty good about that. But definitely need to retire the shoes I wore after this race.

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Post-race celebration at Applebees.  I got delicious fajitas and a Bud Light in honor of my dad. resultsFINAL RESULTS! Came in under 2:30, which is exactly what I wanted!!! Couldn’t believe it!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Showing up early really does make a difference – I have a tendency to show up right before the other races I have done and then I am always waiting in line for the disgusting portapotties 3 minutes before the race starts.
  2. Water, water, water, water….. especially when it ended up being 73 degrees on race day and I had been training in controlled environments at the gym or in the snow.
  3. I found it important that the night before we didn’t just sit in the hotel room – we were out and about keeping busy and not thinking about the race. This was huge for my mental game.
  4. I need to become mentally stronger … I don’t have any idea why the beginning of the race was so tough for me, but it was.
  5. WALKING IS OKAY! I knew that I was going to need to stop and walk some, and we did, and it was totally fine. I did not feel like we failed – I was honest with myself and planned it into my mind.
  6. EMBRACE THE COURSE. The people along the course were phenomenal.  I made a point to thank people, slap hands, laugh at the signs, cry when I was inspired, say hi to the little kids…. isn’t that what it’s about? The community support was amazing and I was incredibly inspired through the whole thing.
  7. I tried to keep cheering on the people around me, and they were there when I stopped towards the end and I needed it too… we all did it together.
  8. Energy along the course is essential.  I brought 2 Gu packs with me (Vanilla and Strawberry), I used both, and probably one more that was given to me from some volunteers along the course. I needed it and it took a while to kick in and help boost, but it really did make a difference.
  9. Outfit.  I did a lot of thinking about my outfit.  Because I was a Girls on the Run SoleMate, I had a shirt to wear to represent.  But, I knew it was going to be hot out, so I wore a tank top under.  I took the shirt off at about mile 4 and threw it back on at mile 12 so I could finish the race representing.  I wore shorts that I have run in a ton of times – they had pockets so it was easy for me to store my Gu and chapstick.
  10. I need to find a better place to store my iPod.  I HATE the arm sleeve holders so I didn’t wear mine.  I shoved it into my sports bra (which I usually do when I’m running) and the pictures look REDIC. So, I probably need to work on that. Any ideas?
  11. Motivation. I needed all the motivation I could get. I thought about my family. I dedicated the last few miles to a different person in my family. I ran for Girls on the Run – I thought about them often. I ran for ME.
  12. I am an inspiration.  I did something that many have done but many more have not.  I tried to do everything in my power to celebrate my accomplishment.  I have always hated running. Hated it.  I have grown to enjoy the pain, enjoy the time to myself, and celebrate my little successes.  It truly is an incredibly feeling.
  13. I wish I could fully express how sore I was. For 4 days I could barely move, sit to pee, sleep, get in and out of the car… I wish I would have stretched more, refueled better…. But, I will (hopefully) learn for next time!

Also – we drank the Kool-Aid… We are signing up for another race in Metro-Detroit for the fall. More information to come soon 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this, for all the love and support, and for those who said a few prayers.  I am so proud of myself for accomplishing this goal and I cant’ wait to see what happens next. 

I am a proud half-marathoner. 

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