I did it!
I ran my FIRST half marathon. The Women’s Half Marathon in downtown St. Pete, this past Sunday.
I am still a bit amazed as this is something I NEVER thought I would do. But I am so glad to have accomplished this goal and am pretty proud of how it went.
I know I have missed a few race training week recaps, but let’s just say there was nothing really eventful. I had a great long run, but then the next weekend I had a really bad one. I was so glad when taper week came. My body needed a break and I think it really helped me come race day!
On the night before race day I laid out my running clothes and gear. (I never trust my brain to work correctly at 5 a.m.) I also put together a gear bag for the first time. Since this was my first half and I knew I’d be getting brunch with friends after I wanted some things to help me freshen up. I packed a washcloth and deodorant. Also, some Nuun in case I needed extra electrolytes after the race.
I had a terrible nights sleep. I tried to go to bed early, but didn’t actually hit the sack until 11 p.m. I kept waking up and tossed and turned. When 5 a.m. came, it was hard, but I got up and got moving. I rinsed off, got dressed, chugged water and ate a pumpkin spice bagel with cream cheese as my pre-race fuel.
I was out the door by 5:30 a.m. I was determined to park in the lot closest to the starting line. It was $5, but totally worth it to me as there’s no close parking to where the race was that isn’t 2 hour parking. Luckily there were still plenty of spots when I got there.
I checked my bag at gear check and used the dreaded porta potty. Both of which took no time at all. Shortly before the race my friends showed up. We took a few pre race pics and then headed to our corrals.
Like my shoe wings??
Before the race I was considering doing a walk run method to help me get through. In all of my training runs I had been taking walk breaks and wasn’t sure I could run the whole race. Once I started the race though I decided to just go by how I felt.
I took the race mile by mile and I was feeling great. I walked through the water stations. I chose Gatorade every time it was offered and had a Gu when it was offered at mile 8. The aid stations were spaced apart well and I never felt dehydrated.
I also loved the cheer stations and people rooting us on. Their cheers and funny/inspirational signs really helped! The hardest miles were 9 through 12. We ran up a long stretch of Central Avenue and back. There wasn’t much to look at and the cheerers were scarce…that’s when we really needed them!
When I saw the mile 12 marker I tried not to get too excited. 1 mile to go! I can do this! I’m doing it! When I figured I had about a half mile to go I started to push, and when the finish line was in site I ran my heart out.
Final time: 2:23:53
My goal was 2:30 and I wasn’t even sure I’d do that so 2:23 was great news to me! AND I took no walk breaks. I ran the whole time! I was so proud of what my body had just accomplished. However, as soon as I stopped running my knees and hips started screaming at me. I had trouble walking for the rest of the day, but that’s pretty normal after a half.
After I was handed my medal I grabbed a water, a banana and a bag of mini muffins. I scarfed down the banana as I tried to find my friends. They had some fun stuff at the end of the race. A Bubbly Lounge with champagne, massages, a freshen up station…I decided to skip it all though. I have a full massage booked for Tuesday and the most important thing on my mind was getting a meal in my stomach!
Post race mimosas!
Overall, I really enjoyed the race. Besides the long stretch on Central Avenue, the course was great and there were plenty of aid stations. And even though I didn’t take advantage of the after race festivities, I thought they were all great ideas! And of course, the volunteers were awesome as well.
I kept telling everybody that this was going to be my first and only half marathon. I am just not a fan of training. Getting up early for long runs and having to skip CrossFit workouts for runs was just not working for me. And my body is just not built for running. I’m not fast. But most importantly, I don’t enjoy it. I’m one of those people who likes to go for a run if I feel like it, not because I have to. And training is something that you have to do and therefore becomes unappealing to me. But that is just me! I’m still going to do 5ks and 10ks…those are more manageable distances to me and ones that I can excel more at. But is another half marathon in my future? Who knows. Crossing that finish line was pretty amazing, so I’m not going to completely write off the possibility, but I’m also not rushing to sign up for more.
Did you run the Women’s Half? What’s your favorite distance to run?