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My First Half Marathon

  1. My race gels fell out of my pocket before leaving the house
  2. I never added my race playlist to my iPod
  3. I forgot my pace bracelet
  4. I went out way to fast
  5. My knee started hurting at mile 7
  6. Hills kicked my ass

Well, it’s over, and I finished!  Things didn’t go exactly as planned, and I didn’t hit my goal time, but I can officially say I am a half marathoner, and have the sore legs and chafe burns today to prove it.  First let’s back up to Saturday and the expo.  I met Chrissey and Steph in the city at 10 am on Saturday and we hit the expo right when it opened.  We grab our bibs and t-shirts and wandered up and down the aisles grabbing all the free stuff we could.

I got my picture with running legend Bart Yasso, who I actually think I said “I love you” to.  I hope he was flattered.

After the expo, the three of us headed of to lululemon where I picked up a short sleeve special edition race weekend shirt, and then to Marathon for lunch.  I’m glad I had friends to check out the expo with and hang with to help calm my nerves before race day.  Alex arrived around 3:30 on Saturday afternoon to be part of my cheering crowd, and we sat around relaxing before heading out to Olive Garden to meet up with my bff Jill and some of her friends who were also running.  I think Olive Garden may have to be my go to pre-race restaurant from now on.  Endless salad and breadsticks, giant bowls of pasta?  It was delicious and a perfect way to carb load.  It was also a fantastic way to keep my nerves at bay and think about something else besides the race.  I tried to get to bed early, but ended up tossing and turning until 12:30 before I was able to fall asleep.  My 4:30 am wake-up call came way too soon.

My alarm went off, I bounded out of bed, and immediately started dressing in my race outfit.  I had pinned my bib on the night before, so I was dressed and ready to go in about 5 minutes flat.  The rest of my family, was a different story.  My sister had gone out celebrating her 22nd birthday the night before, and I’m pretty sure she was still drunk, Alex can’t function without coffee and was moving slow, and who knows what my mom was doing.

We finally got out the door at 5:15, 15 minutes behind my desired departure time , and began our drive from suburbia into the city.  The drive was uneventful, and luckily we made it to the city and parked the car without any issues.  It was only when I got out of the car in the parking lot, when I reached into my pocket to grab my gels and realized they were missing.  (We later found them on the floor of my bathroom at home, a lot of good they did there).  The four of us walked to the start line and I visited the port-o-potties twice before jumping into my coral to start stretching.

Before I knew it, the sun was coming up and shining down on the Art Museum and the elite runners were getting ready to take off.

I discarded my throw away layer set my iPod and Garmin up, and that was when I realized my fun half marathon playlist was not actually on my iPod.  Another minor thing going wrong, but whatever I rolled with it and just set the whole thing to shuffle.

realizing my playlist isn't there

I was surprised at how calm I was when lined up in my coral.  I was excited to start, but no butterflies in my stomach, it was a great feeling and besides some numb toes I felt good.  One by one, the corals in front of me were sent off, and before I knew it mine was moving forward to the start.

When the actual start line was in sight, a lot of people started to jog before they reached it.  Amateurs.  The last thing I was going to do was add extra distance to my race.  I let these people jog by me and calmly walked all the way to the starting line, only starting to run once I stepped over that line.  I was off, I was officially running my very first half marathon!  The first few miles flew by, and were pretty uneventful.  Miles 1-3 were spent trying to get around slower runners without doing too much weaving.  People definitely lied about their projected finish time, it was really annoying.  Once we hit Columbus Blvd however, the street widened and everyone had more room.  I was feeling great, and a few glances down at my Garmin reflected that feeling.  I was easily running an 8:30 pace and feeling like it was a 10 minute pace.  Despite how good I was feeling, I knew it was early, and made a conscious effort to slow it down.

Miles 4-5 were my favorite of the race, we ran down South Street which was crowded with people and all decorated for Christmas.  I was still feeling good here, and took some time to eat my Power Bar Energy Blast chews.  Despite the effort to slow down, I was still through the 10k in 56:44 or a 9:07 pace, on target for my goal to break 2 hours.

Miles 5-7 were pretty uneventful, still kind of cruising along and feeling good, shocked at how quickly the first half of the race went by.  I saw Sabrina with her bright pink sign at mile 7, waved and smiled at her and was happy to see someone I knew along the course.  Right after I saw Sabrina, my knee started to really tighten up and send some twinges of pain up my leg.  I inwardly cursed my IT band, and hoped the pain would just go away.

Waving to Sabrina!

Mile 8 brought the first real hill of the course, and I was NOT ready for it.  Hills always cause a lot more problems for my IT band issue, but I tried to get through this one.  I made it up the hill and cruised on the downhill portion only to encounter another hill right away!  This second hill I alternated walking/running up and actually pulled off to the side for a minute to stretch out my leg.  It was really starting to bother me at this point, and I knew with 5 miles to go, stretching was necessary.

Mile 9 had a large downhill portion to it, and I cruised down it and almost missed seeing my cheering section for the first time.  I was already passed them by the time I saw them, but I managed to get off a wave and a smile before continuing on my way.  Check out the sign they had up for me:

Mile 10 was when I really died, there was a third hill, and this one was just endless.  I think it was Leslie who referred to it as “a raging bitch”, and that it was.  It really intimidated me, and with my quads and knee screaming from the previous two, I walked up the whole thing.  This decision is still kind of killing me now because I probably could have at least shuffled up it, but too late to change it now.  I grabbed a free GU from a volunteer right around then, and sucked it down while heading into the last few miles.

Miles 11-12 I tried to regain some of the momentum I’d lost during the hill section of the race, and was just hoping to hold on until the finish.  I saw my family again around mile 11.5 and my sister got this attractive photo of me.

No idea what I’m doing, although I am very sweaty.  Hot.  I came around a corner after the mile 12 marker and the Art Museum was in sight.  I was almost finished, I was going to finish my half marathon!  Then my iPod playlist ended, and I had to mess with it for a minute to get some music going again.  There was one more small uphill at mile 13 coming around the back of the Art Museum for the finish, and I think I almost cried.  I tried to suck it up, and once I hit the top I hauled ass to the finish.  I stopped my Garmin when it hit 13.1, about .1 miles from the actual finish line.  I wanted both the official half time on my watch, and then the race time from the clock.

Watch time: 2:05:27 13.1 miles, 9:34 pace
Clock time: 2:06:39 13.1 miles (really closer to 13.3), 9:39 pace

I’m definitely happy with this time for my first half marathon, but I know I can do better and go faster, so I’m already thinking about my next race.  Maybe the National Half in DC in March.

 

support team

drunk/hungover sister

After I changed into a dry shirt and grabbed my sweatshirt, we headed back to the finish line to wait for my friend Chris to finish his very first marathon.  He came in right around 3:57 looking great and not tired at all.

 

marathoner and half marathoner

Then, it was finally time to celebrate.  We left the city and headed over to Chickie and Petes from some beers and delicious food.  An ice cold Bud Light has never tasted so good to me.

 

chafe burn from my sports bra

I really enjoyed my first half marathon experience, and I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to Philadelphia before I move to Virginia, then running through some of its most famous neighborhoods.  Next time I will break two hours though, I know I can do it!  I’m off to hobble around the house and scrounge up some food.  Congrats to everyone who ran, Steph, Chrissey, Jilly, Katie, and anyone I’m forgetting!

Oh Right, I’m Running a Half Marathon

With all the excitement about my new job, new house, and moving to a new city, I’d almost, almost, forgotten about my first half marathon in 10 days!  Alright, that’s a lie, I haven’t forgotten at all, but I really haven’t talked about it much recently.  Just yesterday however, I spent a good half an hour on map my run mapping out the course, and THEN I discovered you can watch a 3D video of the course you map out.  So I did that a few, ok 10 times.  It is pretty safe to say that I am already nervous, I can’t help it, I mean I did used to throw up before races in high school.

While there is no doubt in my mind that I can conquer the distance, I do have some goals for this race sitting in the back of my mind.  I was considering keeping them to myself, but hey what else is this blog for then for talking about things of this nature.  So, here we go.

  • Goal A: If there are perfect race conditions on that morning, (no rain, no wind, no stuffy nose or other illness) I really want to break 2 hours.  My 10 miler last weekend at 9:07 pace would put me in this category, so I think it’s an attainable goal.
  • Goal B: Because crap happens, the weather can suck, you can feel like ass, etc I want to run the whole thing under a 10 min/mile pace.  I’m hoping this one will be easy.
  • Goal C: Everything falls apart, the weather, my leg, and I die, I just want to finish the race in one piece, and be able to walk after because I don’t have health insurance currently, so injuries will have to be left untreated.

Not too lofty of goals I don’t think.  Now, since there are 10 days to go the only thing left to do is stalk the forecast obsessively.  I’ve run three races in my life, two of them have been in the pouring rain, I’d like to not add to that number.  Let’s hope for sunshine and not too cold of temps. Who else is running the Philadelphia Half or Full on November 21?  What are your goals?!

And because lately this seems to have become a shopping/fashion blog, I can’t leave you without something along those lines.  I was stalking Fed Ex shipping yesterday, and squealed in delight when I saw my new Coach bag was “on truck for delivery”.  I raced home at the end of the day, and sure enough there was this lovely package sitting on my front steps.

I tore open the packing tape the minute I was inside, and found another prettily wrapped box. (TWSS?)

Finally, I pulled my gorgeous new bag out.

Even prettier in person than it was online, and I’m so happy I went with the blue over the gray!  It’s the perfect size, and the shoulder strap is awesome for keeping it out of the way when you have to buy things, like multiple bottles of red wine.  I mean of course I had to test out its functionality right away.  It passed the test.

Oh, and I actually did work out last night, funny how that got pushed to the bottom of the post.  My training plan recommended a 4×1 mile workout at 8:15 pace.  Sounded hard to me from the get go, so I decided to play it by ear.  I did a half mile warm-up at 10 min/mile pace before getting into my mile repeats.  As expected, the first one sucked and felt really fast, but at the same time took forever to end.  How does that work?  Anyway, I walked a .25 mile recovery before diving into the next mile.  Mile 2 didn’t suck as much, but it still wasn’t fun.  Made it through and walked another .25 recovery.  It was at this point that I made a deal with myself to at least make it through one more, and then stop if I really wanted to.  I did my 3rd mile repeat and my legs felt heavy and slow the whole time, plus my IT band felt tight.  Meh I totally bailed on the 4th one, but whatever.  I think I still benefitted from the point of the workout.  At the finish, the run was 4.5 miles in 44:10.  Whatever, I’ll take it.

Oh hey, it’s Thursday, 7 more days left at my current job and 16 days until moving day!  Do I need to start packing yet?

All Signed Up!

Wowzers sorry I’m posting so late today, but my morning at work has been spent moving from one office to another, and I’m just getting my computer back now!  Anyway, so happy Wednesday, we’re officially half way through the week, I’m leaving for vacation in 2 days and the only thing I’ve packed so far is bathing suits.  I should probably get on that huh?  The boyfriend arrives tomorrow, so I definitely need to get a majority of the packing done tonight.

Last nights workout was pretty standard, Yoga Meltdown.  I’m finally mastering the rolling t’s and side plank, which to me is almost as hard as the chatarunga push-ups because they hurt my wrists.  I blame all my years of gymnastics on this.  What wasn’t standard, was this:

Yup, I am now officially registered for the Philadelphia Half Marathon on November 21.  I’m already nervous.  I’ll probably start working on a plan in the next few weeks, and then training will officially start at the end of August.  I wanted to do the Philly Rock and Roll half, but one of my bff’s is getting married that weekend and I don’t think that is really a logical idea.

Because we are in the process of clearing out the fridge and freezer before vacation, dinner was a little random.  Some Kraft Mac and Cheese, and half a turkey and bacon wrap.

Look at that cheezy goodness.  I thought I had a slight dilemma on my hands when I realized there was no milk, but I just substituted the 1/4 of milk for a 1/4 of water and there was absolutely no difference.  Still creamy, cheezy, and delicious!

Out of pure boredom last night, I watched Yes Man with Jim Carrey and actually really enjoyed it.  The few glasses of wine I drank while watching may have helped that, but it was still a cute and funny movie.  If you’re in the mood for a silly Jim Carrey flick, I recommend this one.

Alright well I hope everyone has a great day, I plan on taking advantage of the much cooler temps today and going for a run outside after work.  It was so glorious out this morning, I wish I could have run then, but responsibility and 7 am start times call.