Chi Town Half - My First Half Marathon

April 2, 2012

Hey Everyone! It’s Monday again… but I hope you all had a great weekend! I sure did! Friday Night I went to go see Legally Blonde the Musical with my sister-in-law, Lauren. The show was out in the suburbs and we were a little skeptical about it at first (there were a TON of high schoolers in the audience so we didn’t know if it was a younger cast) but we were pleasantly surprised!

Legally Blonde Playbill April 2012
Legally Blonde Stage April 2012

The stage was really cool because it was surrounded by the audience. I’d never been to a production like this and I really enjoyed it!

On Saturday I had my doctor’s appointment out in the suburbs, then in the afternoon I FINALLY got to see the Hunger Games!!! It was amazing! I found myself freaking out at parts, even though I’d read the book and knew what was going to happen! I want to see it again and again and again!

For dinner I went to the Counter Burger with my cousin, Allie, and her friends who’d come in town to celebrate her engagement!!!! Congrats Allie! After dinner they headed out to watch the KU basketball game and I headed home. Why? Because I had to get some sleep for my HALF MARATHON!!!!

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That’s right! I ran my half marathon yesterday! Haha it was NOT all smiles though, it was really rough, but I learned a lot of lessons from it!

I started off my morning with a piece of Udi’s bread with PB and 1/2 banana (and coffee and water).

The weather was colder than I’d anticipated and possibly rainy, so I wore my visor and long sleeve. I also decided to wear my compression sleeves during the race, and they didn’t bother me like I thought they might!

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Here’s the starting line! I stood with the 8:24 pace group, since that was my “dream goal.”

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It was really great to have my cousin, Allie, as well as my brother Harrison with his dog, Molly, cheering me along! Allie was at 3 points along the course, and Harrison was at 2 and then the finish line!

Allie made these great posters! Despite having gone out to celebrate the KU win, she spent her morning in the cold cheering me on! Thank you Allie!

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The race, well, was pretty rough. Issue #1 was that my pace group started out REALLY FAST. I stuck with them the first 2 miles and then had to fall back. They ran an 8:04 pace the first mile and an 8:17 pace the second… which was sprinting for me. The number one thing I always hear is don’t go out too fast at the beginning. Well my goal to stick with the pace group really bit me in the butt here. They went out too fast, which meant I went out too fast, and it really hurt me.

When I dropped back from them I remembered everyone saying just run for fun! I was NOT having fun and I decided to forget the pace and just run my own race. I stuck to what I could keep up and I pushed myself and I’m proud of what I did!

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I have to say though, I had to use every bit of will power I had to keep putting one leg in front of the other. My legs were burning about halfway through, and by mile 10 they felt like cement. I could barely keep my pace between 9:30 and 9:00. The last 2 miles were by far the roughest and I was pretty slow, but I kept telling myself that I couldn’t stop now, I was almost there, just keep moving!

I finished the race in 1:59:38 for a pace of 9:08, which means I met my original goal (before I found out about the Chicago Marathon corral qualifying times), so at least I did that!

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And you know what? I am proud that I ran a HALF MARATHON! I would have never dreamt of doing this a couple years ago, even 1 year ago!

There were a lot of things I learned throughout this process though:

  1. If the pace group is sprinting the first mile – fall back!
  2. Don’t cut fiber out of your diet… I thought I’d follow someone’s advice and try to cut out fiber a couple days before. This was a BAD idea for my body and let’s just say I had some digestive issues the day before and morning of the race. I was not feeling well. I realized it was a bad idea by Saturday afternoon, but at that point it was too late.
  3. Train for speed AND distance. I realized that although I’d been doing my speed runs, overall my pace during this training dropped significantly. I was so focused on adding to my weekly mileage, that I let my pace on normal runs get slower and slower. I was adding miles to my training plan, which is good if I’m building a base, but not when training for a race! It’s got to be one or the other for me.
  4. Don’t focus solely on your injured body parts. I spent so much time focusing on making sure my feet (plantar fasciitis) and the back of my knee were fine that I barely stretched or cared about my quads or IT bands. Those were the muscles that gave me the most problems during the race – everything else was fine! I need to stretch and roll EVERYTHING, not just problem areas!
  5. Set realistic goals. I’d been running my training runs (and they were ROUGH) at a 9:50-10:00 pace. It was unrealistic of me to think I could cut over a minute and half per mile on my pace. Apparently I thought magic was going to come from somewhere. Why not 7:00?!? Lol, dreaming a bit too big there.
  6. Focus on having fun! I realized a few miles into the race that it was NOT fun and that I needed to enjoy the race, not push myself to the point where I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide! Part of that is setting a realistic pace!

I’m actually kind of glad it wasn’t a walk in the park. Sometimes I think I have everything under control and I won’t “mess up” like other people say they did at their first race. Well, I’m not perfect! And now I can be one of those people one day who are like: “yea, at my first race I…. but now  I’ve learned better.”

Well. Half marathon #1 is done and done! And you know what? I’m ready for #2! Haha although it was a rough race, all I want to do is sign up for another! If only I had tons of money, I’d register for half marathons every month – I’d just run most of them for fun and not for a goal pace though. Those medals are addicting! Oh, and the sense of accomplishment.


What have you learned from race experiences?

What’s the best thing you did this weekend?