WE DID IT!!!
Danielle and I completed our first half marathon! The weeks of training, studying, researching, and blogging finally paid off!
Last Friday, we drove to San Jose to get ready for our race on Sunday. We arrived at our hotel in the evening and spent the night in our room, attempting to talk off (and by talk I mean gossip and fill each other in on the on-goings of our lives) the excitement that would await us the following two days. During our talk, we agreed that since we signed up for the race together that we would run together. In true bestie fashion, we made a pact that unless a medic had to carry us off the course, we would stick together and help push each other through all 13.1 miles!
With that peace of mind, we went to bed so we could be sure to be well rested for the expo the next day. We slept in (only until 8:00 am, but for us teachers, that is sleeping in!) and took our time getting ready for the day. After breakfast and another chat sesh, we headed over to the expo which was conveniently located right next to our hotel. At the expo we picked up some Clif Shot Bloks (my faves--delicious organic energy chews that provide, electrolytes, calories, and sodium during endurance runs), and some extra gear for our run. We each picked our own set of matching headbands and running belts from a company called Hippie Runner. I never thought myself to be the running belt type, but these are seriously so non-obstructive and comfortable that I made the switch with ease. I also purchased a souvenir hoodie and D got a new pair of Brooks shoes (And no, she did not run in the new shoes. We're new at this, but not stupid!).
After the expo we headed to a local family restaurant, Original Joes to load up on... yep, you guessed it... pasta! In our running research, we've learned that it is best to start carb loading not just the night before your half or full marathon, but the entire week before. Also, that your last heavy carb-filled meal should be at lunch the day before rather than at dinner in order to give your body time to convert the carbs to the energy and store it for the following morning.
At the expo and on our way to lunch, we saw several people with their legs taped. At first, I assumed that it was just sample tape and that it wouldn't last until race day, but having seen so many people with the KT tape, I thought it was unlikely that they would take the time out of their day if it wasn't going to pay off the following day. I finally asked a girl and she confirmed my suspicions. She said that the tape would last 3-4 days; so after lunch, and after having met up with Danielle's parents, we went back to the expo to show them around, sneak a few silly pictures (check back later, as all I have now are my iPhone pictures) and get our knees taped with the magic feel good tape! Sadly, I lotioned my legs that morning and even after two alcohol wipe downs, my tape would not stay on my knee. Danielle's stayed through the night; though, and she ran with it, so refer to her recap to see her testimony of the wonder tape!
After round two of the expo, we headed back to the hotel where I attempted to do some homework (the life of the responsible and procrastinating grad student) and Danielle hung out with her parents while we waited for my mom, sister, and my niece and nephew to get there. Once they did, we all headed to dinner at P.F. Changs. After what seemed like the longest dinner in the history of dinners, we headed back to our rooms in attempts to get some sleep for the much anticipated race day!
Even though I didn't feel nervous, I had trouble falling asleep; just as all of the running bloggers and veteran marathon runners said I would. I'm sure I drifted off somewhere between 11 and midnight, but when I woke up at 5:15 a.m. I wasn't the least bit tired! Race day was finally here!
The weather was a perfectly cool 73 degrees. Danielle and I ate breakfast, caffeinated, took more pictures and headed down to our corral just after 7:00 a.m. Even though I had already peed numerous times that morning, the anticipation got the best of my bladder and I had to pee again! Luckily, there were what seemed like a hundred port-a-poties so the wait time was short pre-race. I very firmly warned Danielle, that even though we promised to stick together, I reserved the right to break the bestie-clause in the name of bathroom breaks. There was no way in hell I was going to lose time for anything less than an injury. I quite literally told her to pee on herself before she asked me to wait in line with her at a bathroom (and yes, I was prepared to to the same). It sounds harsh, I know, but you know the saying; "Nice guys finish last", and I was not about to finish last!
While we waited anxiously for the race to start, we stretched, danced, and jogged in place to get our blood flowing and our bodies warmed up. Also, because I just plain couldn't stand still. Finally, the time was near...3...2...1...RUN! It only took a few minutes for us to move our way up to the starting line and start running. We started with an easy, slow jog, so as not to get too winded too quickly. We also decided that we would run the first 11 miles using a 10:1 run/walk ratio, and then pushing through the last two miles to the finish. Using this method we averaged an 11:12 pace for nearly the entire race; slow and comfortable. While my knee started to hurt at mile 6, just as I had anticipated given my experiences during training; I never really felt winded during the race. Actually, if it weren't for the fact that my knee and legs hurt like a (insert favorite expletive here), I could've kept running. The adrenaline was still pumping, and continued to do so for even through the following day. No joke, as much pain as I was in on Monday, I still felt like going for a run. Weird. The girl who used to hate running just ran 13.1 miles and wanted to run some more. Who am I?
(Apparently, I'm a runner. And I've got the medal to prove it!)
Anyway, we did it! We ran, we walked, we pushed each other through our aches and pains, and we finished our very first half marathon, together, with an official time of 2:29:15! I'm logging that in the books as a major success for our first race considering that our two goals were to 1) finish under 2:35, and 2) to just plain finish! We set a goal and stuck to it. We didn't give up and we crossed that finish line. That in itself is the most amazing feeling. Top it off with the feel good endorphins that running gives you and my-oh-my was I on a drug free high!
Never in my life did I think I would have the desire, drive, or motivation to train for and run a half marathon. Now that I've done it, I'm hooked; literally addicted to running, and I have my best friend Danielle to thank for it since it was her idea to sign up for the run in the first place.
With the Dodge Rock n' Roll Half Marathon behind us, we have 16 weeks until the runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I've taken a week off from all things training/running and am anxiously awaiting Monday when my official training for my second half marathon begins. I've set a goal of 2:15 for my next race; and with the help of my Smart Coach running plan, spin classes twice a week, and strength training I know I can do it!
Check back for Danielle's race recap, more pictures, and of course, more running/training posts. We're still running, so keep running with us!