I know I know- its been almost 2 weeks since I've posted. Did you think I fell off the bandwagon and abandoned running all together? Well I'm happy to report that is definitely not the case :) I promise to try and be a better blogger!
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably have heard me mention (just a few hundred times) that I've been training for a half marathon. Well this past Sunday was the big day and now that its over, I wanna do a re-cap for my own memories but also to share with you.
I spent the night at my parents house the night before, since they live about 10 minutes from the race site and I live about 40 minutes. My brother also ran and so we got up at 4:00 am to have breakfast. He made ground chicken burgers (basically a hamburger but with ground chicken instead of beef) and scrambled eggs. Kind of an odd meal to eat at 4 in the morning, but we both knew that anything with fiber would not be the best idea. So we loaded up on simple carbs the day before, and protein the morning of. It worked out perfectly- I didn't have any stomach/bathroom issues and I also didn't get hungry through the whole race.
We left the house about 6:00 to drive to the starting line in downtown Fresno. The race started and ended at Chuckchansi Stadium, were our local minor league baseball team plays. We lined up around 6:40 and the gun went off at exactly 7:00. I love when races actually start on time :)
Bad picture, but taken with my phone waiting at the starting line
Here are a few more (not so great quality) pictures before we left the house that morning
Kevin- my brother, fractured his foot a few weeks ago and upon his doctors advice, he was still able to run the race. He has been taking anti-inflammatory meds and also wears a heated insole in his shoe. The doctor told him to take it easier than normal and not push himself, but that he was still ok to run if he felt up to it. He went back and forth but finally decided he would run at a slower pace...aka my pace. I was so excited to have someone to run with because 13 miles is a long time to run all by yourself. We started off strong- stronger than I ever, ever run. I felt great from the beginning and never felt out of breath or tired. He got ahead of me a few times and I had to either catch up to him or call him back, but for the most part we ran together. The first 3 miles flew by. We ran through the tower district, downtown Fresno and some older residential neighborhoods. There were lots of spectators out cheering us on and I can't tell you what a difference that makes! I kept a close eye on my watch to check my pace and was surprised that I was running so much faster than normal, but still feeling okay. I was wearing my Taz Running tattoo and I kept glancing at it when I would come up to each mile marker. I realized I was about a mile ahead of my goal, time wise. That scared me a little because I was really afraid of burning out towards the end. When we got to mile 6, we ran through Roeding Park and the zoo. My parents, grandma, cousin, Wayman and the kids were there waiting to see us pass by. Kevin got there before me but stopped to wait for me to catch up
We stopped for a quick picture and so I could eat my GU energy gel and then it was time to start back up and head for the zoo! I realized at this point that there was no way I could maintain his pace for the rest of the race and since his foot was obviously feeling okay, I didn't want to hold him back. I told him to go on ahead of me. I hated knowing I still had 7 more miles to run- by myself- but I knew it was for the best. When I run with someone, naturally we talk the entire time which messes up my breathing and pacing even more. I knew if I ran alone for the last half, Id be able to concentrate on my breathing and finish as strong as possible.
We ran through the zoo, back through the park and passed our cheerleaders once again (about mile 7.5). After this, I was a little bummed cause I knew I wouldn't be seeing anyone again til the finish line. This is also when it started to get really, really hot.
There were police patroling on motorcycles through the whole race and one of them let the boys sit on the bike with lights on. If you know Carson- you know this MADE HIS DAY. He has wanted to be a "motorcycle policeman" when he grows up for the longest time, and this just sealed the deal. He was one happy little 4 year old.
I got to mile 8 and there were two tables set out- one that said "water" and one that said "gatorade" and had several full cups on each table. I was extremely hot and starting to feel lightheaded but I knew if I drank too much I'd feel sick. So instead of drinking, I quickly grabbed 2 cups from the water table and poured them over my head. Immediately, I realized that it wasn't water. It was gatorade. The cups were not on the correct table. If you have never experienced sweat + gatorade burning your eyes- you are lucky. That held me up for at least 3 or 4 minutes because I had to get water (yes I double checked) and flush out my eyes so that I could see again. It hurt BAD. As soon as I started running again, the man behind me threw his half-full cup of gatorade on the ground and it splashed up on my legs. So not only was I running with sticky hair, arms and face, but now I had to run with sticky legs. At this point I could have cried, but I decided to just laugh about it and keep going. I figured at the next aid station I would rinse my legs off it bothered me that bad.
Well- the next aid station was not until Mile 10 and they WERE OUT OF CUPS. All they had were a few 1 gallon jugs of warm water that they were pouring into peoples mouths. I'm a major germophone and that just did not sit well with me. I asked the girl to pour it over my head and down my back, hoping that would hydrate me a little and at least cool me off. It definitely helped cool me off, but running in clothes that are soaking wet isn't that comfortable. This was also right around the time that we had to race the one and only hill of the race. It was a rather large overpass and I decided that I was going to take a small break and walk the overpass. It only took me about 5 minutes and I was thankful that I had banked so much time in the beginning and had a few extra minutes for walking breaks if needed.
By mile 12, I was mentally done. I didn't see an end in sight. Instead of it being a straight run to the finish line, we had to weave in and out of the streets of downtown and we would pass the stadium (finish line), and then run half a mile away from it only to re-trace that half mile on the next street up. It was mentally exhausting. My legs were getting a little sore but nothing unbearable at all. I took 2 or 3 walk breaks (probably about a minute each) just to get myself back on track mentally.
Everyone was waiting at the finish line for us and was able to get pictures of both my brother and myself coming across the field to home plate, where the finish line was.
Another complaint about the race (besides the hot water and lack of water and cups throughout the race) was that the bibs were very cheaply made. Mine was only hanging on my 1 safety pin by the end.
I stopped my Nike+ right as I crossed the finish line and it said I ran 13.12 miles and my finishing time was 2:38. I've checked the official results online and they say my time is 2:44. I'm not sure why there is such a discrepancy, but its not a major deal to me. 2:44 is still under my 2:45 goal and I still cut 15 minutes off my last half marathon. So I'm proud either way.
Here are my splits:
After crossing the finish line we got to walk up a huge flight of stairs to the top of the stadium where they were handing out ice cream, beer & hot breakfast. The lines for beer and breakfast were huge so I just stuck with the ice cream. My little guys were up there waiting as soon as I got to the top of the steps!
Happily displaying our second half-marathon medals. Many more to come in the future!
My cousin Rebecca and my grandma who came to watch us
Proudly displaying Mommy & Daddy's medals (Wayman rode the Century Ride the day before- 100 miles!)
We came home to shower and then put our race shirts and medals on before heading to Sweet Tomatoes for a post-race lunch
I had a great time and I'd definitely do this race again, despite the lack of aid stations and a few other minor complaints. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to running it again next year.
My next half is in November and until then, I'm going to focus on improving my 5k time. I'm going to re-start Couch 2 5k but instead of comfortably running, I'm going to give it all I've got! I really, really want a sub 30:00 5k at some point in the next year :)