On Sunday, I finally ran my first half marathon. For an entire year, I have been “training” for a 13.1 mile race since I finished the San Francisco Urbanathlon in November of 2011. Thanks to a busy schedule, last minute travel opportunities, and pure laziness, I trained but didn’t actually commit to any specific race. I finally decided to run the Nike Half Marathon in October, but was invited to Hawaii. In 1/2 marathon shape, I knew I needed to just pull the trigger and sign up for a race. I found the All Women & 1 Lucky Guy 1/2 Marathon online on Monday and paid in full on Tuesday.
Thanks to daylight savings, I got an extra hour of sleep the night before the race. It also happened to have a start time of 11 AM. Talk about perfect timing and weather for my first long race. My dad came along with me to the north shore. He was my inspiration for getting into track as a teenager so it was fun to have him watch me again. His dad was a successful track coach at Tufts University and even coached the American track team at the Olympics in Japan. I guess you could say running is my blood.
I spent a large part of my friday researching and downloading songs for the perfect playlist. As soon as I got to registration, I realized I left my ear phones at home. Thanks to Reach The Beach, I knew my iPhone would play loud enough through the speaker. I just hoped the other runners wouldn’t mind (they didn’t). Despite a sunny fall day with temperatures in the low 50’s, I wore compression tights with my pink Newton socks I got in Kona. I wore two layers on top, a tank and long sleeve pink top. I was thankful I remember my Oakley sunglasses, it was super sunny and inspirational headband that says “Will Run For Wine” for keeping my hair out of my face.
As soon as the gun went off, I started my GPS and heart rate monitor. I opted for my Mizuno Waveriders. They usually are the most comforting on my knees after 10 miles but during the first 2 my shins were on fire. I quickly was nervous I made the wrong decision. For my shorter runs and in Hawaii, I was wearing my bright Nike Run Frees. At mile 1, I heard a plethora of GPS watches beeping slightly before. I saw that mine read 1.1 miles. This trend continued the entire race and another runner agreed with me that she felt the course was a little long. Each mile seemed to tack on an extra tenth of a mile.
The course was through the beautiful town of Newburyport, MA. There were elections signs on every lawn! We passed by horses, llamas, ponds and ran on dirt roads and by large farms. It was sort of an out and back course but it didn’t seem that way at all. There were hardly any cars on the roads and there were plenty of rolling hills. In total, 1000 women ran the race, and one lucky guy who was picked randomly in October. Everyone was so friendly, and there was such a fun positive vibe. For the first time, I did not have an ounce of anxiety or nervousness. FIRST TIME EVER. I trained, but not excessively. I think I was just relieved to finally be able to say, yes, I HAVE run a 1/2 marathon.
I paced myself well in the beginning. I ran a consistent 8-minute mile except for up the many hills. However at mile 7, I opted to take my Clif Bar energy gel (turbo espresso, which was gross) and got a surge of energy. They actually gave out Gu at the half way point, but I wanted to drink my own. I picked up the pace to about 7:30-7:45 and felt strong. My playlist seemed to be perfect and the fact that my ear phones were missing did not matter. I grabbed water at most of the water stations and slowed down to make sure I could drink it. I didn’t stop to eat the gel however.
I was excited to spot my dad towards the end of the race. This is my first and only mid race picture I have! At 11.5 miles, I finally looked at my total time and saw 1:34. My goal was to finish under 1:50 so I was pretty happy but I thought, can I get under 1:45? I decided to try and push it of course. I came up about 3 minutes too late. My official time was 1:47:54.
I was pretty excited to have my dad meet me there at the finish line. It’s always fun to celebrate with someone that is equally as happy and proud of you. I couldn’t believe how great I felt. It almost made me want to run a full marathon! What a fun distance though! It’s not too far that it takes over your life to train for, and it’s long enough that you’re never sprinting and feeling like hell… well maybe I could push myself to do that but I’m pretty happy with how I ran. I wanted to finish in the top 10% and under 1:50 and did just that.
So what’s next on my race calendar? I begin training for my first triathlon!