Posted by: thefitacademic | January 17, 2011

Race recap

The morning of the race was a harried craze. We thought we’d left plenty of time to get to the race, but didn’t realize that our hotel was in trapped in the middle of a box where streets were closed all around us, completely blocking our entrance to the start line. See the race map, below?


Our hotel was just off 51 right smack in the center of the box made by the blue path (the marathoners) and the red path (the half-marathoners).

When we finally made our way to the start, I was running to try to get to the corrals on time, and my Mom was by my side the whole time



The sign says: “Look Mom, I’m Running my 1st half-marathon!!! Cheer me on (Ashley)”

I’d heard somewhere that if you put your name on your shirt, people along the course cheer you on and since (1) this was my first half-marathon, and (2) the fact that I was doing it alone, made me a little nervous so I needed all the support I could get!

I made it to the start line on time & I was excited for the start of the race…feeling good!


The race start was SLOW! It’s a “wave start”, so the first group started at 8:30. My group (#18 out of 30) didn’t start until just after 9:00am. By this point, I WAS READY TO RUN!


The first 6 miles were no problem! I was running a little speedier than normal, but not too fast to where I was going to wear myself out. I was energized, felt good, and I seriously don’t think I stopped smiling for at least the first 5 miles! I’ve never been in a race so big & it was all just so exciting!

My family (mom, stepdad, and Chris) saw me around mile 4, but I didn’t see them Sad smile

I wasn’t expecting them until mile 7-10ish because that’s what we’d discussed. At mile 4 I was still totally “in the zone” and was jamming out to music. I heard that my Mom ran into the course running after me screaming my name, but I just ran on by, lol.IMG_5611

Around mile 7 I pulled my phone out of my fuel belt, found out I’d missed my family, and discovered that they were at breakfast…..I was a little sad I’d missed them, but were hopeful to see them within another few miles.

By mile 9 I was starting to fade. There weren’t as many supporters along the path (apparently it was a difficult-to-reach area).

At mile 10 it became apparent that I would NOT see my family again until the finish. In all of my training runs I usually stop and do a stretch-break around mile 7 or 8, but I had forced myself to keep running with the hope that I could take my stretch break when I saw my family…thus prolonging the time spent with them. By the time I decided to go ahead and stop for stretching, the pain hit IMMEDIATELY. My legs were like jelly and my feet were killing me. I also realized that my thighs were ON FIRE! Apparently I’d been having some chaffing going on, and I was very confused about it. I’ve only ever had chaffing problems with shorts before, NEVER with pants. Plus, I’d practiced long runs in this exact outfit (same pants and everything) so I didn’t understand how this problem just suddenly developed for the very FIRST TIME on RACE DAY of all days.

I told myself it was less than a 5K to the finish & forced myself on.

Miles 11-12 were the toughest. I walked the entirety of mile 11, and probably about half of mile 12. It was the first walking break I had taken and I wish I hadn’t because for me, the walking breaks are when all the pain hits me….if I just force myself on I don’t notice. But at this point, my thighs were BURNING!

By the time I reached mile 13 I had started jogging again…I just wanted it to be OVER! But when I finally saw the finish it was a GREAT FEELING! The layout of the course allows you to see the finish probably 1/2 a mile before you reach it and it was really motivating….I started really running fast again trying to get to the finish.

And then, it was OVER


I stopped in the finisher’s area and ate about 15 oranges (not really, but probably the equivalent of 2 or 3….they were pre-sliced & peeled & I just posted up shop & started shoveling them into my mouth!Open-mouthed smile) Then, I grabbed all the goodies (fruit, frozen yogurt, granola, etc.) and found my family!


and I was EXHAUSTED! And my tummy was a little uneasy. I’m not sure why because I didn’t eat anything unusual. My morning started with my customary almond butter toast with banana


Here was my set-up in the hotel (I brought my own toaster!)


and I even wore my lucky 5K shirt from my very first race the night before


So….I dunno. Maybe it was just 1st race nerves and jitters. So we didn’t stick around for any of the post-race activities. I did not care about the bands. I did not care about the free stuff and goodies. I did not care about any of it. I wanted to go to the hotel!

So, we went back, I took a shower, did a ton of stretching, took a nap, and re-grouped later for a shot in my official Rock & Roll Marathon shirt & my finisher’s medal


After some rest, I felt a WORLD better! Decided to go to a 5:30 showing of The Dilemma with the family


Chris and I both thought it was funny & “pretty good”….not spectacular, but not bad. It wasn’t really my parents’ type of humor. They thought it was “ok.” I think they just don’t get Vince Vaughn type humor.

And now we’re already back in Tucson. Had to come back early so Chris could finish up at a job today. I’m going to take the opportunity to organize myself for school this week, get some reading done, get some cleaning done, and just relax a little.

Hope everyone has a Happy Martin Luther King Day! (Hope you have the day off!)



  1. Awesome job! That’s a huge accomplishment 🙂 Frozen yogurt would be an awesome post race treat!

  2. So proud of you! Congrats again girl!

  3. Congrats girl!!!! Love the sign!

  4. You rock, Ashley! I’m in awe of your awesomeness!! 🙂

  5. Congrats on finishing your first half!! You rocked it out!

  6. It sounds like you did fantastic for a first big race! It’s hard to run alone and it sounds like you’re going to need to carry body glide on you for the next race (I always do in my spibelt!) My unofficial theory is that nerves make you sweat more which can lead to new chaff spots.

    • That could very well be the case! It was cool out, too, so I was really surprised about it! The evil irony in the situation is that I HAD body glide, but had left it at the hotel thinking I didn’t need it since I was wearing pants! I’ll never make that mistake again!!! (I’m still walking bowl-legged!!!)

  7. Ahhh congratulations!!! 🙂

  8. Congrats on the race. Woohoo!!!

  9. Congratulations!!! As someone who has only just started to get back into exercise after foot issues, and can only manage runs of 15-20mins… I’m in AWE of you. Congratulations again, particularly for making it through the pain. Yay!

  10. Thanks for sharing and congratulations!! I kept meaning to ask my friend who ran yesterday what the route was for the 1/2 marathon people (I used to live in Phoenix so was curious as to where everyone was running). Sounds like a great experience though!!

  11. Congratulations on pushing through!

  12. Congrats! It’s such a big accomplishment!

  13. You did it! Boy can I relate to the mile 9 fade out…but you pulled through! Nice job! Ready to sign up for the next one?!

    • actually I’m thinking of maybe doing a tri. We’ll see though – I’m sure there will be other races in my future : )

  14. I KNEW YOU’D DO IT! you’re such a rockstar hehe ❤

  15. […] than I would like to be. My training was WAY less rigorous than what I’d done prior to my first half-marathon this past January and I’m just hoping that it was enough to make it through! I don’t have any […]

  16. […] I was pretty nervous about this race. I trained…but not nearly as long or hard as I did for my first 10K (pre-blog) and half-marathon, both of which felt pretty brutal both during and after the races. After the half, I didn’t even stop by any of the tents for all the free swag and concerts (it was the Rock and Roll Marathon so there was a HUGE post-race party that I completely bypassed in favor of getting home for a looooong nap…see the recap here). […]

  17. […] I’ll always continue to run, but I just may not be training for any marathons or anything! My 1 half-marathon may be enough for me. I won’t rule out the possibility of other long runs, but I think I’ve […]

  18. […] First Half-Marathon, January […]

  19. […] tears rolling down my face (probably because it reminds me of my own Mom and her support of me when I ran my half-marathon last January). So […]

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